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:

Félix J. Palma: The Map of Time (review)

the-map-of-timeOh what a ride this was. What a ride!

In a novel split into three separate but intertwined story lines, we meet a young man and a young woman having troubled love life in ways, that are not so easily remedied. Like for instance Andrew Harrington who is madly in love with Marie Kelly – who is then murdered by Jack the Ripper. Andrew is thrown into huge depths of despair which after 8 long years causes him to want to kill himself. However, his cousin intervenes, claiming that it will be possible for Andrew to travel back in time and save Marie by killing Jack the Ripper.

Because time travel is possible. A man has opened a business in the middle of London where he offers the possibility to travel to the year 2000 and see the final battle between the humans and the automatons. So the cousins visit this man, Gilliam Murray, to make him help them go back in time.

But time traveling is not all that easy so Murray encourages them to enlist the help of the one man responsible for putting the idea of time traveling and dreams of the future in to the minds of everyone, the author of The Time Machine, H.G. Wells. Because guess what he has stashed away in the attic?

Meanwhile, Claire Haggerty is quickly making herself impossible, refusing to bow down to her parents’ expectations about how it is proper for a young lady to behave. When she and her cousin goes on one of Murray’s time travels to the year 2000, she falls in love with the handsome captain leading the human charge, Derek Shackleton. Another impossible love, separated by more than 100 years and with unforeseeable consequences should one of them attempt to stay with the other.

Not much is exactly as it seems in this novel. People are not telling the truth, real historical figures rub elbows with imagined ones, and with the possibility of time travel nothing is sacred. Everything is subject to change. Or so it seems.

And just when things really get weird or when people start getting intimate, the author calmingly inserts himself to explain a few things, point something out that the characters may not know (yet) or even to give them a bit of privacy. He does this all the way through this book and I loved that!

I’m fascinated by the paradoxes time traveling causes. In this book, the characters are faced with the typical ones; the ones, we know from Return to the FutureDoctor Who and more. What happens if you kill your own grandparents? If you change something in the past, how will it effect the future? And is time traveling even possible?

I really haven’t read much science fiction, I haven’t read anything by H.G. Wells, and I don’t know much about the theories behind parallel universes but I absolutely loved this novel. Parts of it were better than others, but still, the ideas in this novel are so fantastic and amazing that I just loved it. I am no judge as to whether these are actually new and amazing ideas or I’m just new to the genre, so keep that in mind but this one comes with my warmest recommendations. This is the way I like my speculative fiction!

With surprise guests like Bram Stoker, Henry James and The Elephant Man, this novel is a roller coaster of unexpected twists and turns. Reality is not what you thought it was – or maybe it is – or maybe it isn’t. Who knows? You’ll have to read this thing to find out what’s real and what’s not because I’m not telling. And guess what? There’s a sort of sequel so it doesn’t end here! Or maybe it does…

‘Aren’t there lies that make life more beautiful?’ (p. 418)

  • Title: The Map of Time
  • Author: Félix J. Palma
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Year: 2012 (original 2008)
  • Pages: 514 pages
  • Source: Own collection
  • Stars:  4 stars out of 5

Top Ten Books At The TOP Of My Spring 2013 TBR list!

toptentuesday-1So I like keeping list of books I want to read soon. I often think about which book to read next so this week’s list of books I want to read this spring, was rather easy to put together.

As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There are a lot of people participating, people reading all kinds of books, so if you check out some of the other blogs, beware of your to-read list – it might explode!

  1. Jonathan Safran Foer: Everything is Illuminated. I hadn’t planned to read this anytime soon but then I discovered that it’s the next group read for the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die group on Goodreads, beginning March 15. I read and loved Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close last year so I’m actually looking forward to this read.
  2. SJ Watson: Before I Go To Sleep. I have heard so much good about this book about a woman who is unable to remember her past or who she is – and who slowly starts to question if everything is right with her husband and with what he is telling her. It’s a debut novel and it sounds unputdownable!
  3. Amy Chua: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. So this book has gotten a lot of bad publicity but ever since I heard an interview with Amy Chua, I’ve wanted to read it.
  4. Félix J. Palma: The Map of Time. I don’t know quite how to describe this book. It sounds like a combination of a lot of different genres and just utterly engrossing and fascinating. Like a wild ride. It takes place in London in 1896, it’s about a man who has lost his lover to Jack the Ripper and a woman who struggles against the rules of Victorian society. And it involves H.G. Wells and some sort of machine that will change anything.
  5. Erik Valeur: Det syvende barn. (The Seventh Child.) 7 babies are born at the same hospital and are all placed at the same orphanage from which they are all adopted – without knowing their back ground. But they all receive an anonymous letter detailing their past and this sets events in motion. Both my mother and mother-in-law have read this and loved it and it has been rather popular in Denmark so here we go. I will read more books by Danish authors!!!
  6. Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus. Oh how I want to read this book. I actually want to read it so bad that I’m scared to do so and therefore, I keep pushing it back. I’m afraid that I have too high expectations and that they will ruin the book for me. But I want to read it and I will read it – and soon.
  7. Benjamin Hale: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore. An interspecies lovestory. Bruno is a chimpanzee who falls in love with his human teacher. I was dying to read this when it was published, bought it – and it has been gathering dust on the shelf ever since … Now’s the time!
  8. Eowyn Ivey: The Snow Child. Everyone has read this, most seem to like it. It sounds like some sort of sad fairy tale and I have it home from the library and want to get to it to see what all the fuss is about – and if it is as good as people say it is.
  9. J.K. Rowling: The Casual Vacancy. Why haven’t I read Rowling’s new book yet? I bought it right after Christmas and I’m looking forward to reading it but somehow, I haven’t gotten around to it yet. When you liked the Harry Potter books, this is kind of a must-read and I really liked them so – another need to read soon. Maybe I’m a bit scared of this one not living up to my expectations too…
  10. Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap. This is another one I’ve been wanting to read for a while. A parent slaps someone else’s child and the repercussions are overwhelming. We had a case of that here in Denmark and the mother who slapped someone else’s child, was put in jail. I have felt the urge to slap kids if they are doing something to my girls, I can feel the lion mom come up in me, so even though I have never acted on this – and probably never will – I can see myself in this book.

Related posts:

Book Buying 2013 – part 1

One might think that I haven’t bought any books this year since I haven’t posted about it. One might think so, yes – but one would be very wrong. I just haven’t gotten my blogging act enough together so far this year to get such a post done. So here it is – the 8 books I’ve bought so far this year …!

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  1. SJ Watson: Before I Go to Sleep
  2. J.K. Rowling: The Casual Vacancy
  3. Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
  4. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas
  5. Toni Morrison: Beloved
  6. Salman Rushdie: Joseph Anton. A Memoir
  7. Erlend Loe: Doppler
  8. Félix J. Palma: The Map of Time

5 of these have been bought from Strand Bookstore in New York (online). The SJ Watson one I bought at a local bookstore after hearing about it on the Guardian Books podcast. Dopper and The Map of Time was bought at my favorite bookstore in Odense – I had never heard of Doppler before but got it highly recommended by young girl working as a trainee in the store – she spoke so positively about it and it’s about an elk so how could I possibly not buy it?

As you can see, I’ve already read the Salman Rushdie one – and really enjoyed it – and I’m currently reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved and really liking it. Enjoying is the wrong word to use for how I feel about that book but it’s an important book and I do get a lot from reading it even though I sometimes have to read the same paragraph over and over to really get what is happening. But that’s okay. I don’t mind that as long as the book has so much to offer as this one truly has.

Anyway, most of these books – or at least about half of them – are well-known and I’m really looking forward to reading all of them. I think they all sounds very interesting and fascinating – duh, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them – and I hope to get to them all soon (-ish).

So as you can see, no book buying ban here… I just keep on buying even though the shelves (and the boyfriend) are groaning …!