A friend of mine had this cute thing on Facebook about making a list of 20 personally significant authors. Here's what my brain dredged up, plus the notable works that I associate with said authors.
The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Twenty authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first Twenty you can recall in no more than Twenty minutes. Tag at least Twenty friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your Twenty picks, and tag people in the note.)
1. William Shakespeare - You name it. The husband and I go to Ashland, OR, for our anniversary and watch lots of plays through the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
2. Jared Diamond - Guns, Germs & Steel
3. Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
4. Rebecca Skloot - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
5. Anthony Bourdain - Kitchen Confidential
6. F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
7. Victor Hugo - The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I read it in English, and it still made me cry. And this doesn't count because I haven't read it, but Les Misérables is probably my favorite musical.
8. Antoine de St-Exupery - Le Petit Prince. Classic!
9. Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This was the unofficial required reading at my alma mater. The unofficial required film, by the way, was The Princess Bride.
10. Robert Frost - Fire and Ice, After Apple-Picking, The Road Not Taken, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.
11. William Blake - Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright! I memorized that one when I was in 7th grade. I could probably still recite it with little prompting.
12. Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises, Old Man and The Sea.
13. T. S. Eliot - The Wasteland. When I had to write a five-paragraph analytical essay on this whopper, I pointed out the use of ragtime music in the conversation of a jaded married couple in the poem. According to younger friends of mine, our teacher mentioned this at least two years after I wrote it.
14. Emily Dickinson - Heart, We Will Forget Him. She's so emo, and her punctuation is atrocious in a thematically significant way.
15. Armistead Maupin - The Tales of the City series! These books are so much fun! It's an entertaining peek into popular culture and history in San Francisco, from the crazy party days of the 70s, to the more somber early 80s in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.
16. Flannery O'Connor - Lots of creepy, Twilight Zone-like short stories. ::shudder::
17. Beverly Cleary - Dear Mr. Henshaw, my first epistolary narrative. Years later, I also read its sequel, Strider.
18. Christopher Moore - Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. This makes excellent Holy Week reading.
19. Hans Christian Andersen - The Little Mermaid. Because I had read the story and seen the Faerie Tale Theatre version long before seeing the Disney version, I remember being quite disappointed at Disney's happy ending.
20. Donal Godfrey - Gays and Grays: The Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish. The first time I went to mass at this church, Fr. Godfrey delivered a fantastic five-minute homily. Then I learned that he wrote this wonderful book. It gives me the tiniest glimmer of hope that the church might someday live Christ's message, vis-à-vis homosexuality.