This week the women of The Broke and the Bookish ask: Who are the authors you’ve only Read one book by but NEED to read more? As with all of these prompts, there are many ways to answer the question. Which authors’ debuts did I love making me impatient for their sophomore effort? Which authors died before ever completing a second work, leaving me perpetually bereft? Or, the more straightforward: who have I read one book by and want to read more of?
I’m opting for this last, though I will say I am counting on the following people to keep writing because their first books only whetted my appetite: Maya Lang, Julia Fierro, Violet Kupersmith, Lauren Owen, Jennie Burton.
More seasoned writers I’ve encountered who have backlists I very much want to explore are:
Helen Oyeyemi — she’s so young and already so good. She’s also been productive with five novels published before the age of thirty. I loved Boy, Snow, Bird and already have copies of Mr. Fox and White is for Witching in hand, both of which I very much want to read.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — Americanah was brilliant and I’ve heard her two earlier novels, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus are also impressive. Do I have copies? I’m surprised if you don’t already know the answer to that question.
Jo Baker — Longbourn was a book I enjoyed very much and have recommended often in the last year. Most of her backlist is only now becoming available in the US. Reading her four earlier novels should keep me entertained until her next book is published.
Donna Tartt — The Goldfinch was one of my favorite books of 2013 though I know it isn’t universally loved. It’s interesting that I still haven’t gotten to The Secret History, despite almost everyone I know telling me they loved it more than the new book.
Jess Walter — I resisted Beautiful Ruins for some unfathomable reason, maybe it was the cover? Once I read it I kicked myself for being so slow to immerse myself in a great read. Nick Hornby raved about Citizen Vince, so I suspect I will try that one next, but the book of his that intrigues is The Financial Lives of the Poets — I’m entranced by the title.
Teddy Wayne — The Love Song of Jonny Valentine was funny, sad and on target with it’s satirical representation of the modern celebrity machine. Wayne’s début Kapitoil has also gotten great reviews from people I know and respect and I want to read it as well.
Harriet Lane — I thought Alys, Always was a well done and frightening use of an unreliable narrator — all the more chilling because of her seeming innocuousness. Who would ever suspect Alys, a bookish young woman of the depths of ambition that grow in her as the novel unfolds? Lane’s upcoming book, Her, looks like another shiver inducing psychological thriller that builds suspense from ordinary situations. It doesn’t come out until January, but I’ve got a galley waiting in the queue.
Ned Beauman — The Teleportation Accident was weird, funny and a great twist on a variety of genres by a writer who at twenty-eight managed to create something unique and fascinating. I’ve heard tell that his earlier novel, Boxer, Beetle is cut from the same cloth, but perhaps even more accessible. His new book, Glow, will be published in the US in January. I need to sneak Boxer, Beetle in before the new book hits the shelves.
Heidi Julavits — The Vanishers was great. Why haven’t I devoured her earlier books yet?