Today, I'm procrastinating on writing reviews of the two books I finished yesterday by doing a Booking Through Thursday first. Yes, yes, I know: Work before play. However, I just can't seem to wrap my head around the reviews at this moment, so hopefully this will help clear the pipes.
Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…
I read a lot of classics, so finding an "unknown" author is kind of difficult for me. However, there were two or three that sprang to mind. They're all kind of well-known, but they aren't the big bestsellers that I think they should be.
I first got a copy of Kate Morton's The House at Riverton through an ARC program
on Barnes & Noble's Web site. It hadn't come out in the United States yet, but we were asked to read and participate in a book discussion.I loved how she writes what I call "family mysteries" -- You know, those books about skeletons in everyone's closet and one person is trying to figure it out -- instead of a traditional murder mystery. More my style.
She draws the reader in with some great dialogue and even more fascinating characters. And, once she's got you, she twists and turns the story so that, just when you think you've got things figured out, you start to question your judgment.
Her second novel, The Forgotten Garden, came out in the middle of last year and was just as fabulous and engrossing as the first. This one, though, had a little touch of magic and fairy tales which made it seem a little more fantastical, but no less real.
Luckily, everyone at my library I've given these books to have loved them.
I purchased Stephanie Kallos' second novel, Sing Them Home, for my library early in the fall. I had seen it in bookstores, and it kept popping up in my Amazon recommendations, so I took a look.
The premise sounded just off-the-wall enough for me to be interested -- A woman disappeared during a tornado several years ago, and her children must struggle to come to terms with her disappearance. It's got a little bit of fantasy, a lot of realism and a lot of great characterization.
The three children are all very different, and each deal with their mother's disappearance and the resulting change in family dynamics in their own way. Ultimately, though, it is their father's death that makes the siblings realize that they can't keep living in the past.
I'll admit, there were times when this book seemed as if it was going in too many directions. Kallos, however, sews things up nicely in the end.
I have since purchased her first novel, Broken for You, for the library, but haven't had the chance to read it.
I know, I know... Murakami is pretty well-known across the book and reading world, so he doesn't technically count. However, I don't know a whole lot of people who read him, and I know people who read a lot of really obscure stuff.
I think a lot of what scares people off Murakami is that he tends to blend the fantastical and magical right in with the realistic, and his fantastical and magical is kind of out there.
Take Kafka on the Shore, the only book of his I've read to date (Although I do have at least one or two others sitting on my shelves, waiting). There are talking cats. There are ghosts. There's an Oedipal curse. But, the whole time, you're always left wondering: Is this really happening in the novel, or is it just one big hallucination?
The thing I really like about Murakami, at least from Kafka, is that he gives us a taste of Japan without it being Memoirs of a Geisha. It's subtle, but it's there.