What Your Favorite Author Says About You, Take 2

1. Ernest Hemingway

If you love Hemingway, you probably have a certain respect for Manly Men; for stoicism, strict personal rules, chivalry, traditional gender roles, men at war, the sport of bullfighting, drinking heavily, and, overall, (Hemingway’s version of) the Man’s Plight. Since the glorification of all/ most of these are generally frowned upon nowadays (in the Age of Irony and Equality), people who love Hemingway secretly appreciate and/ or fantasize about the way the world used to be; about being Hemingway’s Brett, or his Catherine, or Hemingway himself. But, because Hemingway’s agenda in regards to love, morality, masculinity and gender is so fully realized in many of his books – at least the classics – if you tried to pull some of the behavior that Hemingway’s characters pull, I suspect people would have some serious problems with you as a person. Full disclosure: I like The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms a lot. To a lesser extent I appreciate For Whom The Bell Tolls. Haven’t yet been taken by any of his short stories, and what I’ve read of his later work (i.e. Across the River and Into the Trees) seems terrible.

2. David Foster Wallace

If your favorite author is David Foster Wallace, you’re thoughtful, empathize with having low self-worth, harbor a nagging anxiety about how to most authentically represent yourself in social situations, take pride in maintaining a certain amount of self-awareness, are an MFA student (you idolize DFW if you’re an MFA student), have the ability to comprehend – and ‘get off on’ – self-aware, multi-level, narcissistic, gratuitous, circular, psychic digressions (while fully aware of the fact that you’re getting off on self-aware, multi-level, narcissistic, gratuitous, circular, psychic digressions), want to sincerely connect with the author (not the character), are faking being literary (in this case, you’re probably only interested in Infinite Jest), or all of the above. If your favorite author is DFW, I suspect that you almost definitely think of yourself as a Writer, want to eventually think of yourself as a Writer, and are known by your friends as Into Literature. Your personality varies, but if you really love him, you probably empathize a great deal with his endless and ultimately asinine search for ‘authenticity’ and lifelong struggle with individualism, and the fact that you’re reading Thought Catalog is somewhat of an anomaly. Full disclosure: pretty sure one of my favorite authors is DFW. Haven’t read Infinite Jest; a close friend tells me he’s pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. I believe him.

3. Tao Lin

If your favorite author is Tao Lin, you’re the type of introspective person who recognizes absurdity in typical daily behavior. You’re most likely a combination of all or some of the following: hipster, twee, Into Literature, shy/ anxious/ curious/ depressed, Poet, and under 35 years old. I suspect you read Vice Magazine, like mumblecore, enjoy quiet time over loud crazy time, treat your budding romantic interest awkwardly, and are highly sensitive to insecurities you may have. If your favorite author is Tao Lin, you’re thrilled by the way he shapes context without preconception, and just reading his work makes you want to spend all day on Gchat coming up with witty, existentially-enlightened banter to unsuspecting users on your chat list. You think the world is mundane, sad, and depressing; you think people are mundane, sad, and depressing, too. Despite this, both are somehow beautiful. Finally, if you love Tao Lin, you might be the type that goes all over internet forums and writes that you hate him (the paradox here is that you keep buying and reading his books). Another full disclosure: pretty sure one of my favorite authors is Tao Lin; he also published my first book.

4. Bret Easton Ellis

If your favorite author is Bret Easton Ellis, you might be depraved. You live in New York or LA, are into cocaine and pill cocktails, and obsess over Less Than Zero. Or, at the least, you have a dark side and are fascinated by seeing the crazy come out in other people. Out of all these authors on the list, people in love with BEE are probably some of the only ones who don’t identify or empathize heavily with the characters, and as such aren’t that interested in BEE himself. Instead, you read his characters with a sort of fascinated horror anticipating what pit of despair they’re going to fall into next, and get an unnerving bit of satisfaction each time you witness a BEE character’s downfall. If you’re into BEE, I suspect you’re also Into Literature; if you’re not Into Literature but your favorite author is BEE, then you’ve only read American Psycho. Yet another full disclosure: pretty sure one of my favorite authors is Bret Easton Ellis, and Less Than Zero and American Psycho are, in fact, my favorites.

5. Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski: dirty, depressed, funny, and a Man. If your favorite author is Bukowski, you like drinking red wine to excess, fucking to excess, and spending your money recklessly. You enjoy cigarettes and a can of beer after a “good fuck,” don’t mind living in squalor (secretly glorify it, even), and might try to get into horse racing if you ever get the chance. My opinion is that Bukowski shares some similarity with Hemingway, most especially in his hypermasculinity and efficient phrasing (one of the effects of both these authors’ prose is the hyperreal experience of cold reality and the ultimate ‘weightlessness’ of any one thing/ action/ being compared to any other thing/ action/ being, which culminates in many meaningful, cathartic moments for the reader), so if your favorite author is Charles Bukowski, Hemingway may be running a close second. Final full disclosure: Bukowski used to be one of my favorite authors – Post Office, Factotum, Ham on Rye, and Women were his novels I liked the most. Never got into his poetry or non-fiction, and eventually got sick of his voice and had to move on. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

    Hahaha, I'm a girl who loves Bukowski.  I wonder what on earth that says about me.

    • http://twitter.com/adamhump adamhump

      you're down to fuck, probably

      • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

        Most amazing response ever.

    • Pzx

      it says you don't have to actually epitomize every surface personality trait of an author you're into why is why this article is kinda dumb/lazy

  • david

    And Murakami?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000135790951 Matt Schultz

    wish someone would write one for Kerouac.,,.,

  • Shannon

    Murakami suggests that you have a thing for autoerotic strangulation while fantasizing about the racial other. People who are into Bukowski seem to have a serious aversion to personal hygiene.

    But srsly, fun topic. Do female authors next?

    • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

      No aversion to personal hygiene here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    BSG, this is so good.

  • mirror_father_mirror

    Pretty sure that if you're *really* into David Foster Wallace, you think that “connecting with the author” is a fallacy, because the Author is dead.

  • Oofoofoof

    Finally, if you love Tao Lin, you might be the type that goes all over internet forums and writes that you hate him (the paradox here is that you keep buying and reading his books). <– Unless you're one of those, like me, who anonymously talk about how much you love Tao Lin online, but then talk shit about yourself for even having read a poem or two (i.e., every blog post, poem, novel, musing ever) IRL. That breed of TL fan exists, too!

  • http://sarahspy.tumblr.com sarahspy

    because nobody has a female favorite author obvi ?

    otherwise clever

    • Brandon

      i covered 5 authors. they are male. you are making something out of nothing.

      • splendor

        And women are 50% of the population.

      • Pad Berson

        and women compose 0% of brandon scott gorrell

    • Shannon

      No lurv for Virginia Woolf? Gertrude Stein who was the main influence for Hemingway's prose style? Kathy Acker, crazed feminist postmodern badass? Or poor trapped in corsets chicklit Jane Austen?  So sad….

    • Sumac14228

      Anne Tyler, Anna Quindlen…

  • Tim

    Why is DFW's name just everywhere on this site these days? Out of that list DFW is definitely my favourite, though probably not my favourite overall. And as much as I hate to admit it, I definitely can see almost all of those characteristics in my self. I did genuinely enjoy Infinite Jest at least.

    It bothers me that you would call his quest for authenticity asinine though. Surely you can't be so heartless as to suggest that his suicide was merely him putting an exclamation point on the torturous (and ultimately unsuccessful) nature of that struggle?

    I really enjoyed that TC piece that compared LCD Soundsystem and DFW. I felt it had a very genuine argument in pointing out that both were truly searching for an earnestness that their insecurities had to mix with a whole bunch of irony and self-awareness. The ultimate point though, is that they really did want to be sincere in their work. That's why I could connect with them. Being able to admit that all their shows of intellect and wit were just a cover for being able to say something that they really believed in.

    I'll never forget one of James' last lines at their last show. When he announced that “this is our last song” and the crowd went 'awww'. He responded by saying “no that's not what I meant. Even after all these years, I still didn't say that so you would go 'awww'. This is our last song!”. And that was honestly one of the most real moments of my life.

  • http://twitter.com/adamhump adamhump

    nice work brandon

  • http://deejberndt.blogspot.com DJ Berndt

    Brandon, this is a great article and great sequel to Ryan's.

    I love your choice of authors, especially because every single one of them has been considered “my favorite author” at some point in my life. Thanks for writing this, great job. I love the object of “Writer” and “Into Literature”.

  • sloppysoup

    i like J.K. ROWLING a lot


    correction: if your favorite author is tao lin then you ARE tao lin

    • wackomet

      if your favorite rap group is odd future…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    I'm a fan of all five on this list. God save my soul.

    And while most MFA programs worship DFW, for some reason my program has a massive hard-on for Raymond Carver. Who, no offense, does absolutely nothing for me.

    The paragraph about DFW is pretty fucking perfect though.

  • aa

    Related to this a lot.

  • AaronWB

    I like this sequel much better than the original article. The problem I had with the first article was that I couldn't imagine any of those authors being someone's favorite.

    This one has legit authors.

  • EarthToNichole

    4 is dead on and I think you might be my new favorite Thought Catalog contributor.

  • Aelya


    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198922828 Marianna Elvira

      Maybe they'll listen to us now.

    • wackomet

      If your favorite author is Salinger, you are planning on murdering John Lennon

      • douchegirl

        When I was younger, I was *terified* of reading The Catcher in the Rye because I thought it might turn me into a psychopath. 

        It didn't. What a phony.

    • Pzx

      if  your favorite author is salinger you stopped reading at 14

      • Aelya

        ^stuff like that is why they should have written about him. it's just too easy

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffreyjamesskatzka Je Sk


  • ernestfartingway

    No one is interested in BEE because he comes across as even more one shallow than his characters. Which is probably a conscious decision.

    • EarthToNichole

      Just because BEE writes about shallow characters doesn't mean that he's shallow. Judging from his interviews I've read/watched he seems like an intelligent guy with an interesting perspective on pop cuture. I'm going to shut up now because I probably shouldn't comment on TC after taking my nightly Ambien.

      • http://fartsinlove.tumblr.com Ernest Fartingway

        I don't think he's actually shallow, but he definitely acts like a character from his work on Twitter.

  • The

    if your favorite author is tao lin you are the worst thing about your generation

    • mind

      fuck u old man

    • harry

      if your favourite pass time is anonymously insulting others on the internet you are the worst thing about your generation

  • Gchat

    Tao Lin fans read his masterworks bathed in the soft glow of their macbook pros, enjoying the validation of their lifestyles in which they do nothing, care about nothing, and hold nothing in higher regard than pop culture and internet addiction

    “I like to call myself a 'hipster' but I don't amount to much more societally than a self-conscious Juggalo,” sighs the Tao Lin fan

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      based on what i know of people who like my writing they seem productive, to care about what people think and about the things they like and on how their actions effect others, and like to read books and watch movies that aren't conventionally viewed as 'pop culture,' to a large degree, i feel

      • Gchat

        “”watch movies that aren't conventionally viewed as 'pop culture,'”

        that's not really what i'm getting at. i'm not questioning your taste; i like your joy williams interview for one. i just think your stuff is depression porn that mocks and shuts out anything outside its limited worldview instead of engaging with it. this list is interesting because it's written as if people read these authors solely to have their lifestyles validated but i think you're the only one who (reads as if) his purpose is to do that

  • thee belle jaar


  • freddipass

    BEE creeps me out.  American Psycho was the only book I had to put down a few times because I was so disturbed. And I'm not easily disturbed.  What about Steinbeck? He's my favorite.

  • http://twitter.com/brownnnbear Jocelyn

    hemingway is one of my favorite authors mainly because he was “a man's man.” i also love jack kerouac for the same reasons; they're both well-travelled, intelligent & witty but deeply pained.

    ok, mostly i just really want to have sex with them.

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