How do you find new authors to read?

girl reading sitting on floor with feet up

Often, the best way is by word of mouth (which is why I encourage tweeting and commenting on this blog!)

But since I may not talk to you person to person, I’ve compiled a shortened list of some of my favorite reads from 2014, for your consideration as new conquests in 2015. Or maybe you’ve already enjoyed some of these authors? If so, tell me which ones!

I’ve left out big authors I’ve loved for a while, such as Diana Gabaldon and Laurie R. King, but here are the less-famous, but no-less-worthy treasure troves awaiting you!

Nonfiction/ Travel: Robert MacFarlane, The Old Ways

I read other nonfiction, mostly on writing and creativity, but this is the one capturing my attention these days, as I plan out an outdoorsy trip to Scotland. He meanders into philosophy, history, sociology–all to get at the intrinsic connection between ourselves and the landscapes we travel. Check it out on Amazon here.

Mystery: Louise Penny, Anne Perry, Josephine Tey, Simone St. James, Stephanie Barron

As you can see, I did a fair amount of mystery reading last year, mostly in an effort to learn more about the genre that seems to have the most pull on me as a writer. I read mainly as a reader, not as a critical writer, but I’m sure these authors’ works would yield a lot of lessons were I to pick apart the structure, the pacing, the plot wheels. If you’re not looking for that though, some all-in-all great reads!

Louise Penny has the Inspector Gamache series set in and around Quebec. Anne Perry has two series, both long-established, that I am just discovering and loving: Face of A Stranger and Treason at Lisson Grove were both captivating with their twists and turns and daring POV choices. Check out Anne Perry’s long back list on Amazon here, but don’t bother with Tathea.

Josephine Tey had the well-loved Inspector Alan Grant series in the 1940s, and I happened to read her last book first, but intend to go back! Simone St. James was a recommendation of Lucy’s Books, and didn’t disappoint. Inquiry into Love and Death involves a ghost hunter, WWI effects, and a gutsy heroine. Yes, please!

Stephanie Barron writes a series of books where Jane Austen is a solver of mysterious murders, but with delicacy and historical weight, not like the Jane-is-now-a-vampire imitators that aren’t worth the time.

Drama: Nancy Slavin, Moorings

I found this author’s book at my local Stumptown Lit event, and the struggles of her heroine, the dark pits of lost love, the setting as character itself– so good! Support this local Portlander like a good reader. 🙂

Romance/ Life As It Is: Judi Hendricks, Vivian Swift

Hendricks wrote Bread Alone, just a good story about a woman making her way to what she needs through all the stuff that tries to make her forget that. And it’s in Seatlle! So, a Northwest neighbor. Swift is an interesting hybrid: she illustrates journal-type books that are a joy to browse and reflect upon. I’ve read both, and recommend When Wanderers Cease to Roam as my favorite. She spent a year just slowing down from her jet-setter life, absorbing the pace of life in one place, and using watercolors to mark her course of learning about herself through the process. Great for the winter period, especially.

Supernatural: Susanna Kearsley, Anne Bishop

If you’ve read either of my books, perhaps you can tell that I like intrusions of the supernatural into the everyday. Kearsley does this with intuitive flashes, psychic abilities to see the past, and people with selective ESP. Firebird is still my favorite, as it takes the reader to Russia and a time in history I knew nothing about, so that was magic in itself!

And Bishop, well, she goes for it rather more ‘whole hog.’ Her series of The Others involves a well-crafted world of vampires, werewolves, and other beings whose origins hint at mythological origins, but obey more modern rules of the author’s. Someone described it as almost a sci-fi dystopian novel, which I can see, but the core of it is action, suspense, and shifting loyalties–I literally couldn’t put down the first one in Powell’s when I started browsing!

happy reading in 2015!