June means summer is just around the corner and we’re at the halfway month of the year. By June, I’m usually find myself looking forward and back – forward to the sunny days of July and August, but back to figure out what I’ve managed to accomplish in the first part of the year. Have I read many books? Probably, but it some how never seems like enough. I’m always looking for new ideas and new titles – if you’re like me, here are six authors to add to your To Read list who have their birthday in the 6th month.
June 5th – Ken Follett: blockbuster author of both thrillers and historical fiction, Follett has a lot more than just his birthday to celebrate these days. This summer will see a television miniseries adaptation of his book Pillars of the Earth beginning on July 23rd on the Starz network. And in September the first book in a new historical trilogy Fall of Giants, will be released.
June 9th – Patricia Cornwell: American author Cornwell is probably best known for her Dr. Kay Scarpetta forensic mystery series. If you’re a fan of CSI style mysteries, and you don’t already know this series, it’s one you’ll want to investigate. Cornwell is also well known for her interest in the Jack the Ripper murders, in 2002 she released a book called Portrait of a killer: Jack the Ripper case closed in which she argued her theory that Walter Richard Sickert a well known painter of the time. Cornwell has yet another new Scarpetta book coming out this fall: Port Mortuary will be released in November.
June 16th – Joyce Carol Oates: speaking of prolific authors, it’s hard to keep up with this American author’s output. The library catalogue lists 3 titles from her in 2009 alone. The entry for Oates in The Salon.com Readers Guide to Contemporary Authors says that through her long career Oates “has been one of the most fervently praised and bitterly reviled of American novelists. The author of more than seventy-five books encompassing virtually every literary genre…” She has a long list of nominations for major book awards like the National Book Award, the Orange Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and others.
June 18th – Richard Powers: another author that gets the label contemporary American, Powers. Wikipedia describes Powers as a fiction author “whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology”: but his fiction is as much about the human experience as the scientific one. His 2006 novel The Echo Maker tells the story of a man who develops a rare disorder following a brain injury. One of the key characters is a neurologist who is summoned to assist in the case – but the story follows the doctor’s personal journal as much as the clinic one. Booklist magazine called it “A remarkable novel, from one of our greatest novelists, and a book that will change all who read it.”
June 22nd – Octavia Butler: she is categorized as a Science Fiction writer, but Butler is an author that should be of interest to any readers who enjoy social commentary in their fiction. Though she employs the tropes of SciFi—including time travel, aliens, and speculation about the future—she uses these to explore issues of race, class and even religion. Despite being much celebrated in the SciFi world—including winning Nebua, Hugo and Locus awards—I think she remains widely unknown amongst non-genre readers. Butler died suddenly in 2006 at the age of 58.
June 25th – Barbara Gowdy: rounding out the list of birthdays this month is Canadian author Barbara Gowdy. Gowdy’s gripping fiction has won her the attention of the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Giller and the Man Booker Prize—all of which she has been nominated for. Her well developed characters are frequently ones that readers can relate to, but many of whom find themselves in disturbing or extraordinary situations that readers wouldn’t want to relate to. Even in her 1998 novel The White Bone—which uniquely tells the story from the perspective and voice of African elephants—Gowdy has been praised for her creation of compelling non-human characters.