"Admire" is to strong, "appreciate" is more accurate.
Jane Austen, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Updike, Dali Lama, Garcia Lorca, Peter Straub, Stephen King
I admire all of them. The only authors I have ever read and never got "in to" were Stephen King and Danielle Steel.
Some of my favorites are:
William Shakespeare: The greatest poet EVER!
Jude Devereaux..she is a Goddess with the written word!
Stephenie Meyers...Ahhh, what would I do without the Twilight Saga
Joey W. Hill
the list could go on and on forever!
Wilbur Smith for his vivid novels of Africa and ancient Egypt.
Alistair Maclean for his plots.
Douglas Reeman for his Navy tales of WW2.
Dale Brown for his excellent techno thrillers and his depth of knowledge on the subject.
Dr. Andrew Weil
Dr. Nicholas Perricone
Tolstoy, Gogol, Aksakov, Dostoyevsky, Shokolov, Gorky, Bulgakov, Paustovsky, Ivo Andric.
Balzac, Anthony Trollope, Arnold Bennett, Wilkie Collins, John Galsworthy, Rider Haggard, L.M. Montgomery.
Historians: Alain Corbin, Robert Darnton, Le Roy Ladurie, Orlando Figes.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, J. R. R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, ...
Nicholson Baker, John Grisham, James Fallows, Naomi Klein, Carson McCullers, Simon Shama,
There are too many to name. But my favourite poet is undeniably William Blake, followed by Dante Alighieri, James Joyce, Antonin Artaud and Allen Ginsberg...
I enjoy a good Stephen King book. He unravels a horror superbly! His descriptions are so real, it drags you into believing these terrifying creature are lurking under your couch.
Also, on the poetry side of things, Edward Monkton has great insight. His work includes quirky drawings with odd musings which I really find enlightening. I'd like to take apart his mind just to see the place where these strange thoughts come from. :P
Carson McCullers, Anne Lamott, William Faulkner.
My favorite Australian writers include Donald Horne, Alan Moorehead, Graham McInnes, Hal Porter, Kenneth Cook, Chloe Hooper and Don Watson.
From England and Europe I enjoyed reading Arthur Koestler, Albert Camus, Franz Kafka, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Roald Dahl, John le Carre, Leo Tolstoy and Anthony Powell.
From the US: Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, John Steinbeck and Raymond Chandler. . .
J.R.R. Tolkien, Josh Schwartz, J.K. Rowlings, Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson, Drew Goddard, J.J. Abrams, and Christopher Nolan. Of course, there are many, many more.
I read very little and I do not place much importance on any particular writer. If there are 10% world-famous writers who achieved great sales of their works and got known to the outer world, there are 90% writers who might have written better than these writers but remaining little known to the world. Every famous writer might not be a good writer and all good and extraordinary writers might not have got the recognition they deserve. Publicity is playing a big role these days in promoting creative works. A bad work publicized extensively might reach millions but a good work not marketed well might not reach many. So, admiring a few writers means neglecting or humiliating many other unknown but great writers. I do not admire any well-known writer in particular even if I like their works specially. I mostly keep it personal and do not express.
Among my favorites are Jack London, Mark Twain, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and the revolutionary poets from my native country.