The San Francisco Examiner asked several working writers about their favorite authors. Daniel Handler has a more…muscular approach:
I just saw Jim Shepard read from his novel Project X (Vintage) at the Make Out Room, and he killed. There were a bunch of writers there, all reading to raise money for a progressive candidate, and we were all excited to read with Jim Shepard but we could tell that most of the audience hadn’t heard of him, and the more we talked him up the more I could see people getting nervous that he was a “writer’s writer” –that is, some difficult, pretentious guy that only other writers like. But then he took the stage and in 20 seconds I saw several cynical hipsters laughing so hard they had to put their drinks down and hold their stomachs. And, I should add, it’s a novel about a high school massacre. As I told the crowd that night, I want you to buy a book by Jim Shepard and read it, and if you don’t like it come to me. I’ll give you your money back and then I’ll kick your ass.
Read others’ recommendations here.