Happy Tuesday lovelies! Like a true blue book nerd, I love a good list. This week for Top Ten Tuesday, the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish ask bloggers to list the top ten authors they read for the first time in 2013. Most of the books I’ve read this year were written by authors I hadn’t read before (43 out of 60), so I have a nice big pool to draw from!
1. Willa Cather. O Pioneers! was one of the first books I read this year, and I was surprised by how much I loved it! I really enjoyed this book about a strong female protagonist written more than 100 years ago. Cather’s writing is gorgeous, and she does an amazing job of evoking a sense of place. I hope to read more of her prairie trilogy in 2014!
2. Toni Morrison. After putting it off for more than a year, I finally read Beloved this year — and I was blown away. So blown away, in fact, that my “review” is a few rambling, incoherent paragraphs about how I don’t have any words to talk about how powerful this book is. I’m still kind of intimidated by ToMo, but I’m so glad I finally read one of her books!
3. Lucy Wood. You guys, the short stories in her debut collection, Diving Belles, are incredible. They’re dreamy and mythic, and I wanted to dive into them and never surface. I love love love her atmospheric writing style and can’t wait to see what she does next.
4. Jesmyn Ward. Salvage the Bones won the National Book Award, and for good reason. I loved the raw power of her writing, her references to mythology, and her depiction of a culture I’m so unfamiliar with. Her latest book, The Men We Reaped was released fairly recently, and it’s pretty high up on my TBR list.
5. Maria Semple. When I read that Maria Semple was a writer for Arrested Development, one of my favorite TV shows, I knew I was going to like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and I wasn’t disappointed. I haven’t read many (any?) epistolary novels, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the format worked for this story. I really enjoyed this quirky novel!
6. Anthony Marra. Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena was one of my favorite books this year. He deftly weaves together a really huge, fragmented story of war, family, love, and loss. I was impressed with his gorgeous sentences and complex, fully realized characters.
7. Kate Atkinson. I know Atkinson is beloved by many and I’m way behind the curve on this one. But Life After Life blew my mind a little bit. I loved the way she approached a premise that could easily have felt gimmicky or grown repetitive in what felt like a fresh, interesting way. I’m looking forward to exploring her back catalog!
8. Hannah Kent. Burial Rites, Kent’s first book, might just be my absolute favorite book of 2013. This historical novel is heartbreaking and astonishingly well written. There were some passages that I had to read aloud, just to feel the beautiful words form in my mouth. I think Kent is an incredible talent, and I’m eager to follow her career!
9. Wally Lamb. Another author I’m coming to late! We Are Water is the first book of his that I’ve read, and I loved it. Lamb does a great job of creating multifaceted, layered characters, and I liked the way he weaves multiple narratives into one gorgeous, cohesive story.
10. Jonathan Miles. I just finished Want Not a few days ago and haven’t had a chance to review it, but it’s definitely one of my favorites this year. Miles’ writing is fantastic — equal parts funny, devastating, and insightful. I’m becoming a huge fan of books about disparate characters whose lives intersect in interesting and unexpected ways, and Miles is an expert at creating this type of story.
What are your favorite authors that you read for the first time this year?