Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors

Welcome to my first Top Ten Tuesday since September!  This week's topic, provided by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish, is Favorite New-to-Me Authors I read in 2012.  I'm excited about this topic because I read several new authors this year and it's high time I rambled on about them!  Because, you know, I never do that in my posts or anything.

10) A.S. Byatt: I definitely had my ups and downs with Possession, but in the end I really liked it.  Byatt's writing can be hard to engage with, but it was worth it in the end.
9) Hilary Mantel: I really enjoyed Mantel's take on Tudor England through the perspective of Thomas Cromwell.  Bring Up the Bodies was a great find and I can't wait to read the rest of her trilogy, especially the first installment!
8) George R.R. Martin: I don't think that GRRM is actually the 8th best writer on this list, or even one of the ten best new writers I read this year in terms of literary skill, but I did fall for his famed A Song of Ice and Fire series and that can't be denied.  Game of Thrones and the rest were definitely worth the time invested and I can't wait to read the rest of the series, despite the occasional need to skim.
7) Lydia Netzer: I felt so much affection for Shine, Shine, Shine - is that a thing?  It was really good, though it didn't blow me off my feet, but it was just such a sweet, lovely story that I wanted to give it lots of hugs.  Netzer is not just new-to-me, but new to the world as well, and I'm excited to find out what else she has to offer.
6) Tana French: Tana French!  I haven't posted a review of anything by her yet, but I'm just loving her Dublin Murder Squad series.  I raced through In the Woods and am currently nearing the end of The Likeness and I'm loving how her "thrillers" are so much more than that - dark and psychological, with so many layers.  I've already got the last two books in the series in my Audible library and anticipate many more hours with her twisted tales.
5) Gillian Flynn: Going along with the whole psychological thriller theme, Flynn's another disturbing, so-called genre writer that I read for the first time this year, and Gone Girl drew me in like no other audiobook I've read.  Flynn's really mastered the ability to keep her readers on the edges of their seats.
4) Jonathan Safran Foer: I just loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  I never knew whether to laugh or cry and that's the beauty of it, plus I just spent the whole book wanting to hugging little Oskar. I'm still on the fence about whether I want to see the movie, but I definitely want to read more by Foer. And it doesn't hurt that he's a vegetarian!
3) Suzanne Collins: It's been a while since I've read a dystopia that I really love and The Hunger Games fit the bill.  I loved Katniss and the twisted world she lived in, which Collins really brought to life, and the actually-good epilogue left me with just the right flavor in my mouth.  And the movie of the first book was actually good (except for how it caused me motion sickness).  How often does that happen?!
2) Jess Walter: Beautiful Ruins was just fantastic.  It was so unusual but satisfying in construction, the story lines were sweet and honest, and the narration was apt and introspective, which all made for a great story.
1) Ann Patchett: I knew from the first few pages of Bel Canto that Patchett was an amazing author.  She drew me in from the start and had me hooked until the very end.  It was one of those reading experiences where it feels like something's happened to you in some fundamental way.  Just wonderful.  I can't wait to read more by her.

It turns out that I read twenty new authors this year, so I just eliminated those that didn't do much for me and ranked the rest.  Luckily I managed a list of exactly ten.  How convenient!  Ranking was a little hard because for a lot of them I was trying to weigh writerliness (sure, that's a word) and audiobook experience.  The most engaging audiobook (Gone Girl) didn't actually indicate my favorite author, just whose book was best suited for audio.

What about you?  What were the best new-to-you authors you discovered this year?


  1. I've been meaning to do Hilary Mantel for a few months now. Her latest is showing up an all the "best of" lists for 2012. And I love the whole tudor history. I have Wolf Hall on my Nook.

    Gillian Flynn made my list too! I listened to Gone Girl and was HOOKED! What an unsettling read. I can't wait to attack her backlist.

    Oooh, and I'm also just starting to stalk Beautiful Ruins. How did I not hear of this book till all of the end of the year lists? Italy is calling me...

    1. The Tudors are so interesting - I read fiction and non-fiction about them.

      Oh, I hope you love Beautiful Ruins too! It was so good! I'll have to check out your list too...

  2. I missed out on Amazon's Gone Girl deal for $2.99 and I'm kicking myself for it. I really want to read that book, it sounds (and has great reviews!) fantastic.

    1. It was on sale for $2.99 at one point?! I had no idea - I used a credit! But yes, it was really good. I was surprised at how much I liked it.

  3. Yay for Hilary Mantel, George R.R. Martin, Tana French, and Gillian Flynn making the list. My favorites. With Suzanne Collins, I thought the second in the series was good, but the third fell flat, and I was sorely disappointed. I bought Battle Royale a few months ago and fully intend to read that soon, especially since there was all the controversy that The Hunger Games was just a version of it.

  4. I have a huge literary crush on Jonathan Safran Foer! Even Eating Animals is good. I really liked Tell the WOlves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt- check out my blog for the rest (and a giveaway).