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J.A.A. Purves

Classifying Favorite Authors per Genre

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In my reading, I tend to categorize my bookshelves by genre, and having just moved and purchased a new collection of bookshelves, I'm reorganizing the library. Doing this is making me suddenly produce a list of books by the authors I love that I don't own yet. As someone who loves to read (and is becoming an increasing book collector), I'm constantly disappointed by the poor quality of most authors I find in the modern chain or even the used bookstores, so if anyone else has a beloved author on one of these subjects let me know. I'm not going for best sellers, I'm going for quality. And when it comes to theology and the church, I'm not going for who's popular in either reformed or evangelical or catholic circles, again, I'm going for quality.

There's nothing quite like finding a new author that you decide you love and absolutely must own and read every single one of his books. I looked for an equivalent thread, but couldn't really find one. Also, while there's a huge number of authors who have written one single book I love, I'm making an effort to include only authors who have written a series of at least 3-4 books in one particular genre. So with that in mind, here's my favorites I'm trying to complete on the bookshelf, or what I consider to be the best of the best. I look forward to seeing if this thread could improve this list.

NONFICTION

Theology:

Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer, Douglas Wilson, Norman L. Geisler, Peter Marshall, D.A. Carson, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Adam Clarke, John Owen

Philosophy:

Frederick Copleston, Roger Scruton, Phillip E. Johnson, Neil Postman, Allan Bloom, John Locke

Military History:

Victor Davis Hanson, Robert Leckie, Hilaire Belloc, Peter H. Wilson, J.F.C. Fuller, John Keegan

History:

Stephen Ambrose, Edmund Morris, Russell Shorto, Alfred P. Smyth, Peter Marshall Jr., David McCullough, Richard Brookhiser, Arthur L. Herman, Edward Gibbon

Politics/Journalism:

William F. Buckley Jr., Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Friedman, M. Stanton Evans, Whittaker Chambers, Russell Kirk, Frank S. Meyer, James Burnham, Edmund Burke, Alexander Hamilton

Other:

Charles Lamb, A.A. Milne, Hilaire Belloc, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley

FICTION

Comedy/Satire:

Christopher Buckley, Max Barry, Christopher Moore, P.G. Wodehouse, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Holt

Historical:

Patrick O'Brian, William F. Buckley Jr., Kenneth Roberts, C.S. Forester, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Shaara, Jeff Shaara, Mary Renault, Ron Hansen

Mystery:

Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie

Mystery/American/Hard-Boiled Noir:

Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Mickey Spillane, Jonathan Latimer, Ross Macdonald, Brett Halliday, Joe Gores, Andrew H. Vachss, Lee Child

Christian:

G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Charles Williams, Hilaire Belloc, Frank Schaeffer, Nathan D. Wilson

Fantasy:

T.H. White, C.S. Lewis, Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Charles Williams, Madeleine L'Engle, George MacDonald, Jeffrey Overstreet

Classics:

- this list should obviously be huge, and history has pretty much weeded out the quality from the bilge already, so just my favorites include - John Buchan, Charles Dickens, Baroness Orcsy, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Fenimore Cooper, Alexandre Dumas, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and John Updike

Other:

Alistair MacLean, Jack Kerouiac, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Anthony Burgess

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Shusaku Endo--Fiction: primarily Historical, though Christianity is a theme in a lot of his writing

Mark Helprin--his genre depends on which book you're reading, e.g. Winter's Tale is fantasy, but A Soldier of the Great War and Refiner's Fire are more historical (and philosophical)

Terry Pratchett--Comedy/Fantasy (The Discworld novels)

Carson McCullers, Sherwood Anderson--Southern Gothic


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Hard-boiled: James M. Cain is a must, in my opinion. I read somewhere that if you equate the three classic hard-boiled authors to a member of the trinity, it'd look like this: Hammett is the Father, Chandler is the Son, and Cain is the Holy Spirit.

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