12 New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2018

new-to-me authors


I love discovering a new-to-me author who has an extensive backlist to dig into! Though I’m late to the party on these authors, I’ve already fit in a second book by 4 of them (Maggie O’Farrell, Camille Pagan, Jo Piazza, and Tayari Jones)!

There are more lighter books and thrillers on this list than I normally read, so I’m thrilled to find some new authors that work for me in those genres.

This list does NOT include debut authors…since I already honored them in my Best Debuts of 2018 list.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

12 New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2018

Elliot Ackerman (Waiting for EdenMy Review)
Waiting for Eden was my #1 book of 2018. I loved his spare, but powerful writing style and his 2017 novel, Dark at the Crossing, is calling my name.

Alafair Burke (The Wife, My Review)
Y’all know I’ve been frustrated by thrillers with outlandish plot twists and I was thrilled to find that The Wife was a compelling, straight-up thriller with no gimmicks. And, she has a new book (The Better Sister) coming out in April 2019!

Katherine Center (How to Walk AwayMy Review)
I didn’t think I was going to like How to Walk Away because it’s completely out of my wheelhouse, but it was a nice surprise! And, just like Alafair Burke, Center has a new book (Things You Save in a Fire) coming out in August 2019!

Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeMy Review)
Can y’all believe I’m just now getting to Anne Lamott?! I thought she’d be serious since she writes with a bit of a religious lens, but she’s super relatable and funny! I’ve got the audio of her memoir about her son’s first year of life (Operating Instructions) on pre-order from Libro.fm.

Laura Lippman (SunburnMy Review)
I’m always excited to find a new thriller author I like since I’m so picky about them, but I loved the noir, “who can you trust?” vibe of Sunburn. And, she’s got an extensive backlist for me to dig into.

Rebecca Makkai (The Great BelieversMy Review
I know Makkai is kind of a critical darling, especially for her short stories, but I’d never read her before. You can bet I’ll read her again, though…since The Great Believers was one of my Best Books of 2018!

Maggie O’Farrell (I Am, I Am, I Am)
Like with Tayari Jones, I made sure to fit in a second Maggie O’Farrell book (This Must Be the Place) just recently…and loved it! And, I still have Instructions for a Heatwave on my TBR list.

Camille Pagan (Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties)
2018 was a good year for finding excellent “smart Brain Candy” authors and Camille Pagan is one of those. Thanks to Ashley Spivey for putting her on my radar and I fit in one of her backlist novels (Forever is the Worst Long Time) this year as well.

Jo Piazza (Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, My Review)
Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books has been telling me to read Piazza’s Fitness Junkie ever since it came out. I haven’t gotten to that one yet, but did love Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win and am currently listening to her memoir about her first year of marriage, How to Be Married.

Tayari Jones (An American MarriageMy Review)
Just like Oprah, I loved Jones’ runaway hit An American Marriage. I fit in one of her backlist titles, Silver Sparrow, just recently and I think I loved it just as much as An American Marriage!

Iain Reid (FoeMy Review)
I missed Reid’s debut novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, but Foe had a compelling sense of creepiness and “what is going on?”-ness. I also just noticed Reid has written two memoirs.

Jean Thompson (A Cloud in the Shape of a GirlMy Review)
Thompson was nominated for the National Book Award for The Year We Left Home, but I was late to the party. Her latest novel snuck up on me, despite it’s bleakness, which isn’t for everyone.

What new-to-you authors did you read this year?

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  1. Vicki wrote:

    I loved How to Walk Away and want to read her new book when it comes out.

    Posted 12.17.18 Reply
  2. Susan wrote:

    I’ve read 5 of the books on your list. I liked Alafair Burke best then Jo Piazza, Camille Pagan, Laura Lippman and finally Tayari Jones.
    I didn’t like the characters in Sunburn or The American Marriage at all yet the story sticks with me this late in the year when I am coming up on reading my 100th book this year.

    Posted 12.17.18 Reply
  3. I really want to read Burke and Jones.

    Posted 12.17.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      The Jones could be a Best of the Year type…Burke is perfect for vacation!

      Posted 12.19.18 Reply
  4. All but three of your new authors were also new to me this year. (And, I read all but one of your 12!) Have you gone back and read Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things? Save it for when you’re in the mood for weird!

    Posted 12.17.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha! I’m not at all surprised! I do want to go back to that one, but haven’t yet.

      Posted 12.19.18 Reply
  5. Great list! I read Sharp Object with my book club recently and it was my first time reading Gillian Flynn. I missed the Gone Girl train. I might have to pick up one of her other titles soon!

    Posted 12.18.18 Reply
  6. Rory wrote:

    Iain Reid was new to me this year, and I really enjoyed Foe! David Joy was another new one, and probably my favorite new-to-me writer.

    Posted 12.18.18 Reply
  7. Jan wrote:

    Great list Sarah! Not surprisingly I’ve read 12 of these and the other 4 I either own or they are on my tbr list 🙂

    Posted 12.21.18 Reply
    • Jan wrote:

      oops, I really can count….I meant I’ve read 8 of the 12 and the other 4 are in my tbr.

      Posted 12.21.18 Reply
  8. Cherry Mack wrote:

    If anyone’s interested in learning more about this topic, I’d definitely recommend checking out Ivan Maldonado’s book Head Start 2 Riches at headstart2riches . com. Such a great book, and definitely a much needed read for anyone that wants to focus on wealth-building in this upcoming New Year! I’m definitely shocked he’s released it for free, but I’m so glad he has.

    Posted 12.22.18 Reply
  9. Catherine wrote:

    You have some great choices on here! I’m glad to have led you to Jo Piazza- she does snark so well.

    The new-to-me authors that have me most intrigued to read more would be: Leif Enger, Fiona Neill, and Alison Pearson. I loved each of their current books so am keeping them in mind for backlist reading.

    Posted 12.24.18 Reply
  10. Lydia wrote:

    A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl sounds like such a good read.

    This is my Top Ten Tuesday post.

    Posted 1.15.19 Reply
  11. I’m pretty sure I own Bird by Bird – I really need to read that. I also want to read An American Marriage. I read I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman a few years back and really loved it, so I recommend that!


    Posted 1.15.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh thank you for the Lippman rec! Always nice to have a place to start.

      Posted 1.16.19 Reply

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