Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are discussing our Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition.
I honestly feel so out of the loop on which authors are getting recognition these days and which aren’t. For some, I feel like I am way behind the curve (I’m looking at you Tahereh Mafi!) but for others I feel like I may be only slightly ahead. But since this book blog – and I think Broke and the Bookish as well – leans toward having an audience who is more YA-focused, I’m going to recommend some of my favorite adult book authors in case you haven’t had a chance to veer into that section of the bookstore as often as you might like.
That being said, along the theme of under-appreciated YA authors, if you haven’t read anything by Merrie Haskell, you really should.
If You Love These YA Books, Then Try…
1. If you love The Name of the Star, then try Alan Bradley!
Fans of Maureen Johnson’s Name of the Star series might also like the British flavor of Alan Bradley’s murder mystery novels. Alan Bradley has written a number of mysteries, but the series I like best is his Flavia de Luce series, which starts with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The series is set in England in the 1950’s and its heroine, Flavia, is an 11-year-old amateur chemist and detective. She’s basically Sherlock Holmes crossed with Harriet the Spy and I adore her. With its 11-year-old protagonist, I’m not exactly sure why this series isn’t marketed as YA, to be honest with you. Fans of Johnson will enjoy Flavia’s spunk and her hysterical relationship with her two sisters, and mystery fans will enjoy the excellently written who-done-it that will keep you guessing until the final page.
2. If you love Vampire Academy, then try Patricia Briggs!
Fans of the gritty Vampire Academy series might want to give some adult urban fantasy a try. Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series is a good starting place, because unlike some other adult urban fantasy out there, there is not a great deal of language or physicality in the novels. Much like Rose Hathaway, Mercy is a strong female character who feels completely self-sufficient and does not like relying on anyone to help her out. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and is really a kick-butt protagonist. There’s also a great slow-burn romance in this series as well that can’t be missed! And from a fantasy perspective, this series truly has it all, from vampires to fae to werewolves to demons to, well – you name it, it’s probably in there somewhere.
3. If you love Grave Mercy, then try Guy Gavriel Kay!
Fans of Grave Mercy might enjoy the historical fantasy novels written by Guy Gavriel Kay. Kay’s novels are set in various historical periods – medieval Spain, Constantinople, the Tang Dynasty – and are just epically gorgeous. These novels are sweeping, with characters that will stay with you forever. They are delicious to read and you want to just linger in the words on the page. But they are also dark – you will find assassins, and plots, and betrayals, and intrigue in almost all of his books. His book The Lions of al Rassan is perhaps the only book I’ve ever finished and then re-opened and started reading again just because I wasn’t ready to let go of the world and those words and those characters. He explores brotherly love and true love and, yes, magic. I recommend starting with Lions or A Song for Arbonne.
4. If you love Little Women, then try Geraldine Brooks!
Geraldine Brooks is the Pulitzer Prize award-winning author of March, a novel that tells the story of Little Women from the perspective of the father, who is largely absent from that novel. As you may recall, Mr. March was off serving as a chaplain in the Civil War. This book is at once a great piece of historical fiction (Brooks referenced the various journals of Louisa May Alcott’s own father to help draw her character in this novel) and a beautiful revisiting of characters we all know and love. I also love her novel Year of Wonders, which follows the life of a woman living during the plague outbreak in England.
5. If you love Code Name Verity, then try Irene Nemirovsky!
Irene Nemirovsky is best known for her beautiful, haunting novel Suite Française. This novel follows the story of a number of families in Paris in 1940 on the eve of Nazi occupation. The stories themselves are beautiful, but the book itself has a story worthy of its own novel. Nemirovsky was a well-known author in Europe in the 1940s when she started work on this novel. But she was also a Jew and in 1942, she was deported to Auschwitz, where she died. This novel was not discovered for over sixty years, when it was found and translated. It paints a horrifying picture of what life must truly have been like from someone we know witnessed the worst of it. Fair warning – the novel is comprised of two parts of what was meant to be a five-part novel. While it certainly stands on its own, you will feel a profound sadness, both for not knowing what happens in the characters’ lives, as well as for knowing what happened in Nemirovsky’s.
If You Love These Television Shows, Then Try…
6. If you love Sherlock, then try Laurie R. King!
Whether you love the BBC series or the original books (or both!) you might just love Laurie R. King’s take on Sherlock, which starts with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. King’s series begins in the post-Watson, post-Doyle Sherlock years, admitting that those stories were written but starting with the presumption that they were somewhat exaggerated so that Doyle could obtain a greater readership. You meet all of your old favorite Sherlock characters, with the excellent addition of Sherlock’s new sidekick and eventual partner, the American, Jewish female Mary Russell. Where Watson was Sherlock’s sidekick, Mary is truly his equal and watching them verbally spar is a great joy to behold.
7. If you love The Tudors, then try Sharon Kay Penman!
Fans of the historical fiction genre can’t help but love Sharon Kay Penman. Her books are everything historical fiction should be – well researched, well written, and most of all absolutely compelling. Her main characters are great and she realizes that the true story of what happened is often more compelling than any fiction. While of course she does add characters and move timelines around where necessary to make the novel flow, she has excellent historical notes following all of her novels, making clear what’s fiction and what isn’t. These novels really make history come alive and are so well written you might even forget you’re learning something as you go. Her first novel, The Sunne in Splendour, is a standalone so that might be a good place to start, but I also really love her Here Be Dragons trilogy. As an added bonus her blog, which I follow on Goodreads, offers a number of really timely and interesting tidbits about British history and its intersection with today’s world (for example, one recent post discusses the implications of Will & Kate’s child’s gender).
What Authors am I Missing?
I know, I could only come up with 7 to recommend this time around – BUT I also recommend the books and shows on the first half of the sentences up there, so really you got 15 killer recommendations from me this week (counting Haskell, of course!). But who don’t I know about yet that I should really be reading? Looking forward to hearing from you!