Jean Auel, author of the Earth's Children series. The lady is over-the-moon about cave paintings. Her first book in the series is the mega-famous Clan of the Cave Bear. The last book? The Land of Painted Caves. Two stars on Amazon, and guess what folks are mad about.
Terry Goodkind, author of The Sword of Truth series. Objectivism. And possibly rape. But definitely objectivism. Let's call it John Galt non-con and leave it at that.
Stephenie Meyer, author of... like you don't know. Look, it's a romance targeted at teen girls, it's not going to NOT feature lavish descriptions of Hunky McHotpants and Smoldering Native of the Beefcake People. But her white-hot frantic macroing of phrases like "his dazzling pale perfect God-like marble Aryan perfection" gives you a pretty clear picture of what tops her own personal Lickability Index.
*note: this isn't a universal method. There are plenty of other ways to screw up a book, most of them absolutely well-intentioned, and many authors go their whole careers without taking more than modest sips from the well of self-gratification.
Anyway, so I've decided: twenty years from now, when I'm bloated with egotistical methane and out of ideas, I'd like to go off the rails by indulging in a 500-page linguistic wank-a-thon. Look, TELL me this isn't cool:
Girlfriend/Boyfriend - Bich'áayaa íí'áhí - "the one that sticks up from under his armpit."
Microwave - Bee na'niildóhó - "you warm things up with it."
Days Inn in St. Michael's, AZ - Ba' Dziztiní - "lying down waiting for someone."
Snow Flurry - Ayéhé néiidiníyódí - "the weather that drives the in-laws in."
Movie Theater - Da'níl'íidi - "where they are shown."
So I guess what I'm saying is, what gets me absolutely, gobsmackingly besmitten about languages is that, like an author, they tell you what's important to them - all you have to do is listen long enough.
In every word there sleeps an image.