10. Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice & Sense and Sensibility
Oh, Jane. I really enjoy her stories, and most of the characters. However, I sometimes find her writing style a little difficult to engage with. However, the light fun and romance mixed with drama always makes for good entertainment. Not to mention all the film and play adaptations of her work, which I love.
9. William Shakespeare, author of Much Ado About Nothing
I’ve read several Shakespeare plays for school, but they were all tragedies (Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, etc.). It wasn’t until I had a chance to read and watch Shakespeare in my free time (because I am a geek) that I realized I enjoyed the comedies way more. They’re wacky and hilarious, with jokes that often come across well even today. Not to knock the tragedies (well, okay, maybe a bit); I just enjoy happy endings along with clever wordplay, so stories like Much Ado and Comedy of Errors are great fun for me.
8. Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give
Obviously I was going to include Angie Thomas. Her debut novel ended up top of my favorite books of 2018. She’s such a skilled writer, and her subject matter is so important. I cannot stress enough how much people should read The Hate U Give and books like it; we need these stories told, and we need to have these discussions.
7. Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca
I first heard of this author in college, when I read Rebecca for a literature class. It was immediately my favorite book of that class, and also the semester overall (not counting the reread of Frankenstein, of course). But du Maurier’s way of seamlessly blending romance, suspense, and mystery is remarkable, and she shapes a fantastic story. Best of all, I recently found out she wasn’t a one-off writer! Guess whose reading list got longer? (Spoiler alert: it’s me.)
6. Agatha Christie, author of And Then There Were None
I still vividly remember reading And Then There Were None in eighth grade. I’ve never reread it, but could tell you the plot right now. That, I think, is the mark of a remarkably skilled storyteller. I’ve read several of her novels since then, and plan to read many more. Christie weaves such great mysteries, perfect for when I want a quick read with some old-fashioned whodunit fun.
5. Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Do not let the size of this book intimidate you (like it did me the first time I laid eyes on it). Within its gazillion pages lies a historical fantasy world rich in detail, remarkable plots, and memorable characters. It’s a masterpiece. I loved it so much I went out and listened to it on audio as well. Clarke’s debut is astounding, though I fear I will spend the rest of my life hoping she’ll write another book.
4. Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn
I’ve screamed about Mistborn enough on this blog for you to know I love Sanderson. I think in my reviews of that trilogy alone I ran out of superlatives, so I won’t carry on here for too long. The point is, Sanderson is definitely one of the best fantasy writers I know of, and I have many many more of his books I can’t wait to read!
3. V. E. Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic
When I drafted this list in the autumn of 2018, Schwab was in a totally different position on it. Then I finished the Shades of Magic trilogy and the two published Villains novels, and here we are. I officially adore her, and I can’t wait to read more of her work. Her characters are spectacular, her plots rich and exciting, and her worldbuilding incredible. She’s definitely one of the best sci-fi/fantasy writers I’ve ever encountered!
2. Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief
After reading The Book Thief, I concluded that Markus Zusak is a magical person. His use of imagery and narrative voice and realistic characters all in a powerful, poetic tale is just amazing. I’ve read every single one of his works now, and though none have so far matched Thief, he still has such skill with writing and I love him.
1. Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein
I don’t know how to describe how important this novel has been for me. I’ve discussed it for hours with equally geeky friends. The characters, the story, the themes, the writing, are all fantastic. And the ways this novel has impacted our modern culture are fascinating and near-innumerable. I could write multiple essays about why it is important and accessible to audiences today. This is a book everyone should read.
This list were so hard to put in order, and I’m not sure to this day if I’m satisfied. Oh well. Thanks for reading!