Discovering New Authors

I’ve had a galley of Kate Christensen’s The Great Man since before it came out in hardcover in 2007. Each time I’d clear my office shelves of galleys I knew I’d never read, I kept it for some reason. Now I’m glad I did. Fellow bookseller Michelle Filgate of RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH kept talking about how much she loved Christensen’s writing on both her blog and on Twitter. After reading a fairly fat book (Sarah Water’s forthcoming Little Stranger which is a departure from her previous books and definitely worth reading) I wanted something a little slimmer. I finally pulled The Great Man off the shelf and started reading it on the train ride home. Wow! I’m liking it so much that I want to read all of her other books. I have a copy of Trouble which is coming in June, but I want to everything!

It’s rare to find an author that makes you want to read their entire body of work. It hasn’t happened to me since reading Rupert Thomson’s Divided Kingdom a few years ago. Sometimes a book pulls you in so strongly that you can’t put it down, but how often does it make you wonder how the author crafted it and how does their writing evolve over time? Has this ever happened to you? What authors have you absolutely had to read all of their works?

7 thoughts on “Discovering New Authors

  1. Brian Hadd

    I don’t think wondering how they crafted it is part of the equation, they crafted it through imagination. And, how exactly it evolves is interesting, and impossible to predict, yet again perhaps the question is shall it evolve, as all things ought to.

    Steve Erickson is someone I’m going to read all of, I just finished Days Between Stations which as happens was his first book and I want to read Tours of the Black Clock and Our Ecstatic Days. Thinking again to the idea of evolution perhaps the imagination need not change but the ideas should probably, assuming books are treatments and conclusions of ideas, which I think they are.


  2. Castallia

    I really loved Divided Kingdom also.

    I’ve read everything I could by Haruki Murakami, Max Frisch, and Philip K. Dick.

    More recently, I discovered the works of Geoff Dyer and Barbara Pym last year, and I want to read all their books as well.


  3. zan

    I did the same with Rupert Thomson’s books after Divided Kingdom.

    Other authors who have had the same “must read everything” effect: Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, Nicola Barker, Scarlett Thomas, Joan Didion, Shirley Jackson, Magnus Mills, Nick Hornby, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jeff Noon, and Victor Pelevin.

    When you strike gold, you might as well keep mining the same vein.


  4. Kwill

    Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman are the contemporary writers of whom I’m trying to get their entire oeuvres. What about “genre” or series writers, like Terry Pratchett or Agatha Christie – same boat?


  5. Emily

    Looks like now I’ve got to read Divided Kingdom.

    Here are mine, in the order that I discovered them: Charles Schulz, Roald Dahl, Faulkner, Winterson, DeLillo, Galeano, Ali Smith, and most recently, Ivan E. Coyote.


  6. judy

    First it was Elizabeth Goudge (well first it was the Nancy Drew books but I was fooled there), then Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and Barbara Kingsolver. Currently I am working through Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch and Shirley Jackson. Then there are new authors whose next books I await impatiently: Chabon, David Glen Gold, Jonathan Evison. Looks like I did a gender switch when it comes to authors. Interesting. Could be hormonal.


  7. Elly

    One of my favorite places to find new authors is Narrative Magazine, an online lit mag whose mission is to bring great literature to the world for free. As a non-profit, they provide a platform for a lot of new voices and all of their reading & contest fees go toward paying the authors they publish. Find them at


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