The topic this week is New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020. I read 28 new-to-me authors in 2020 – some were debut novels and others were books I’d wanted to read for years. These are 10 of them:
!. Kathryn Aalto – Writing Wild – nonfiction, highlighting the work of 25 women writers, covering two hundred years of women’s history through nature writing. I already knew some, but others were new to me and I would like to read several of their works, such as Andrea Wulf’s book The Brother Gardeners in which she explores how England became a nation of gardeners
2. Miles Burton – The Secret of High Eldersham – a Golden Age crime classic, first published in 1930. The landlord of the Rose and Crown Inn in the village of High Eldersham was found dead slumped in a chair, having been stabbed in the neck. The local police don’t feel able to deal with the murder so call in help from Scotland Yard.
3. Patti Callahan – Becoming Mrs Lewis – a novel about Helen Joy Davidman and C S Lewis, written as though Joy herself is telling their story it is intense, passionate and very personal and I felt very uncomfortable reading it – as though I was eavesdropping on the characters.
4. Eleanor Catton – The Luminaries – historical fiction set in New Zealand in the 1860s, during its gold rush and it has everything – gold fever, murder, mystery and a ghost story too. I became fully absorbed in the story during the week it took me to read. it
5. Raymond Challoner – The Big Sleep – first published in 1939, an excellent example of ‘hardboiled’ crime fiction, which generally featured a private eye with a whisky bottle in a filing cabinet, a femme fatale, and rich and usually corrupt clients. I enjoyed it and will probably read more of the Philip Marlow books.
6. Takashi Hiraide – The Guest Cat – a novella about a cat that made itself at home with a couple in their thirties who lived in a small rented house in a quiet part of Tokyo and how that changed their lives. As a cat lover how could I resist this book? It is only short, 146 pages but it packs so much within those pages. And there was a lot that struck chords with me.
7. Andrew Taylor Murray – The Last Day – the story of a world coming to an end and the effects that had on the planet and the population. It presents a totalitarian world, and gives a vivid picture of what life has become for the people who live on the burning sun side of the planet.
8. James Patterson – Private Moscow – the 15th book in James Patterson’s Private series, this is a change from the type of books usually read – an action packed, fast paced mystery thriller. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I want to read the other books in the series.
9. Valérie Perrin – Fresh Water for Flowers – I loved this novel, a story of love and loss – and hope. Violette, the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne, is a character I really warmed to; she is optimistic, brave, creative and caring. I do want to read more of her books!
10. Raymond Postgate – Somebody at the Door – another Golden Age murder mystery, first published in 1943. It’s set in 1942 and it gives a vivid picture of what life was like in wartime England. Henry Grayling was on the 6.12 train from Euston, travelling home to Croxburn from work in London – but when he arrived home he was seriously ill and died later that evening.