Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

toptentuesday-1This week’s topic is all about new authors. Not new as in debut authors but authors that are new to me (and the other readers participating in Top Te Tuesday this week). And this is a fascinating topic. I have never before noticed how many new authors I read during a year. I have a goal for myself to read a book by each of my (five) favorite authors every year so they are not new but I have never counted how many new authors I try out. I am actually very pleased with my result. I have given 23 authors a chance this year. So far! I like that! To me, it says that I’m willing to take a chance and I’m not stuck in reading the same few authors over and over again. And it’s also interesting because the 23 authors are very different. There’s both debuts, classics, non-fiction and more. So what you’ll find below is my list of the Top Ten Authors that I have read this year and that I expect to explore further in the coming years; the best of the 23.
As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
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  • Toni Morrison. I read Beloved this year and it was an incredible read. I was so blown away by this book. It was such an incredible powerful and heartbreaking book about a mother doing everything, everything, to protect her children. I will definitely read more by Morrison and I’m a bit sad that I have waited this long to read her for the first time.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have postponed reading The Great Gatsby because I watched the movie edition of it starring Robert Redford many years ago and didn’t get it. Not at all. But now I’m apparently the right age for Gatsby because I loved this book too. It was just so good and, again, heartbreaking in all the right ways. Poor Gatsby!
  • Jennifer Egan. Egan’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Goon Squad was the first novel I read this year and it definitely started the year right. I really enjoyed this, all of this, including the powerpoint chapter!
  • Félix J. Palma. The Map of Time was a mad, mad ride. H.G. Wells, Jack the Ripper, time traveling, love, automatons and so much more. It was wonderful and I loved it. I really want to read the next book in this series! and I hope it is just as much fun.
  • Carol Birch. Let’s be honest, Jamrach’s Menagerie is definitely outside my normal comfort zone. But I loved it. The first part when they were chasing the ‘dragon’ and finally caught it, was amazing and the second part with the shipwreck was even better. Really a good book!

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  • Ben Marcus. The Flame Alphabet was a strange book indeed. I’m not sure I got all of it but it was so very different and so very fascinating. A very different book to most dystopian literature. I’m still wondering about those weird listening holes… and all the rest of it. As well as how it must be not to be able to be close to your children because their speech makes you sick…
  • Karen Thompson Walker. The Age of Miracles was the second book I read this year and it was really different and very good. I liked the different take on a dystopian novel and how it also had focus on the fact that life goes on, especially when you’re a teenager.
  • Colm Tóibín. I was so impressed with not only Tóibín’s courage to take on the story of the mother of Jesus and her lack of belief in her son being the Son of God but also with the way he did it. The Testament of Mary is a wonderful novella, highly recommended. And I plan on reading more by Tóibín!
  • Alan Bennett. I absolutely adored The Uncommon Reader and I was so well entertained by it. It had it’s flaws, sure, but it was so very good at the same time. And the ending absolutely blew me away! If this one is typical of the way Bennett writes, I definitely want to explore him further in the future.*
  • Jim Butcher. When I needed something light and entertaining to help me deal with too much work and too little sleep, Jim Butcher was the man to deliver it. I’ve read the two first of The Dresden Files (Storm Front and Fool Moon) and while they are not amazing fantasy, they were good enough to keep me entertained and awake, no easy feat!

* Okay, this is rather embarrassing. Apparently, I read The Clothes They Stood Up In back in 2008 and liked it somewhat … So he’s not a new author. Or is he, when I had completely forgotten having ever read anything by him?

Related posts:

Karen Thompson Walker: The Age of Miracles (review)

Sometimes on white nights, as the sunlight crept in beneath my curtains, I tried to recall what it felt like to sleep in sync with the sun. How strange and peaceful it sounded to dream every night in the dark. (p. 237)

age of miraclesWhat would happen if the world started to slow so that the days slowly grew longer, first by only a few minutes, but then by hours – and the days just continued growing as the earth slows down?

Well, at first it might sound absolutely wonderful. Who hasn’t dreamt of adding a few extra hours to the day, hours that could be spent reading some of the many, many books on my to-read list and wish-list!

But when the days just keep growing longer, it has huge influences on many things. The birds start dying, the whales beach themselves and die, the crops can’t live and grow with the prolonged periods of light – and especially dark. And of course, the people are feeling it too. If the sun shines for 72 hours, how do you cope?

For Julia and her parents, their day to day life is hugely changed after the earth slowed. Of course, they are growing scared and insecure because the future is suddenly unknown and life as they know it, have changed completely. And their family unit as well as Julia’s friendships are threatened. But – and this is definitely one of the book’s strengths – Julia questions how much of the changes are caused by this disaster and how much is caused just by normal human life, always changing.

The book is told from Julia’s point of view which gives it an interesting dimension. Because, yes, Julia is worried about what’s happening and wonders why her father works so much, but she worries even more about the cute boy in school and about her best friend having to go away. Which of course makes perfect sense for a teenager to care about these things, worry about being teased by the others and generally care more about these everyday aspects of life than about the bigger issues.

What’s interesting about this type of dystopia is, that we never get an explanation about why the earth slowed. We’re just told it has, that the days keep getting longer and longer and that people are struggling to cope, that conflicts between those who want to keep living in 24 hour days and those who want to live in accordance with the sun are erupting – but no explanation. The question is: do we need such an explanation?  For parts of the book, I really wanted to know. But then I realized that that’s not important. The important thing is how people react, how easily we turn on each other when we are scared and see others as being different – and that life goes on, no matter what. That even though the world is slowly grinding to a halt, life is still being lived.

And I guess that is what is fascinated about such books. How we the people react and how even such drastic events in some ways get old and the more pressing things of every day life becomes more important – especially when you are a teenager. I also really liked how she showed how different people tackled the event and how the dominant faction, the  ones continuing to live 24-hour-days, started persecuting the ones trying to live their days as the sun dictated.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I thought the premise was extremely promising and that the novel for the most parts delivered. It’s not necessarily a novel that stays with you after you finish it but it is a fascinating idea – and an extremely capable debut novel.

  • Title: The Age of Miracles
  • Author: Karen Thompson Walker
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
  • Year: 2012
  • Pages: 373 pages
  • Source: Own Collection
  • Stars: 4 stars out of 5

Ehm … yes …

So today my daughter turned 4. We hang out all day, her father, her and I, celebrated in her kindergarten, went to the cinema and watched Madagascar 3 and just had a blast. We did spend some time at a bookstore (she already loves bookstores) and … well, yeah, I did buy a couple of books. I really wasn’t supposed to, I can’t really afford it, and I already own more than enough books… But still, when I saw these two books, I had to have them.

Is there more dystopian novels coming out than there used to be? This one is dystopian, I recently bought The Leftovers by Tom Perotta and that’s dystopian as well and it just seems to me that there are a lot of these novels coming out these days. Maybe it’s the recession and the financial issues we all face, I don’t know – whatever it is, I think the idea of both this and The Leftovers seem intriguing and well thought-out so I’m looking forward to reading them.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

A new Sherlock Holmes novel. And according to some reviewers (Amritorupa), this is even better than the real deal. I don’t know if that can be true, but I am definitely looking forward to reading both the original novels and this one.

For the first time in its one-hundred-and-twenty-five-year history, the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel.
Once again, THE GAME’S AFOOT…
London, 1890. 221B Baker St. A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap – a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. In the days that follow, his home is robbed, his family is threatened. And then the first murder takes place.
Almost unwillingly, Holmes and Watson find themselves being drawn ever deeper into an international conspiracy connected to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston, the gaslit streets of London, opium dens and much, much more. And as they dig, they begin to hear the whispered phrase-the House of Silk-a mysterious entity that connects the highest levels of government to the deepest depths of criminality. Holmes begins to fear that he has uncovered a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society.
The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate chose the celebrated, #1 New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz to write The House of Silk because of his proven ability to tell a transfixing story and for his passion for all things Holmes. Destined to become an instant classic, The House of Silk brings Sherlock Holmes back with all the nuance, pacing, and almost superhuman powers of analysis and deduction that made him the world’s greatest detective, in a case depicting events too shocking, too monstrous to ever appear in print…until now.

Further reading: