What Makes Someone Your Favorite Author?

 I’ve become unusually aware of how much I overuse certain words lately – namely “favorite”, “best”, & “love”! Ask my fiance and he’ll tell you that I’m always saying things like, “That’s my favorite song” or “That’s the best movie EVER”..and sometimes it really is A favorite song or movie or book but sometimes I think I just want to show how much I really do LOVE something but often favorite is the best designation I can think of to properly show my affection for something. Sidenote: I giggle a lot with how often I say that I “love” something. Is my love for chocolate the same love I have for my fiance? Most days no. lol

That being said, I’ve been on this  John Green kick lately and read Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska in the past month and have read Will Grayson, Will Grayson prior to this. I have declared John Green one of my new favorite authors. And then I got to thinking, “What makes someone a favorite author? At what point does my brain start making that designation?” Is it after I’ve read a certain number of said author’s books? Can you base “favorite author status” after only one book? Do my favorite authors entertain me? Do they make me cry? Laugh? Reveal truths that I can relate to? WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A FAVORITE AUTHOR TO ME?! And, do I overuse the word “favorite” when speaking about books and authors?

Now this isn’t to say you should rigidly maintain a favorite author’s list and they have to meet x, y, z criteria or anything. But when someone says “Oh, that’s one of my favorite authors”..I wonder how they determine that. Not in a judgey way..but more so in a..”I wonder what YOUR criteria for favorite author looks like compared to mine” way. I think sometimes in the blogosphere I see “favorite” slung around a lot and it’s hard for me to truly know what stands above the rest for some people. (I’m guilty of it too sometimes. Although I am stingy with my favorite author and book designations most of the time).

I think that most of the time, for me, I’ve read a few books by the author and put them on my mental “auto-buy” list. Oh, they are writing a book about watching paint dry? YEP. I’m probably going to go buy it. But there are sometimes I am a little preemptive on the favorite author status after one book. Sometimes I can just TELL that they are going to be..and sometimes I’m right and sometimes their next book is a book that falls flat. As I look at my favorite author list, I see that they are all different. Some make me cry, some just entertain me and can tell a story, some have created characters that I relate to, some make me ponder deep wonders and some just so damn memorable.

What about you? Do you think people overuse “favorite” when talking about books and authors? What gives an author that “favorite author” status in your mind? Do you think someone can be a favorite author after you’ve only read one of their books or would it be better to just say it’s a favorite book? And because I’m curious..who are some of your favorite authors?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. An author is a favourite for me if they've written my favourite book(s). I only have six favourite books of all time, if you count all my favourite series as one book each.

    So, to me, it doesn't matter if the author is still writing books or if they are long passed away. As soon as one of their works captures me, has me returning to the book to re-read it often, evokes strong emotions from me, and has me treasuring every page, that author will always be a favourite. It doesn't even matter if their other works don't do much for me.

    From this rationale, my list would include names like J.K. Rowling, Patrick Ness, Dave Cullen, Emma Donoghue among others.

  2. Ria- The Beaucoup Review. says:

    I have quite a few favourite authors. I don't know what makes someone my favourite author, but it's not the amount of books they've written. I think it's mainly the writing style and genre. I've read books with amazing story lines, but if the writing style isn't any good, it puts me off reading their other books. John Green definitely has that gift and is one of my favourites, too.

  3. A Backwards Story says:

    For me, a favorite author is someone I rush out to buy Day One in hardcover. Someone whose every page I inhale. I may not love every book, but I love what the author does. My personal favorite author is Jodi Picoult. My two favorite books ever by anyone are by her–MY SISTER'S KEEPER and KEEPING FAITH. She has a whole line of books I love. She also has a couple that I personally feel are stinkers (and yet other people love those, so I never tell people, "Oh, don't read this." It only stinks to ME because I love her other books so much and they haven't read those yet. If I read them first, I might love them more, too!). I do think her newer stuff isn't as good as her old stuff. With the exception of HOUSE RULES, her strongest book in a few years, I sometimes wonder if I SHOULD be rushing out Day One to buy new books. But will I? Yes. I'm buying LONE WOLF this month and I'm buying the first teen (fantasy!!) novel she's co-writing with her daughter, BETWEEN THE LINES, this June. Maybe in the future if her newer books continue to be less captivating, I won't be as quick to read them. But would she still be a favorite author of mine, even if this happens? I think so, because she has so many books that I love so fiercely.

    If that makes any kind of sense?

    To me, that is what makes a favorite author.

    Same with Tamora Pierce. I no longer love her the way I did growing up–those Alanna, Daine, and Kel books remain my favorites–but I still buy and read her books. I still haven't read the Beka Cooper books, but I do own all three and intend to soon! (Was waiting for the whole trilogy to be out.)

    (And for me, it's easier to say favorite book than to say favorite author. I think I AM one of the people that needs several books to say favorite author. And the top list is hard to break onto. I tend to fiercely love my favorites forever. MOULIN ROUGE and EVER AFTER (which I saw in 7th GRADE!) are still my favorite movies, for example). This year, I was surprised when TWO books broke into my top 15–THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern and INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows. That NEVER happens. And TWO??)

  4. A Backwards Story says:

    Oh! And as far as John Green goes, I'm about to finally read him, too. I've decided I'm going to start with either PAPER TOWNS or WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, then move on to ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES since it's a Printz Honor, then LOOKING FOR ALASKA since it's a Printz Winner, then THE FAULT IN OUR STARS b/c everyone is saying it's his best book EVER.

    I want to try to read his least-best books first so that I don't read his best book and then never love his other books as much as I did his best book. This way, I can love ALL of his books.

    This happened to me with Jodi Picoult. MY SISTER'S KEEPER and KEEPING FAITH were two of the very first books I ever read by her, so nothing else resonated with me the way it would have if I read those two later and hadn't know her full capabilities. It will NOT happen with John Green! (I hope!)

    I hope I'm choosing the right order to read them in… What are your thoughts? PAPER TOWNS or WILL GRAYSON first?

  5. I probably use the word favorite way too much: most often when I've finished a book and just want to tell everyone how amazing it was, and say "I LOVED it – it's a new favorite". But when it comes to favorite authors, I don't have that many. Stephen King. J.K. Rowling. John Green. Richelle Mead. Karen Marie Moning. What they all have in common is simple – I have really enjoyed every single one of their books – there is no such this as a 3 star book from any of them!

    There are other authors I really like, Melina Marchetta, Julie Kagawa, J.R. Ward, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins being some of them, but they haven't earned their spot among my favorites yet simply because I've only read one book or series from each of them. Some times I get so amazed by the idea of a book, the story, the characters, that I don't think too much about the writing. So I'm still waiting to read more of their books, to see if what comes next is as good as what I first liked.

    So I guess for me it's the exact opposite of what Anonymous above me said, an author has to prove him/herself over multiple books to become my favorite author, even if one of their books might be a favorite of mine:)

  6. Incarnate made its way onto my favorite books as well, and I did not expect that from a debut author!!:)

  7. My least favorite of his is actually An Abundance of Katherines. It was cute and fun, but not as emotional or "real" as his other books. I have not read The Fault in Our Stars yet, but his other books rank in my opinion, in order from best to worst, Paper Towns, Looking For Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and An Abundance of Katherines 🙂

  8. My favorites write good books, yes, but I also find that I'm more likely to feel attached to an author if they interact with their readers on Twitter/FB/Signings. As I've started blogging, I've really seen a difference in styles when it comes to that sort of thing, and my favs have a real connection with their fandoms.

  9. I have to agree with Kate, the authors interaction with readers helps to put them in a favorites category. The ability to think of them as a person and not just words on a page helps me.

    That said? I definitely overuse the word "favorite" and I try to not say it often for that reason.

  10. I really do tend to overuse the words "favorite" and "love" and "awesome" and "fantastic" a lot – mostly when I'm talking about stuff (i.e. books, music, movies, shows) I've fallen hardcore for. I'm not proud of it, as that leaves me in a place where people tend to overlook my "favorite" stuff since I say that word so much! But, on the other hand, it's the perfect way to express the LOVE I have for this stuff.

    Personally, for me, my favorite authors are authors who (1) have more than one book out and (2) have managed to inspire, entertain and satisfy me with their writing. Chief among these authors are Maggie Stiefvater, Stephanie Perkins, Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, JK Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Christopher Paolini & Rick Riordan.

  11. Neriah Fendel says:

    Well, it's kind of complicated now that I think about it. I have favourite books, but authors? It doesn't take just that a single book is a favourite of mine that the author automatically becomes one. For example, Eugene Onegin is one of my favourite books but, although I've read nearly everything written by Pushkin and some of them I also quite enjoyed them, I cannot say Pushkin is one of my favourite authors. The same goes for Daphne du Maurier. I've read Rebecca, which is a favourite, The House on the Strand (which I really liked) and Jamaica Inn (by which I was frankly disappointed), but cannot say she is one of my favourite writers.
    It takes more than that. I have also read everything written by Charlotte Brontë, yet she doesn't qualify to be a favourite writer.
    I probably only have a single favourite author, which would be Irène Némirovsky. The more I read, the more of her novels that I want to read.
    So, as I said before: Favourite novels – easy. Favourite authors, it's just impossible for me to say. I just cannot come up with an accurate "rating" system or a way by which I could qualify them as "favourite".

  12. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    if they make me FEEL. like deep in my core, in my soul, crushing my brain with FEELINGS.

  13. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    favorite authors include: jk rowling, jeri smith-ready, melissa marr, richelle mead, and DAMNIT, stephenie meyer.

  14. I definitely think you're on to something with the autobuy. If they're someone I love enough to say "I will buy anything they write," then — BAM — favorite author. That being said, sometimes my favorite authors DO write things I don't like. But I still call them favorite anyway if one of their books really stood out to me strong enough to overshadow the rest, you know?

  15. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    I have a ton of favorites, and I'm not ashamed of this. And you know what, sometimes they change every so often. And they're all favorites for different reasons.

    Also, I have declared an author a favorite of mine after reading only one of their books. Example: Robert Goolrick. John Connelly. Estevan Vega. With Robert Goolrick, A Reliable Wife was JUST THAT GOOD. Same thing with John Connelly's The Book of Lost Things. With Estevan, I've read one of his books but he's a great guy & super interactive with his audience, so yeah, he's a favorite too. That's just two examples.

    With John Green and Patrick Ness, if they wrote only in another language in the clouds with an airplane, I'd somehow find a way to buy it. Auto-buy. Why? Cause they're my favorites too.

    So I don't really know how to answer your incredible question, Jamie, but it is wonderfully thought-provoking and I want to ponder it for awhile. Because I do find myself throwing those same words around quite a bit too, and I mean them WHOLEHEARTEDLY every time.

  16. LianneLavoie says:

    A book gets the designation of favourite for me if, when I go to rate it on Goodreads, I say "I wish I wasn't so generous with my stars. Now I have nowhere higher to go to express that this book is EVEN BETTER!" I also recently made a favourites shelf on Goodreads, and quickly went through my books and added the favourites that came to mind; it only has 25 books on it so far, so I don't think I throw the word around too much.

    As for authors, I'd say you could call an author a favourite after only one book, as long as what you loved about it was not just the story. Sometimes a story is enough for a book to be my favourite I think, but for one book to make an author my favourite, it has to be because "Every word this person writes is the best thing ever and he/she is in complete control over my feelings!!" On the other hand, if you've read lots of an author's books, then they can be a favourite if all/most of those books were just Very Good.

    Yay for arbitrary criteria!

  17. For me, favorite authors and favorite books are two separate categories. Sometimes these categories blend. I may have a favorite book, but its author may not necessarily be one of my favorite authors. My favorite authors are those who consistently write great books that I can consider favorite books.

  18. John Green is one of my favorite authors. In the last couple months I've read everything save for TFiOS. I think to be a favorite/loved it has to be beautifully written, smart, funny, and possibly make me cry. I rush out to buy their books and keep tabs on new releases. I will make more space on my bookshelves.

    I also don't feel bad about overusing words like favorite or love when it comes to books. Books are the thing in life that I am most passionate about so I feel that my use of those words is appropriate. I know books aren't a thing for everyone. But if you find someone who's passionate about something else they will be throwing around the words "favorite" and "love" just as ardently. In my opinion, one shouldn't half-ass their passion.

  19. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue says:

    "Favorite" definitely gets over-used sometimes! The authors I love most are…the ones who write books who CHANGE me, or change the way that I look at a certain genre. They shatter my pre-conceived notions. They wring more emotion out of me than I thought possible. They break me, and put me back together. I know that sounds melodramatic but it is possible! The best authors are the ones whose characters I feel like I know, to the point that when I slip back into a series they've created, or read a new book by them, I fall effortlessly into the story. These authors make me think and they make me feel!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  20. lisa [the nerd] says:

    I think you can most certainly have favorite books and favorite authors by the dozens.

    Although, I am prone to frequent exaggeration. Everything is often THE BEST with me, you know.

    What qualifies someone as a favorite author for me is a connection. Like I just GET them and their characters are just So Right for me and where I'm at while I'm reading. Mainly, if an author is funny, nerdy, insightful and emotional…I'm sold. Heart and soul.

    Great discussion post, Jamie!

  21. Yes, I think people overuse the word favorite or love. I'm sure I'm guilty of this too, though I try not to be. The reason my favorite authors are "favorites" is because they never disappoint. You know? Two of my favorites are Markus Zusak and Kate Griffin.

  22. very interesting question. My favorite authors are writers who write with style, with serious background homework for historical novels for instance, with interesting twists. They also need to have written several books. So with that being said, my favorite writers are so far [I may add more writers with time] Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Doria Russell – I believe I've read everything these 2 women have published so far, and Bernard Cornwell, the most amazing historical novelist.
    There are also 3 books I have read several times and enjoyed each time: Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier, killed alas too young during WWI [http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/01/13/i-love-france-13-review-1-2012-le-grand-meaulnes/], Le rĂŞve [the dream] by Emile Zola, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

  23. Magan @ Rather Be Reading says:

    Great question! I haven't compiled a thorough list of favorite authors, but I'm sure there would be a couple of first time, one book debut authors on my list. Tahereh Mafi being one of the most recent. Every bit …every ounce of my core loved Shatter Me. I wouldn't care if this were a standalone and she never wrote anything else, she would still be a favorite. I guess I'm not a quantifier, but relate to Jen – I just want to feel and be moved.

    We started doing skip, borrow, or buy on books to help people distinguish HOW much love we have for books. I overuse all the fluffy words too, so hopefully this helps people see which ones I'm more serious about. I also started tagging books as favorites to help people see a list of what I like. Maybe this will help me see what I really did love at the end of the year, too! Haha.

    Maybe it's a personality thing too – how many books we love and how selective we are. I am a person that meets someone and wants to call them a friend right away if I feel we connected. I guess maybe I treat books in a similar way. Ideally, I WANT to love books. It would be a huge let down to me if I only rarely found a gem.

  24. Jayme @ The Secret Life of an Avid Reader says:

    Auto-buying is my way of noting a favorite author. The day it comes out and I'm at the bookstore– yay, you are a favorite. I also tend to request them from the library, as well, to make sure that other people have a chance to read them as well.

  25. donttakemybooksaway says:

    Good question… For me a favorite author has to be someone who is consistently good and therefore typically I have read more at least two of his or her books. They need to make me think and/or feel and write in a way that leaves an impression on me even long after a book is over.

    At the same time, I find it really troubling to try to make a list of favorite authors… I mean, I thought Lev Grossman and John Green were so funny and totally engrossing… but can they really be my favorite author if I only just discovered them and haven't had time for the magic to wear off? I think I am too afraid to make the commitment!

  26. I have a major problem with choosing favorites. It's so difficult! So, I tend to list multiple favorite books… but not so much with favorite authors. Whenever someone asks me who my favorite author is, the first person that comes to mind is Annette Curtis Klause because her writing is beautiful. There's so many things to go by when picking favorite authors and I always wonder if my favorites are REALLY my favorites, especially if I haven't read all of their books.

  27. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase says:

    I'll put a book on my favorites list if I absolutely loved it and want everyone I know to buy it. However, if I've only read one book by an author I'm normally hesitant to call that author one of my favorites. I'll wait until after I've read another one of their books, then I may add them to the list. John Green is definitely one of my favorite authors, and I loved him through his YouTube videos before I read any of his books, but I still didn't add him to the favorite authors list until after I had read a couple of his books. My other favorites are J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Gregory Maguire and Scott Westerfeld. Although, there is one author currently sitting just outside the list – Marissa Meyer. I recently read her novel, Cinder, and loved it so so so much that she'd have to really screw up the next book to not make it into the favorite author list.
    Great discussion topic! It was cool to read everyone's criteria and favorite authors!

  28. Interesting post — you're always so thought-provoking! I think that I have a lot of favourite books, and favourite authors, and they're usually the books that I gush about to other people and tell them that they "MUST read this book!" I think that being overenthusiastic about literature is a good thing though, spreading the love of the written word one gush at a time!

  29. Kate @ Musings says:

    I guess I am in the minority here, as I do not use these terms too often. On my GoodReads, I have a list of favorite books, these are books that I loved and would recommend, and must have on my shelf so that I can re-read them at any time! But the list is small and select! I may have labeled books with 5 stars after reading them, but they are not necessarily a favorite (they were well-written, evoked some kind of emotion and are recommendable – and I was in the right mood at the time!)…

    However, I truly only have one favorite author: Jane Austen. I have re-read her books the most, my most favorite book is Persuasion, and it amazes me every time I read/re-read her books how well she wrote, how apropos her stories are today, and how you completely fall into her stories!

  30. Favourite authors to me, are authors who I read one of their books and then it’s so good that I have to read everything else they’ve ever written. Sure I might not like every book they’ve ever written but if the books that I don’t like are outweighed by the books that I do, then chances are they’ll be a favourite author


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