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The Top 10 Authors We’d Ask to Dinner

Book lovers daydream about meeting their favorite authors. We imagine ourselves asking an insightful question, or giving perfectly phrased praise. We’d have a witty, meaningful exchange and go away feeling satisfied and inspired. But can you imagine actually sitting down to dinner with one of your literary heroes, and chatting away over a few courses? It might be a bit intimidating... there could be some awkward silences... but what an opportunity. We asked our Bookwitty community which authors they’d invite to dinner. Here are the top ten, represented by some of their most famous works.

The Jungle Book

First published in 1894, The Jungle Book is the classic collection of animal tales that shows Rudyard Kipling's writing for children at its best. The short stories and poems include the tale of Mowgli, a boy raised by a pack of wolves in the Indian jungle. We meet the tiger Shere Khan, Bagheera, the black panther, Baloo, the "sleepy brown bear," and the python, Kaa. Other famous stories include the tale of the fearless mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and that of elephant-handler Toomai of the Elephants. 

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The Hunger Games

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before, and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

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The Diary of a Young Girl

 In July 1942, thirteen-year-old Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the occupation, went into hiding in an Amsterdam warehouse. Over the next two years Anne vividly describes in her diary the frustrations of living in such close quarters, and her thoughts, feelings and longings as she grows up. Her diary ends abruptly when, in August 1944, they were all betrayed. 

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The Power of One

Set in South Africa in the 1940s, this is the story of Peekay, a young boy with one ambition—to become welterweight champion of the world. With the help of a boxing coach, he becomes a small but invincible fighter who champions the African people against the power of the Boer.

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The Tempest

The Tempest is the most lyrical, profound and fascinating of Shakespeare's late comedies. Prospero, long exiled from Italy with his daughter Miranda, seeks to use his magical powers to defeat his former enemies. Eventually, having proved merciful, he divests himself of that magic, his "art," and prepares to return to the mainland. 

In recent decades, The Tempest has been treated as a potently political drama which offers controversial insights into colonialism and racism. Frequently staged and diversely filmed, the play has influenced numerous poets and novelists.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

 Wilde's only novel, first published in 1890, is a brilliantly designed puzzle, intended to tease conventional minds with its exploration of the myriad interrelationships between art, life, and consequence. From its provocative Preface, challenging the reader to believe in "art for art's sake," to its sensational conclusion, the story self-consciously experiments with the notion of sin as an element of design. 

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The Colour Of Magic

In the beginning there was...a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it's carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). 

The Disc's very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world's first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard...

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More Notes of a Dirty Old Man

After toiling in obscurity for years, Charles Bukowski suddenly found fame in 1967 with his autobiographical newspaper column, "Notes of a Dirty Old Man," and a book of that name in 1969. He continued writing this column, in one form or another, through the mid-1980s. More Notes of a Dirty Old Man gathers many uncollected gems from the column's twenty-year run. Filled with his usual obsessions—sex, booze, gambling—More features Bukowski's offbeat insights into politics and literature, his tortured, violent relationships with women, and his lurid escapades on the poetry reading circuit.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude

Equally tragic, joyful and comical, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and miracles. A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny. Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy with comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century. 

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The Bell Jar

"I was supposed to be having the time of my life." When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into serious depression as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take her aspirations seriously. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's only novel, is partially based on Plath's own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic.

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We could ask at this point which of your own favourite authors you’d invite to dinner. But it might be more revealing to ask this instead: Which authors do you admire, but really would rather not have over to the house? Let us know in the comments below.

Posts on this profile were created by members of the Bookwitty team. Here, we discuss books, authors, publishers and other literary-related topics. You’ll find our writers based between our ... Show More

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