When I first saw this week’s topic, Authors You Want to Read More From: Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more, I thought it would be a piece of cake. Don’t we all have authors we’d like to read more from but whose other works are just slightly further down on the tbr list? It turns out when it comes to authors I’ve already read, my tbr mostly falls into two categories:
1. Authors such as Dorothy Dunnett, V.E. Schwab, and Leigh Bardugo. I’ve read more than five of their books already, but sooner or later I want to read everything else they’ve ever written!
2. Authors who have only written one or two novels. I’ve read what they’ve published so far and I can’t wait to read whatever they publish next!
This second category seemed more in keeping with this week’s theme, so I’ve made an effort to keep this week’s Top 5 to authors who I have only read one or a few books from, and who I would buy new works from tomorrow if they were on the shelf, that’s how excited I am about the prospect of more!
A Little Life was one of the best books I read last year and a new all-time favourite of mine. First of all the writing is absolutely exquisite. In a lesser writer’s hands I’m not sure this grim sort of reverse fairy tale would work at all, let alone as well as it does, but in Yanagihara’s capable hands the book soars. Although it’s a hefty 720 pages, I read the book in about half a week because I couldn’t put it down! It’s also the type of book that appeals to me: dark and sometimes bleak, yet with glimpses of compassion and love that make you feel that all is not lost. The author’s prose and gift for storytelling, as well as her memorably flawed and broken characters had such an impact on me that I would buy her next book regardless of what it’s about. I can’t wait to devour more of her writing!
As you could probably tell from my review, Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale sucked me in quickly and never let me go. I was enchanted by the lyrical prose, the strength and compassion of heroine Vasya, and the weaving of folktales into this rich historical fantasy. It took me all of about 50 pages of The Bear and the Nightingale before I clicked Want to Read on the second volume in the series, The Girl in the Tower on goodreads. It looks like The Girl in the Tower isn’t out until early 2018, so there’s a bit of a wait ahead, but I am really looking forward to diving back into this magical medieval Rus’ setting and reuniting with Arden’s cast of strong characters. Her enchanting prose alone is enough to guarantee that I will happily pick up more of her work in the future.
At times it felt like Dickinson’s debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant was written just for me. I love books that feature political maneuvering and power, and I usually find stories featuring characters with a grey sense of morality engaging. In Baru, Dickinson creates a protagonist whose motive and reasons are understandable but the lengths she goes to in order to achieve her goals are sometimes difficult to stomach. It makes for a fascinating character study in a book that is brutally effective and completely engrossing. I also found the depiction of colonial empires and the methods colonizers use to stamp out undesirable traits in the colonies, (like Baru’s home island of Taranoke) such as criminalizing homosexuality, both disturbing and thought-provoking. Dickinson is currently working on the sequel, tentatively titled The Monster Baru Cormorant, and I CAN’T WAIT to get my hands on it! When an author manages to make detailed descriptions of economic policy not only understandable, but even interesting, you know he’s one to watch!
Robert Jackson Bennett
The exception to my list of authors who have only published one or two novels, I believe Robert Jackson Bennett has a few previous works that I have yet to check out, but the reason I’m a devotee is definitely his Divine Cities trilogy. I’ve read the first two volumes, City of Stairs and City of Blades, and absolutely loved them. As someone who enjoys epic fantasy, and who has always had an interest in mythology, these were right up by alley. I loved the detailed and rich world-building, his prose, and the fact that he uses a fantasy setting to explore themes of colonialism and racism. The number one reason to pick these books up though is definitely the strong female WoC protagonists in Shara and General Turyin Mulaghesh (the later a middle-aged, disabled, WoC general who swears. A lot.) The third volume, City of Miracles comes out next week (I’m already screaming about this!) and I can’t wait to finish the series, and then to see what Robert Jackson Bennett will do next, because I will be there!
Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was one of my favourite reads last year. Days and even weeks after finishing it, I found myself reflecting on the book, despite the fact that it was such a quick read I finished it in under 24 hours. I’ve since recommended the book to a few people and bought it as a gift for another. The author’s prose is absolutely exquisite and I found the book really well structured with characters who were real and flawed, as she explored themes of racism and sexism in 1970s small-town Ohio. I believe Celeste Ng’s next novel, Little Fires Everywhere, is scheduled for publication this fall, and I will definitely be picking it up!
Have you read any of these authors? Which authors do you NEED to read more from?