Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I'd Want At My Thanksgiving Dinner

Top Ten Tuesday is the Weekly Meme hosted by the gals at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. This week it's The Top Ten Authors I'd Want At My Thanksgiving Dinner. Sounds good.

So, here goes:

1) Clifton Fadiman

Early television punster and wit, editor at Simon and Schuster, then later at The New Yorker book review section and a judge at the Book of the Month Club. Author of The Lifetime Reading Plan. Father of Anne Fadiman whose book, EX LIBRIS alerted me to his wisdom as a parent.

2) Bennett Cerf

Because I remember his wit on the old television show, What's My Line? and also I want to hear his stories about the early days of New York publishing. After all, Cerf was one of the original founders of Random House.

3) Robert Crais

Only because I love his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books and also he's gorgeous and funny and delightful. I'd just sit and stare and drive him crazy. Nah. We'd chat and laugh and have a good old time. I've met him before. He's terrific. In honor of his Louisiana background, I'd include boudin and maybe a platter of crawfish etouffee.

4) Lee Child

Another gorgeous author, creator of the take no prisoners, modern day knight in shining armor, Jack Reacher. Hey, you can never have too many handsome men at your table. When conversation lags, you can sit contentedly and just luxuriate. I've met him too and he is the ideal guest because of his British wit and his wonderful story telling ability. Also, he is totally unaware of his good looks. I like that in a man.

5) Anita Loos

Long-lived author of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and other wise and witty books, also writer of innumerable screenplays. She was working in Hollywood during its golden age. I'm sure she'd have many MANY stories and anecdotes to share. For her especially, I'd make sure we served champagne.

6) Janet Evanovich

Because she is a total hoot. At least, her Stephanie Plum, Trenton, NJ bounty hunter books make me believe so. I'd love to see her swapping stories with Loos and the guys around the table. It would be a very fun time. (She can even bring the dog if she wants.) I'd also want to learn what she really, REALLY thinks of the casting of ONE FOR THE MONEY. Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum?

7) China Mieville

Another gorgeous hunk. Handsome men are conducive to good digestion. Unless you're the nervous sort. I'd love to hear how Mieville comes up with his outlandish plots - what is it in his make-up that gives rise to such imaginative books as THE CITY AND THE CITY and KRAKEN. Would he be willing to spill the beans?

8) William L. Shirer

Author of THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH and BERLIN DIARIES and other first hand accounts of the war. Because I'd want to hear his stories about WWII when he was a star reporter. I mean, as Anita Loos famously said: Fun is fun, but no girl wants to laugh all the time. 

9) Cornelia Read

Author of FIELD OF DARKNESS and three other Madeline Dare thrillers. She has a great sense of humor and is given to outrageous sayings which will add to the general Thanksgiving ambience. I personally know she is fond of champagne and chocolates.

10) M.M. Kaye

An author who led a fabulous life. I'd want to hear all the stories of her world travels during the time when travel was much more elegant than it is today. I'd want to know all about how she came to write her wonderful books, incluging THE FAR PAVILLIONS and all the mysteries set in exotic locales around the world.


  1. An interesting list.

    If I did such a list, I'd invite Donna Leon and Sara Paretsky early on, and if we could go back in time, Maj Sjowall (who is still with us) and Per Wahloo (who unfortunately is not), Fred Vargas, Toni Morrison, Henning Mankell.

    That's off the top of my head, but surely Rex Stout would be an excellent dinner companion and conversationalist. And I'm thinking of Anne Tyler, Julia Alvarez, John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes (can we include poets; he's brilliant), James Baldwin, on and on.

    And then if we go back long enough, I'd add Emile Zola; the movie about him was enough to convince me. He got Dreyfus freed.

  2. Agatha Chrisite, Mercedes lackey, and now Mary Roberts Rinehart are part of any author list I do.

    The rest would be:

    Don Freeman - Corduroy Bear
    Daphne Du Maurier
    Shirley Jackson
    Richard Adams

    Elaine Lobl Konigsburg - The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

    Michael Ende - The Neverending Story

    Brunonia Barry

  3. Forgot about Rex Stout!! I could kick myself. Jeez. Of course he's added to my list. Numero 11. For sure. :)

    I like your additions as well.

  4. Ryan: Another great list. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could actually do this? :)

  5. JNCL: She had a marvelous life, too. I can't wait to read her autobiography. It's on my list for next year. :)

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  7. Your list shows me how many great authors I've missed. Thank you for offering up such an inspiring group, and may you enjoy a lovely weekend.

  8. It sounds like a fun dinner! Can I come, too! I wouldn't even need to sit at the table — after all, you'll need a server!

    Happy Thanksgiving from Mark!

  9. China M. is a good fantasy/sf writer, but not so very different from other good (as opposed to a lot of pedestrian) fantasy/sf writers...

  10. Yvette: I think I would like to include Arthur Conan Doyle. He was passionate about many subjects.

    There was a Saskatchewan born author, W.O. Mitchell, who was also the most marvellous storyteller. He could provide entertaining stories about growing up on the prairies in the 1920's and 1930's.

    The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio has an excellent show, Vinyl Cafe, that is also on some PBR stations in America featuring Stuart McLean. He is wonderful storyteller in the mode of Garrison Keillor.

    I believe the additional trio would have you laughing and crying at their stories.

  11. You're welcome, Laurie. I hope you have a great holiday weekend as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Mark, of course you're welcome to our dinner. :)

    You can be the server if you like, or just pull up an extra chair.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Yvette,

    There are many marvelous names mentioned here, both in your list and in the comments that follow, but I think there's one name that must be included with the others: Oscar Wilde.

    Imagine a dinner gathering that included someone who would comment that a cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, or I'm not young enough to know everything.

  14. Todd: I like his work. Hadn't read anything like it before. Plus he's good looking to boot.

    I know, I know, I'm shallow. :)

  15. Todd: I like his work. Hadn't read anything like it before. Plus he's good looking to boot.

    I know, I know, I'm shallow. :)

  16. Todd: I like his work. Hadn't read anything like it before. Plus he's good looking to boot.

    I know, I know, I'm shallow. :)

  17. Conan Doyle sounds good, Bill. The more the merrier. No one will be turned away. :)

  18. I think these would have to be three-day dinners. Many of these writers have so much to say, and who wouldn't want to hear them?

    Rex Stout would probably have made an excellent dinner party with one guest: him. So, too, of many.

    Oscar Wilde, I think, would have people gasping for air, from laughing so much.

  19. Fred: How could I forget Wilde? Well, maybe I'd be afraid he'd skewer us all. But on the whole, I think he'd have us rolling in the aisles. As Kathy says.

  20. Kathy: You are so right. A three day Thanksgiving dinner it is. Ha!

  21. You've got a number of people on your list that I'm not familiar with. Haven't read any M. M. Kaye yet, although she's on my TBR pile... I saw that someone mentioned Wilde, I forgot him too!

    Here's my list: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/11/top-ten-g-guests-for-thanksgiving.html

    Oh...and Happy Thanksgiving!

    And thank you for the condolences for my grandpa.

  22. Where am I?! I mean I'm only familiar with William L. Shirer and Cornelia Read. As always, a very innovative list, Yvette.

  23. You're welcome, Bev. I meant it. Sending you a hug.

    M.M. Kaye is wonderful. You will love her mysteries. And maybe even THE FAR PAVILLIONS. I loved it.

  24. Prashant: Well, make yourself familiar. :)

  25. That group would make for a VERY witty and fun dinner. But I'd be so intimidated by all those quick witted people and I'd probably remain silent most of the night. I'd also embarrass myself doing spit takes from my wine glass from all the jokes that would be fired off.

  26. John: I can't imagine any situation in which you'd be intimidated. :) You'd be in the mix of things, I know it.


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