I hope you had a very happy Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a safe and healthy holiday. In this post I’m talking about the best new authors I read this year. If I’ve calculated correctly, I read 58 books in 2021 by authors that were new to me. That’s out of 111 books, so just over half. Last year this was higher, about 63%; this year I made an effort to read more backlist books, so it looks like I succeeded a little bit in that effort.
Some of my favorites this year were first novels, which means there are great things to come from these authors – although it also means there’s no backlist where I can read more. Here are some of my favorite debut novels read in 2021:
- Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
- Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor
- How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
- Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann
- The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
- Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
Here are other authors I particularly enjoyed who were new to me this year:
- In nonfiction, I highly recommend Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamarr, and Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga and Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King were other nonfiction reads I recommend. Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer was also excellent, though of course that topic may not appeal to most readers. (In general, most nonfiction reads are new-to-me authors, since I don’t usually read multiple works by nonfiction authors. Jenny Lawson is an exception as I’ll read anything she writes.)
- In fiction, other favorites included Michelle Gallen, who wrote Big Girl, Small Town, Nadine Abgeryan who wrote Three Apples Fell From the Sky; and Yangsze Choo who wrote The Night Tiger.
What authors did you discover this year?