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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Debating Debuts

Recently, someone who enjoys reading as I do said she often decides whether to continue with an author based on the strength of their debut novel. How closely aligned are you with this view?

Her comment started me reflecting on debut novels. So far, aside from "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, both of which are debut but also the only novels released by these authors in their lifetimes, I haven't been able to think of another author whose debut novel knocked me down. Lots of very good first novels; from my perspective, not many astounding first novels. Most of my favorite authors, past & present, didn't grab me in a big way until a little later in their careers. How about you? I'd love to hear challenges to my view - could give me some newcomers to try.

Now if this person had made the same statement about debut recordings, I would have been more aligned with her view. With little effort I've come up with more than ten debut recordings that knocked me down even if subsequent recordings disappointed me. Again, how about you? Tell me about a debut recording that killed you. Or, tell me about a recording artist who, for you, more fits my author model, i.e. one you feel hit their stride with their sophomore (or later) efforts. Let the debate begin.      

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