TTT: Favourite ‘New To Me’ Authors

copy-of-top-10-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Top Ten Tuesday is basically exactly as it sounds: participants list their ‘top ten’ of whatever the subject is every week.

The year is coming to a close, and with it come the inevitable ‘best of 2016’ lists. This week we’re looking at the ten best ‘new to me’ authors I discovered in 2016. Honestly, I stuck with a lot of tried and true favourites this year, so this list was a bit difficult to compile.

Here we go!

  • Richard Wagamese

I read Indian Horse this Easter, and it stayed with me for the rest of the year. Definitely an author I’ll be reading more of, and a book that is an important read for Canadians especially.

  • Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was exactly the sort of soft science fiction that I had been craving, and the excellent characterisation helped deliver.

  • Xia Jia

My favourite author from Invisible Planets, her beautiful writing and interesting concepts captured me and held on tight. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that I would love to read everything she’s ever written.

  • Hao Jingfang

Another fantastic writer from Invisible Planets, her creativity is incredibly compelling. I deeply wish there was more of her work available to read in English.

  • Laura Ruby

Bone Gap was the only magical realism novel I read this year, but I’m sure it would have won out over any competition. I look forward to reading more of Ruby’s work.

  • Andre Alexis

I loved philosophy class in uni, and Fifteen Dogs was certainly evocative of the philosophical puzzles that students wrestled with in class. A tragic but compelling book that cemented him as a success in my mind.

  • William Dalrymple

Some of the only non-fiction I’ve read this year, Nine Lives was a testament to Dalrymple’s skill as an author. Compelling real-life stories told without exoticism or patronising, I intend to read his other books.

  • Nnedi Okorafor

My only middle grade read this year, Akata Witch was a revelation of great kidlit. Exploring a new and unfamiliar (to me) kind of magic, it kept me guessing and thinking to the very last.

  • E.I. Wong

My favourite blogger before he hung up his keyboard, Eric Wong’s poetry is at times off-colour, and humorous at all times. I was exceptionally lucky to grab a copy of his book.

  • Charlaine Harris

I started speed-reading through the Sookie Stackhouse books this year. I’m on book eight now, and loving them. Expect a review of the series as a whole sometime in the new year.

So there you have it! I didn’t really do as much reading as I wanted this year, so a great deal of the authors I read are favourites. Still, that in no way means they’re not worthy of the title. It does mean that I (thankfully) didn’t read as many terrible books as I could have.

Who were your ‘new to you’ favourite authors this year? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments below!

Bone Gap

 

book-review-2

Despite the age-old adage to not judge a book by its cover, I often choose books based on their jackets. Lovely and interesting covers draw me in – an homage to the illustrators and graphic designers who create them. When buying a book the blurb on the back and occasionally the first page is what I use to make my decision. But when I have the freedom of borrowing a book (or browsing titles on NetGalley) I often choose books based entirely on their outer beauty and allure.

That’s how I came to find, read, and love Bone Gap.

Bone Gap Cover.jpg

Magic realism has always been a genre that fascinates me. Whether done well or badly it’s something that has always stuck with me. I love stories where odd things happen and the characters accept it as the norm, or when strange beings or peoples coexist silently in the world already familiar to the reader.

Bone Gap is kind of both of those things and neither of them.

This book tell the tale of an abduction that the majority of side-characters don’t believe actually happened.

Alternating chapters tell the story from the perspective of several characters. While usually a writing device that I hate, I found it wonderful here. Every character was nuanced enough to seem real, and I wanted to hear more from all of them. No matter who I was with, I was always deeply engaged in the story.

The characters we see the most of are Finn, who is called ‘Moonface’ among other unflattering names by those in Bone Gap, Roza, a captivating young woman whose beauty is not her most important quality, and Petey, who struggles with an undeserved reputation.

Set in a small town where different often means outcast the magical elements of this book were subtle but pervasive. Though seemingly normal, the entire setting of the book was magical – the strange occurrences that spurred the plot along only proved it. The very subtle inclusion of a familiar myth made it all the better for me, especially as more of Roza’s backstory is revealed.

Through the eyes of different people, both good and bad, this book explores love. What it means, how it works, and what it does to us as individuals, families, and communities. Because of the subject matter, I found the villain of the book particularly chilling and excellently characterized.

Laura Ruby’s writing was powerful and beautiful, and I think she tied up all the loose ends of the story perfectly. I will gladly seek out more of her books.

Is there an excellent tale of magical realism that has stuck in your head?