Its time for this weeks #SixforSunday, which was was created by @eenalol. The topic this week is Authors that Surprised you!
This is such an interesting topic. Despite a week of thinking it took me so long to decide the meaning for me. I ended up with a collection different meaning for each author I have chosen which i will discuss below.
In no particular order the six authors that have surprised me are:
I embarked on reading Agatha Christie’s back catalogue early this year (see my post here– a new progress post is to follow shortly), I have known many of the stories from the Poirot TV show, which has the typical British gentility about it that makes for very relaxing Sunday afternoon watching. I thought it was about time I got to know the source material. The one thing that is quite striking about her books is her female characters. Despite being written between the 1920s-1960s, she was not afraid to break the women out of their standard roles. She often uses her older characters to discuss the behaviours of “modern girls” and will undoubtedly have one character leaping to their defence. Commending these ladies on starting their own businesses, controlling their own love lives and forging their own ways in the world. In fact she has a clear and prominent lesbian relationship in the Poirot novel – Hallowe’en Party, in which Poirot clearly acknowledges and does not dismiss the love between the two ladies, allowing one of the two to reveal her grief at the loss of her partner without judgement. It, to me, makes the Queen of Crime stand out even further.
I stumbled upon Christina Henry’s work by accident. I have always had a love for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and while travelling I found Henry’s Alice prominently on a bookshop display with other Alice retellings. I was taken by how dark Henry took the work, she does not shy away from the darkest recesses. Her interpretation of the Walrus and the carpenter were bone chilling. i am not one who gravtates towards the Horror genre but Henry’s work has convinced me to keep buying her work. Again in Lost Boy she paints a very vivid yet terrifying picture of the monster Peter Pan actually is (He steals children people). You wait for the moment she will pull it back and let her characters go free but those moments rarely come to fruition. Her books are so deliciously dark I can hardly put them done.
My reasons for choosing Scalzi for this list are two fold. First he writes, take no shit actually treated like they are human, women. He gets a lot of backlash from certain areas of the Sci-fi readership for liking to have a diverse cast of women in positions of power through out his novels. He is writing about the future and he is damn sure there will be women right their beside the men, kicking ass and taking names along side them. In Zoe’s tale he accurately narrates from a teenage girls point of view (thought this may be owing to have a teenage daughter at the time of writing) in The Collapsing empire his main characters are all female, grinding their teeth through period pain to get on with ruling the galaxy, thinking about the last time they had sex and goggling for information on the toilet, which is their only five minutes of peace. None of these scenes are done in a vulgar way they are life-like interpretations that paint women as people not some rare and untouchable creatures.
The second reason is the experiment he played with his novel Lock In . The main character Chris has no gender. Scalzi never states a gender letting readers make up their own mind as they read. In fact the audio book was recorded twice, once with Amber Benson narrating and once with Will Wheaton again almost conducting a social experiment to see wither people prefer a male or female MC in Sci-fi. For me I was surprised how often my own interpretation changed throughout the course of the novel. In parts for me Chris was female in others male. I still have not decided, the story continues with this years release of Head-on and I am curious to see if i decide during that book or if the main character keeps their fluidity.
More Sci-fi has made it onto this list! Okorafor’s Binti series is amazing. It packs so much into its tiny amount of pages with the whole trilogy being less that 400 pages in length. Her writing is beautiful, seamlessly blending magic and science with Nigerian custom. It is just a phenomenal blending of the tradition and the future. I was truly surprised at how much was packed into so few pages, it is a deep and rich story filled with drama. I adored all three.
His debut novel The Seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of my favourite reads of the year . I will happily gush about the writing and the mystery to anyone that will listen. It was a fantastic read that enticed me in with the promise of a Christie-esq mystery with a big dollop of Sci-fi and it did not disappoint. Read My review if you want to know more of my thoughts.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
If you cant tell from my previous choices I am a Sci-fi and Fantasy reader. I do not enjoy most contemporaries or romance novels they are just not my thing. I like my reading time to take me to different worlds so I tend to shy away from books set in our world or that revolve only round a romance plot. I recently read The seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it was mind-blowingly good. It had me hooked for the beginning and the pages just kept turning with me finishing it in just over a day. It was a sure fire 5 Star read and a great jump and surprising jump out of my comfort zone for me. I will be reviewing it shortly.
So those are my six for this Sunday. What authors have surprised you?
Next weeks topic is Books you are always being told to read.
I unfortunately may have to skip this topic. I am fairly new to the Bookish community and have not made friends to the point of demanding I follow book recommendations (I can hear the tiny violins). If you have any recommendations please pass them along, I am always looking for new bookish buddies and reading recommendations.