This week, in lieu of a BEST OF 2011 series, we’re running five stories focused on Stuff We Liked in 2011.
There’s a different expectation entirely when reading a book that you know is someone’s first. That is, there is at once a tabula rasa feel to it — you have no expectation of a voice you’ve never heard, after all — and a bald excitement — you could be discovering the Next Big Thing! — and a sort of apprehension — is there a reason this person is (x) years old and never published before? When the cacophony of these competing expectations settles down to a dull roar in the back of your mind, you actually get around to reading the thing. Thereafter, there’s not much that differs in the experience until you get to the end, whereupon you not only get to say what you thought of the book, but what you thought of this author, having just read their entire bibliography to date.
2011 was a strong time for debut novelists; it seems publishing houses were willing to take big risks on promoting the noobs this year. Here are some notable debut novelists we turned our heads for. Continue reading