Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

Tell Me Your Favorite Writer and Win NGEP!

with 28 comments

Points? I love points. Just look at my beard.

I need your help. And I promise it’ll hurt less than trying to read Ulysses.

If you tell me what writers I should be reading, you’ll
win Nathanael Green Endorsement Points!*

And the more writers you suggest, the more points you’ll rack up!

I just want to hear who your favorite authors are. That’s all.

I’m a fan of literature in general and enjoy everything from Joseph Conrad to Audrey Niffenegger. But pretty early on, I developed an especially strong hankering for fantasy fiction. I’ve read many (though by no means all) of the more common names in the genre like George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Robert E. Howard … you know, the household names that top on the must-read and best-first-fantasy-to-dip-your-toes-in lists.

Despite decades of reading, there are thousands of other excellent writers out there who I haven’t, but should, read. Maybe you’re even one of them.

So, please, dear readers of the webbernet, tell me what writers move you. Help me discover new, exciting voices for my next few book purchases.

Leave a comment and tell us what writers you think everyone should read. Plug your favorite books or plug your own books. And they don’t have to be fantasy or sci-fi, though those may earn beefier points. Just share what you like and you’re on your way to NGEP glory!


*I’m without a doubt making the Nathanael Green Endorsement Points (NGEP) system up as I go along and understand exactly how silly it is. They’re not worth anything whatsoever except as an inaccurate and arbitrary indication of my gratitude. Still, winning lots of points at anything rocks.

Written by Nathanael Green

May 24, 2011 at 8:04 am

28 Responses

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  1. i’m really digging steve almond for witty, cutting short stories right now. also reading richard brautigan’s the hawkline monster – which is a gothic western that reminds me of cormac mccarthy but is really great on its own!


    May 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    • Thanks for the recommendations! Brautigan sounds right up my alley, so I’ll definitely check him out.

      You certainly earned your 9,270 points!

      Nathanael Green

      May 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

  2. Dearest Brother,

    1. Nothing is more painful than trying to read Ulysses.
    2. Do I get bonus points if I name you as my favorite author?
    3. There is a high probability that you will dislike most of what I read (ewww, girly fiction!). Although, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island will always hold a special place in my piratical heart.
    4. Might I suggest that you get a LibraryThing account? You rank books you’ve read, and then it makes suggestions on other books you might like based on your profile. You can also swap books with other members. There are probably other cool features, but I honestly haven’t explored it that much. LibraryThing is also FREE! YAY!


    May 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    • Lovely Sister,

      1. Have you tried to read Proust?
      2. Yes!
      3. I don’t judge, and even if I wouldn’t like it, I’m sure someone else would. I remember liking Treasure Island and was just saying the other day how I should really read Kidnapped.
      4. Yes, you might! I’m unfamiliar with LibraryThing, but it sounds great! I’m headed there to check it out now.

      So, your NGEP tally goes thusly:
      800 points for calling me “dearest” + 7,000 points for nearly naming me as your favorite author (be honest, you’re just doing it for the points and you had to ask ) + 1,000 points for Robert Louis Stevenson = 8,800 NGEP.

      AND, because you went above and beyond and introduced me to LibraryThing, I’m awarding you with the Golden Opossum Award!


      Nathanael Green

      May 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

  3. And you could go really crazy and join Good Reads as well. But that might be a bit of overkill.

    Yes, you should read Kidnapped. I read it (for the first time? Again?) within the last few years. Really enjoyed it.

    I don’t have much up my sleeve in the sci-fi fantasy vein that you don’t already know about, but as I was just thinking about this book again today, I’ll recommend Wolf Hall. I’ll even link to my review of it.

    Haven’t posted a link on WordPress before, so lets hope I don’t screw this up.


    May 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    • Thanks for the link, Seana. How have I been missing that blog of yours? Wolf Hall certainly piques my interest, I’ll have to look for that.

      Also, when I went to the main page at your blog (“It’s more than four months old, but it’s still worth reading” – nice tagline), I saw your review of Heresy by S.J. Parris—here’s yet another that I can add to my to-read list!

      Wolf Hall plus your own blog where I found Heresy nets you a very respectable 7,008 NGEP!

      Good job on the links, by the way! They also earn you the eagerly sought Monkey Chain Honor, which can be seen here.

      Nathanael Green

      May 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      • Nate, there are some awards that go unlooked for, indeed, one may be totally ignorant of them, but which turn out to be life-changing. I feel that the monkey chain honor may be one of them. I was born in the Year of the Monkey, after all.

        Thanks for reading the blog too.


        May 24, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    • Seana, I did go crazy and joined Good Reads. It can take a bit of energy, but so far, I dig it. I’ll look for you there!

      Nathanael Green

      June 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

      • As you’ll see I’ve added you to my friends list. I’ll be interested to see what you put up!


        June 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

  4. Hey Nate
    Glad I found your blog via writer’s coffeehouse. Here are my recommendations, though you may know/like/dislike all of them.

    Angela Carter – Start with The Bloody Chamber, end with Wise Children. She’s my favorite writer bar none.
    The Radley’s by Matt Haig
    The Eyre Affair, or anything by Jasper Fforde
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman
    Hope that helps. I just did a post on upcoming summer releases (including the sequel to The Magicians, The Magician King, which I’m awaiting with bated breath.)


    May 25, 2011 at 7:26 am

    • I am familiar with The Magicians, though I haven’t read it. But I have to admit, I’ve been ignorant of Carter, Haig and Fforde.

      By the way, I always love to hear that endorsement: favorite writer bar none. That really says a lot, and means I have no choice but to look into Angela Carter.

      Magpie, it looks like you’re taking the lead on points! You’ve earned yourself 18,204 NGEP! Thanks for your suggestions!

      Nathanael Green

      May 25, 2011 at 9:49 am

  5. Anything by:
    -Alexandre Dumas
    -Victor Hugo
    -James Clavell

    Brian O'Rourke

    May 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

    • I’ve read The Counte of Monte Cristo, but nothing else of Dumas’s. And that’s odd, because I think Count might be one of my favorite books.

      Haven’t read Hugo or Clavell, but they’re both in one of the tottering stacks of books in my house. I think your recommendation might push them up my to-read list.

      I know you’re a golfer, so here’s a specially tailored score for you: 79 points!

      (By the way, wasn’t James Clavell in the Monte Cristo movie? ;-) )

      Nathanael Green

      May 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

  6. Well, here goes. Our tastes may not be on the same wavelength, but I’ll try.
    1. Richard Russo. I don’t know if you’ve read any of his, but I’m loving everything he’s written. Yes, Empire Falls won him the Pulitzer and it is amazing, but so are his earliest books ( just read Mohawk and Risk Pool back-to-back), short stories (The Whore’s Child) and randoms (Bridge of Sighs, That Old Cape Magic). Nobody’s Fool is also awesome. Ok, I may have just named 90% of his works, so I’m going to move on. I own all of these if you want to borrow!
    2. David Sedaris. I just read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and it was awesome. I laughed out loud on the train and in an empty conference room while I ate my lunch.
    3. Julia Glass. Start with Three Junes. It is awesome, I think :)

    Ok, that’s my 1 million NGEP’s worth of inupt! ha.


    May 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

    • *input


      May 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

    • I’m always looking for anything in any genre or wavelength.

      Interesting recommendation of Russo’s early stuff, which sounds interesting. And I’ve heard more interviews with Sedaris than I’ve read of his stuff, so maybe it’s time.

      I’m not familiar with Julia Glass, so there’s one more I’ll have to give some serious consideration.

      Now, I don’t know if that really qualifies you for a million NGEP, but I’ll give you a solid 12,000, plus the Golden Hand Chair for your generosity of lending.

      Nathanael Green

      May 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm

  7. Because I’ve been pushing you to read it all week at home, I will now publicly push you via the magic of the internet–read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Why? 1. It’s non-fiction. A nice break from your normal reading routine. 2. It heavily features the Tarahumara Indian culture. You love different culture, specifically Indian culture. 3. It’s got science woven into the story. Science is just cool. 4. It discusses the evolutionary theory that homo sapiens evolved to run ultra distances for hunting purposes. Just think about that!


    May 26, 2011 at 8:05 am

    • With a four-point attack, you’ve pinned me to read Born to Run! How can I argue with such a hefty recommendation?

      Jess, I’m sorry to say that immediate family isn’t eligible to earn NGEP, or you’d be earning a lot. But I can give you the Know-Your-Audience Medal and Slam-the-Benefits Award!

      I think they’ll both look nice carried around at all times.

      Nathanael Green

      May 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  8. I haven’t read Born to Run, but I remember when it came out in hardback and just took off, uh, running. Part of my job involves doing some of the backlist or reorder buying for the bookstore I work in, and generally trends of this type are understandable and somewhat predicatable, but this was one of those books that really seemed to come out of nowhere. Santa Cruz is an athletic outdoors community, but I had no idea that there were so many people interested in running.

    I’m really enjoying seeing what people come up with here. As a bookseller, I’m of course familiar with names and titles, but I like the endorsements. I will second Three Junes as a terrific book, and am intrigued by Jenna’s endorsement to finally get around to reading Richard Russo, which I’ve meant to do for awhile.

    And I was glad to be reminded of Matt Haig, who’s The Dead Father’s Club, a suburban reenactment of Hamlet was very enjoyable. I’ll look for The Radleys.


    May 26, 2011 at 10:28 am

  9. Seana – an extra 2,000 NGEP to you for the pun.

    Nathanael Green

    May 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm

  10. Great minds think alike, I guess, because someone has started a very similar thread over on Tomato Nation.

    It could be a bit overwhelming, but I will second The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt as a fantastic book. And, in quite a different way, Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin is stunning.


    May 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm

  11. Shoot. Blew the HTML. Please, please don’t take back the Monkey Chain Honor.


    May 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    • Oh, no. You earned your original award and I would never take that away from you. I’m only familiar with The Last Samurai as the Tom Cruise movie, and apparently the book is completely different and sounds really intriguing.

      Another 4,421 NGEP to you! Thanks!

      Nathanael Green

      May 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

  12. You ought to read Bill James.

    Take that any way you like. Bill James, author of the Harpur & Iles series, is one of the finest prose stylists to write crime fiction in English. Bill James, author of The Historical Baseball Abstract and many other works, is one of the finest, funniest, sharpest, and most probing thinkers ever to write about baseball. And I hear Bill James was a pretty good philosopher and psychologist, too, though most people called him William.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”


    May 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

  13. Hmm, this blog seems neither to accept comment not notify would-be commenters that comment moderation has been enabled.


    May 28, 2011 at 12:39 am

  14. Why it posted that but not my real comment is a puzzle to me. I hope it’s not swallowing others’ comments as well.


    May 28, 2011 at 12:40 am

  15. You should read Bill James.

    Take that any way you like. Bill James, author of the Harpur and Iles novels, is one of the finest prose stylists ever to write crime fiction in English: dark, theatrical, and very funny. (Try the middle books in the series.)

    Bill James, author of The Historical Baseball Abstract, among many other works, is one of the sharpest, funniest, most skeptically incisive and incisively skeptical writers every about baseball.

    I hear Bill James was a pretty good philosopher and psychologist, too, though most people called him William.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”


    May 28, 2011 at 12:44 am

    • Peter, sometimes the spam filter is a little wonky for comment approval, but now that you’re up and running you should have no more issues.

      Am I right that you’ve got three different Bill Jameses? The first, in particular, sounds pretty intriguing. I’ve been trying to read beyond my usual genres lately, so I particularly appreciate the crime fiction recommendation.

      I think that’ll net you a nice 10,933 NGEP! Plus for the trickiness of offering one name for 3 writers, my judging committee would like to honor you with the Solo-Trinomen Award.

      Nathanael Green

      May 29, 2011 at 10:56 am

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