Stephen King

#1  While there are a number of contemporary authors who write scary stories, none is known quite to the extent that Stephen King is known. Arguably, this is because King’s work translates so easily to movie and TV adaptations – To date, more than 50! So, you don’t have to have read his books to know his work. And, King’s fiction crosses several genres. He combines horror with suspense, as well as with elements of science fiction and fantasy. Over the years, King’s reputation as a writer has grown.

In the beginning of his career, critics were not always quick to acknowledge King’s gifts. For those who love his work, the good news is today King has secured a place for himself among writers of American fiction generally. He is given credit for plots that are surprising. He is given credit for drawing his reader into the story, especially into anything “gory, gross or violent” (according to one critic). King is considered exceptional at creating main characters that the reader really cares about. To name a few: Paul Edgecombe in The Green Mile. Stuart Redman in The Stand. Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower Series, Rita Hayworth and the absolutely unforgettable Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption.

Stephen King has published 56 novels, including seven under his pen name, Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has written nearly 200 short stories, most of which have been compiled in book collections. It is way past time to take King’s work seriously. If for no other reason than the enormity of the body of his work, Stephen King is a writer not to be denied.



Malcolm Gladwell

If you are looking for an author who is going to make you think about why things are the way they are, you want to read Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell, an English-born Canadian journalist, author and speaker, has written five books: All five books were on The New York Times Best Seller list. When asked for the process behind his writing, he said: “I have two parallel things I’m interested in. One is, I’m interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I’m interested in collecting interesting research. What I’m looking for is cases where they overlap.” His books often deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences, particularly in the areas of sociology, psychology and social psychology. Gladwell takes the message of serious research and turns it into an explanation of the issues of contemporary living.

Why are some people early bloomers and some late bloomers? What’s success? What about people who are very good at what they do but not successful. What’s honorable failure? How do we overcome lapses in critical moments, and what’s the difference between choking and panicking? Gladwell uses every day examples to make his points, and he tells lots of interesting stories. In 2005, Time magazine named Gladwell one of its 100 most influential people.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, 2000; Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, 2005; Outliers:The Story of Success, 2008; What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures 2009; and, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, 2013.



Andrea Beaty, Author and David Roberts, Illustrator

The team of writer Andrea Beaty, who hails from the Mid-West, and illustrator David Roberts, a Brit, has done something important in children’s literature. They have written and illustrated a series of stories about children with serious professional ambitions. Beaty writes in rhyme, and Roberts gives the books just the right look and feel. As parents who want to encourage their children’s interests, you could not do better than to introduce them to Iggy Peck, Architect (2007), Rosie Revere, Engineer (2013) and Ada Twist, Scientist (2016). Iggy leads the way. He’s a boy whose odd architecture obsession saves the day. Rosie loves to build things, but is shy. Ada’s intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. And, oh those messy experiments! The characters in Beaty’s picture books are smart, funny, and unapologetic in their passion. They are doers. Curiosity, creativity, innovation and persistence are recurring themes in her work. Beyond writing great verse and creating interesting personalities, Beaty has become well-known for STEM writing – themes on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In other words, just exactly what the focus is on in almost every aspect of every school curriculum. Let’s hope there is more to come!