Thursday, July 03, 2008

Forgotten books...

One of the joys of reading blogs for me is seeing books other people have enjoyed with passion, not just read with a critical eye. And the fact that these aren't necessarily new books is even better. There's a definite zeitgeist in publishing, and I find if I just read new books there can be too much of a theme or a 'same-ness' going on which I end up finding boring so I don't do the books justice. At the moment it's all getting a bit whimsical for me and it now feels like every bloody family has a secret. Of course I know they have because this is my own particular area of academic research, but I'm hungering for some robust old fashioned flights of the imagination. Or even books that make me laugh out loud.

Still, Scott Pack's Best of the Rest of the Booker list reminded me of some old favourites to re-read and some I hadn't got round to yet (an embarrassing number I already have on my shelves but hadn't read. It's as if when they're there long enough I think I HAVE read them. Don't know if anyone else finds this? It's a hope for osmosis - the words might leak into my brain somehow just from being in the same room.)

Anyway, the wonderful New Writer magazine has this tucked away in their newsletter and I now have my summer reading sorted as I have read NONE of the books that have gained such 'impassioned votes'. The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki looks like a particular find I'm going to enjoy very much. By the way, I know that some of the links might say 'unavailable' but at least they say a bit about the book, and besides I love The Book Depository. They currently have my impassioned vote for on-line booksellers.

So, this is the piece from The New Writer News:


In 2003 we ran a survey in the TNW eNews to find subscribers’ most-loved novels. This was the Top 20, no real surprises: Pride And Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Lord Of The Rings, To Kill A Mockingbird, Middlemarch, 1984, Jane Eyre, Catch 22, Rebecca, The Great Gatsby, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Northern Lights, Anna Karenina, The Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes Of Wrath, Crime And Punishment, Sons And Lovers, Little Women, Lord Of The Flies.

But it was further down the list where things became more interesting with impassioned votes going to, among others:

We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman
Songs In Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G B Edwards
Auto Da Fe by Elias Canetti
Almost Another Sister by Margaret Wilson
The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki

Tell us about a favourite book in a few words, particularly if it's not that well known, and we'll let fellow subscribers in on the secret in the magazine. Send by email to: with LOST CLASSICS in the subject line.


Mark Thwaite said...

"I love The Book Depository. They currently have my impassioned vote for on-line booksellers."

Bless you Sarah -- that's made my day! :D

jem said...

I find one of the most thrilling things about books is that moment where you discover the most amazing book in the most unlikely way. Some of my best finds have been things I've picked up in charity shops based on the cover alone. I discovered 'A Pocketful of Stone' by John Evans that way and it is one of my favourite books ever. And overlooked (and under published) beauty in my opinion.

And I agree, top marks to The Book Depository - quick, cheap and super at sorting out any problems that occur! I use them a lot.

Sarah Salway said...

Blush away, Mark. It's all true!
Jem, I'm going to look that book up now. Thanks.