I tend to go by authors, I'm afraid. If I read one book by a certain writer and enjoy it then I tend to look out for and enjoy more of his work. Here, therefore, are my top 10 authors and writers in no particular order:Herge
and "Tintin" - goes without saying.René Goscinny
always makes me laugh with "Asterix" and "Lucky Luke", but I've avoided reading the books that came after his death. I've also read books that include his other work and got many laughs out of them as well.Raoul Cauvin
, another Belgian comics writer who, like Herge and Goscinny, focuses on humour and is currently one of the best in the business. His series "Sammy"
(set in Chicago during the Prohibition era) is especially good and I've collected most of them, as is his "Blue Coats"
(set during the US Civil War) which, while raising the horrors of conflict, also provides good laughs as well.Alan Moore
, with "Watchmen" and "V for Vendetta", which contain well-developed characters but also deal with many political, moral and social points. Every time I read them there seems to be something new to discover, like the issues they raise or the layout of the illustrations.Alexandre Dumas
' "Three Musketeers", its sequel "Twenty Years Later" and "The Comte of Monte Cristo". Griping reading. "Monte Cristo" was particularly enjoyable, especially the way in which his desire for revenge raises various other dilemmas. However, "The Vicomte of Bragelonne" (the last of the Musketeers saga and which includes "Man in the Iron Mask") was somewhat slow, plodding and not as good and I soon gave that up. I might try it again later.Douglas Adams
and his classic "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" with wonderful and wacky worlds and characters, not to mention the "42" mystery. I liked his first "Dirk Gently" novel, but did not care much for the sequel.Tom Sharpe
with his wild and anarchic humour, like the "Wilt" series and "Blott on the Landscape". I don't consider him exactly laugh-a-minute - his comedy is very dark and bleak - but it's quite fun the way his characters deal with the destructive situations they find themselves in.PG Wodehouse
's "Jeeves and Wooster" series had me in fits. The way Jeeves helps Bertie out, but also manipulates things in order to get some advantages of his own is great.
Switching to thrillers, I enjoy Frederick Forsyth
, especially his early novels like "Day of the Jackal" and "Dogs of War", but I think he slipped a bit in later years: the central plot of "Fourth Protocol" and the resolution of "Icon" strike me as highly improbable.JK Rowling
's "Harry Potter". I'm surprised by some of the negative opinions above. Every time I started reading the most recently-published novel I was up all night. Rowling's books are among the few that I would say are literally "unputdownable". I kept saying to myself "One more chapter and then bed", but no: she cast a spell of her own on me and I was up till dawn and the last chapter.