Top Ten Tuesdays, 11/03/15

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.


Today’s theme is “Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel (because when you love a debut you just are ITCHING to get your hands on the author’s second book) or Top Ten Sophomore Novels That I Loved Just As Much If Not More As The Author’s Debut (no one hit wonders heeeere!)”

Unfortunately, this is a tough one for me. The question makes some assumptions:

  1. That I read a lot of first novels.
  2. That I follow the latest releases.

Neither assumption applies to me. I’m much more likely to read a novel published a hundred years ago than one published a month ago.

Therefore, I’m altering this week’s theme to “First books I happened to read that made me want to read more.” These are not necessarily the author’s first book.  In fact, only two of them are.  I’ll start with those two.

A Lady Awakened, by Cecelia Grant. The author’s first book is so good that I’ve read everything she’s written since.  It’s a Regency romance, but don’t let that stop you; Grant is a marvelous wordsmith, worth reading for her prose alone.  Combine that with top-notch historical research, and we have an author I highly recommend.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig.  Published over 40 years ago, this is an oldie but goodie.  It made enough of an impression on me that I read Pirsig’s second book, Lila, when it came out decades later.

The other books I picked  up in the middle of the authors’ career.

Wild Geese Calling, by Stewart Edward White. My parents got this from a book club.  Most of the books were classics, such as The Moonstone, David Copperfield, Tom Jones, etc, but this book was from 1940. I loved it. Still do. It’s a highly realistic tale of wilderness life on my beloved Pacific Northwest Coast (even though I live in Arizona now). For years I couldn’t find anything else by White, but now his complete works are available from Amazon.

Beat to Quarters, by C.S. Forester. This is the fifth in the eleven-book Hornblower saga, but the first I read. Since then, I’ve read them all. I read Forester’s African Queen as well, in preparation for writing a science fiction version of it (called Escapee, due out early in the new year), but the book isn’t nearly as good as the movie. The book’s more interested in the boat than the people.

Calculating God, by Robert J. Sawyer. By happy chance, I read this science fiction novel on the plane to Toronto.  It’s set in Toronto’ the Royal Ontario Museum, but I didn’t know that. Nor did I know that the ROM was almost directly across from our hotel. All I knew was that I loved Sawyer’s brand of speculation. Later, I got to know Rob and was impressed that he took positions he didn’t agree with, such as Intelligent Design, and then figured out ways (frequently wild!) that they could be believable. That’s what I call intellectual honesty.

The Silver Rose, by Jane Feather. This novel transcends its genre, historical romance, like the International Space Station transcends the Wright brother’s airplane. It’s literature, folks. Unfortunately, other books I’ve read by Feather, are planted firmly in their genre…and while there’s nothing wrong with that, they’ve been a tad disappointing.

Jane and the Canterbury Tale, by Stephanie Barron. The concept–turning Jane Austen into a detective–sounds horrible, to me at least.  I don’t like rip-offs, the worst of which has to be Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Yucky, yucky, yucky!  But this one works. The research is top notch and the stories entertaining. Each book focuses on a different aspect of Austen’s life, and I come away feeling I’ve gotten to know her. I haven’t read the entire series yet, but I’m getting there.

Be sure to check out other bloggers’ top ten lists.


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