Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
I had real problems choosing a top ten, so have gone for people I've been reading for at least a decade, and have released numerous books I love. They're ordered roughly chronologically by when I first started reading them (allowing for my poor memory!)
Anthony Buckeridge - One of the first authors I ever remember reading, with my dad reading me the Jennings books often as bedtime stories even before I started reading them myself. With fantastic characters - not just the schoolboys at the centre of the story but also the calm and compassionate teacher Mr Carter and his more irritable colleague Old Wilkie (who actually had a heart of gold, just very well-disguised) - and brilliant use of language, these still make me laugh even now.
Jean Estoril - I'm sure I've said enough about Drina over the past few years, but can't resist putting Estoril in here. (Was tempted to go for her real name over Mabel Esther Allan, but think everything I've read has been under this pen name.) The Drina series is one of the lost classics of children's books for me - an eleven book run featuring wonderful character development throughout.
Elsie J Oxenham - EJO is someone I wasn't sure about including; the Abbey Girls books haven't all held up that well, with the attitudes towards class at the time being particularly jarring in a few of them. However the ones that HAVE held up well are still outstanding, and in characters like dreamer Mary-Dorothy and impetuous Joy she created some memorable flawed heroines. As well, the books have a wonderful sense of location and history, with the Abbey itself almost feeling like an extra character in many of them.
E. Nesbit - Reading Kate Saunders's breathtaking Five Children on the Western Front got me to go back to Nesbit for the first time in a long while, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable her books were. The Five Children books are great, as is The Railway Children - which must have one of the all-time classic endings, memorably riffed on in one of my favourite recent contemporaries - but I think her books about the Bastable children, The Story of the Treasure Seekers and The Wouldbegoods, are perhaps my favourites.
Joan Aiken - Aiken was outstandingly prolific and always seemed on form; stand-alone Midnight Is A Place is a wonderfully atmospheric adventure and the Felix trilogy are all brilliant, amongst many others. Her crowning glory, though, is the sequence which starts at The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, a fantastic mixture of alternate history and fantasy, with one of my favourite ever characters, street urchin turned heroine Dido Twite.
Terry Pratchett - As I mentioned in the blog post to kick off the Terry Pratchett blog tour organised by Viv at Serendipity Reviews, Pratchett is one of the few authors I've read consistently for the past couple of decades. I can go a long time without reading some authors - even a few of my favourites - but the adventures of The Watch, the witches, Moist and other characters repeatedly draw me back to the Discworld.
Agatha Christie - There are times when having a really poor memory upsets me; one of the only slight advantages is it means I can reread novels from the Queen of Crime numerous times without remembering whodunnit. Poirot, Hastings, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, and so many others are wonderful creations.
PG Wodehouse - I can lose myself in Wodehouse's amazing language in his Jeeves and Wooster books again and again, while I also adore his school stories like The Gold Bat.
Margery Allingham - I know I've just referred to Christie as the Queen of Crime, but for my personal tastes, Margery Allingham was an even more talented mystery writer, and Albert Campion - her outwardly bland, vapid aristocrat with a surprising talent for detection - is one of my all-time favourite characters.
Lawrence Block - If Allingham and Christie vie for the position of Queen of Crime in my eyes, Block has no contender for the title of King. An outstanding storyteller who creates compelling plots and brilliant characters, his hard-hitting Matt Scudder series, about an ex-cop turned private eye, and Bernie Rhodenbarr books, a comic series about a burglar constantly forced to solve crimes he's wrongly suspected of having committed himself, are gems. He's also perhaps my favourite short story writer.
Who are your all-time favourites? Leave me a comment, or a link!
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