UPDATE 9/5/11- Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I just finished requesting library books! I do want to add a few favorite male authors that I hadn't been thinking about at the time of this post: Ken Follett (best known for The Pillars of the Earth, but I prefer The Key to Rebecca and Jackdaws); Chris Bohjalian, who is absolutely brilliant at plunging into ethical dilemmas of current interest, such as transsexualism (Trans-Sister Radio) and midwife law (Midwives); and finally P.G. Wodehouse, a much less contemporary author whose comic novels, particularly the ones starring the butler Jeeves, are side-splitting funny, if you enjoy British humor and puns, which I very much do. I'm sorry to have ignored you, gentlemen!
I'm already learning things from this blog. When I put together my list of favorite authors, I realized how few of them are men, and most of those are nonfiction writers like Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, The Tipping Point) or Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States). Do I not read enough fiction written by men, or do I just not enjoy it as much? Is it natural for men and women to gravitate toward same-sex writers?
I enjoy Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, and I've already mentioned my favorite play by Oscar Wilde. I read George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm every few years and still think they're relevant. I love Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I laugh out loud at David Sedaris's essays. And yet I wouldn't consider any of these men to be favorite authors.
(I have to make a quick point here about The Princess Bride. The book is so, so much better than the movie. The Pit of Despair can't hold a candle to the description of the Zoo of Death. Read it.)
I've read most of John Grisham's books, although I prefer his earlier work. I think Stephen King is a great writer, but his plots usually make me either nauseous or afraid of the dark, so I tend to avoid him. I find Nicholas Sparks too sentimental, Dan Brown too contrived, and James Patterson too sensational.
Am I giving male authors a fair chance? Am I just reading the wrong books? I would like to correct this imbalance, so if anyone has suggestions for fiction written by men, please post them in the comments section. At the very least, I'll make an attempt to read them and write a fair and honest review. At the most, if I'm lucky, I'll have my mind blown by some new writer, and can in turn share that passion with you.
If you don't have an author to share, but you do have an opinion on male vs. female writers, I'd love to hear that as well!