This week's topic: Top Ten Authors That Deserve More RecognitionClick here to see the future Top Ten Tuesday schedule. Next week Capillya from That Cover Girl is tackling top ten book covers you wish you could redesign (doesn't even have to be because you don't like it...just maybe if you have a cool idea for it!)
I found this topic quite difficult despite having book industry experience. Most of my friend are readers and we do share books. So whilst the authors may not be more popular publicly they do seem so to us because we all read them or have heard of them. So I have decided to base mine on authors that whilst they may have a cult following probably haven't made it into a book chart. I've also tried to make sure there is a mix of different types of authors.
1. Edward Rutherford. He takes the family saga beyond most authors. They are a cross between the saga and historical fiction. Unlike some historical fiction authors he does his research and ensures that the history is accurate. The only liberties he takes with history is that on occasion his own characters interact with real historical figures. He does it in a way that doesn't interfere with the actual historical timeline and ensures that they aren't doing anything that they might not have done. Whilst he sets his books in one city (his most recent being New York) his characters are from lots of different walks of life. His books are large which I know can put some people off but I relished every page of New York. At the time I only picked it up because of a recent holiday to New York. I was in two minds as the cover looked a little trashy which doesn't always bode well for the content. I am glad I did as I have discovered a new author that I grew to love in that one book. I have plans on reading Russia at some point.
2. Marshall Karp. It would probably surprise my friends that I have listed a crime author. Crime is such a popular genre that until recently I avoided it. It's especially popular here in Glasgow and most book charts are littered with them. A friend got me to read Marshall Karp's "The Rabbit Factory". She raved about it so much and having read the premise at the back of the book I was more than tempted. I loved it and have since passed it on to many others. To me his plot is unique and there is a lot of humour. Not enough humour to turn it into a spoof though. His characters are engaging and I found myself liking every single one of them. I was also surprised by how sad the book was too. I have been told that if you like Carl Hiaasen then you will love Karp. It's certainly put Hiaasen on my list of authors I want to try.
3. Tom Reynolds. He is actually a blogger but the best of his blog entries have been published in two books and they are actually working on a tv series. He was a paramedic in London (he recently went back to nursing) and his blog and books were about his day to day experiences. His books are very much 'laugh out loud' funny although you do find yourself disgusted with the general public at times. What I really like about him is his writing style. He's one of those gifted writers who can writes short and snappy pieces and still manages to get across a clear picture of his life. Long winded seems to be the norm now and whilst I do enjoy long the short and snappy was refreshing. I think that everyone should read his books whether you are the general public or work within medicine.
4. Will Ferguson. He is a travel writer and journalist but has recently moved into fiction. I have read some of his fiction and although I liked them I do prefer his travel writing. Travel writing was something that escaped me until I read his book, Hokkaido Highway Blues. He is a funny and intelligent writer who doesn't mind laughing at himself. If you want to try reading travel writing then I think that Ferguson is a good way to start. It certainly got me interested. His fiction is good too but I always expect it to be as funny as his non fiction. I am usually disappointed with this but I think had I not known to make this comparison I would have enjoyed it more.
5. Tamora Pierce. Okay, I know she is popular in the US and most YA and fantasy fans will have heard of her if not read her. Here in the UK though she no longer has a publisher and when she did everyone was more interested in Harry Potter or Eragorn. Amongst my friends I could count only one or two who have read her. I love her for her strong female characters. Yes, they have that romantic connection that is popular in YA these days (although should be noted that she was writing long before that). However, the female characters don't spend their time pining after the love of their life. Pierce proves that girls can be heroes too and for that I think she is inspiring. I wish I had read her when I was a young teen.
6. Hans Fallada. His book, Alone In Berlin, was a huge hit last year and it did make the book charts. I add him though because I don't think people realise that he actually has several books to his name and many of them were translated into English long before Alone In Berlin. I don't mind admitting that I have only read that one too but thanks to that the rest of his books are on my future reads list. His writing style is truly wonderful. It takes talent for a writer to be able to make you detest a character one minute and then actually feel a little sorry for him the next. To dislike one at the start and then to love him so much that the ending of the book is completely heart wrenching.
7. Joe Haldeman. His books are actually classed as classic science fiction. Despite this I don't know many people who have read him. I think Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein probably spring to mind when you talk about classic sci fi. His book, Forever War, was one I read during my sci fi phase. I am always surprised when I enjoy a book where the subject matter is war. In this one he takes a theme that could be placed in any century. A young man goes off to fight for his people. He comes home and discovers everything has changed and there is no place for him anymore. Of course in this case it's taken to the extreme since the war is in space but you get the picture. I loved the narrator and my heart went out to him as he went back to war and each time he came home it wasn't home anymore. Actually, I loved the book so much I am reluctant to read the sequels. I have heard that they aren't of the same quality and I don't want to be disappointed.
8. Nick Harkaway. Okay so he has only published one novel so far but what a novel. Apocalyptic themes are fairly popular these days but his stands out from them all. The story is set after the apocalypse and the narrator and his troops are just trying to hold back the end of life on the earth. It's well written and it's another huge book that I loved every page of. It's an exciting read and the ending was such a surprise to me. I hope he writes more.
9. Charles Huston. His books actually cover a range of genres but I would place them as pulp crime with a touch of horror. The main character of the book is a vampire and not of the sparkly variety. The vampire aspect is really not the be all of his books. They could easily be written and enjoyed without the supernatural theme. However, what I loved about Huston is that he took two themes that flood the book world and put them together and thus came up with something unique. I would recommend his books more to those of you who like horror and crime rather than supernatural.
10.Walter Moers. I know very few people who have read his books. He's a german author and his books are both beautifully illustrated and well written. His books are actually hard to place. They aren't really fantasy but not straight fiction either. When one of your main characters is a blue bear how do you classify them? I love a quirky book and he certainly has a nack for them. Definitely read his books if you want something very different. I suggest starting with 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear. Leave reality behind you and you will fall in love with it.
That was difficult and I am sure that there are a few who aren't really classed as unheard of. My only disappointment is that all but one of these authors is female. Looking back, most of the female authors I have read are quite popular (I am sure that says more about me as a reader). My favourite female authors include Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Isabel Allende, Donna Tartt (to name a few) but they have all had best selling books. I am pleased that I was able to list two non-English speaking authors on there. What's your top ten?