Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday: Meagan's Favorite Debut Novels

It's time for another Top 10 Tuesday brought to you by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is best debut novels. Originally, it was best debut novels of the year, but I don't think I've even read ten debut novels this year so I'm just going to list ten debuts I've read and enjoyed over the years.

As I was putting this list together, I found it kind of interesting how many of these books have appeared on my other Top 10 lists before. I guess if you're going to start, you better start big!.

1. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling - Again, probably obvious, but I can't think of any premiere work that has so completely pervaded our culture across all ages and genders (I'm looking at you Twilight). Throughout the release of the series I was in four different countries on release days and it was by turns inspiring and jaw-dropping to see just how big of an impact Rowling has made.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Another quite obvious selection, but what makes me add this book is not only the fact that it is fabulous and I love it, but also the fact that Harper Lee never published another. Over the years I've vacillated between disappointment that I've never been able to experience more of her genius, and respect that Lee seemingly poured all her soul and talent into this one perfect gem and came out with such an amazing single masterpiece.
3. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - Another example of a single magnum opus from a southern lady. Although I personally didn't enjoy reading this novel as much as it seems the rest of the world did, I can appreciate Mitchell's prowess at creating characters that are so realistic they have taken on lives of their own.
4. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery - Another example of a skilled author creating a character that seemingly becomes a living person. (And who honestly wasn't a little bit in love with Gilbert.)
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Yet another great first novel from the South. (I'm beginning to think there's something in the water...) The different voices in this novel were particularly well done.
6. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - I'm going to talk about the interesting way I came upon this book in a future blog post, but suffice it to say that I was totally unprepared for how amazing I think this novel is.
7. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - So I just finished reading this one and was blown away when I found out it was a first novel. The plotting was so intricate and subtle. I loved the book and can't wait to see what else comes from this author!
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - I couldn't mention Setterfield without bringing up Jane. It's kind of fun to think about the debut novels from the authors of classics and this is one that was particularly enjoyable to me, both in its own right, and in the way it continues to influence authors today.
9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie - I think I've talked about my love of all things Agatha before, and though this novel is not my favorite of her works, it is her first published, and the first to introduce Poirot, and the first to introduce Captain Hastings who has one of the best narrator voices I have ever come across.
10. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - And while we're on the subject of mysteries, I can't forget to mention another of my favorites. Although the second half of this novel is BIZARRE, it is the beginning of a great career and one I've enjoyed following. And although they aren't literary in the strictest sense, I'm also loving the Sherlock Holmes revolution on both the big and small screens. He really is a detective for the ages.