N. K. Smith’s Attempt to Answer “Who’s your favorite author?”
One of the most popular questions to ask a writer is, “Who’s your favorite author?” I understand why. People want to know how a writer processes other people’s works. I think it’s an amazing insight to know what books an author loves to pieces and which ones set them on edge.
But it’s an amazingly hard question to answer, at least for me.
I know the authors I love. I know which ones I simply like, and I know which ones I’d never pick up again, but it’s hard to share that. Maybe it’s that I haven’t quite developed my reader-speak enough to verbalize what an author means to me or how moving I found a book.
I have friends who are such good analytical thinkers and I listen to them or read what they’ve written about a piece of writing and think, “I wish I could do that.” There’s a nuance to it; a subtlety that makes it a craft. I fear saying something ridiculously simple about a profound author. “Steinbeck is good.”
But then the other part of the equation is that, frankly, I love way too many books and authors to feel comfortable picking one or two. When I think about how to answer some questions, I stare at my bookshelves and take each title in, one by one.
“Yeah, this book is good, but how can it compare to that book? They aren’t even in the same genre. Okay, they’re both awesome, but remember that book you borrowed from the library? The one you loved but couldn’t afford to buy right then? How does that compare to these?”
I’d be happier answering the question, what was the last book you read? Or which genres really speak to you? Or what was the last book you couldn’t put down? Or which books had the most profound impact on your life?
I love books and I love the people who create them, but I always feel inept when coming up with the answer to, “Who’s your favorite author?” I’ve tried to hone my skill, but it just doesn’t work. I feel like a deer in headlights.
So I’ll just continue to ramble answers that include authors whose books were impactful enough for me to remember their name.
My Review: Old Wounds, Little Battles
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