They’re going to be mentioned in no particular order.
Terry Pratchett: He’s created a world almost as absurd as ours in his Discworld series with very human humans, non-orthodox witches and vindictive gods. Not to mention some fantastic characters like Death, Vimes, Granny Weatherwax and Susan. His writing is full of irony and sarcasm and word-play. You can see why I like him.
Erma Bombeck: She writes about family, children and housework in a way only a mother can. If the mother in question has just about had it with all three, that is. One of my favourite quotes? “Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.”
Douglas Adams: He’s written The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in four parts) and a conclusion to the series called Mostly Harmless. They all read like Issac Asimov on Prozac, only more Brit. If you haven’t already read it then you, sir, are a fool, and a rather deprived one at that.
Roald Dahl: For starters, there’s more to Roald Dahl than chocolate factories and giant peaches. Like tales of the macabre (incidentally, a word I got to know only after reading his writings), the unexpected and the dark side of humanity. They’re deliciously wicked stuff and are, as one of his book covers declares, “bedtime stories for those who relish sleepless nights”.
George Mikes: Most diasporic writers talk about loss of identity, fractured psyche and about a dozen other fancy-sounding themes (do NOT ask me the exact meaning of diaspora – it’ll all come back to me and then that’s pretty much it for my Monday morning). Anyway, Mr. Mikes talks about how the Brits are weird instead. He’s patiently taken Brit culture apart, one stiff upper lip at a time in books like “How To Be An Alien”. Together, his works are reponsible for hours of manic laughter on my behalf and his last name is pronounced ‘me-kesh’, by the way.
Daniel Harding: You have heard of him. No, really, you have. Lemony Snicket sound familiar? There you go. A Series of Unfortunate Events is annoying me endlessly as of now. The plot is childishly simple, but what’s pissing me off is that I want to read all the books in the series just to find out who this Beatrice person is. Why? Look at the dedications to her in the beginning of each book.
Oscar Wilde: His plays are funnier then his stories, his epigrams funnier than most books. His characters are foppish cads, but God, you’ve got to be unhinged not to like Algernon, Lord Goring, Lord Darlington and the rest of the cast of Theatre of the Wilde. One should either wear a work of art or be a work of art, he says. Touché.
Disclaimer: Okay, all these people have also admittedly written some not-quite-fantastic stuff (Truckers, The Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency, Vera and the Nihilists etc.) So don’t all get up in arms about it. These are just my favourites. Let them be.