Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

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.

30 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

    1. Yes, ideally I like to start with the first book in a series, but I thought I’d read this to see what Patterson’s writing is like even though it is the 16th book.

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  1. I like the idea of keeping track of new-to-you authors, Margaret. There’s so much good reading out there that it’s hard not to focus on a few authors. Branching out gives you a whole world of possibility, though. And you have some good ones there, too! I wonder what you’ll think of Chandler’s other work if you get to it.

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    1. Margot, there are so many authors whose books I’ve never read that I like to try to fit in reading new-to-me writers with reading debut authors and books I’ve had sitting on my shelves for years – like The Big Sleep. Can you suggest which Chandler book would be good to read next?

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  2. The only books I’ve read from your list are The Secret of High Eldersham and The Luminaries, although not in 2020. A few years ago I read another book by Raymond Postgate – Verdict of Twelve, which I really enjoyed – so I would love to read Somebody at the Door !

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  3. Hi there Margaret! Oooe such great books on your list! I still want to read Becoming Mrs Lewis and The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler has been on my TBR for way to long. I’ve just added The Guest Cat to it too. Because Cat. No other reasons are necessary.

    Happy TTT!

    Elza Reads

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    1. Yes, The Luminaries was serialised on TV last year – but there differences as Eleanor Catton adapted her own novel for the screen – and she’s reframed the story from a new perspective. So after watching the first episode and getting confused I just read the book.

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  4. I read The Big Sleep a couple of years ago. It was nice to read the author who started a genre, although I’m not sure I will read any others of his.
    I really must get round to reading the Luminaires but I doubt I would read it in one week, its a 800 page doorstop isn’t it? You should be proud of yourself for that.
    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday.

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