Happy Tuesday, everyone. Can you believe we’re almost at the end of January? Where does the time go? Now, while it’s good to look ahead, there’s still plenty of time for reflections. This week, we’re spotlighting books by new-to-me authors. Now, you may notice that this list is a carbon copy of my Best Books of 2020 list, but that’s because my best books also happen to be ones by authors not necessarily new to me, but ones that I’d been long aware of and finally read.
1. Fredrick Backman: Just one of his books was enough for me to know that Backman thrives on the tears of his readers. Beartown is one of the best books I have ever read. His understanding of human nature and the complex relationships we develop in our lifetime is masterful. His characters are so relatable you can see yourself, your family, and neighbours in them, heightening that emotional impact of his words.
2. Madeline Miller: You know that any book set during the Trojan War is going to be tragic. What I wasn’t expecting was to get an even greater love story. The Song of Achilles is a beautiful tale of love and fate. This book shines a spotlight on the hidden hero of the Trojan War as, through his eyes, we see the life and love he holds for a hero blessed by the gods.
3. Fonda Lee: Fantasy fans do not want to pass on Fonda Lee. Both Jade City and Jade War knocked me for six with its unflinching brutality, complex characters, and intricate world-building where sensory enhancing Jade steers the influence power and legacy. This book does not hold back. The stakes are high and the losses personal and heavy. The burden of leadership on a local and international scale weighs heavy on our lead characters, leading them to take drastic actions that have devastating personal consequences.
4. Helen Hoang: You need a good romance now and then, and Helen Hoang sets the bar high with the oh so swoon-worthy ‘Kiss Quotient.‘ This book is adorable, steamy, and endearing. The chemistry between Stella and Michael is undeniable, but it’s how the two support one another and encourage personal growth for their own sake, not anyone else that makes this book such a treat.
5. Haruichi Furudate: The first foray into the world of manga did not disappoint. With fluid art that can easily translate to screen and a plethora of lovable characters, Furudate’s Haikyuu is a feel-good, heartwarming journey of teamwork, friendship, and volleyball. I can’t wait to continue with the manga series.