Carol Shields – I first read The Stone Diaries after it won the 1995 Pulitzer and thought it was wonderful. I’ve read most of her other novels, including Larry’s Party, Small Ceremonies, The Republic of Love, Swann, The Box Garden, and Unless, her final work before her death in 2003.
JoAnne Harris – Chocolat was my tasty introduction to Harris’s writing in 2005, leaving me hungry for more. I immediately read Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, and Coastliners. Over the ensuing years, I’ve enjoyed Holy Fools, Gentlemen and Players, and her latest, The Girl with No Shadow, the sequel to Chocolat. Runemarks, her latest young adult novel, is in my TBR stack.
Tom Robbins – Although I haven’t read anything by Robbins in years, there was a time when I couldn’t get enough. I began with Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which I thought wasn’t as great as I’d heard but good enough to try his first book, Another Roadside Attraction – and that one kept me going. Still Life with Woodpecker and Jitterbug Perfume remain among my favorite books, and although I enjoyed Skinny Legs and All, I haven’t read anything else he’s written since that was published in 1990.
Anne Rice – As with Robbins, I went through an Anne Rice phase, beginning with the first three of the Vampire Chronicles (Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned), followed by The Mummy/Ramses the Damned and the next four Vampire Chronicles (Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, The Vampire Armand, Merrick). I also read the Mayfair Witches trilogy: The Witching Hour (my favorite of her works), Lasher, and Taltos. I began reading Violin, given to me for Christmas in 1997, but didn’t get too far, and I haven’t read Rice since. It was fun while it lasted…
John Irving – Another phase that I suppose I outgrew, which began when a friend whose tastes I trust recommended The World According to Garp in 1982. A Prayer for Owen Meany was another memorable read, and when I think about it, I wonder if I should see what Irving’s up to these days. I can’t find an official Web site for him. Others I read: Setting Free the Bears, The 158-Pound Marriage, The Water Method Man, A Widow for One Year, Hotel New Hampshire, and The Cider House Rules.
Celestine Viate – I mentioned her trilogy in my post about favorite literary couples. I fell in love with Vaite’s first three books, Frangipani, Breadfruit, and Tiare in Bloom. The Boston Bibliophile wrote a good review of them if you’re interested – and you really should be, because they are wonderful reads.
Alice Hoffman – I’ve read more books by Hoffman than by any other author, beginning with Practical Magic (which was so much better than the chick-flick). I’ve even read a couple of her young adult works, The Foretelling and Aquamarine. Here’s the rest of the list, in no particular order: Turtle Moon, Illumination Night, Second Nature, Seventh Heaven, Property Of, The Drowning Season, Angel Landing, At Risk, Here on Earth, White Horses, The River King, The Ice Queen, The Probable Future, Blackbird House (my favorite among her more recent works), Blue Diary, and her most recent, The Third Angel. I’m currently reading one of her older books I somehow missed, Fortune’s Daughter, and Skylight Confessions is in my TBR stack, which means the only one I’m missing is Local Girls. Yep, I’m a major Hoffman groupie.
Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can. – Practical Magic