Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Top Ten Best Debut Books

This is an interesting topic choice from The Broke and The Bookish this week. What are the best first books? 

1. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling – Will this one be on many lists? Rowling created what I think will be a classic in children’s/young adult literature. That might be presumptuous, but I also believe that it’s true.

2. The Crystal Shard, R.A. Salvatore – I’ve read a lot of Salvatore books, but not as many of my husband. The Crystal Shard was Salvatore’s first novel and his first book about the good drow Drizzt. Drizzt has become one of the most popular characters in Forgotten Realms and appears in over twenty novels. Plus, there are graphic novels and games. The Crystal Shard set Salvatore as one of the best and most popular fantasy writers of his time.

3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson – It really is too bad that Stieg Larsson isn’t around to see what a phenomenon The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and his sequels have become. If the first book of the Millennium Trilogy wasn’t as amazing as it is, no one would bother with the other books, whether the author was alive or not.

4. Coming Through Slaughter, Michael Ondaatje – This isn’t Ondaatje’s first published work, but it is his first novel and it made me want to read all of his novels.

5. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger – Though I haven’t read her second book, I definitely want to after reading her first. It is an original and romantic spin on time travel.

6. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen – Austen published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility under a pseudonym, “A Lady”. It was so popular that a second edition was ordered just a few months later.

7. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold – This is not Sebold’s first book, but it is her first novel. The Lovely Bones is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read.

8. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice – Though it was some time after its publication that it became popular, Interview with the Vampire gave Anne Rice her popularity and the ability to write whatever she wanted.

9. Carrie, Stephen King – The only book on the list I haven’t read. I really ought too. I really enjoy King and Carrie was his first and from what other fans say, one of his best.

10. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer – I’m not a super Twilight fan, but I have read all the books. They’re addictive. Though it’s not great literature and I’m not sure it will stand the test of time, Twilight did start a phenomena for this generation of tweens and teens. It also might be attributed with starting the current paranormal craze in YA books. That’s why it comes in at number 10 for me.

An honourable mention to Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland. This is the only other book I haven’t read, but this book did two things. It put Douglas Coupland on the writing map. It also made “Generation X” or “Gen X” and other similar terms part of pop culture. I don’t know if a writer could have asked for a better first book. I really ought to read it.

I’m eager to see what’s on everyone else’s lists.


  1. Michael Ondaatje is a wonderful author! I have The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on my shelf - Can't wait to read it!

  2. HP and Sense and Sensibility made my list, too. I haven't really read any of your others, though, but it sounds like a great list!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

  3. Great list. We have a few of the same favorites.

    It really is a shame about Larsson.

  4. Anonymous1/2/11 14:43

    Carrie and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were runner ups for my list - I was a bit worried about coming up with 10 debuts I really liked, but at the end I had too many :)
    Carrie is definitely worth it - King is hit and miss for me, but that was pretty good.

  5. Carrie was on my list too, though I first read it over 20 years ago. I think that it encompasses everything that is great about King-flawed, authentic characters, impossible situations, and how the two interact.

  6. My book group is reading Dragon Tattoo this month and I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. Thanks for the rave review!

  7. Harry Potter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are on my list too.

    I personally liked Niffenggers second book better than The Time Travlers Wife

  8. Misha, I'm always keeping an eye out for Ondaatje's next novel.

    Deb Nance, A lot of people say that the first few chapters is dry and boring as it is all background info, I actually didn't mind it. It was well written and it does pertain to the plot of the rest of the book. I hope you enjoy it.

    Letter4no1, I've been wanted to read her second book, but I just haven't gotten to it yet.

  9. Okay, I have to ask -- what is it about the TWILIGHT books that draws readers in? What is at the root of their addictiveness? I haven't read them, but I've seen so many people become absorbed in them that I've curious.

  10. Ahab, It's difficult to say. The plot is fast moving, there's always something happening. The characters are...likeable? Hateable? It's hard to explain. I've read all the books. I love them, but I also think they're terrible.