Sunday, August 13, 2006

Literary Crushes

John Green hopes to start a meme and asks for everyone's Top 5 YA literary crushes. He defines the crush as follows

I mean non-romantic crushes. My definition of literary crush here is someone whose writing makes you wish you could hang out with them all the time. It's like when you meet someone and they're really cool and you think, "God I hope I get to become friends with that person."

I will play along, though I have difficulty coloring within the lines.

Top Literary Crushes (more than 5 and more than what most would classify as YA, though quite a few of these authors were on my bookshelf when I was a teenager.)

1. Salman Rushdie-Who doesn't have a crush on Salman Rushdie? And I am not confining my crush to the narrow terms of John Green's definition, I am perfectly willing to expand my crush on Salman Rushdie to encompass a whirlwind romance. I met Salman Rushdie on September 7, 2001. He is sexier than you ever believed a chubby, bald, short Indian man could be. Would I love him if he weren't brilliant? I have no idea. Of course, an affair with Sal is doomed from the start. I'm married, he's married (and the fact that he has an impossibly beautiful and incredibly talented wife would make me feel very self-conscious and insecure). And I would feel compelled take him to task for his need to murder off every single strong female character he creates (of course, I wouldn't phrase my criticism in this way. I would ask him, so sweetly, "WHY did you kill Zeeny? How could you do that to Jenny and I? We loved her and even created a move in our dance piece which we called 'Zeeny'.")

2. Neil Gaiman- Another literary crush which could slip into a real crush at any time. He loves cats and wears leather jackets, obviously I would find him appealing even if Neverwhere and Good Omens and American Gods did not exist.

3. Ursula Le Guin- Bookshelves of Doom got it right when suggesting she may be the coolest person on the planet. She was my favorite writer when I was in high school. I forget to even mention her most of the time because, well, it just seems so obvious to me and I forget that other people don't know I have read all her books. Including ones like Rocannon's World and City of Illusion.

4. Douglas Adams

5. Christopher Moore- I haven't read everything he has written. Yet. But I find my crush building with every subsequent book I read. It started so innocently, I stumbled upon Bloodsucking Fiends in a thrift store, but now, four books later (Lamb being the most recent), I find I am smitten. This man is funny and brilliant.

6. Terry Pratchett- I have read every single book he has written and always feel profoundly depressed as I approach the end of one of his books because it means I will have to wait for him to write another.

7. J.K. Rowling--Because how could I not want to have coffee with the woman who created Harry Potter? I am sure the very cool readers out there would remind me that there are so many great writer's out there and I am just caving to media hype and whatnot. But the thing is, I actually really enjoy the HP books, I find the world she created fascinating, and I am impressed by her because you can see her develop as a writer with each book. It is a rare thing to get to watch someone learn and grow right before your eyes (and to be able to identify it as such.)

8. Jane Green. When I first picked up one of her books, I though "fluffy beach read." But she has the ability to describe circumstances and personality types so well that I find myself thinking of her books long after I have finished them.

9. Nick Bantock- Run right out and buy The Venetian's Wife.

10. Anne Frank- alright, perhaps this is cheating because 1) she wasn't writing for any young adult reader other than herself and 2) if it were possible to have coffee with a 16 year old Anne Frank, the only way for it to be truly satisfying would be to be 16 as well. But doesn't everyone develop a crush on Anne Frank the first time they read her diary? Don't we all idolize her a little bit? Didn't we all wish there were some way we could go back in time and save her? How could I not include her on the list?

11. and 12. J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis--they would both have to come for tea (hopefully at the same time J.K. dropped in)

13. Sara Paretsky- Not only is her heroine a strong woman with a clear sense of social justice, V.I. Warshawsky is a Cubs fan!

So, which writers would you want at your kitchen table for coffee (or on your kitchen table for something else)?

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