Top Ten Authors that Deserve More Recognition

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This week we’re allowed to pick any old topic for the Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish. I wanted to focus on authors I think deserve more recognition.

It’s always amazing to me that some authors get loads of hype while others fly under the radar. You never quite know why one book gets a flurry of attention and another equally good one never becomes the new “it” thing to read. So here are a few authors that I wish more people would sit up and recognize. This isn’t to say no one reads their books or they haven’t won any awards, it’s just to say that they aren’t household names like John Grisham or Charles Dickens.

1) Carlos Ruiz Zafon – I love this man’s books. His writing is like magic to me, but sadly many people have never heard of him. TRY: The Shadow of the Wind

2) Richard Russo – He tends to be lumped into the modern white man category with Philip Roth, John Irving and John Updike, but I think he stands alone in his ability to create relatable characters and excellent small town dynamics. TRY: Empire Falls or Bridge of Sighs

3) J.D. Salinger – Yes, I know that everyone knows who he is, but usually it’s because of Catcher in the Rye and not his other work. I honestly didn’t really like that book, but I adore his others. Two many people read Catcher and write him off. TRY: Nine Stories or Franny and Zooey  

4) Kate Morton – She writes fantastic gothic mysteries with wonderful characters and yet I just heard about her last year! TRY: The Forgotten Garden

5) Graham Greene – He’s well-known in readers’ circles, but he’s often overlooked by people just starting to explore the classics. TRY: The End of the Affair

6) Mary Roach – Anytime a book is dismissed because of its genre I think that’s a mistake. Roach writes nonfiction, but because her books aren’t memoirs people assume they’re serious. In reality Roach writes hilarious books about a variety of strange subjects. TRY: Stiff

7) Douglas Adams – He was brilliantly funny, but just like it is with movies, comedy is rarely respected. How often do comedic movies win the Oscar for best picture? Sometimes I think it’s much harder to truly be funny than to be serious. TRY: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

8) E.M. Forster – I have no idea why, but he’s never at the top of any “Best of” classics lists. His novels are some of my favorites! TRY: Howards End or A Room with a View

9) Dennis Lehane – In recent years Lehane’s books have become popular fodder for movies. There’s Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone, but as it usually is, the book is better. He creates amazing characters and his books are hard to put down. TRY: Mystic River

10) Roald Dahl – Not his kid’s books, we all love those. I think Dahl’s adult stories are really underrated. They are clever and creepy and I love them! TRY: Umbrella Man

Photo from here.

21 comments:

Kristi said...

There are so many on this list that I haven't tried yet. I do love the Umbrella Man story by Roald Dahl. I think that was my favorite in the book of short stories that I read.

I'm so excited to get to The Shadow of the Wind. I found it at my library a couple of weeks ago. If I get ahead on my reading of The Stand, I plan to pick it up.

I really want to read Franny and Zooey. I've heard such good things about it. I can't find it at my library, but I'm debating just giving in and buying a copy.

Carl V. said...

Also very, very good are Dahl's two biographical books, Boy and Going Solo. In particular Going Solo. It is an amazing account of his time in WWII and it reads like a work of fiction. His short story collections are very fun and creative.

Haven't read Lehane, but must admit that, despite changes from the book, Shutter Island is a movie I like very, very much.
Morton book on my shelf, her latest I believe, that I need to get to. Her stuff sounds perfect for autumn reading.

Loved A Room with a View. Read it after falling for the film version many, many years ago.

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

I can't wait to try some of these authors! The Shadow of the Wind has been on my TBR forever - I MUST get to it this year!

Also, I totally agree with your thoughts on Salinger (love F&Z!) and Kate Morton.

Meg @ write meg! said...

Richard Russo has been on my "to be read" list forever! I've heard such good things, and I have That Old Cape Magic in my bookcase. It just might be my next vacation read!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kristi - I can't wait to hear what you think of Shadow. I know it isn't for everyone, but I just love it.

Carl V. - I love both of those Dahl books. I will read anything that man wrote. Morton would be another good one for RIP!

Kat - I can't believe it took me so long to discover Morton, she's awesome!

Meg - I really enjoy him. I will say that Cape Magic isn't my favorite, so if you don't love it, don't give up on him!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I absolutely love Zafon and Kate Morton (although Forgotten Garden is the only one I haven't read!). Mary Roach is one author who I've wanted to read FOREVER. I think perhaps I keep looking for my library to get her stuff on audio. I'm going to look again...

jmisgro said...

I too love Morton, Dahl,Forster, Lehane and Zafon. Don't care for Adams. Will try Russo and Greene, although i do think I have read him in the past.....I will google Roach.
thanks!!!

mee said...

So many in the list are the ones I have loved or the ones I want to try! I love Douglas Adams and Mary Roach. I've been meaning to read E.M. Forster and Graham Greene since I moved to London. I'm thinking to try exactly the ones you suggest: The End of the Affair and A Room with a View.

Jillian said...

Okay, I think you sold me on #5. :) And I definitely need to read EM Forster! I just bought a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide.

FABR Steph said...

You have a couple here that I have not tried, so thanks for the recommendations. J.D. Salinger is one of them, but I have him on my list. He is on the 1001 list that I am trying to work through.

Carrie K. said...

I really liked the Zafon I read - can't remember the title, though! And I'm hosting a Graham Greene read-along this month - we're reading The Heart of the Matter. :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - Roach is really good on audio. Try Stiff if you can find it.

jmisgro - I hope you find a couple new ones you like!

mee - Those are both perfect authors to read while in London!

Jillian - I can't wait to hear what you think about all 3! Hitchhiker's is probably the farthest from what you normally read.

FABR Steph - Salinger is great to read when you're feeling pensive.

Carrie K - It was probably Shadow, that's his most famous work. Yay for a Greene read-along! If I hadn't already committed to The Stand readalong, The City & The City read-along and the Victorian Celebration I would definitely join in.

Brenna said...

Nice list! There are a few authors whose work I'm not familiar with, namely Kate Morton and Richard Russo.

Also, I recently bought The End of the Affair so I'm happy to see it made your list!

Cori @ Let's Eat Grandpa said...

I just finished Stiff! I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more by Roach. (And I agree about Carlos Ruiz-Zafon! Amazing!)

Jenners said...

Great list! And I agree with you on Mary Roach. She should be selling millions and be much more visible.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I have read only one book by Mary Roach (Stiff) and from that little experience, I would tend to agree with you. It wasn't clinical writing, it was very informative but parts of it felt almost like a memoir. I have been recommending it many times since!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brenna - I think you'd be a big fan of Empire Falls. Let me know if you check it out!

Cori - Can you even wait for his newest book?!? I'm so excited.

Jenners - I know! Let's spread the word.

Kay - It's a perfect intro into the world of nonfiction for people who think they won't like it.

Bybee said...

Richard Russo reminds me of Anne Tyler more than any other author. I like his books a lot, and he has had good luck being adapted to the screen.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Bybee - I never made that connection before. I agree about the adaptation too! The HBO version of Empire Falls was excellent!

Sarah Anne Coburn said...

I loved Howard's End, it's one of my favourite books. I am ashamed to say that I had no idea that Roald Dahl had written adult novels though. I am intrigued and will start with Umbrella Man, so thanks!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sarah Anne Coburn - I hope you like it! Dahl had an awesome creepy side.