Why Isn’t Everyone Reading…?

I’ve been having a few conversations with friends recently about the best under-the-radar books. Books that aren’t getting the huge buzz, for reasons that remain a mystery. Some of the books I’ve been thinking of are old books, some are new. Some are by seasoned authors, some are debut.

Why isn’t everyone reading Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia books? Everyone I know who has read them is Capital-O Obsessed. The recent announcement that she’d be writing a new book set in that world *did* set off a huge flurry of blog-located squeeing, but it was a drop in the bucket of the tidal wave of talk for, say, Catching Fire. A few months ago, Justine threatened to never speak to me again unless I read The Thief nownownow, so I bought it, and then Sailor Boy stole it to read on the metro and I haven’t seen it since.

I should really find that book. People adore it.

Why isn’t everyone reading anything Betina Krahn puts on a piece of paper? Why aren’t people BREAKING INTO HER HOUSE and stealing her grocery list? Her first Harlequin Blaze Historical, MAKE ME YOURS, is hitting the shelves at this moment (Amazon shipped me my copy yesterday) and it’s as delicious as everything else she’s ever written. I just love her heroines. They’re smart and spunky and capable — really all these things, not just lip service to the qualities. And the heroes are simultaneously flummoxed, infuriated, and secretly totally loving it. I can’t get enough. Plus, she’s just so funny. She has this incredibly witty way with words. An rather bawdy example from her latest, in which the heroine is teasing the hero by dragging him into dress shops to try on sexy black silk gloves:

“Infernal woman. He’d barely escaped the shop before his John Thomas turned into a full blown Jonathan Thomasville.”

Too funny! Oh, I wish I could write historical romances like Betina Krahn!

Why isn’t everyone reading DULL BOY, by Sarah Cross? This debut novel is one of the best books I’ve read all year. Everyone I know who has read it postively loves it. I’ve spoken about it in detail before, but this book is really something special.

I want everyone else to be feeling the love for these books that I feel! I want everyone else to be talking about it so I have wonderful fangirl conversations to listen in on! Why isn’t everyone else reading them too!

What about you? What authors, what books, do you wish everyone else were reading, and why should they be reading them?

Posted in other writers

16 Responses to Why Isn’t Everyone Reading…?

  1. Dan says:

    I love Richard Hawke’s two Fritz Malone novels. They’re classic Chandler-esque mysteries set in present-day NYC. Great fun.

    I’m also a fan of the ROGUE ANGEL series about globe-trotting archaeologist Annja Creed…who, I should mention, just happens to wield a magic sword once owned by Joan of Arc.

    A few years back, I’d have said Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES series, but I’ve since found dozens of fellow Dresden-philes (see what I did there?).

    And, I’ll second your nomination of DULL BOY. It was an amazing, funny, thrilling, and well-written book. Loved it.

  2. You already mentioned Megan Whalen Turner, so I’ll talk about my two other little-known obsessions:

    Firstly, Elizabeth E. Wein’s books crossing over Arthurian legend with ancient Aksum (Ethiopia), starting with THE WINTER PRINCE, A COALITION OF LIONS and THE SUNBIRD (all of which are currently either difficult to find or downright out of print) but particularly her two most recent THE LION HUNTER and THE EMPTY KINGDOM. Fantastic historical drama in a fresh and fascinating setting, intrigue, characters that will steal your heart and then rip it to pieces, beautiful writing, and — I just don’t get why more people haven’t heard of these books!

    Secondly, I am crazy in love with Catherine Fisher’s INCARCERON and its sequel SAPPHIQUE, which are a mind-blowing blend of historical, SF and fantasy. Again, great characters and beautiful writing plus a fantastic premise (an enormous, sentient prison from which no one can escape, and which is a world unto itself) and also an understated love story that I positively swooned for even though the author doesn’t seem to have noticed she was doing it. INCARCERON’s been out in UK and Canada for ages, but won’t be making its US debut until 2010. And I really really really hope it does well over here, because I want a third book and right now it’s looking pretty iffy that there’s going to be one (gnash gnash).

    …and also thirded on the wonderfulness of DULL BOY. Sarah Cross definitely deserves more fans!

  3. Tiff says:

    Frankly, I never know what everyone is or isn’t reading. I’m very behind on current books…but I guess I’d ask why everyone isn’t reading Elizabeth Scott’s “Stealing Heaven” or Melissa Walker’s Violet series.

    Yeah, I know, I’m super-slow on the uptake.

    As for classics, I kind of wonder why everyone isn’t a huge, mega Virginia Woolf fan like I am. Just read Mrs. Dalloway, people! It’s not even that long, and I promise you’ll love it!

  4. Tiff says:

    Oh yeah, one more: Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald. Are people reading it? I have no idea. But it’s awesome, and full of cool (and not so cool) feminist theory.

  5. I second the recommendation of Elizabeth Wein’s books!

    Also, this trilogy was popular about 4 or 5 years back, but has since slipped everyone’s mind: The Guardians of Time Trilogy. It’s a YA trilogy by Marianne Curley, who is Austrailian (the US edition of the books are published by Bloomsbury), and the books are about this group of time travelers in Australia, most of whom are teens. It’s an awesome, awesome series that is very imaginative, and I LOVE it! The books are: The Named, The Dark, and The Key.

    Thanks for starting this post!

  6. I can’t figure out why everyone isn’t reading Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series. I mean, I know it’s MG, but the story is so gripping it’s not just for kids.

    I’m also a little stymied that not everyone has read Monica McCarty’s Highlander series or Karin Tabke’s Blood Sword Legacy series. People don’t know what they’re missing.

  7. PurpleRanger says:

    That last paragraph was a “don’t get me started” line. Give me half a chance, and I’ll give you a library of recommendations. I’ll just stick to two, though.

    First, Jennifer Estep’s “Bigtime” series. These books are a combination of superheroes, romance, and just a touch of humor.

    Second, David Weber’s “Honor Harrington” series.

  8. Diana says:

    Oh my gosh, these all sound SOOOO good! Thanks for hte recs, RJ! I haven’t heard of most of those and they seem so up my alley.

    BE, isn’t Fablehaven a NYT bestseller? I haven’t read them, but I do think there must be a lot of people who are!

    Krahn was a bestseller about 15 years ago, but she took some time off writing and her new books (which is how I discovered her) don’t seem to be in as wide distribution.

  9. Alexa says:

    The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. Top of my top ten books and no one seems to have even heard of them.

    Also Kate Atkinson, Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Erskine don’t seem very popular among my American friends and they are all excellent.

  10. Thea says:

    One of my all time favorite books is MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, written in the ’50s but with one of the best heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in a book. It’s a spy/romance/adventure set in ancient Egypt, and still stands the test of time. I re-read it at least once a year. Granted, the book is old, but it’s been in print all these years, so I guess some folks read it as much as I do 🙂

  11. Cara King says:

    As soon as I read the title of this post, I thought “Megan Whalen Turner!” So glad to see that great minds think alike. 🙂

    I also gush on about Diana Wynne Jones, though she’s quite well known by now (though not as much as she should be!) Of hers, I most recommend starting with HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, CHARMED LIFE, or ARCHER’S GOON.

    And Ellen Emerson White is a goddess. Her THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER was reissued recently!

  12. Michelle says:

    Also a big Megan Whalen Turner fan, and have been cheerfully spreading the addiction. I agree about Diana Wynne Jones. I don’t understand why she isn’t more popular in the US. Even Howl’s Moving Castle was made into an animated film.

    A really good mystery author who I loved but who has disappeared is Garrison Allen. His Big Mike mysteries are great.

  13. Estara says:

    Right! Or P.C. Hodgell’s stories about Jamethiel Dreamweaver (in the UK the first two novels were Chronicles of the Kencyrath). BAEN is rereleasing them and has bought another novel which will be out in 2010 and Pat Hodgell is busy writing the next one.
    If you don’t want to wait you could buy them as ebooks, too http://www.webscription.net/p-643-god-stalker-chronicles.aspx

    How many female epic fantasists with non-Tolkien inspired dark fantasy and a female heroine (which started coming out in the ’80s!!!) do we have lying around, anyway?

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