Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

10 Jan
Back again with The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten meme. These are so fun, and it’s always so interesting to see what makes other bloggers’ top ten lists. This week, it’s authors that I wish would write another book, whether they’ve passed away, taken a break, or have only written one book. A couple authors immediately spring to mind, but I may have to mine my memory for more. Let’s see how I do.

Forever and always, the number one author I am waiting for another book from is Susanna Clarke. She is mysterious, people! Her Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, published in 2006, is a firm favorite of mine. It’s large and in charge, and I’ve read it twice – once quickly, in huge gulps, and a second time more slowly to savor all the cool little footnotes. It’s a historical fantasy (am I getting that genre right?) in that it takes place in England during the Napoleonic wars. Two prominent magicians, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, initially work to aid England’s cause through their magic together, but eventually part ways. There is SO much more to this book, but I fear that I’ll take over this whole post with my Susanna Clarke love, so I’ll end with this: this was her debut book, it was beyond amazing, and I’ve already read her short story collection, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, twice, and I need new material.

Laurie Colwin was a writer of wide subjects, but my favorite of her writing is her food literature. This was a person you wanted to hang out with, in the kitchen, drinking a glass of wine and laughing. Her Home Cooking, a collection of essays on food and cooking, is one of my comfort reads. Sadly, she passed away in 1992, and it’s harder knowing that after you read one of her books, knowing she was such a fun-loving, vibrant woman.

Ok, this is a gem, everybody. Nancy M. Malone, an ex-nun, wrote a book in 2003 called Walking a Literary Labyrinth: A Spirituality of Reading. This book changed my life. As far as I know, she has only written this one book. Malone weaves spirituality (not religion, mind you, but something far more flexible and fluid) with reading, and explores how important reading is to the growth of a person. Her subjects vary wildly, from Margaret Atwood to Elie Wiesel to Henry James, and her quiet and thoughtful voice makes me really THINK. Note to self: I need to re-read this, stat.

Frank Conroy wrote a beautiful book called Body & Soul. This is the only book I’ve ever read which manages to realistically portray music in written form, especially what it’s like to write and create music. The novel centers on Claude Rawlings, a piano virtuoso and musical genius, and follows his evolution and career in 1940s New York. His last published book was in 2004, a travel diary and exploration of Nantucket, and he passed away in 2005. I am now reminded that I need to read more of his books, especially his memoir Stop-Time.

I read Christopher Morley’s The Haunted Bookshop, oh, about five years ago. It was a suggestion of the lovely Nancy Pearl in one of her Book Lust books. There’s a sweet love story, a mystery, and some hubbub dealing with spies and World War I. Best of all, this novel and its predecessor, Parnassus on Wheels, are immersed in the world of the bookseller. Morley died in 1957 after a long career as a writer, editor, and journalist. Fun fact: Morley helped to found the Baker Street Irregulars, a society devoted to discussing the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Ok, this one is kind of a cheat, as I expect many people will say the same thing. I gotta go with Jane Austen. Long gone but forever loved, I wish we had just one more novel from her. Or ten. Preferably similar to Persuasion or Pride and Prejudice, please.

I loved The Native Star when I read it last year – I picked it up at Powell’s when I went to Portland, and it was the only copy left in that megalithic store. That’s proof that both it, and author M.K. Hobson, are awesome. Another alternate history/fantasy, The Native Star takes place in the 1800s in the Wild West and centers on a small town witch and a thoroughly unlikable big city warlock. (Looks like I don’t have long to wait – I just saw that Hobson’s next book, The Hidden Goddess, is coming out in April 2012!)

Mary Stewart wrote prolifically from the 1950s through the late 1990s, and she excelled in two very different genres: fantasy and gothic historicals. She wrote a fantastic series centered on Merlin, beginning with The Crystal Cave – I’ve read this whole series and loved it. My favorite, though, are her gothics – I think Susanna Kearsley really falls into the same mold. Frequently taking place in exotic places like Greece or in cozy cottages in England, these novels are a gentle read with a strong heroine usually facing down danger and coming into her own. Try This Rough Magic if you’re just getting started on Stewart’s backlog.

Shades of Milk and Honey (isn’t that a beautiful title?) was published in 2010 and is reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel with fantasy elements. Jane Ellsworth and her sister must obey the rules of their strict, upper class upbringing, but Jane chafes under her role as a spinster because she is a talented magician. There’s an annoying sister (to me, at least), a rude and brusque love interest, and lots and lots of magic. This was author Mary Robinette Kowal’s debut, and I’m waiting anxiously for a follow-up. (Whoa! I just learned Kowal is also a professional puppeteer! Cool points for sure.)

Last but never least, my beloved Miss Read. Check out my ode to her wonderfulness to see just how very much I love her quiet and comforting novels set in the fictional English village of Fairacre. Miss Read retired in 1996, and though I mourn any new additions to her oeuvre, I hope she is sitting happily in front of a fire, sipping a cup of tea. She deserves no less.

7 Responses to “Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book”

  1. Kristina Ebert January 10, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    I kinda wish there was another book to Pride.

    • Amanda January 10, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Kristina, I know what you mean. I’d take anything extra I could get from Jane Austen!

  2. Rebecca January 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I can’t believe that I’ve read only one on your list and only heard of one other (Jane Austen)! Well, and Miss Read, but since I learned of her from you, I don’t count it. I’m thinking I’d like Mary Robinette Kowal and Susanna Clarke. I can always use more magic in my life.

    • Amanda January 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Those who love Susanna Clarke really LOVE her (like me), while others seem to be put off by her style – it is utterly unique, and to me, enchanting. Let me know if you ever give her a shot – I’d love to hear what you think!

  3. Anne January 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Love your list! I really enjoyed Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and would like to read another by Susanna Clarke too!

    • Amanda January 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks Anne! I struggled to come up with 10 authors, but the first to immediately pop into my mind was Susanna Clarke. Why must she make me wait so long? 🙂

  4. Ty November 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    I’m a little late to the party but I think you’ve compiled a great list! I can cosign a few of the authors and books you mentioned so I’m very optimistic that your other suggestions will be on point. Susanna Clarke is by far my most anticipated author of the bunch you mentioned. I’m going to try Native Star on your recommendation. Thanks!

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