I've also been getting into Carl Hiassen's work. Man, that guy is prolific. He just keeps turning out book after book and he writes a column in the paper. Can you say carpal tunnel?
Jerry Spinelli's EGGS is also on my nightstand. Quick read, quirky story, quirkier characters. Love his voice, it's so much different than anyone else's.
It's got me thinking about what sets published writers apart from each other besides the kinds of stories they tell (genre). It has to be style and voice. The more I read and reread, the more I realize how many different styles can work. Gary Schmidt uses dynamic, poetic prose to weave intricate plots. Spinelli utilizes his unique voice to parallel what's happening in the story. Hiassen has monopolized the Florida environmental issues, and boy has he done it well. Will the conservation well ever run dry? Probably not. Sherman Alexie. Wow, does he nail the main character's voice in True Diary or what? And he does it while spinning a hilarious tale.
You may have noticed that all of these writers are males. I know, I know. Lois Lowry, Linda Sue Park, and Gail Carson Levine, they all get props from me too. But you have to understand that I'm a guy who writes middle grade with boy protagonists, so I'm going to naturally lean toward authors who do the same. Considering what I write, they are the ones I can learn the most from. Perhaps you should do the same.
Who are some of your favorites? Who have you read and reread and learned from?
Richard Peck? Shel Silverstein? Beverly Cleary? Katherine Paterson?
Edgar Allen Poe?