Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday: Debut Novels

This house hunt of mine is dragging on longer than I'd hoped, I have my heart set on a sweet little Queenslander cottage and there simply aren't enough of them around in my price range!

So I've decided to give myself the morning off and take part in Top 10 Tuesday. This week is top 10 debut novels, I think this list might be a little more difficult than the ones I've done in the past, but let's have a crack shall we!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

In no particular order...

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
I'm not even going to elaborate here because I KNOW that 99% of participants taking part will pick this novel for their list but seriously, how many other people can say their debut novel captured the hearts and minds of not only almost every child in the world but every adult!!

2. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
This novel blew me away when I read it last year. Ever since Twilight blew up I've been suspect on any vampire related novel but Lindqvist's debut succeeds everywhere Twilight fails. I was completely enthralled with the dark, troubled characters and the action which built and built to a completely satisfying conclusion. I am eagerly awaiting my move so that I can finally buy his new novel Handling the Undead, it's about zombies! YAY!

3. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Welsh is one of my favourite authors, I find his stories and characters incredibly authentic, despairingly so sometimes, and I love the Scottish accent that pops into my head every time I read something of his, completely unavoidable as many of his novels and short stories are written phonetically in his native Edinburgh brogue. So it is no surprise that I love, love, love his debut novel, which I first encountered as the film with the delicious Ewan McGregor.

4. Carrie by Stephen King
I am a fervent defender of Stephen King against those classmates of mine who believe that his success and wide spread appeal apparently means he is a talentless hack who doesn't write substantial or quality novels. Needless to say these are 19-26 year old wannabe authors who already know they're never going to make it and take it out on successful authors like King, Courtenay (The Power of One), Rowling etc because they'll never rise to that level (isn't jealousy pathetic?!). Anyway, I love Stephen King, his ability to develop characters successful in the most bizarre of settings/scenarios shows a true understanding of writing not to mention an uncanny ability to scare the pants off me every time! Carrie was fantastic, short, sweet, terrifying, sad, interesting and 100 more things that describe the brilliance of this debut. No wonder he still sells books like there is no tomorrow!

5. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
My mum gave me a copy of this novel when I was 11 and I devoured it, I think I read it through something like three times back to back. Little did I know it was a children's edition and finished halfway through the original text! Luckily for me this meant I got a second chance to fall head over heels when I read it in full 2-3 years later. This was the novel that made me fall in love with Courtenay's storytelling ability, a love affair that has only just begun to dull (his latest books have lost the spark his earlier work had I think). This book is remarkable, if you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favour and buy/borrow/steal a copy!

6. Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson
Apart from being a fascinating read this is the work that raised HST's profile enough to give him the freedom to spread his wings and let his freak flag fly (or at least investigate those who do)! This was an aggressive, informative investigation into the world of the Hell's Angels that showcased HST offbeat, intensive and astounding ability to investigate and write.

7. The Dangerous Lives of Alter boys by Chris Fuhrman
I'm not actually sure what it is that makes this book so important to me, but I cherish this novel and my battered old copy is one of the most precious things I own. The characters are flawed yet accessible and lovable and the storyline is so simple (and somewhat twisted) yet tugs at my heartstrings every time I read it. After 10 years and countless re-reads I still bawl like a baby every time I read it.

8. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
Ok I'm breaking the rules here as technically this wasn't her debut novel but it was the debut of her Chrestomanci series and while it was her third novel released it was this novel which set the age bracket and fantasy level that the majority of her following books would conform to. Just like Harry Potter it is filled with quirky well-dressed magicians (think young, jaunty Dumbledores) with fantastic humour and magical worlds to fall into and in love with.

9. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love Fitzgerald's writing style and I love being transported to the roaring 20s with his words but one of the best things about this debut novel is that while it launched his career it also was enough to convince his beloved Zelda to finally agreed to marry himnawwwww!

10. The Gremlins by Roald Dahl
Another cheat, The Gremlins was Dahl's first published children's book and second novel published (the first being aimed at adults). I haven't actually read The Gremlins myself but I couldn't help adding it because it was the first of many books written by Dahl that generations of children read and love over and over. I started this list with HP asking how many people could say "their debut novel captured the hearts and minds of not only almost every child in the world but every adult," Dahl's debut novel may not be as well known or beloved as HP and the Philosopher's Stone  but he certainly joins J.K as an author who has amassed a score of devoted fans, child and adult alike. I'm rather proud that I managed to bookend my list this way!


  1. There are some great books on your list! I completely forgot Let the Right One In and Trainspotting on mine.

  2. Harry Potter definitely made my list. :)

  3. Hmm, I see quite a few of these on my bookshelves. Great list, bad list. Why? I love the selection. Great. But now I want to read ALL of the ones on my TBR - now. Bad. *sigh* ;-)

  4. Great list! HP also made my list. I loved Let The Right One In - such a good read.

    Reading Lark's Top 10

  5. I refuse to feel sorry that you now have to read some of these books J.C!



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