My Five Favorite Authors

Picking your five favorite authors is like picking out the list of your all time favorite movies. There are so many I like and at different times and depending on the mood you are in, each one can fill a need and be very satisfying. I have been working on this list and here goes. If you did nothing but read the books of these five authors you would be reading a lot of great books. It is all very subjective so there are undoubtedly great authors I am leaving off the list. I just took a trip to Hannibal, Missouri and looked at the world of Mark Twain. There is a pretty good author. Amazing for his time and his observations are still so relevant. He isn’t on my list but is of course an immortal.These five have consistently produced high quality books and have provided many great hours of reading.
Here is my fav five:

David Halberstam
A great reporter before he became an author. He covered the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. He wrote a great books about Vietnam and President John F. Kennedy called “the Best and Brightest.” Just before his untimely death in 2007 in a traffic accident in the San Francisco Bay Area, he wrote a definitive books about the men who fought in the Korean War called “The Coldest Winter.” I love his sports books as well. One about the Portland Trailblazers’ championship season called “The Breaks Of the Game.” I loved his book “October 1964” about the great baseball season of that year.

Michael Connelly
Connelly is a former journalist who has written a series of crime and police novels. I love every book I have read in the Harry Bosch detective series. He has won every mystery book writing award possible. I recently read “The Scarecrow” and “The Closers”. I am still catching up on the books of this prolific writer. Last spring I went to the Los Angeles Festival of Books. In addition to doing a book signing for my own book “Sunbreaks”, I hung out a lot in the mystery writer tent and got to meet Michael Connelly. In additional to being a great writer, he is the coolest person on the planet.

Bob Woodward
He is one of my heroes from my newspaper days. His legendary reporting of the Watergate scandal set the gold standard for reporting. Woodward continues to write great books on the current affairs of the day which provide an insightful and inside look at the leaders and decision makers. I just finished his latest book “Obama’s Wars” which increased my knowledge and understanding of the situation in the Middle East. He continues to provide great reporting in a world of trash and irresponsible journalism. Woodward doesn’t look anything like young Robert Redford but when he was portrayed in a movie, Redford got the part. How cool is that?

Sue Grafton
My first impression was that her series of books using letters of the alphabet (i.e. “A is for Alibi”, “B is for Burglar” was just a gimmick. It is, but a great one. Once I started to read the adventures of her detective Kinsey Millhone, I was hooked. She has kept it fresh and different with each book in the series. I went to one of her book signings and she was so gracious to her many, many readers. Her latest “U is for Undertow” came out a couple of years ago. She had steadfastly refused to sell the film rights to her books. I am sure she could have made millions.

Pat Conroy
I have loved all of his novels I have read. I am still not done with his books. “Prince of Tides” and the “Great Santini” were classics. I love how he transports you to a different world–a different one for me anyway–to the South. I recently finished “Beach Music” and really liked it. I love the relationship the character had with his brothers in the South. My favorite of all was “My Losing Season.” That is definitely in the top five of my favorite books. “My Losing Season” is the story of one season with the Citadel basketball team and a very abusive father, both of which he contended with. I have read “My Losing Season” three times. When I wrote the memoir of my life, a friend told me that it reminded him of Pat Conroy. I didn’t intentionally try to do that but that was the nicest compliment I have ever received about my writing.

What are your favorite authors?


About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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4 Responses to My Five Favorite Authors

  1. Tamara says:

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez is my all time favorite. His books have a magical element to them, and I have loved every single story and novel of his that I have read. Others are in a revolving second place…Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Hemingway, Steinbeck…

  2. Greg Messel says:

    I like your five. I need to check out Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hemingway is amazing. What a treasure of life experiences he had to draw on. Thanks Tam.

    • Tamara says:

      I remember reading about Gabriel Garcia Marquez in college and in an interview he said that one way to make the unbelievable believable, give it a number. If you want to convince your readers that elephants were raining from the sky, you don’t say “Thousands of elephants fell from the sky.” You say “614 elephants landed in the park.” If you can quantify it, people can believe it. All of his writing has that “unbelievable-believable” quality. I recommend his short story “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World,” and his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.

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