I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.
And now we come to the category that is most problematic for me. I’ve ruled out Rowling and Austen. If I say my sister is my favorite writer, everyone will understandably roll their eyes. Besides, that is too obvious and not interesting and doesn’t lead to discussion. I can think of dozens of authors whose work I love and whom I’ve read extensively. I just can’t single any of them out as my favorites.
I think what I’m going to do here is mention two authors I think feel might be of interest who are, in my opinion, generally overlooked. Both of them are no longer with us.
The first, John Ciardi, wrote nonfiction books about word origins and histories. There are quite a few folks doing that these days, but Mr. Ciardi’s books predate the current trend and, in my opinion, he’s a better (and more conservative) researcher and his descriptions are both interesting and fun. He was also a poet and wrote books of humorous children’s verses that have been illustrateed by Edward Gorey. Who can resist that?
The second, Dashiell Hammett, is well known, but I don’t hear his name bandied about much these days. I don’t really fear he’s been forgotten. He’s far too iconic for that. However, his work is not experiencing the same resurgence in popularity I’m currently seeing for other authors who published mainly in the 20s and 30s. Hammett’s been called “the dean of the ... ‘hard boiled’ school of detective fiction” and rightly so, in my opinion. His mysteries are always tight and his dialogue is the epitome of sparkling, witty banter. The movies based on his books are generally accurate representations and very good. But if you’re a mystery fan (or even if you’re not) and you’ve never read him, you owe it to yourself to try one of his books. I am linking to his novels. He also wrote a number of shorter works.