Top Ten Debut Novels

“We all create stories to protect ourselves.”

Mark Z. Danielewski

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams. I mean, obviously. This is British humour at its best. Plus, Marvin the Paranoid Android.
  2. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. I like this less than the Lord of the Rings books, but I feel I would be a Bad Tolkien Fan if he wasn’t on here somewhere. And, after all, The Hobbit is a good book.
  3. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova. VAMPIRES in LIBRARIES. omg I love this book.
  4. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger. TIME TRAVELLERS in LIBRARIES. I’m sensing a theme here. Also there’s something about the prose that’s just really fun to read? I don’t know exactly what, though.
  5. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley. I have said this before, but if everyone on the planet read this the world would be a better place. It’s frankly amazing how different it is from most readers’ expectations, too. Seriously, read it if you haven’t already.
  6. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski. I keep wittering about this one, but it is fantastic: utterly creepy and fiendishly clever, and altogether one of the most compelling books I think I’ve ever read. Curiously, I’m not really interested in Danielewski’s other books – they seem a bit too experimental? Perhaps I’m making an unfair judgement, though.
  7. Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl. I love Pessl’s work (her recent Night Film is also terrific); it’s different without being unreadable, and has a quirky quality to it that I really enjoy. Blue Van Meer is a great character.
  8. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee. Actually Lee’s only novel (well, until the controversial Go Set a Watchman comes out, anyway), it’s more of an Important Book than one I actually enjoyed, but it deserves a place on this list, if only because it’s such a classic.
  9. The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith. These books are so lovely. They just sort of gently swan into existence and out again without really making much of an impact – not meaningful reading, but restful and cheerful. There’s always a place for that kind of book.
  10. Redwall – Brian Jacques. This is probably a nostalgia shout, but seriously, it’s earned its place here just for the food descriptions. Mmmm. Meadowcream cake. I don’t even know what that is and I still want to eat it.

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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