Fivers for Authors to Read

Every reader has their list of favorite authors. I’m no different in that aspect, except I’m also a writer and I’m going to share a list with you and gently suggest why you should read these authors. These aren’t your classics… you’re not going find Bradbury, King, or Orwell here… but rather just authors I’ve read and learned things from.

Keep in mind they’re not listed in any particular order, but maybe they are, at least subconsciously? Nah…

  1. J.K. Rowling – Read the Harry Potter series, for serious seriousness to see how ultimate foreshadowing is done. Tidbits from Sorcerer’s Stone pop back up in Deathly Hallows. The character histories and wizarding lore rivals that of GRRM’s books, only on a more palatable, less bloody scale. That doesn’t mean there isn’t death and mayhem; it’s there aplenty. Engaging characters, a rich and historic world, and tales that weave in and out of each other make her Potter series a must read.
  2. George C. Chesbro – Another writer with a full blown series to check out: The Mongo Mysteries. All the word today revolves around characters that are non-white, non-male, and are representative of today’s culture. With that, I give you Dr. Robert Frederickson, an abused dwarven private eye who used to be a circus act. And this series started in 1977. The series bends genres from mystery, to thriller, science fiction, religious, and horror. It’s all there.
  3. Laurell K. Hamilton – Hamilton is a shining example of longevity and character building. Her Anita Blake books are up to somewhere in the 20s (including stand-alone spin-off novellas). The characters, especially the supporting ones, are always discovering new things about themselves, and readers right along with them, which keeps the latter coming back. The sex helps, of course, but that’s only part of the draw here. Let’s face it, a bad-ass, creature hunting woman who likes her sex weird and rough and gentle is a total package. (Go EDWARD!)
  4. Lawrence Sanders – Some consider Sanders on the lower-rung of writers, somewhere just above a hack, but I disagree. He’s got a couple of series under his belt (Edward X. Delaney, Archie McNally, and the Commandments), but it’s his independent novels that stand out to me. Seriously, this guy was writing about a female vice-president and radical feminism in the 1980s (The Passion of Molly T.), the over-sexualization of children (The Case of Lucy B.), a male prostitute (The Seduction of Peter S.), and even a future where the government sees all, knows all (The Tomorrow File). Consider The Tomorrow File was published in 1975… Sanders had a knack, like most really good authors, of predicting upcoming social and cultural upheavals and norms.
  5. Gary A. Braunbeck – This guy is scary, and scary good, like really fucking talented. I’ve only read a single novel of Gary’s (shaddup…), but on the flip side to that, I’ve read one of collections, numerous of his other short story offerings, and his non-fiction work, To Each Their Darkness. Braunbeck, like King, fucking excels in the short form, but Braunbeck’s work is much more emotionally charged than King’s. If you want to read gut-wrenching words, and perhaps learn from one of the best, do yourself a favor and check Gary A. Braunbeck’s work out. You won’t be disappointed.

That sums up my short list of authors you may not have read that you probably should be, at least in my opinion. What say you, Brownies? Who should people be reading that they may not be?

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