This challenge was forwarded to me by friend Kelly with the following instructions:
"Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who have always influenced you and will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes, and they don't have to be listed in order of relevance to you."
Let's get it.
1. Nick Hornby
About a Boy and High Fidelity are both pretty perfect distillations of what it feels like to be a young man caught between adulthood and adolescence long after the universe has shifted.
2. Kurt Vonnegut
Maybe I'm biased because I'm also a native of Indiana, but Vonnegut just gets what it is to be human and manages to relate this in the saddest, funniest way possible.
3. Hunter S. Thompson
Possibly the coolest person ever to live, Thompson pioneered a new form of journalism which really just meant that he had the courage to tell the truth that every reporter is an unreliable narrator.
4. Bret Easton Ellis
The Rules of Attraction continues to be of my favorite chronicle of the fake problems that magically appear in the absence of actual strife.
5. Stephen King
For a period during high school I operated a Stephen King fan e-mail newsletter that at one point had over 150 subscribers. Do we need to discuss this further?
6. David Sedaris
Holidays on Ice is in my top three favorite books of all time. The king of first-person memorization.
7. Mary Roach
She manages to make even the most unsavory subjects palpable and even fun.
8. Chuck Klosterman
I will become you, one day, Chuck Klosterman. Mark my words.
9. Bill Bryson
I've had trouble recommending Bill Bryson to others because he comes off as dry, but I'm a fan.
10. Sarah Vowell
Maybe it's because I heard her on This American Life first and her voice is so awesome, but I can't get enough.
11. David Foster Wallace
I love the fact that his footnotes often take up more real estate than the actual piece. A perfect example of a writer who sees every detail about the subject he's chronicling whether or not he wants to.
12. Douglas Adams
Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy? Yes, please.
13. Dan Savage
He's probably done more for healthy sexual discourse in this country through his hilarious tone.
14. Whoever writes The Onion/A.V. Club
Consistently insightful and hilarious.
15. William Faulkner
The Sound and The Fury contains pretty much everything you need to know about the American experience.