Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Today’s prompt is ‘New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022’. Last year, in my efforts to read outside my comfort zone, I actually ended up reading 29 authors I had not picked up before. To whittle this down to 10, I’ve interpreted the prompt as new-to-me authors who made a big impact on me, such that I’ll be sure to pick up more of their books in the future.
- Joe Abercrombie
About this time last year, I listened to the audiobook of The Blade Itself, Abercrombie’s first novel, and the first of his dark but humorous fantasy trilogy of bloodthirsty barbarians, kickable aristocrats and strangely likeable torturers. Then I listened to the second in the trilogy: Before They Are Hanged. Then I waited for ten or so months, and I’m honestly not sure how, because returning to the finale of this trilogy now I realise how much I have missed this world and characters. This is fantasy as I had not read it before, and it’s opened my reading to whole new part of the genre. A shout out also to the narrator of the audiobook versions – Steven Pacey. His narration is pitch perfect, every character’s voice entirely their own.
- Sally Rooney
From grimdark fantasy, to reflective literary fiction. My first Sally Rooney book was Beautiful World, Where Are You. In it, a quartet of discontented millennials spend 356 pages ruminating over love and religion and sex and the world, and I found it enthralling. I went on to read Conversations With Friends, an earlier book from Rooney, which I thought was completely excellent – though touched me slightly less than the first had. That won’t stop me picking up everything else Rooney writes however. I have Normal People reserved at the library.
- Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Julia and the Shark was my first book by this author – a middle grade novel, illustrated by the author’s husband Tom de Freston, about a family going to live for a while in a ramshackle lighthouse, while the narrator’s mother searches for a rare shark. It walks a tightrope between realism and fantasy, bringing in some difficult themes while also feeling quite magical and innocent. I then picked up a historical fiction novel by the same author – The Dance Tree – which echoed some of the same themes around family, love and loss, and was a very engaging read. Hargrave has become one of my favourite authors, and I have the next Hargrave/de Freston illustrated offering ready to read, having been given it at Christmas… Leila and the Blue Fox. Based on the true story of an Arctic fox who walked two thousand miles from Norway to Canada in seventy-six days, it looks beautiful and I can’t wait for the right time to get lost in its pages.
- Emily St John Mandel
I read two books by this author in 2023 – Station Eleven and Sea of Tranquility. Very different stories (the first about the aftermath of a global pandemic, the second a time and space spanning mystery), but both left me with massive bookish hangovers. Station Eleven in particular used allusions to two of my favourite cultural canons – Shakespeare and Star Trek… so I couldn’t not love it really.
- T. J. Klune
The House on the Cerulean Sea was my first read of 2022, and I have very fond memories of reading and listening to it in the early months of my maternity leave, walking around London parks trying to get a baby to sleep, wrapped up warm against the cold, and losing myself in the homeliness and wholesomeness of its characters and message. It’s so wholesome it could be twee, but for me it hit the spot beautifully at that particular time.
- Susannah Clarke
Piranesi had sat on my bookshelf for way too long before I finally picked it up last year, but once I did, I devoured it. It’s one of those books that is really difficult to describe without spoiling it, but I recommend, recommend, RECOMMEND. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell has been sitting on my bookshelf for even longer (I’ve been put off by the length), but I love this author and I’m determined that it will be a 2023 read.
- Christy Lefteri
I read The Beekeeper of Aleppo and it made me ache with sadness, particularly because there are of course so many real people behind this fictional account of Syrian refugees fleeing to the UK. Not a completely pleasant reading experience therefore, but important, truthful, affecting and illuminating. I want to pick up Songbirds next, when I feel emotionally ready for it.
- N. K. Jemisin
Another fantasy author discovered in 2022! I read The Fifth Season, and am so excited that there are two more books in the trilogy to read in 2023. Jemisin’s worldbuilding is amazing, her magic system gripping, and her characters both epic and believable.
- Maggie O’Farrell
I read Hamnet, which I found engaging and beautifully constructed. I keep seeing O’Farrell’s newest book around the place – The Marriage Portrait – and have to stop myself from buying it every time I do because I have so many other books in my flat already… but I think I’ll get it from the library in 2023.
- Natalie Haynes
As part of my Greek Myth Retelling Readathon, I picked up A Thousand Ships – a retelling of the end events of the Trojan War, particularly what happened to the women in the margins and in the endings we never before heard about. I loved the kaleidoscopic approach to this storytelling, leaping between viewpoints with different styles of narration. The book really impressed me, and I’d like to pick up more from Haynes in the future.
That’s it! 10 new-to-me authors – a list that has made me excited for all their books I have not yet read.