How did you come across your favourite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?
Not much posting here of late! Not so much an extended Christmas break as a frantic panic when I re-started work to prepare for meetings, and since Monday I've been in London working hard! Not even a trip to a bookshop to show for it.
Favourite authors? Rather than compile a new list, I think I'd better use my Library Thing list of favourites, otherwise we'll be here all week. I don't really remember discovering Jane Austen, but I do remember joining the Folio Society years ago so that I could have a really beautiful boxed set of her books. I treasure them and read at least one every year. I first came across Georgette Heyer in the local library in my teens, I have loved her books ever since. Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse was lent to me by a friend when I was about 11, because it was vaguely "horsy". I fell in love, and Goudge's writing, both for adults and children, has sustained me all my life.
Alan Garner and William Mayne were similarly childhood discoveries; I love Mayne's books based on his time as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral. I'm not sure his characters talk like real people, exactly, but I find their conversations irresistible.
Dorothy Sayers came a bit later – after I dropped out of drama school I was at a loose end and spent a lot of time in the library. Crime novels were a great favourite and for years my husband and I both read pretty much everything that came our way. If I weren't keeping to the Library Thing list I would have to add several other writers here (notably Marjory Allingham and Michael Innes).
Then there's a triumvirate of much more recent writers: William Gibson, Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Garth Nix. Grimwood is far too violent for me, really, but I love what he does. Both he and Gibson were recommendations by my sons, who often come up with interesting things to keep me amused. Nix goes the other way – a beautifully designed cover caught my eye, and I try to persuade everyone I possibly can to read his Old Kingdom trilogy.
Finally, I can't list favourites without including Mervyn Peake. I don't re-read him frequently in the way I do all the others, but he's part of my soul. If there was a fire and I had time to rescue anything (once the dogs were out, of course) it would be my first editions of The Gormenghast trilogy.