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An American Author That Does Not Disappoint?


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Note: The reason 'American author' is there as opposed to 'author'? I am currently doing a month of American authors.

I read A LOT. I read a book and if I have found that book enjoyable I find myself looking at that author with hope. So, I read another book by that author. This is where I start to compare the two books. This is where one of those books will be better than the last. Of course, this is common with every comparison. However, I cannot stand reading the next book and finding it a terrible read. It happens often. So, my question:

What American author would you suggest with a catalog of work that will not disappoint?

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Uh. I find that I really don't do that, I'm always jumping from one to another, it's actually rare for me to read more than a couple of books by any given author - no matter how much I enjoyed him.

By American, I trust you mean from the USA? Looking at my Goodreads shelf of most read authors, it's actually an American topping it, but it doesn't count because it's a comics writer, Brian K. Vaughan. After that it's Woody Allen and Nathanael West, both with four books read by me. Woody's are all short stories, so it is bound to be an uneven read. As for West, I quite enjoyed all his books apart from The Dream Life of Balso Snell, but I wouldn't consider any of them outstanding (well, maybe Miss Lonelyhearts).

From the top of my head, the only author of which I read more than one book, and greatly enjoyed both, is Cormac McCarthy (the books were No Country for Old Men and The Road - I read both before the movie adaptations, of which I only saw The Road). So that would be my recommendation.

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Don DeLillo is a longtime favorite author of mine.  I think his novels have been consistently excellent over the years.  They are huge, sprawling novels that encompass many characters and really take on major social and historic themes.  Quite fascinating and thought provoking.  Here are just a few of them, that I read and enjoyed:

White Noise


Mao II



Falling Man

Another favorite is Lorrie Moore who is primarily known as a short story writer although she has written novels as well.  Her work has a mordant humor throughout.  Brilliant prose that's a joy to read.

Here are the short story collections:

Self Help

Like Life

Birds of America

She also has 'The Collected Stories' in one volume. 

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If you are in to alternative history, Harry Turtledove is one of my all-time favorites.  He is (from my perspective) amazing when it comes to making characters and stories come alive.  Just reading his work it is really clear how much of a mastery he has over characters, how much research he does beforehand, and how carefully he lays out his stories.  His "Darkness" series is really great, if a bit science fiction-y compared to his other stuff.  Another great series from him is the "War that Came Early" which details World War 2 if it had started earlier (I don't recall the conceit as to why it started early, but it is a great read).

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  • 2 months later...

One contemporary American author I like is Marianne Wiggins, who chooses unusual subjects and settings for her novels. She is possibly best known for having been married to Salman Rushdie during the time he was in hiding after a Iran issued a fatwa on him. She has a way of painting pictures with words that I greatly enjoy, and some of her books are written in a stream-of-consciousness narrative style that works well with the subject matter and gets you inside the heads of the characters.

I've greatly enjoyed everything I've read by her - from memory:

- John Dollar, which is about a group of girls and their teacher who run aground on a tropical island - shades of Lord of the Flies

- Eveless Eden, about a war correspondent and a photographer who fall in love and meet up in various hell-holes around the world

- Almost Heaven, about a reporter who returns to the US

- Evidence of Things Unseen, about the dawn of the nuclear age in the US and much more. This is one of my favourite novels of all time!

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