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Great Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors


Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardIt’s no secret that I love good (and bad, I have to admit) science fiction and fantasy stories. Today I came across a list of authors (41) who have had at least 3 Hugo nominated novels. I haven’t read something by all of the authors, but definitely by most of them. This is a list any sf/f reader will appreciate.

Authors with at Least 3 Hugo-nominated Novels

Did You Grow Up With the Berenstain Bears?


We learned today that we’ve lost another great author – although we tend to forget her and her husband when we consider our favorite authors. I’ll admit I haven’t read any of their books in over 15 years.

Jan Berenstain died in Pennsylvania last week. My girls loved those books when they were little. I’m sure my granddaughters will soon be getting into them (the 6-year-old may already be reading them). The Berenstains wrote the books for over 50 years.

Thank you, Berenstains. You’ve left a legacy.


Connie Willis


Around 20 years ago I first discovered and got hooked on Connie Willis’ work. I remember the first short stories that impressed me were “Even the Queen” and “The Last Dog in America”. Since then when I come across her work I pick it up. I finally was able to have my book club read her Doomsday Book next month. I also was tickled to see that Nancy Pearl devotes one section of Book Lust to Ms.Willis’ writing.

Her observant eye about people lead me to believe her wit makes her a comfortable sounding author. I quickly felt I would love to have her for a dinner guest to sit and talk. I was we would get along well and have fun visits.

Her newest book Blackout was released this month and she is on a book tour for it. One of her first stops was at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore here in San Diego. I was one of the first people in line and in the front row when she spoke. After listening to her talk, then talking to her twice while I had books signed, I believe that even more now. She’s down to earth and funny.

Connie, do you want to have lunch some time???

J.D. Salinger


This hermit author died a few days ago. He had quite a cult following. His anti hero Holden Caufield is still admired by disaffected teens. I didn’t read any of Salinger’s books or short stories until I was in my 30’s. I didn’t get his work. I decided I wasn’t the target audience. I found his work esoteric and hard to appreciate for the most part. Occasionally I found a short story or two that I liked, but his work usually left me cold.

I had one irreverent thought when I head he had died – “How do they know? He hid away from everyone.” I guess I don’t understand hermits. One interview showed that Salinger continue to write long after he withdrew from the world. I wonder how long before this work will be published?

Reply to Comment on Previous Post


Sunil left a general comment on the previous post that needed answering. I started to add a comment after hers, but the message was getting pretty long, so I decided to blog it separately.

No, I don’t have any way to sort on my ratings. This site is 11 years old and still has some of the original formatting in places. I know I should learn something like Drupal and migrate, but found the learning curve is more than I want to deal with right now. I wasn’t even able to figure out how to get started after I installed it…

Some of my highly recommended mystery writers:

Margaret MaronThe Bootlegger’s Daughter and follow up books (current day North Carolina, cozy but not cutsie)

Anne Perry – different detective series all historical England, different time periods in the 1800’s to early 1900’s – try Face of a Stranger.

J.D. RobbNaked in Death and the follow ups (future New York City, gritty)

Jacqueline WinspearMaisie Dobbs and follow up books (historical, 1930’s)

For humorous mysteries, check out Lisa Lutz‘s The Spellman Files and two sequels. She’s a new author and these are hilarious. A West Coast Stephanie Plum without the foul mouth or the murders. I hope she maintains after she’s finished the Spellman series – which is planned for four. I’ve given her books to my daughters, my brother, my mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. This is the only author I know that I’ve been able to give to all of those people.

There are many more, so I made myself stop. Yes, I admit my favorite authors tend to be women, but I read a lot of men’s books as well.

L.A. Times Festival of Books


Speaking of Ray Bradbury, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is tomorrow and Sunday. He will be speaking again this year. Jane Smiley, Mary Higgins Clark, Lisa Lutz, Andrew Sean Greer, and Jan Burke are less than 1% of the authors and speakers who will be there.

This is where I can be found for the next couple days. I’m especially looking forward to the panel tomorrow called “Sci-Fi Grand Masters”. The authors on the panel are Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison, and Robert Silverberg.

Best Paid Authors


Check out Forbes’ list of Best Paid Authors in the world.

I notice that all these authors are British or American. I wonder if there are other authors who should be on this list who write in different languages?

Literature-Map – the Tourist Map of Literature


If you like Nora Roberts’ or Robert B. Parker’s books, it’s easy to find other authors who write the same type of books that you’d probably enjoy. But what if you like Joshilyn Jackson’s books? (My daughter keeps recommending her to me.) Do you know who else may write in a similar style that you’d like to check out? Then check out Literature-Map – a cloud generator.

Put an author’s name into the search box – Joshilyn Jackson. Four other names appear around hers on the screen – Harper Lee, Anne Tyler, Ernest Gaines, and Jodi Picoult. Those people have works similar in style or content to Jackson. I’ve read Lee’s, Tyler’s and Gaines’ work and like them. The odds are good I’ll like Jackson’s work, too.

If you watch the screen closely, you’ll see those names float around some. But now put in an author who has more connections – like Mark Twain. Now lots of names appear and are moving all over the screen. It’s no surprise to see William Faulkner, Washington Irving, Alexandre Dumas, or Edgar Allen Poe listed. But – Ray Bradbury? Tony Hillerman? James Herriott? Maya Angelou? I certainly wouldn’t have thought to connect them. But depending on which book is being compared, I can see some of the links.

Literature Map is another way to look for books – as if I need another one!

Literature Map is part of Gnooks:

Gnooks – Welcome to the World of Literature!
Gnooks is a self-adapting community system based on the gnod engine. Discover new writers you will like, travel the map. of literature and discuss your favorite books and authors.

Weekend Plans


Although I’ve lived in Southern California for almost 7 years, I’ve missed one of the biggest book events in the country each year. Until this year, that is.

The L.A. Times Festival of Books is this weekend. This year I’m going. After I made the decision, I checked the schedule. When tickets became available, I immediately reserved two sessions. On Saturday Ray Bradbury is talking. On Sunday Julie Andrews is. She’s also reading one of her children’s books in the morning on the children’s stage.

Another favorite author of mine will be there – Jacqueline Winspear. Unfortunately, her only panel is scheduled against Dame Andrews. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to see Ms. Winspear – she’s the younger of the two.

I also hope to see Cornelia Funke. Other authors whose work I’ve read who will be there include David Brin, Christopher Buckley, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Higgins Clark (they’re together, but scheduled against Bradbury), Michael Connelly, Richard Paul Evans, Lisa Lutz, Walter Mosley, T. Jefferson Parker, Rick Riordan, Laura Schlessinger, Jane Smiley, and Stuart Woods. Check out the full list of authors and presenters – a few hundred.

It’s about time I made it to this Festival of Books.

Women of Mystery


The California Center for the Book put together a Book Club in a Box program titled “Women of Mystery“. The Poway Branch of the San Diego County Library sponsored it as part of their Adult Summer Reading Program this year. It features Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, and Sara Paretsky. The first meeting (which I missed) presented a film about the three women. The next three meetings are devoted to one author and a selected novel of hers for each meeting.

I have read all of the Sue Grafton alphabet novels featuring Kinsey Milhone. The book to read for the program was S is for Silence which I had read a year and a half ago.

I had run across Muller before, but she hadn’t caught my notice at all. At the same time this program was scheduled I was offered a preview of her newest Sharon McCone novel, The Ever-Running Man. We read Vanishing Point for the program – good cold case novel.

I knew about Paretsky, but hadn’t read any of her work. So I finished Fire Sale this week for the last meeting. I was impressed with Fire Sale. I like V.I. Warshawsky’s “voice” and the way she got involved.

If you live in California, check out the program. I would imagine it is readily available to public libraries through the California Center for the Book. If you don’t, you’ll still find these three writers have strong women detectives featured in good novels.