My Favorite Writers: You'll Love Them, Too


  • By Sally Koslow

    When I’m reading a terrific book, the house could be orbiting Jupiter; I wouldn’t notice. My hope is always to read something so absorbing that when I get to the end, I start over in order to linger in the world of the book. Now that I’ve written novels* myself, reading has added value—it’s a warm-up that persuades me to get to my computer and work. I often stop mid-sentence, run to an unfinished manuscript, bang out a line or upgrade a verb. My hope is that reading brilliant writing gives me the same benefit as calcium supplements--stronger (writing) bones, or at least fewer clichés. Like everyone, I adore Dorothy Parker, Edith Wharton and Jane Austen, but there are many contemporary writers who I also admire. If you ask me next week, my favorites might be different, but today, in no particular order, this is my list of go-to-authors:
  • Helen Simonson "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," a wry comedy of manners about a traditional Englishman taking a stand against his modern son, Simonson exhibits a delightfully cheeky Britishness.
  • David Nicholls David Nicholls’ "One Day" is contemporary fiction that I think of as chick lit with a Ph.D. (It's just been made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway.) His dialogue and observational detail make me shout “Yes!” and want to be Emma Morley. I know why she didn’t give up on Dexter Mayhew.
  • Charlotte Mendelson Author of When "We Were Bad" and "Daughters Of Jerusalem," witty, observant chronicles of affectionate yet smothering families in England.
  • Elizabeth Strout The work of Elizabeth Strout, author of "Olive Kitteredge" and "Amy And Isabelle," has a devilish, tender quality that is extraordinary.
  • Lucette Lagnado I admire Lucette Lagnado for "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit," an enthralling biography of her father, and look forward to the continuation of her family's story in "The Arrogant Years."
  • Jane Smiley Jane Smiley has to be on the list because like Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep, she keeps re-inventing herself. "Moo" is my favorite of her oeuvre, because she nailed the academic politics of the sort of Big Ten university from which I graduated.
  • Loving Frank Many writers are trying their hand now at the fictionalized historical biopic. For this form, the queen is Nancy Horan, author of "Loving Frank," who made me feel as if I was a fly on the wall at a party where I met Frank Lloyd Wright and his lovely Mamah.
  • Rules Of Civility "Rules of Civility" is an elegant, recently published debut novel that sweeps you back to 1937 and you want to never leave. I am can’t wait to read the second novel of the author, Amor Towles.
  • What I've Written Sally Koslow’s books are available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio-tape and have been published in a dozen languages: •"Little Pink Slips," loosely based on my experience as editor-in-chief of a large women’s magazine •"The Late, Lamented Molly Marx"—a hybrid of mystery, fantasy and romance, chosen by Target as a Book Club Pick and a best-seller in Germany •"With Friends like These," a novel told in the voices of four women whose close friendships become challenged, chosen by Target for its Emerging Writers program. Visit her at