Top Ten New-to-Me Authors of 2013

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!

ttt new to me

1. Willa CatherO 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 WardSalvage 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 KentBurial 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?

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33 thoughts on “Top Ten New-to-Me Authors of 2013

  1. Nice to see some authors that I don’t recognise here that I can explore! I have to admit that although I’ve heard about Toni Morrison for a long time now I’ve still not tried any of her work. I really need to remedy that situation!

    • I think you’ll love Diving Belles! I’m SO GLAD I bought a copy of Want Not. I’m super behind on reviews, but I’m hoping to write about it in the next few days!

  2. Great list! Toni Morrison is amazing, I’m glad you got to read her. I also have Maria Semple on my list, Where’d You Go Bernadette was one of my favorite books of the year. And Burial Rites is on my TBR list. I’ll have to check out some of the other authors you recommend.

  3. Great list! I’m hoping to read Kate Atkinson, Hannah Kent and Maria Semple in the new year (the books they released this year sound so awesome! In regards to the former two, I’m waiting for the books in paperback first, lol). Yay that Anthony Marra made your list! (he made it on my list as well :))

    My TTT

  4. Thanks for your always welcome posts. New authors for me this year overlap with a few of yours, plus a few additions. Met and really liked: Kate Atkinson, Maria Semple, Meg Wolitzer, Karen Thompson Walker, and (as I mentioned in my own blog, The Books That Mattered) Sylvia Plath–had read her poetry but had never gotten around to “The Bell Jar.” Merry Christmas & Happy Blogging in 2014!!!

  5. I haven’t looked at my 2013 list yet (OK, I haven’t even compiled it!) but the ones who come to mind and blew me away would be: Paul Harding, Claire Messud, Lawrence Osborne, Juliann Garey, and Kent Haruf. What I did notice was how many amazing debuts there were. Great year for reading overall!

  6. What a great list! Most of the books you mentioned are in my TBR list. I read Where’d You Go Bernadette this year too. I’ve heard so many good things about A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Burial Rites, Life After Life… So many books, so little time! 😉

  7. Hi :). You know I really love your blog. I have to say Willa Cather and Wally Lamb are probably two of my ‘new-to-2014’ authors to. I should have already something them, and yet I have not. Maybe 2014 will be the year.

    I also want to mention to you that I featured you as a blogger to know about in 2014 because I feel your blog has a lot of quality work to offer. You’ll be on my list of bloggers to watch out for ;). I’m glad I stumbled around upon your blog.

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