Today’s prompt is Five “new to you” author discoveries from 2015.
Because I have a hard time following rules, I have almost ten new (to me) authors to mention; I’m sure you won’t mind.
I had read essays and articles by Ta-Nehisi Coates before. I knew, of course, who he was. But I hadn’t read anything full-length. Lots of thought-provoking stuff (is anything he writes frivolous?), but nothing that required both time and that I get down and dirty with those words. Between the World and Me was a re-discovery of a voice I already respected, but Imma include it anyway.
Mary Roach is another author I was familiar with in the sense that I’d heard it recommended over and over and over, but I hadn’t so much as read a sentence by her. I was surprised – pleasantly – when I dove into Stiff what a delightfully entertaining voice she has. Not many can pull off lengthy non-fiction books without ever once making the audience yawn or even think about counting the pages left until you’re either finished or ready for a break.
Robin Wasserman was a complete mystery to me. She has a few more books out (and I can’t wait to find them), but The Waking Dark was my first foray. I had no idea what to expect. Turns out she’s a bit Stephen King-ish with enough fearlessness to harness the comparison in her very own direction. I’d try anything by her now.
Jennifer Clement is going to be interesting to follow. I really liked her debut, Prayers for the Stolen, and her voice was distinctive…but not necessarily solid gold. I can see her taking a swing at a new story, with all her weight behind it, and missing. Or at least maybe not sailing the ball in my direction. Prayers was solid, tight, and her characters were phenomenally layered and complicated. It’s the voice I really need to see again before I’ll add her to my Pre-Order list.
David Arnold wrote one of my favorite books of the year, Mosquitoland, about the misadventures of tweenaged MIM, and if you haven’t read it, READ IT ALREADY. Arnold has a new book out in Fall 2016 and even though there’s no synopsis or cover art, the bookstore already let me pre-order it. How’s that for a thumbs up on his writing abilities?
My cousin recommended I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson earlier this year. Nelson writes like she curled up inside our imaginations when we were kids, and reaped them for her stories. She has one other book out and if I do not get it for Christmas, I’m going straight out and buying it. I need more.
Cheryl Strayed, Sugar, she of Tiny Beautiful Things. If you’ve been following my #AMonthofFaves journey, you’re begging me to shut up about Strayed already. (But I CAN’T! It took me too long to discover Strayed and what if you make the same mistake?!!)
Finally, I have to include Marlon James, who authored one of 2014’s It Books: A Brief History of Seven Killings. The novel was neither brief, nor only filled with seven killings, but every word was necessary to unfold the epic story of 1970s Jamaica. James writes like he was there, like he is everywhere, and the way he wrote made it immediately obvious that Seven Killings is going to be a classic.