12 Books By Favorite Authors I Haven’t Read Yet

September 25, 2018 Book Lists 45

Books By Favorite Authors I Haven't Read


One of the silver linings of discovering a new-to-you author a bit late is that the author likely has a pretty good, if not extensive, backlist waiting for you!  Most recently, this has happened with Anna Quindlen, Ann Patchett, and Kelly Corrigan…and I still have plenty more to go!

And, even with favorite authors I’ve been familiar with for awhile, I haven’t yet gotten to all the books of theirs that I want to read! Here are 12 Books by Favorite Authors I Still Haven’t Read…

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Linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

12 Books By Favorite Authors I Haven’t Read Yet

Jami Attenberg
The Middlesteins
I loved Attenberg’s Saint Mazie (my review) and All Grown Up (my review). Her dry humor is right up my alley and I can’t wait to read her take on a dysfunctional family. Plus, this book is under 300 pages…making it way more likely I might actually pick it up soon!

For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie’s enormous girth. She’s obsessed with food–thinking about it, eating it–and if she doesn’t stop, she won’t have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. […] Through it all, they wonder: do Edie’s devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?

Margaret Atwood
Alias Grace
Like many people, The Handmaid’s Tale (my review) blew me away…and it was one of the only classics I’ve read in later life. I downloaded Alias Grace when it was free via a Kindle deal over a year ago and really need to crack it open! The page count (over 450 pages) is probably what’s been causing me to put it off for so long.

It’s 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?

Kent Haruf
Our Souls at Night (my review) is a tiny, quiet book, but it really spoke to me. I’m interested in seeing what Haruf does with a family story…plus, I’ve heard new things.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known.

Emily St. John Mandel
The Lola Quartet
I (along with a gazillion other readers) loved Station Eleven (my review). It was the first dystopian novel I’ve ever actually enjoyed. Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy recently read The Lola Quartet from her backlist and devoted a special What Should I Read Next? podcast episode to it. Plus, it’s a literary thriller, which I generally love.

Gavin Sasaki is a promising young journalist in New York City, until he’s fired in disgrace following a series of unforgivable lapses in his work. It’s early 2009, and the world has gone dark very quickly; the economic collapse has turned an era that magazine headlines once heralded as the second gilded age into something that more closely resembles the Great Depression. The last thing Gavin wants to do is return to his hometown of Sebastian, Florida, but he’s drifting toward bankruptcy and is in no position to refuse when he’s offered a job by his sister, Eilo, a real estate broker who deals in foreclosed homes.

Eilo recently paid a visit to a home that had a ten-year-old child in it, a child who looks very much like Gavin and who has the same last name as Gavin’s high school girlfriend Anna, whom Gavin last saw a decade ago. Gavin—a former jazz musician, a reluctant broker of foreclosed properties, obsessed with film noir and private detectives—begins his own private investigation in an effort to track down Anna and their apparent daughter who have been on the run all these years from a drug dealer from whom Anna stole $121,000.

Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood
I loved Murakami’s 1Q84 (and it’s hard to keep me interested for almost 1,000 pages!) and his memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’m dying to see what he does with a campus novel (one of my favorite sub-genres)!

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

Maggie O’Farrell
This Must Be the Place
I loved O’Farrell’s memoir/essay collection, I Am, I Am, I Am. And, before I even knew about her memoir, I had This Must Be the Place on my TBR list. I snagged it in a Kindle Daily Deal and can’t wait to test out her fiction (hopefully sometime this year).

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse.

But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

Ann Patchett
Truth and Beauty
Ann Patchett is one of my very favorite authors. My favorites of hers so far are: Commonwealth (my review), State of Wonder (my review), and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage (my review). I read about her memoir of a friendship, Truth and Beauty, in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and am thinking it may be a good audio choice for me.

Ann Patchett and the late Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In Grealy’s critically acclaimed memoir Autobiography of a Face, she wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, years of chemotherapy and radiation, and endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth and Beauty, the story isn’t Lucy’s life or Ann’s life but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long winters of the Midwest to surgical wards to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined–and what happens when one is left behind.

Jo Piazza
Fitness Junkie

I only read Jo Piazza (Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win) this year, but Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books and Susie from Novel Visits told me to read Fitness Junkie well before that!

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. […] As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place?

Anna Quindlen
Still Life With Bread Crumbs
Y’all know how much I love Anna Quindlen (see my “Women Who Get Women” Authors Club post). Still Life With Bread Crumbs is one of her only novels I have yet to read.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Curtis Sittenfeld
I loved An American Wife years ago, but was initially turned off of Eligible because it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling. But, my interest in it was rekindled when I read and loved her short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It (my review) this year!

This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. […]

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge
I loved both My Name is Lucy Barton (my review) and Anything is Possible and, if you can believe it, still haven’t read her Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life – sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.

Meg Wolitzer
The Ten-Year Nap
Meg Wolitzer is another one of my very favorite authors and I’ve rated every single book I’ve read by her 5 stars: The Interestings (my review), The Wife (my review), and The Female Persuasion (my review). When I was a guest on The Readerly Report Podcast recently, co-host Gayle Weiswasser recommended The Ten-Year Nap to me since I have toddler age children at home.

For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that they would conquer the world, they then left jobs as corporate lawyers, investment bankers, and film scouts to stay home with their babies. What was meant to be a temporary leave of absence has lasted a decade. Now, at age forty, with the halcyon days of young motherhood behind them and without professions to define them, Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen face a life that is not what they were brought up to expect but seems to be the one they have chosen.

Have you read any of these backlist-ers? Which ones do you recommend I read first? And, what books by your favorite authors have you not read yet?

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45 Responses to “12 Books By Favorite Authors I Haven’t Read Yet”

  1. Wendy

    Lots of good choices here! Loved Eligible–I love the snarky tone of the book. I reviewed Fitness Blogger on my blog–for me, it started out enterainingly enough but wore me down.

  2. Linda S.

    I loved Plainsong and I am sad Kent Haruf is no longer with us. His writing is sparse, crisp and beautiful. Plainsong remains in my top favorites.

  3. Rebecca Foster

    The Middlesteins, Eligible, This Must be the Place and Truth and Beauty are all terrific. I hope you enjoy them! I have some favorite authors I’ve deliberately not read one or two books by (especially if they’re older and are unlikely to produce more work) so I can treat myself to them someday in the future.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oh yay! Now to make time for them…

      And I wish I’d done that with Pat Conroy, RIP…

  4. Amy @ Read a Latte

    I loved Norwegian Wood when I read it! It was one of the first Murakami books I ever read. The Middlesteins might be my least favorite Jami Attenberg though. I expected more humor and it was definitely more serious.

  5. Susie | Novel Visits

    Great list, Sarah. We overlap some authors, but no actual books. I did read The Ten-Year Nap and liked it, but not as much as Wolitzer’s other books. I also read Alias Grace, but it was SO long ago that I don’t really remember what I thought. I’ve only read a few Maggie O’Farrell books, but my favorite was The Hand That First Held Mine.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Well, you know how I am with long books, so I suspect Alias Grace won’t be the first one of these I jump on!

      And I haven’t heard of that O’Farrell, so yay! More to read!

  6. Allison

    So many great books and authors here to chat about! Truth and Beauty has been high on my list as well. I also love Bel Canto, if you haven’t read that.

    I didn’t love Alias Grace, though I know a lot of people did. I found it pretty slow, and the treatment of the real person in historical fiction just didn’t work for me–though I usually love that.

    Eligible didn’t appeal to me for the same reasons, though I did like Prep and An American Wife.

    I think I need to read The Ten Year Nap soon. Was looking at The Wife yesterday and not feeling it at this moment, but TYN sounds right up my alley.

    Fun topic!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I have read Bel Canto, but it’s my least favorite of her books 🙁

      And – The Wife does have a lot of themes of women maintaining their identity through marriage and motherhood…maybe with a bit more rage behind it?!

  7. Sarah R

    I am a huge Curtis Sittenfeld fan but I think Eligible was probably my least favorite of her books. I am not a fan of Pride and Prejudice though.

    I did read Middlesteins when it came out and I think I liked it. I know I loved The Lola Quartet. Fitness Junkie was pretty good too! More of a lighter read though.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      You’re not the only one to say that about Eligible! Great to hear about Lola Quartet!

  8. Angela

    Eligible was the first Sittenfeld book I read, and I really enjoyed it. I’ll have to check out Fitness Junkie – I recently read Piazza’s memoir about marriage, and The Knockoff is also on my TBR.

  9. Claire at A Novel Look

    Eligible is one of my favorite books. I know a lot of people didn’t like it, but I absolutely adored Sittenfeld’s take on Pride & Prejudice.

    I also really enjoyed This Must Be the Place; I Am, I Am, I Am is on my TBR.

    I’m somewhat new-ish to Ann Patchett and am slowly making my way through all of her books. I read Bel Canto in August and loved it.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I adore Ann PAtchett! But, Bel Canto was my least favorite of hers! Commonwealth was probably my favorite.

  10. Gabby

    I quite liked Olive Kitteridge…I thought the lack of a central narrative would bug, but it really didn’t. I picked up Lucy Barton at a secondhand sale so it’s waiting for me. Margaret Atwood made my list, too! And I’m ashamed that I haven’t actually read any Murakami yet (I think Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is scheduled to be my first)

    • Sarah Dickinson

      For some reason, Strout’s novels without central narratives do work for me….even though that usually annoys me!

  11. JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    You’re in for a treat with Olive Kitteridge… it’s one of my favorites! I also loved Truth and Beauty. You’re going to want to read Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy immediately afterward. Anna Quindlen, Meg Wolitzer… we share several favorite authors.

  12. Kay

    I read ALIAS GRACE many years ago with a book group. I liked it a lot, but I know some don’t. I have not watched the TV adaptation as yet.

  13. Gayle Weiswasser

    OMG. Ok, where to start.

    FIRST READ ELIGIBLE. It’s really fun, esp if you love P&P

    Then Ten Year Nap and Olive Kitteridge.

    Truth and Beauty is pretty good but not as good as other Ann Patchett’s like Bel Canto and Commonwealth. Different bc it’s non-fiction.

    Skip The Middlesteins.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      A wealth of knowledge in one comment! Terrible confession – I’ve never read P&P. It’s one of my mother’s greatest sorrows! Maybe I’ll try Eligible first.

      Can’t wait for Ten Year Nap! And, I’ve read Patchett’s Nonfiction before and liked it.

  14. Patricia Anne Bryan

    Alias Grace is also quite dry and unrelentingly bleak.Decided life too short,Sara.Also The Disappearance of Esme Lennox,by Maggie O’Farrell totally excellent.This one not so much…

  15. Megan @booksandcarbs

    I’ve read most of the backlist titles you mentioned. I loved Eligible but am a P&P junkie so no surprise there. I’d say if you’re not a P&P fan, it may not be your thing as it is not that similar to Sittenfeld’s other books. Olive Kitteridge is wonderful, can’t go wrong there. I liked Truth and Beauty, though if you read it, your TBR list will get longer as you will want to read Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face afterwards. I really liked This Is The Place and also The Ten-Year Nap (but I read that book just as I was heading in to my own ten-year nap — wonder how it would resonate if I read it now while I’m starting to rouse). There is one description in The Middlesteins that I will remember forever … in a good way. Don’t move to Alias Grace next. I’d recommend The Blind Assassin as a great next Margaret Atwood title to check out. Fitness Junkie was fun. Happy Reading!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Wow – thanks for all the great info! Alias Grace is moving down the list based on all these comments.

      I, too, am coming out of my 10 year nap 🙂

  16. Lisa of Hopewell

    I enjoyed Still Life With Bread Crumbs when it came out. I must have been the only reader to not stick with Olive Kitteridge–it just didn’t do it for me. Maybe another try sometime since so many folks I trust to know books loved it.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I’ve been in your same boat before! Most recently with A Gentleman in Moscow.

  17. Jade @ Reading with Jade

    *hides whilst admitting something shocking* I’ve never read Margaret Atwood. However, I do plan to rectify that by reading Alias Grace by the end of the year… I shan’t lie, Netflix having the series has definitely pushed me to pick this book up, as I want to read it before watching. Margaret Atwood is one of those authors that intimidates me though.

    I hope you love these titles, if and when, you get round to reading them.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I just read my first Atwood a few years ago! We never read it in school!

      And, here’s my something shocking…I’ve never read Jane Austen!

  18. Darlene

    I read Olive Kitteridge and really liked it.
    I am, very slowly, reading Meg Wolitzers books chronologically, so it will be a while before I get to her more recent books. I LOVED her first one, Sleepwalking.

    And I still have four of Anna Quindlen’s books I’ve yet to read.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oooh – haven’t heard of Sleepwalking…my Wolitzer list is getting long! And, I’m working my way backwards with her!

  19. Novels And Nonfiction

    Lots of good options here but I have to say I’m most intrigued by “The Ten Year Nap”. What a weird/intriguing title and interesting concept. I’ll add that to my TBR, and 2 or 3 other ones from this list 😉

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I LOVE the concept of the Ten Year Nap…so incredibly accurate. It’s like Moms of young kids more or less retire from being human beings for 10 years until their kids get a little more self-sufficient.

  20. Patricia Anne Bryan

    The Blind Assassin I regarded as one of the ugliest books I’ve read.Made my skin crawl but one phrase as stuck with me and didn’t help my fear of death..”Women,thirty thousand years dead”.
    Interesting that Atwood has so many “voices”..love much of her other stuff AND her poetry but these two works left me cold.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      So, that’s interesting! Handmaid’s Tale is the only Atwood I’ve read, so haven’t been able to compare her voices. Will keep an eye out of that once I get to another one of hers.

  21. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I’ve not read anything of Curtis Sittenfeld’s other than Eligible, but I thought it was one of the best Austen retellings I’d read and I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

    For some reason, I was pretty sure Station Eleven was Mendel’s only book, so I’m incredibly excited to learn I was wrong! I should really start getting to her backlist, because I loved that book too.

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