Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme sponsored by the good folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s assignment: “Top Ten Authors I’m Dying To Meet/Ten Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met (some other “meeting authors” type spin you want to do)” Okay, so I went with “can’t believe I’ve met” but it’s really my Top Ten Authors I’ve enjoyed meeting the most. Here goes, in ascending order:
10. Marlon James – Met him briefly just a couple months ago when he was a guest at (local) Butler University. My book club ‘targeted’ his award-winning book “A Brief History of Seven Killings” specifically with the idea of going to see him en masse when he visited here – a plan which we executed to near perfection. He seemed genuinely thrilled that “a whole book club” came to the event together and asked us what other books we’d been reading, etc. I was also intrigued to learn during his talk & reading that a series of stories he’s working on now has been touted as “A Black Game of Thrones” with potential television development, etc. I will look forward to that.
9. Mike Mullin – A local YA author, most famous for his “Ashfall” series. I met him at Bookmama’s Bookstore (in my old Irvington Neighborhood on Indy’s East Side) Where he gave a great presentation and reading (see post about it here). I’ve also recommended the first book of that series for one of my current book clubs, which now plans to read it in October, and we will see if we can tempt him to join us for that meeting…
8. Francesca Zappia – Another local author, who wrote the very well-received YA novel “Made You Up,” which I read after it being recommended to me by my nephew who went to high school with her but “didn’t really know her.” She attended a book club meeting (also at Bookmama’s) that I went to and I was very impressed with her, both as a speaker and a “thinker.”
7. Ben Winters – Writer of “The Last Policeman” series, who also lived briefly in the Indianapolis area before moving on to L.A. I attended the book launch of the third novel of his series (which I blogged about here), and one of my current book clubs also read his newest novel “Underground Airlines.”
6. Malinda Lo – She was a guest at The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library a couple years back, so I went to hear her speak and was impressed enough to buy her book “Ash” – a “lesbian version of Cinderella” which I enjoyed, though I never blogged about. (I could’ve sworn I did, but a search turned up nothing – maybe it was another one of those ‘started but never finished’ blog posts I’m famous for…)
5. Dan Wakefield – A local literary treasure who’s attended a few meetings of the Vonnegut Library book club and who I’ve also seen at other public events at Indy Reads Books bookstore. His novel “Under the Apple Tree” was one of the favorites that I read last year.
4. Tim O’Brien – Author of the very famous “The Things They Carried,” which I have read several times now, once for myself, and later re-reading for a couple book clubs over the years. He has been the guest of the Vonnegut Library here in town a couple times, one of which I described in this blog post from last year.
3. Ian Woollen – He ranks high on this list both on the strength of his novel “Uncle Anton’s Atomic Bomb” and because he graciously drove up from Bloomington to join one of my book club’s meetings (for the same book) last August at The Rathskeller restaurant downtown. He and his book were a big hit with the book club, and he also had some kind things to say about us being “the best” group of the many meetings he’s gone to. I had also met him at a Vonnegut Library book club meeting and yet another one at Bookmama’s Bookstore.
2. Jon Eller – Jon is the seemingly tireless director of The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies here at IUPUI Indianapolis (please check out and like or follow their Facebook page!) and author of a three volume biography of that author. I initially meet him through the Vonnegut Library and later, when my short story reading group at work read Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” invited him to join us for that meeting. He and his wife did, and they’ve been regular members of our club ever since, adding much literary erudition to our group.
1. James Alexander Thom – I’ll put him at the top not because he is the best-selling author of all of these (though he is), but because of his graciousness at several book events I’ve met him at. He was also very nice to my Mom (Yes, the main reason he’s number 1 on this list!), who has read most of his books, especially “Follow the River” which is set partly in her home “New River Valley” of West Virginia. It was also once my pleasure to be the moderator at the Vonnegut Library Book Club’s discussion of Thom’s novel “Long Knife,” a fictionalized biography of William Clark, and before I knew it the library told me he was going to show up for our meeting(!) No, that wasn’t intimidating at all. 🙂 Picture below from the author’s website.
Most of these meetings have been facilitated through local bookstores or libraries (big thanks to Bookmama’s Bookstore, The Vonnegut Library, and Indy Reads Books, just to name a few) I have a lot of honorable mentions for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday too, many of them local: Robert Rebein, Roxane Gay, Hanna Yanagihara, Bill Polian(!), Kevin Getchell, Greg Sumner, and Rick Gunderman.