Some authors have become almost synonymous with their most lauded works, like JD Salinger and Catcher in the Rye or Herman Melville and Moby Dick. An acclaimed masterpiece may eclipse any other efforts produced before or since its publication. This may occur due to limited printings and marketing, or simply poor comparisons with the more famous work.

Now, with the widespread availability of deep catalogs and a variety of formats, readers can easily obtain a more comprehensive collection of an author’s entire oeuvre. Contemporary writers are especially prolific and diverse, often blurring lines between genres, styles, and even target audiences. Experimentation is made even more possible if a pseudonym is used—it allows a writer to obtain new followers without alienating an established fan base.

For the November blog, I wanted to highlight some lesser-known works of popular authors. You might want to try one of these, especially if you have already dog-eared your copies of your favorites. It may come as to surprise to find that the novelists you prefer have also produced great poetry, short stories, magazine pieces, memoirs, etc. that might renew and expand your admiration.

We Should All Be FeministsChimawanda Ngozi Adiche - Americanah
We Should All Be Feminists

"Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today..."

The Blind AssassinMargaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
The Blind Assassin

"Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms and clichés of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience."

HippiePaulo Coehlo - The Alchemist

"Takes us back in time to re-live the dream of a generation that longed for peace and dared to challenge the established social order..."

Gregor the OverlanderSuzanne Collins - The Hunger Games Series
Underland Chronicles

"The Underland Chronicles is a critically acclaimed series of five epic fantasy novels first published between 2003 and 2007. It tells the story of a boy named Gregor and his adventures in a hidden land under New York City."

The Monk of MokhaDave Eggers - A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Monk of Mohka

"The exhilarating true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war."

Dark PlacesGillian Flynn - Gone Girl
Dark Places

"Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben."

The Cuckoo's CallingJ. K. Rowling - Harry Potter Series
Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

"Published under a pseudonym, J. K. Rowling's brilliant debut mystery series introduces Detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacott."

NocturnesKazuo Ishiguro - Remains of the Day

"One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character."

Slade HouseDavid Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Slade House

"Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it."

Everything I Never Told YouCeleste Ng - Little Fires Everywhere
Everything I Never Told You

"Both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another."

Cry of the KalahariCelia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing
Cry of the Kalahari

"This is the story of the Owens' travel and life in the Kalahari Desert. Here they met and studied unique animals and were confronted with danger from drought, fire, storms, and the animals they loved. This best-selling book is for both travelers and animal lovers."

CivilWarLand in Bad DeclineGeorge Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline

"In six stories and the novella, Bounty, Saunders introduces readers to people struggling to survive in an increasingly haywire world."

Consider the LobsterDavid Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
Consider the Lobster

"Essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American letters."

Summaries sourced from publishers' marketing materials

November's Featured Reviews

Harlem ShuffleHarlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
Now Is Not the Time to PanicNow is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

Hop on the Holds List

1. The Couple at the Table - Sophie Hannah

2. The Twist of a Knife - Anthony Horowitz

3. The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man - Paul Newman

4. A World of Curiosities - Louise Penney

5. Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six - Lisa Unger

Recent Readings

I have recently finished reading Fairy Tale by Stephen King and The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan. I also just finished listening to Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby.

Right now, I am re-reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (in preparation for reading Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead), starting the unusual Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott, and listening to Independence Day by Richard Ford on Libby.

Have you discovered any underappreciated titles by famous authors? Would you follow a favorite writer into different genres? Please let me know your thoughts:

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!


So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 3 children in college (and one at GDRHS) and a Samoyed that keeps my vacuum well-employed. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them. I have been devouring them ever since.

Nov 01, 2022 / Joelle M Egan