Before They Were Famous

Posted Jul 18, 2014

Blockbuster authors seem to get that way over night, but as many recently popular news pieces suggest, it is practice that makes perfect, not just talent. So we can safely assume that most big-name must-read authors started somewhere. Here are a few older books from some of this summer's big names that we highly recommend you read while on the waiting list for the blockbuster title.

Rainbow Rowell

Best known for her two hit young adult novels of 2013, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rowell's newest release (for adults), Landline, is already in high demand. So you should read her lesser known first book while you wait for it. The Attachments tells the story of reluctant Internet security officer, Lincoln, who finds himself falling for a woman he should totally bust for misusing company email privileges. Beth and her friend Jennifer send gossipy emails that amuse Lincoln to no end. Their short-distance, long-distance semi-love affair is humorous and heartwarming.

Anthony Doerr 

Before becoming a runaway success with this summer's All the Light we Cannot See, Doerr was an acclaimed short story writer with a novel and a memoir to his name as well. In fact, we recommend picking up his travel memoir, Four Seasons in Rome : on Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, about the time he spent living and working in Rome, raising his sons, and watching the world mourn Pope John Paul II. Of course his short story collection, Memory Wall, is also highly recommended and also takes you on a journey across the world. 

Rebecca Makkai

Another short story writer turned hit novelist. Waiting for Makkai's highly acclaimed newest release, The Hundred-Year House? PIck up her first novel, The Borrower. Children's librarian Lucy finds herself aiding and abetting a favorite patron, a 10-year-old boy whose parents have been forcing him to attend anti-gay classes in an attempt to change him.  She "borrows" him and together they hit the road - with a mysterious stranger in hot pursuit. A wacky, yet sentimental, road trip.

Emma Straub 

While you wait on the long list for her aptly named summer hit, The Vacationers, why not try her first novel, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures. Beginning with her life growing up in Door County, this is the story of how Elsa Emerson transforms herself into Laura Lamont. From that pivotal moment in the golden era of Hollywood, we follow Laura's life in and out of fame, power and glory. 

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