This week’s Top Ten Tuesday asks us to talk about the top new-to-me authors we’ve read this year. Well, this year has been kind of a year of re-reading for me – that, or continuing on with existing series – but there are a few authors I want to mention. There’s also a couple of rediscoveries in there.
I read two of Shute’s most popular works this year, A Town Like Alice and On The Beach, and they are two of my favourite books of the year. Shute’s writing is beautiful and kind of slow, but in a nice way – the words sink in and you’re left feeling everything the characters feel. It’s not something that every book can do. I’ve looked into Shute’s other novels and a lot of them seem to focus on people moving to Australia in the post-war era, a genre I never knew existed but that feels like it was created solely for me.
For a popular author, I haven’t heard much about Follett to date. I know he’s big in historical fiction circles, exactly the circles I want to be a part of, and I know one of my friends is a massive fan of Follett’s, well, massive books. And if there’s one thing I like, it’s huge tomes of brilliant historical fiction. I love being able to read the same great book all day long, and to have to put it down at the end of the day, unfinished, with several hundred pages to go – and that’s exactly what I did with Fall Of Giants, and what I hope to do with the rest of Follett’s work.
I found the Peter Grant series this year at just the right time. I was becoming frustrated with the Dresden Files, but I didn’t want to lose that kind of dynamic in my reading – enter Aaronovich. Aaronovich’s books are set in London, and there are times when they read like something of a love letter to the city. The description is spot on, and I love all the characters, and the magic system, and how they all interact. I also enjoy the way in which Aaronivich writes his mysteries, because I’m actually interested to see how it all works out.
I feel like Weir will probably make an appearance on a lot of people’s lists, and for good reason. I’m not sure what his other writing will be like, but he did create one of my favourite characters of all time (Mark Watney) and one of my favourite stories. It’s a lot to live up to, but at the very least Weir is one of my favourite discoveries from this year. He writes humour and scientific fact within the same sentence with the same amount of skill, and his plot was well thought out with an amazing, tense and emotional ending.
Diana Gabaldon (rediscovery)
If you’re a regular reader, you’re probably sick of hearing about my love for Gabaldon’s writing, but it had been almost ten years since I last read her books properly. A fact that sounds ridiculous when I tell you in the same breath that she’s one of my favourite authors. This year, though, I read (or reread) all of the books in her Outlander series, and the accompanying Lord John series, and if you’ve seen the size of these books, you’ll know that’s quite an effort. Gabaldon writes characters I have grown up with and now know so intimately that I feel I know them personally. She writes my favourite Historical-Adventure-Romance genre and uses fantastic, and otherwise underused words, words.
Bernard Cornwell (rediscovery)
And finally, Cornwell, a rediscovery after about eight years. I picked up The Saxon Stories series in October and fell right back in love. I have never met a Cornwell book I didn’t like, but I had forgotten how easily I become swept away by Cornwell’s writing. His main characters are never totally likeable, and make some questionable decisions but in a very realistic way. His stories are historical and bloody and fast paced; they are also the perfect books to get me back into the historical fiction genre.