Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What She Read: Undersung Writers You Simply Must Meet

Today's blog hop from The Broke and the Bookish this... Authors Who Deserve More Recognition.

Charles Johnson, author of Dreamer.  This novelist-professor should not be missed, and the book indicated is one of the most shocking and rich explorations of duality and fame and goodness and evil I've ever read: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has a doppelganger who appears to be a multiple-murderer.  And that's just the opening gambit...He's a fine speaker too, so if he reads in your town, go see him.

Louise Erdrich, author of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.  I'm still surprised at how few folks seem to have read this prize-winning and reliably chart-topping writer.  If you love passion, surprise, mystery, darkness, and hint of miracle, plus all the messy, imperfect complexity and grace of characters who - over the course of many books and within each novel - feel like real people you would love to meet, at least once, you simply must give Erdrich's work a try.  The most approachable might be Tracks, but the favorite among my family and friends is The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Susan Power, author of The Grass Dancer.  Another writer who offers up gripping novels in a Native American context.  Try her work.  (And what I wouldn't give to share her last name...)

Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon.  The trend in my recs. above appears to be novelists whose work will cause you to think and feel differently about your life and the world.  For me, the best books don't simply enthrall and divert, they challenge and change us.  Spanbauer's work will do the same.

 Walter Wangerin, author of The Book of the Dun Cow.  For complex fantasy with depth that young adults and their adult friends will enjoy equally, and to provoke a rich conversation among them, try any of his work, but start with the novel indicated above.  You should find him both at online stores and in your excellent neighborhood used book store.

 Brenda Miller, author of Season of the Body. Brenda writes and teaches creative non-fiction.  And she does so beautifully.  Her scope reminds me of Annie Dillard in that each piece seems to contemplate particular details of daily life that in some way wax universal under her sharp eye.  She draws on many traditions, travels, and travails to craft short works that produce those bursts of insight that feel like epiphanies.  For a quite-brief sample her prose, try "Swerve".

Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It.  Yes, it's those brief fictions that cause you to breathe out sharply at the last period and then linger with you all day.  She creates a world and rich characters in just a few pages, and she does so reliably.  Check out my recent review for more...

Martha Beck, author of Steering by Starlight.  Yes, she's the Oprah Show/O Magazine  psychologist, and I don't always agree with her thinking, but wow can she use humor and commonsense to help you rethink how you're conducting your life.  Try her.
And I'd include Camilla Lackberg, whose novel The Ice Princess makes its North American debut today, but I'm feeling fairly certain that she'll burst onto the scene with plenty of fanfare.  Why?  I'll tell you... (Just take a peek below.)

I need two more undersung writers to taut today:  Which two would you suggest?



Red said...

Thanks for the Erdrich recommendation. I've read Tracks and would like to check out more from her, but wasn't really sure where to go. Maile Meloy also sounds intriguing.

I'd recommend Jasper Fforde and Christopher Moore as two authors you need to check out that are not getting enough recognition for the stuff they're writing.

booknympho said...

Woah, what an impressive list! Each author sounded better than the next! I can't wait to pick up some of these books! :)

Christina / Book Addict said...

Definitely an interesting list....I am not too familiar with any of these authors, but I jotted down a few titles, because they sound really good. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for visiting my list!

Stacey Donaldson said...

I haven't read Martha Becks book, but I do visit her life coach site on occassion. I'll have to check her out. I love your author descriptions by the way :-)

LBC said...

Good list. I've heard great things about Meloy. I'll definitely take a look at your review.

Check out my post here: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-ten-tuesday-check-um-out.html

Jennifer said...

I LOVE Erdich. I recently read Shadow Tag and just wanted to crumple to the floor and die. Her writing is that affecting. I have Plague of Doves and will soon read that.

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