Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is whatever I want. I listed my top ten favorite living authors a few weeks ago, so here are some of my favorite dead ones. Once again, I had a hard time narrowing down the list. I decided to pick authors who have been dead for 50 years or longer. Then I broke my “dead for a long time” rule with #3. So, here’s an unruly list of wonderful dead writers.
My Top Ten Favorite Very, Very Dead Authors
10. Thomas Hardy: I had to take a ton of Brit Lit classes in college, and I was always relieved when I saw Thomas Hardy on the syllabus. Unlike a lot of dead British authors, his books are only slightly tedious to read. I actually liked Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Woodlanders, and Jude the Obscure.
9. The Brontë Sisters: This is probably cheating, but I can’t pick one, so I lumped them all together. I like the complex characters they created.
8. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World is one of my favorite dystopias. His essays are pretty interesting, too. And, (this is kind of off-topic) the mall near my house has a piece of granite artwork with quotes engraved on it, and I totally geeked out when I found a Huxley quote on there.
7. Sylvia Plath: Brilliant poet, and The Bell Jar is the most realistic book about depression I’ve ever read.
6. Oscar Wilde: He had an interesting life and spent two years in jail for “gross indecency.” I read The Picture of Dorian Gray when I was a pre-teen and thought it was a cool story. When I reread it for a college class, I discovered that there is a lot of stuff in that book that I missed when I was a kid. A LOT of stuff.
5. Jules Verne: A childhood favorite. I read Around the World in Eighty Days a bunch of times because I had an obsession with adventure books.
4. Ernest Hemingway: I love his short stories. In Our Time is as close to perfect as a short story collection can get.
3. J.D. Salinger: His novels are great and his short stories are better. Nine Stories is one of my favorite short story collections ever. Technically, he’s not dead enough to be on this list (he died in 2010, I think), but it would feel wrong to leave him off.
2. Jack London: I grew up reading his books, so they have the nostalgia factor. At one point, I owned three copies of The Call of the Wild.
1. Edgar Allan Poe: He helped start/further the horror genre that I love. He also did a lot for the mystery and science fiction genres. On top of that, he wrote many of my favorite poems. I think I’ve read nearly all of his published work.
This was hard. There are so many more dead authors who I love: William Faulkner, George Orwell, John Kennedy Toole, Jane Austen . . . Don’t even get me started on the recently dead authors. I’d be listing them forever. I guess I have more favorite dead authors than favorite living ones.