Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Debut Books

The Broke and the Bookish has a weekly meme called Top Ten Tuesday, in which participants list their top ten answers to the weekly theme. This week the theme is the Top Ten Best Debut Books, and here is my list.

1. The Thirteenth Tale (2007) by Diane Setterfield-I must agree with Jamie form The Broke and the Bookish on this one! This was an excellent gothic tale that I can't recommend highly enough. It completely blew me out of the water. I must have whatever books that she writes next.

2. Beauty (1978) by Robin McKinley-I read this as a child, after checking it out of the library, and have reread it several times since. McKinley's first book was something magical, and I think it had a quality that can't be surpassed by her more recent books (although I love them all)-but I don't know what that quality was. Perhaps just the earnest and simple tone of the tale? Obviously it is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And I love it.

3. Of Bees and Mist (2010) by Erick Setiawan-This story creeps under your skin, squirming around long after you've read it. Setiawan is a master world builder, and this was a fun debut novel (which I reviewed here).

4. The Manual of Detection (2010) by Jedediah Berry-Another recent debut novel that I read and loved, especially for the fantastic world-building. (Review here).

5. Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte-Jane Eyre was Bronte's first published book, and enough has probably been said on this debut novel. I love the combination of romance, morality tale, and gothic/supernatural suspense that are all jumbled together in this story.

6. Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller-This satire of the "murderous insanity of war" was devoured in a day. During four minute passing periods and a 25 minute lunch (and perhaps during class) when I was a freshman in high school. I think this book is still a rite of passage. Only, so few of us pass anymore.

7. The Stranger/Outsider (1946) by Albert Camus- It's fairly existential. It's simple. It's about a man hung for not crying at his mother's funeral, there is also the incidental murder of an Algerian. Fantastic debut.

8. A Study in Scarlet (1887) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-Um, surprisingly ingenious and fun to read. Usually nineteenth century writers are a bit tedious for me, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Also, has anyone seen the newish BBC Sherlock? Only three episodes. Three brilliant episodes.

9. The Joy Luck Club (1989) by Amy Tan-I read this in Freshman English in high school, and found that I rather liked all the different background stories and the rather tragic web of relationships that made up this book. I have read others from Tan since, and found this and The Hundred Secret Senses to be fantastic.

10. Everything is Illuminated (2002) by Jonathan Safran Foer-I may have picked this up because I kept catching the end credits for the film, and loved the song "Start Wearing Purple" by Gogol Bordello. Also, how awesome is the cover design for this book? Of course, it was so much better than I had hoped. This led me to read his second novel, which is also excellent.

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