Reading is one of our favorite pastimes here at GGA. There is nothing better than cozying up in an oversized chair with a big blanket, tea and losing yourself in the pages of an adventure. Looking for a new author to enjoy? We’ve got you! Here are six authors to add to your reading list just in time for National Author’s Day!
When I think about authors that have impacted my life J.R.R. Tolkien is always at the top of my list. If you have been living under a rock for the last few decades, he is a high fantasy author. I have read through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy multiple times in my life. There is nothing better there an adventure that takes you through so many stages of emotions. Tolkien’s worldbuilding is unrivaled in my eyes. Between both trilogies, he takes readers on an adventure with heroism, songs and laughter. Nothing is better than settling in for a long afternoon taking in the adventures of Bilbo or Frodo.
I go through phases in my reading. Lately, I’ve been craving epic fantasy as a means to escape. I’ve read all my Brandon Sanderson books again: Mistborn, Elantris, Stormlight Archives, Warbreaker, etc. I reread Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. All of them. Twice. After finishing, I had a fantasy pit in my stomach that begged to be filled. Enter N.K. Jemisin.
N.K. Jemisin (Nora Keita Jemisin), holy cow. If you are an epic fantasy fan, Jemisin is your new hero. Full Stop. Her series, The Broken Earth series consists of The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky. I’m currently halfway through The Obelisk Gate and I’m actually having trouble concentrating on anything else but the book. The world-building that Jemisin has put forth in The Broken Earth series is unlike anything I’ve ever read. The creativity is reminiscent of Brandon Sanderson, however, Jemisin doesn’t hesitate to drop an F-bomb, talk sex or describe violence. She deftly weaves themes of cultural oppression, climate change and human interaction to create a series unlike any fantasy seeries out there.
In addition to fantasy. Jemisin is also a science fiction and short story author. She has many prestigious awards under her belt, including a Locus award and numerous Hugo and Nebula awards. Do yourself a favor, go get lost in an N.K. Jemisin world.
I love to be scared. And while horror movies do get my adrenal pumping, it’s actually horror novels that scare me more. There is just something about how you recreate the scenes in your head. My favorite horror author is the king of the genre himself, Stephen King. Many of my childhood nightmares were built on the monsters found within his novels. He has a way of taking something so simple like a haunted car in Christine and create a story so horrifying it will make you second guess getting into a car for a few weeks. If the movie adaptations of King’s novels get your heart racing, give one of his novels a read and I promise you will be pausing to let your nerves settle every few pages.
If you haven’t read this next author, National Author’s Day is a perfect time to start. Nnedi Okorafor is a multi-award winning science fiction and fantasy author. Okorafor has described her work in a term she coined, Africanfuturism. Africanfuturism is “rooted in African culture, history, mythology and point-of-view as it then branches into the Black diaspora, and it does not privilege or center the West.” Africanjujuism, “is a subcategory of fantasy that respectfully acknowledges the seamless blend of true existing African spiritualities and cosmologies with the imaginative.” (read more here, Los Angeles Review of Books).
The two series that I have read by Okorafor are her Binti series and her Akata Witch series. Binti follows a young woman from the Himba ethnic group as she runs away to attend a prestigious university on a different planet. Her journey is not easy. Akata Witch follows a young girl, Sunny after she moves from the U.S. to Nigeria. She’s young, black and albino. In her new home, she discovers that she has magical abilities and a whole new world of magic in West Africa is opened up for her. It’s beautiful, exciting, but also very dangerous.
Okorafor’s books are easy to get lost in. Her expert world-building puts the reader right there next to Binti as she travels to the stars, and right next to Sunny as she meets new friends and brilliant magical beings.
Christopher Moore is a satire writer who hails from Ohio (Represent!). Well, more like satire with a supernatural twist. My first foray into his books started with The Bloodsucking Fiends trilogy, which follows a vampire named Jody and her newly turned boyfriend Tommy. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud while reading a book unless it’s a Moore original. There’s a book about Jesus’ BFF Biff, a man who’s the grim reaper in modern-day San Francisco, a Fool named Pocket in Shakespeare’s Venice and much more. Fun fact: while Moore’s books widely vary in subject matter, most of them take place in the same universe. Expect to see different characters make cameos in multiple books. Expect some “heinous f*ckery most foul.” Expect to find yourself wondering if you inadvertently dropped acid. But, most of all, expect to laugh your hindquarters clean off.
Mary Robinette Kowal
Our last suggestion for National Author’s Day is Mary Robinette Kowal. She has a number of books and short stories under her belt. An award-winning, prolific science fiction and fantasy writer, Kowal also co-hosts podcast Writing Excuses with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler. Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series, The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky and The Relentless Moon, were books I could not put down. The alternate universe series explores how the space program would have developed if a meteorite hit the Atlantic in the 1950’s. The earth is doomed and the patriarchy has to come to the conclusion that women will be needed in space. And surprise, there are already brilliant women on Earth ready to go! But the men in charge will still make it difficult. There are so many inspirational women in the series that my heart ached when I finished. Do yourself a favor, go read about Dr. Elma York and Ms. Nicole Wargin. You’ll have two new heroes to add to your collection. Then wait patiently for the next addition to the series, The Martian Contingency which is due out in 2022.
We hope you enjoy reading our favorite authors! Who are you celebrating on National Author’s Day? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!
This article was originally published on National Authors Day 11/1/20
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