Monday, November 23, 2009

The First Reads Club

Last year at about this same time, I took up a interesting challenge posed by Baltimore scribbler and BSCReview contributor Brian Lindenmuth to compile a list of authors whose work I had read for the first time in 2008. I hadn’t realized until going through that exercise just how many wordsmiths I’d unintentionally “discovered” during the preceding 12 months. While the number was smaller than the quantity of books I had read by previously familiar authors, it was nonetheless significant.

So I decided to repeat the exercise this year. Not all of the novels inventoried below were published over the course of 2009 (in fact, many were released before I was even born), but they all come from authors I had never read before last January 1. Author debuts appear in boldface, and the asterisks denote works of crime or thriller fiction.

David Alexander (Shoot a Sitting Duck)*
William Ard (Deadly Beloved)*
O.G. Benson (Cain’s Woman)*
Rebecca Cantrell (A Trace of Smoke)*
M.E. Chaber (A Hearse of Another Color)*
Roy Chaney (The Ragged End of Nowhere)*
Richard Deming (Anything But Saintly)*
Thomas B. Dewey (The Case of the Chased and the Unchaste)*
David Ebershoff (The 19th Wife)
Stanley Ellin (The Eighth Circle)*
Roy Huggins (The Double Take)*
E. Howard Hunt (House Dick)*
J. Sydney Jones (The Empty Mirror)*
Frank Kane (Stacked Deck)*
Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin)
Rafe McGregor (The Architect of Murder)*
Stefanie Pintoff (In the Shadow of Gotham)*
Talmage Powell (Corpus Delectable)*
A.E. Roman (Chinatown Angel)*
Dan Simmons (Drood)
Robert Terrall (Kill Now, Pay Later)*

Of course, my reading appetites aren’t confined exclusively to crime fiction. In addition, I enjoyed a variety of non-fiction works during the last year that were penned by authors new to my bookshelves:

Karen Abbott (Sin in the Second City)
Adam Cohen (Nothing to Fear)
John C. Fredriksen (Honey West)
Greg Grandin (Fordlandia)
Laura James (The Love Pirate and the Bandit’s Son)
Jill Jonnes (Eiffel’s Tower)
Charles Lachman (The Last Lincolns)
Simon Read (War of Words)
Martha A. Sandweiss (Passing Strange)

When last I undertook this task, it was as part of a meme and I was supposed to ask five other bloggers to catalogue their own year’s worth of author discoveries. I’ll pass on repeating that aspect of the assignment. But if you feel inclined to try this exercise on your own, simply send me a link to your list and I shall post it here. Or drop a note about your “first reads” rundown into the Comments section at the end of this post.

All of this makes me wonder what new writers I shall “meet” through their prose in 2010. I look forward to those encounters.

READ MORE:New Authors: 2009,” by Ben Boulden (Gravetapping).


pattinase (abbott) said...

You make me feel ashamed at how many more books you read than I did-and this doesn't include second books by an author. Excuse me while I go read.

Brian said...

I was thinking about blowing the dust off of this meme -- I'll have to pull a list together.

Kent Morgan said...

I was surpised at how many first-time-for-me fiction writers I've read this year.

Brian Azzarello - 100 Bullets
Michael Craven - Body Copy
Tom Foley - Measured Lives
Kate Green - Night Angel
Robert Greer - Blackbird, Farewell
Bryan Gruley - Starvation Lake
Chris Knopf = The Last Refuge
Jeff Lemire - Ghost Story
Craig McDonald - Head Games
William McIlvanney - Laidlaw
Bob Morris - Jamaica Me Dead
James W. Nichol - Midnight Cab
Howard Norman - The Northern Lights
Leonardo Padura - Havana Fever
Derek Raymond - How the Dead Live
Robert Rotenburg - Old City Hall
Bob Rueff - End Game
Mike Savage - Lord of the Rinks
Stephen Schwandt - Siren Song
Rick Shefchik - Green Monster
Richard Stark - The Hunter

All but the Norman are crime novels. The Azzarello and Lemire also are graphic novels.