As always, though, I digress. I debated for a while what I wanted my list to be about. Should I extol the virtues of R.A. Salvatore and Jim Butcher to those who don't read fantasy? Should I rave about my favorite female protagonists to those who generally avoid chick lit? Or maybe I should explain why not all vampire books are written like Twilight? All of those would have made intriguing posts, but I thought instead I would tackle a topic that has more readers opposed to it than any others I encounter: Indie Fiction. I'm guessing at that very announcement, many people X'ed out of their browser. *sigh* Independently published fiction has a crazy stigma attached to it that it's no good, and it's a prejudice that plenty of readers cling to which is why this list was so important to me. As a book blogger, I take recommendations seriously. There are plenty of books I read which I know are not for everyone. And there are plenty of books I read (both by indie and traditionally published authors) that I feel could have used a bit more work before reaching press. However, as I present this top ten list, these works all come with a Her Book Self seal of approval. They're all stories I enjoyed and would happily read again and I hope some adventurous blog reader just might take a chance on one or more of them! (Titles below link to my reviews.)
Top Ten Works For Readers Who Don't Read
The Muse of Edouard Manet by M. Clifford
Read It If You Enjoy: Romance; Time travel; Books set in Chicago; Historical fiction; Famous artists
Popular Book I Would Compare It To: Outlander; Girl With the Pearl Earring
Why You Should Try It: It's a romantic story with a mix of time travel, adventure, and a really fascinating behind the scenes look at The Art Institute of Chicago
Revenge by Mark Young
Read It If You Enjoy: Crime novels, Action adventure; Police books; Books about Native American culture
Popular Book I Would Compare It To: One of the Jim Chee Mysteries by Tony Hillerman
Why You Should Try It: Revenge has an intricate plot with layers of suspense, great characters and highly detailed setting.
8. Progeny by R.T. Kaelin
Read It If You Enjoy: High fantasy; Detailed world building; Loveable characters
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Furies of Calderon; Warbreaker
Why You Should Try It: Epic in scope, Progeny is on par with many traditionally published high fantasy works.
7. Adelaide Einstein by April L. Hamilton
Read It If You Enjoy: Women's fiction; Humor; Encouraging stories about friendship and family
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Everyone is Beautiful; Fried Green Tomatoes
Why You Should Try It: This was one of the first works of independently published fiction I ever read and I know it predisposed me towards trying out more indie authors.
6. Foxy's Tale by Karen Fraunfelder Cantwell and L.B. Gschwandtner
Read It If You Enjoy: Young adult fiction; Mother/daughter stories; A touch of supernatural
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic books crossed with a PG version of Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries
Why You Should Try It: The writing is smooth and witty and the story is clever and unique.
Color Me Grey by J.C. Phelps
Read It If You Enjoy: Action and suspense with a touch of romance; Kick-butt heroines
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination; James Bond meets Bridget Jones
Why You Should Try It: Phelps's protagonist Alex Stanton is a strong sassy female holding her own in a man's world and her adventures are a great example of fun, escapist fiction.
4. Hungry For You by A.M. Harte
Read It If You Enjoy: Short stories; Zombies; Off-beat horror mixed with humor and romance
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Married with Zombies
Why You Should Try It: This is a great collection of pieces varying in length but they're as delightful and creative as they are gruesome and hilarious.
The Legend of Lady MacLaoch by Becky Banks
Read It If You Enjoy: Romance; Magical realism; Books set in Scotland
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Outlander; Highland Fling
Why You Should Try It: This book is a beautifully woven story with a gorgeous setting and an intricate plot of age old curses and star-crossed lovers.
2. Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell
Read It If You Enjoy: Mysteries with a female protagonist; Humor; Family stories
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Something by Donna Andrews or Heather Webber
Why You Should Try It: Cantwell is downright hilarious and her mystery manages to pack in a heap of suspense and intrigue while still being full of laughs.
The Book by M. Clifford
Read It If You Enjoy: Thought-provoking fiction; Dystopia; Books set in Chicago
Popular Book I would Compare It To: Fahrenheit 451; 1984
Why You Should Try It: The Book is a novel for anyone who's ever contemplated the long term ramifications of our society's increasing dependence on technology and, specifically, what the move to eReaders could mean for our great literary heritage.
So there you have my list. Are there any that you have read? Are there any that you may take a chance on after reading this post? Do you hold to the stereotype that indie fiction is somehow not as good as traditionally published work or do you read work by indie authors? (If the latter, I'd love to hear your own recommendations!) For previous Top Ten Tuesdays on Her Book Self, click here.
I'd also like to send a shout-out to those indie authors who I have featured on Her Book Self but whose works did not make this list. I really wanted to stick to ten in the hopes that more readers will get through this whole post, so please do not be offended if your work did not make my Top Ten. There are plenty more I could include but I did want to keep this at least slightly brief!