These are NOT new authors. The fact that I didn’t read any of their books until this year, well that’s on me. But instead of being negative, I’m sooo glad I was finally introduced to their work and they will be forever in my vault of go-to authors to recommend and to read. Don’t be surprised to see some of their books end up on my favorite books for 2014 as well. And the best part? THEY ARE ALL WOMEN!
Listed in order of when I read their books:
1. Jenny Offill: Dept. of Speculation was so jarring, dark and honest. Just thinking about it makes me want to re-read it and other books by her.
2. Rene Denfeld : The Enchanted was another very dark story about a man on death row looking back on his life. It pained me to read it but a story I will never forget. A powerful writer.
3. Cheryl Strayed: Tiny Beautiful Things will forever be on my all-time favorites list. It is also on my nightstand. I will give it as gifts. All the world should read it and I’m so glad I finally did. Thanks Shannon (from River City Reading) for the shout-out to read this book and introduce me to this author.
4. Roxane Gay: An Untamed State crushed me and Bad Feminist is pure Roxane. It’s why I read all her tweets, Tumblr blog, articles, essays. I want to hang with her and be her BFF. To meet her would be divine.
5. Cristina Henriquez: The Book of Unknown Americans was such a powerful read about Hispanic immigrants. Very relevant, emotional and necessary. Listening to her panel discussion at Printer’s Row this year proved how eloquent and intelligent she is on such matters. Meeting her after had me reeling all day.
6. Celeste Ng: Everything I Never Told You was her debut book this year but made me an instant fan. Watching a family spiral out of control after their daughter goes missing was gut wrenching. Ng handled the story, emotions and truths with a delicate hand.
7. Robin Black: I can’t say enough how much I loved Life Drawing this year. This story about some of the most self-involved and flawed people in a very dysfunctional marriage shouldn’t have affected me so. But I see a pattern on this list that those kinds of books (and the authors who write them) stay with me like no others.
8. Emily St. John Mandel: I was hesitant to read Station Eleven because of all the hype but this time it was right on. It’s not your young adult’s dystopian/post- apocalypse story. It’s better! St. John Mandel carefully crafted a story to possibly become a classic.
9. Lily King: Euphoria is one of my favorites this year. King beautifully weaves a fictional story with historical elements about Margaret Mead and her experiences in New Guinea. There is a love triangle, isolation, despair, resilience, oh and did I mention Margaret Mead? She was a powerhouse anthropologist new onto the science scene in the 30’s but who was equally intelligent as she was compassionate. And King expressed this unique combination beautifully.
10. Margaret Atwood: Finally! I read The Handmaid’s Tale this year after hearing Leah (from Books Speak Volumes) rave about this book and with good reason. Atwood is a master class writer and I am currently reading her short story collection Stone Mattress which is just as brilliant.