We know what you're thinking: this week we're about to recommend you ten of our most favorite authors in the world. We're going to rhapsodize about J.K. Rowling's plotting, Suzanne Collins's worldbuilding and Tahereh Mafi's way with words. We're going to break out the good, old "if you haven't read this yet, where have you been" (which is about as encouraging to a new reader as being hit with said book upside the head).
If this was your assumption, we have good news for you.
This week's top 10 Monday is dedicated to our own proverbial smack upside the head with a good book. In an effort to quit including "Harry Potter" in every single top 10 list we've ever made, this week we've decided to break away from the routine. The ten authors featured below are distinguished not because you should be reading them, but because we feel like we should be reading them. These are the authors whose praise has reached and intrigued us, but we haven't yet had a chance to pick up any of their books. Consider this list gratituous, therefore, in the sense that this is as much for our own benefit as it is for our readers'. Consider this list encouraging, too. If you're new to any of the bandwagons/fandoms/whachamacallits featured below, here on TheHonestBookclub you'll find two other newbies eager to discover them with you.
1. Markus Zusak
You (should) have heard of this famous Aussie by now: two out of five of his novels have held top spots on international bestseller lists for months at a time, and his latest, The Book Thief has garnered all-but-unanimous worldwide praise before being adapted to the big screen in 2013.
Why we should be reading this author: What is perhaps the most unique thing about Marcus, however, is the ubiquitousness of the appeal of his books. The Book Thief wields some strange power where it will invariably become a person's favorite book (or at least among their top favorites) regardless of the gender, age, nationality or overall literary taste of said person. We've seen elders who favor classics praising Zusak's writing every bit as much as teenagers who prefer vampire novels. It's a perplexing magic that we at TheHonestBookclub are eager to experience.
George R. R. Martin, too, is pretty well-known, regardless of your overall taste in books. If you're having trouble placing him, here's a hint: he's the guy who kills a Stark every time he's asked about the release date of his next novel. Or, more specifically, just as Daenerys is the Mother of Dragons, George R. R. Martin is the father of Westeros. Apart from the widely famous Song of Ice And Fire series (which the Game of Thrones TV show was adapted from), George R. R. Martin has penned over 30 other novels that span several horror, science fiction and fantasy series, a handful of standalones and short stories.
Why we should be reading this author: Many argue that George R. R. Martin has done as much for fantasy literature in the 21st century as J. R. R. Tolkien has done in the 20th, and he has been dubbed "the American Tolkien" on numerous occasions. Based on the TV show alone, it is unquestionable that Martin's imagination is unparalleled. This should come as no surprise given that he has spent a number of years working as a writer-producer on television in the '80s and '90s. This is the man who understands the written medium every bit as well as the visual one, and wields this knowledge in combining some of the most colorful, vivid imagery in books that crosses gender and generation gaps. Everyone should at least attempt to be a part of that.
At just 27 years of age, my namesake Alexandra Bracken has a successful dystopian trilogy - The Darkest Minds - almost behind her (the movie rights to which have been optioned by Twentieth Century Fox). On top of that, Alexandra's debut novel Brightly Woven has brought her international recognition as an up-and-coming author, as well as critical acclaim that most authors in their twenties can only cream of.
Why we should be reading this author: Alexandra wrote her first novel while still in college, at only nineteen, and it was intended as a birthday present for a friend! (Sounds like a friend everyone needs in their lives.) This, incidentally, is the same novel which led Publishers Weekly to declare Miss Bracken a debut author to watch. We, too, like to consider Alexandra an author to watch (and read, hopefully) and we see nothing but bright things in her future. So the Alexandra Bracken reading marathon is happening soon!
4. Rick Riordan
Chances are overwhelming that your first thought connected to Rick Riordan's name will be Percy Jackson. So is ours. To this day, the Percy Jackson series (which comprise Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the spin-off Heroes of Olympus series) is considered to be Rick's magnum opus. Apart from these
nine ten books and several
novellas and companions, Riordan has also written The Kane Chronicles, a series based on the Egyptian mythology, and
plans on writing a series which is based around the Norse pantheon and Viking
mythology. As if this weren't enough, he has also written an adult mystery
series (Tres Navarre), as well as a
children book series (39 Clues), of
which he is a co-author.
Why we should be reading this author: Rick Riordan spins mythology and history in a way that makes it accessible to everyone. The inclusion of Greek and Roman pantheon in the Percy Jackson series and the Egyptian pantheon in The Kane Chronicles has done more to familiarize children and youth with history, mythology and the culture of ancient civilizations in the past decade than all of the illustrated encyclopedias combined. Also, Rick's characters are
rumored to be
humorous, witty and endlessly loyal. What's not to love?
5. John Green
John Green, the author of highly successful novels. No, really. While in most cases it's common courtesy to dub an acclaimed author's entire opus as successful, in the case of John Green, this is more than courtesy or a way of doing things. Each of Green's novels has achieved critical acclaim, won a multitude of awards, been translated to dozens of languages and done remarkably well both on the national and international market. From road trips in Paper Towns to oxygen tanks in The Fault In Our Stars, Green seems to have covered it all, and covered it well.
Why we should be reading this author: John Green seems to have something for everyone. Be it a gritty, emotional novel or else a road trip story or a coming-of-age tale of falling in love, Green has written it. But unlike many of his contemporaries, what Green has also done is weave timeless messages about life, love, the growing pains and the growing wonders all throughout these stories. So even if a reader were to casually flip through a John Green novel, what it's likely to leave said reader with is a self-awareness and an awareness of the world that wasn't there before... or so we've heard.
In the past couple of years, you'd have been hard pressed not to come across Sarah J. Maas's name if you were exploring the shelves where the Fantasy genre is being stocked. The same holds true for blogs, vlogs, book tours and book reviews in general. Sarah J. Maas happens to be the author of a highly successful (and more than highly praised) Young Adult fantasy series, Throne of Glass, about a young assassin Celaeana caught in the middle of a deadly contest she had never intended to be a part of.
Why we should be reading this author: Along the lines of Alexandra Bracken, Sarah J. Maas is yet another young, beautiful and highly successful author of Young Adult novels with bright prospects and (hopefully) many future projects that the readers will be clamoring to read. And what appeals to us on a thoroughly personal level is that Mrs. Maas does not allow herself to be molded into a genre, or in any way defined by it. Starting in the spring of 2015, she will be publishing a new series, which was classified as New Adult Fantasy - an entirely new combination, and one which has not produced any international bestsellers yet. We, for one, are hoping that it will be Sarah J. Maas who will change that.
Allow us to paint a picture for you: Scott is an author who writes dystopian, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, mystery and manga. You name it, chances are overwhelming that this prolific author has written it (and quite possibly better than you had imagined it). Perhaps best known for Uglies, a dystopian series centered around the issues of outward appearances and the beauty image set in a futuristic society, Scott's novels have been optioned for film on two occasions and have garnered wide international acclaim.
Why we should be reading this author: Scott Westerfeld's next project, for instance, titled Afterworlds, is a story-within-a-story. It's a two-part novel, centered both around a first-time novelist and the protagonist of her newly-published novel. In other words, Scott Westerfeld has written a book about writing (and reading and loving) books. Do we, as book-lovers, need more reason to want to read his novels?
8. Joe Hill
Joe Hill is perhaps best known as one of the most famous graphic novel authors today. With volumes and volumes of graphic novel series behind him, what Hill is less known for - and equally good at - is novels, collections and short stories he has penned over the years. Like his famous father's before him, Hill's work is reputed to be dark, suspenseful and just mysterious enough to keep you hooked throughout.
Why we should be reading this author: Let's get the obvious out of the way: the man is Stephen King's son. Though while we're sure that this would have brought him some measure of success, Hill would have been very unlikely to keep it for this long unless he was doing something right (you know, like being really good at what he does). Also, his Locke and Key graphic novel series references Lovecraft and centers around "a New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them". Horror, mystery, suspense, thriller, and all of this told through beautiful illustrations? Count us in.
Not only does this talented lady write young adult fiction in a way that always sheds light on a multitude of inherently human struggles (which range from mental illness to prostitution and drug addiction), she also does it all in verse. It's small wonder that Ellen Hopkins has been dominating various bestseller lists for years, and that her books are both well-liked by readers and well-praised by critics (a feat that is more difficult to achieve than it sounds). Apart from young adult fiction, Ellen Hopkins has also published a handful of adult novels, as well as non-fiction children's books.
Why we should be reading this author: Hopkins is an author-for-all: she will write about faith, but will also tackle the issues of those who question it. She will write about abuse, as well as those who abuse. She will write about military deployment, as well as the aftermath of it which is more rarely showcased than it should be. And all throughout, she will teach you effortless lessons about self-discovery, peace and finding one's place in the world. She is an author for all who are lost, but also for the wanderers and the explorers of human nature.
10. Rick Yancey
Mr. Rick Yancey seems to have always had an active imagination - at least according to his (hidden) bibliography. According to his personal biography, Mr. Yancey wrote his first short story in seventh grade - a staggering 25 pages worth of it (which is around 24,5 more pages than most kids write at that age). His twin passions are novels and theater, so he went on to write not only an impressive thirteen novels, but also several plays and a memoir.
Why we should be reading this author: For those less inclined to obsess over books, the incentive will come with the movie adaptation of Rick Yancey's highly successful dystopian series, 5th Wave. For the book-loving enthusiasts like ourselves, the incentive is merely this: there's just so many books to choose from, and each and every single one comes with an array of glowing recommendations. "I'm not feeling like reading that genre at the moment" is hardly an excuse when it comes to Rick Yancey, when there's such a multitude to choose from.
1. Tahereh Mafi
I've heard no end of fantastic things about Tahereh's writing, I get recommendations to read her books so often so I decided to finally buy Shatter Me. The review for this series is great and in 2013, Shatter Me won an Honourable Mention in the Children/Young Adult category of the Arab American Book Awards. It's also going to be turned into a movie as 20th Century Fox have purchased the film rights. I better get started before it comes out!
2. J.R.R Tolkien
Yes. I'm one of those few people who haven''t read the Lord Of The Rings. I know, that's really bad! I'm definitely planning on picking the series up and finally meeting these wonderful characters I've heard so much about and discovering this world. I've yet to purchase it but it's a must-read for the future, I know it's on every recommendation list so I need to get with the time and pick Lord Of The Rings up! It's a hell of a journey so I better prepare myself.
3. Laini Taylor
I feel like everyone but me has read her books. I've heard so many good things about the Daughter Of Smoke And Bone series and have yet to pick it up. I remember seeing it laying in the staff room of my old job fr ages and I wish I'd just picked it up and had a quick read but nope. I felt too bad about taking someone's book without asking. I'm determined to read it at some point this year though!
4. Cassandra Clare
Again, another incredibly popular author I haven't read yet. I know, I know. Where have you been for the last however many years? I really don't know, but it's obviously not been me reading Ms Clare's books. We've all heard of the Mortal Instruments series, there's even a movie adaptation of book one, City of Bones. After I saw the trailer to the movie, I did buy it on my Kindle as an ebook. Have I picked it up yet? No. I will though, it's just daunting knowing there's that many books I have to buy let alone read. But wait - it's not just this series, she also did another The Infernal Devices series. Oh my..
5. Robert Galbraith
Technically this isn't cheating, Robert Galbraith is still a different author...kind of. So we all know it's J.K Rowling, and as a Harry Potter fan, I'm ashamed I haven't read anything else she's penned. I'm quite intrigued about The Cuckoo's Calling, again, it's on my Kindle as an ebook, so I will finally read and see if it's any good. I've heard it is, and it is also going to be adapted, so I'm quite looking forward to trying this one out.
6. Richelle Mead
Sigh...another book adapted into a movie I haven't read. I'm so out of it! Anyway, Richelle Mead wrote the Vampire Academy books. I'm going to be honest here - I don't do vampires. I've no interest in it at all but even the people who recommended the series to me said I'll still like it. I got sent the book by my friend so I have no excuse. It's on my list. I have put off reading it for so long but I think it's time I got into it and saw what the fuss is about.
7. Becca Fitzpatrick
Ah, yes. The Hush Hush books that I've heard so much about. It's another one of those incredibly popular books that I've been wanting and meaning to read for so long but never got around to. I see the books on the shelf in the bookshop but because of mixed reviews, I've been hesitant. I've heard Becca's writing is good so I shouldn't listen to the haters and just get onto it. It's all based on opinion, we can't all like the same books, can we?
8. Alexandra Potter
One of my friends always recommends Alexandra's books to me, mentioning how great her writing is and it's about time I read them. Her books are cute, funny, usually about 20-something's trying to survive in this world, so you know we can all relate! I've been meaning to read Be Careful What You Wish For, Who's That Girl? and You're The One That I Don't Want, which I always seem to walk past in the bookshop but never buy so one day, I will get around to seeing her work.
9. Libba Bray
Oh, the amazing things I've heard about Libba's writing! I own The Diviners for a long time but I've not picked it up yet (the size scares me a bit) and the great reviews I've heard about Going Bovine, another I've been wanting to get stuck into. I also remember a booktuber mentioning how great Beauty Queens is, so Libba is certainly an author I need to start reading!
10. Jane Austen
*gasp* You've not read a Jane Austen book????????? No. I'm sorry, I've never been into classics at all. I do plan on reading one or two of her books soon as I've just signed up to study English Literature so it's bound to happen. But so far, I've not read any. However, when I get started, you'll bet the first to know. I'll review and let you all know how amazing she is, and end up wondering what took me so long.
TOP 10 AUTHORS WE SHOULD BE READING
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub