Julia Ercolano ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
It’s that time of the year—time for turkey and giving thanks! When going around the table this year, don’t forget about these eleven authors—past and present—who had a hand in shaping the world of literature.
His style may not be for everyone, but his stories definitely are. From The Lion King, inspired by Hamlet; to Mean Girls, inspired by Julius Caesar; to 10 Things I Hate About You, inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s tales are at the heart of modern pop culture.
The creator of Harry Potter definitely deserves some gratitude. Rowling continues to work hard for her fans, having brought them seven books, eight movies, a website, and a play, with more spin-offs on the way! She’s offered endless hours of escape into the Wizarding World, a plethora of characters to lean on, and countless quests to undertake.
A staple of children’s literature, Dr. Seuss’s stories expose many young kids to the joys of reading. The books people read at young ages inarguably have an effect on their future reading careers, and few writers have had as much influence on young readers as Dr. Seuss. From everyone’s favorite breakfast, Green Eggs and Ham, to The Lorax who speaks for the trees, these children’s tales are just as important as any novel.
Despite having been published over fifty years ago, Tolkien’s stories continue to inspire readers today. From The Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit, his unlikely heroes and epic adventures built a world and lore unparalleled. It’s Tolkien who is to thank for inspiring many of today’s great fantasy authors.
Of all the mandatory reading assigned in high school, the novel The Great Gatsby easily ranks number one. From its insane parties to Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby’s amazing relationship, what’s not to love? As an added bonus, a Leonardo DiCaprio movie came out of it.
Besides giving the world the classic love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen was a trailblazer for future female authors. Before Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and even the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen put pen to paper and proved that a woman was just as capable of writing the next great novel as any man.
TwiHeart or not, Twilight was inarguably a pop culture phenomenon, and for many, it was the story that inspired their reading careers. The series was an important milestone in the history of young Adult literature, not to mention a trendsetter of book-to-movie adaptations.
He’s been keeping readers on the edges of their seats for decades, and viewers for nearly seven seasons. The mastermind behind Game of Thrones likes to break the rules and keep his fans weary—twenty years later, the conclusion to this epic tale is still anyone’s guess. Following in the footsteps of Tolkien, Martin created a fantasy world fit to burst with action and intrigue.
The man behind The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns is responsible for causing more than his fair share of tears, but this literary force has more up his sleeve than just words. He and his brother, Hank Green, use their joint YouTube channel VlogBrothers as a platform to educate, inform, and spread awesomeness. From Crash Course to VidCon to The Project for Awesome, John Green has had a heavy hand in influencing and interacting with today’s youth.
The author of The Hunger Games ushered the world into a new age of YA literature and dystopian stories, providing a springboard for books like Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Marie Lu’s Legend. Not to mention, her books inspired the movies that launched Jennifer Lawrence into the spotlight.
The man behind the biography Alexander Hamilton that started it all, Ron Chernow is the reason Hamilton: An American Musical exists. It was his book that Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up on vacation one year, his words that inspired Miranda to write the hit Broadway musical that is smashing all the records.
So when it comes to giving thanks this holiday season, don’t forget about these eleven incomparable forces of literature. They’ve caused joy, laughter, and more than a few tears, but most of all, they’ve spread an appreciation for reading far and wide.