Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Favorite “New to Me” Authors of 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Pay them a visit, or check out everybody’s lists at the home post for this week.

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Top Ten New to me Authors in 2014:

This is one of my favorite topics of the year. One of the best benefits of participating in the book blogging community is learning of new authors from your fellow bloggers. I’m happy to say that my reading the past five years has been greatly enriched by the addition of many authors who I only learned of through my fellow book bloggers. I heartily thank you all, and today I’ll share some of my favorite new-to-me authors of the year. The following are in a rough ascending order with my favorite being number 1…

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  1. Katherine Vaz – I’ve been reading through her collection of short stories, “Fado and Other Stories” this year and have just been blown away. I’ve posted about a couple of her stories, “Undressing the Vanity Dolls” and “Fado” if you’d like to hear more about her.
  2. Ernesto Sabato – His book, “The Tunnel,” was recommended to me by a co-worker. It was great! I even recommended it for the book club at Indy Reads Books when they were looking for a ‘short’ book before reading a longer one (I think the longer one was Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” – HE didn’t make this list) and they liked it too.
  3. Ralph Ellison – One of those “I’m embarrassed that I’ve never read” books for me has always been Ellison’s “Invisible Man.” Fortunately, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library book club read it for Banned Books Month in September. Very deep and often brilliant.
  4. Jess Walter – Wow. His collection of short stories “We Live in Water” blew me away a couple months ago. It looks like another local book discussion group will also be reading his novel Beautiful Ruins next year, which I’m looking forward to. Top that off with an Indy visit by this author for “Vonnegut Fest” in November, and he’s certainly become one of my favorite new-to-me authors.
  5. Ben Winters – I read a couple short stories of his, then his Edgar Award-winning novel “The Last Policeman” as preparation for a launch party for the final book in that same trilogy. Met him in person at that event and have subsequently read another great short story of his (“Between the Lines”) in the hot-off-the-presses anthology of local writers, “Indy Writes Books”
  6. Roxane Gay – Her story “North Country” has been one of my favorites from my 2014 Deal Me In short story project. I read a couple others by her since – and have one on my radar for next year – and was looking forward to a scheduled visit of hers to the local Vonnegut Library, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to health reasons.
  7. Leonid AndreevHis story “Lazarus” may be my favorite short story read of the year. I had never even heard of this author before I made “stories by Russian writers” a suit in my annual Deal Me In challenge
  8. Ken Liu – I enjoyed his sci-fi flavored story “What I Assume You Shall Assume” in the “Weird Western” anthology “Dead Man’s Hand” which I completed recently. He’s an author I definitely want to explore further. I need to write a blog post about that anthology too. It was a lot of fun. 🙂
  9. Martin Amis – I just finished reading his book, “Time’s Arrow” and hope to write a blog post about it soon. Very enjoyable fresh narrative perspective – a novel written in reverse time. Now that’s ambitious.
  10. Salman Rushdie – I’d never read him until I read the exceptional short story “Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella Consummate their Relationship” earlier this year. Of course I knew of him because of the infamous “fatwah” from back in the day, but this is the first I’ve read of him. I received some recommendations from others for subsequent reading which I hope to follow up on..

Okay, so those are ten of my favorite “New to Me” authors in 2014. Now I want to know who YOURS are… 🙂

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15 Comments

  1. bendingoverbookwards said,

    December 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I have to admit to only reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, as the other novels seem a little intimidating…
    Ken Liu seems an interesting author- how did you come across him?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Rushdie has some collection of stories about ‘east and west’ – or something like that – that sounded interesting. I do have one of his stories from The New Yorker on my list for my annual short story per week project next year. It’s called “In the South”

      I can’t remember where I head about that weird west anthology “Dead Man’s Hand” but it had some other pretty big names in it too. Shortly after I read his story, a fellow blogger also posted something positive about him which increased my interest. I’ll read him again.

      Like

  2. Dale said,

    December 9, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I got half way through Invisible Man and got sidetracked. I’ve liked it so far and will finish it. I don’t know if I can come up with ten new-to-me authors this year. James Baldwin probably is the favorite. Ring Lardner comes to mind, too. And I can’t forget Alexandre Dumas.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      December 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      I wouldn’t have had ten if it weren’t for DMI. 🙂

      Like

  3. Cassie said,

    December 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I just got that Jess Walter book for a deal on Amazon. I am so excited to read it now. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Ooh, awesome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The author was great “live” when he visited here last month too.

      Like

      • Cassie said,

        December 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Ah! I love that you saw her. I am always scared that my favorite authors will be terrible live.

        Like

        • Jay said,

          December 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

          I often have that same fear. (And actually “Jess” is a “he” in this case 🙂 )

          He mentioned in his comments that one of his stories in the book was “kind of like The Odyssey” and I mentioned to him that I had thought the same king and included that observation in a blog post. Later, when he signed my book he wrote “To Jay, who knows classics of all kinds…” Pretty cool. 🙂

          Like

  4. BookerTalk said,

    December 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I enjoyed reading Benediction by Kent Haruf (I’m a late comer to his work) but my absolute favourite new author this year is Chimamanda Adichie – Americanah was superb

    Like

    • Jay said,

      December 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      I have that Adichie book on my shelf; I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Haruf is a new name to me. Thanks for the tip!

      Like

  5. caitlinstern said,

    December 10, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I read Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children for a class, and remember it being interesting in bits, and less so in long stretches. Someday I have to try his infamous book, too.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      December 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      I think I’ll progress slowly with him, with a few more short stories first. I guess that’s how i approach getting acquainted with many authors… 🙂

      Like

  6. Alex said,

    December 11, 2014 at 9:51 am

    The only author here I’ve ever read is Rushdie (really liked Midnight’s Children and have Shalimar the Clown waiting in the TBR). You made me really curious about Andreev!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      If you read Lazarus be forewarned – it’s a very unsettling story… 🙂

      Like


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