It’s a funny thing. I can come across all nice and sincere when I’m searching for one of my favourite authors. I eagerly look out for their names in Tesco’s and Morrisons, WHSmith and Waterstones and charity shops and car boot sales, hunting them down, leaving no book unturned until I spy their name and can pounce on their book, thrilled that once again I have found them. Like treasured friends I bring them home, settle them in, trying not to show how greedy I am to see what they bring. Yet as soon as I open the book and start to read their story I discard them from my memory and no longer pay them homage. I have got what I wanted. The story inside the cover that will guarantee me a great read. It is only after I have milked them of every drop that I will think of them fondly once more.
Books are my manna from heaven, so from need, authors are my gods and I have stayed faithful to my favourite authors for many years: Thomas Harris, Ian Rankin, Stuart McBride, Steven King, John Grisham, Val McDermid, Martina Cole, Simon Kernick, Mark Billingham, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Jo Nesbo, Peter James, Stieg Larsson, C.J. Sansom, Mo Hayder, Colin Dexter. Ye Gods! I’m beginning to feel like someone at an awards ceremony naming all these individuals. The list could go on and on . . . as every year more names join the list.
Authors are my staple diet, but every so often, when I have a little more time on my hands I choose an author who I wish to pay a bit more attention to, savour their stories slowly like a fine wine. John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Emily Bronte, Mary Shelley, Daphne Du Maurier. E M Forster, Sebastian Faulks, Robert Ryan, Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie, Roddy Doyle and again the list could go on and on . . . I have so many favourite authors and I’m loathe to leave any of them off the lists should they seem lesser in my eyes just by their absence.
I have stayed with these favourite authors all my adult life, knowing that I can take them with me anywhere at any time. They are there for me when I need them. My constant companion. In sickness and in health, in the bath, at bedtime, on a bus or a train, while waiting in a queue, even while pretending to wait in a queue, the whole shebang. They will come on holiday with me at the drop of a hat, whether it is to Benidorm or Barbados and snuggly fit into my suitcase, instead of the fourth and fifth pair of shoes that had previously intended to be taken. They are my best friends. In the last several months I have found new friends to add to the list. It has been an exhilarating year of reading and discovering Louise Doughty, Michael Rowbotham, Paula Hawkins, C. J. Carver, David Young, Gillian Flynn, L.S Hilton, Deborah O’Connor. And I so wish I could live ten life times as I know there will never be enough reading time to discover the many more favourite authors.
For now I will look after the ones I have discovered and try not to treat them as a means to an end. I am their follower and they are the followed authors.