So, after 9 and a bit years, I have come to the end of my 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About! That feels like cause for celebration – and I’ll celebrate by offering up (almost) any one of them as a prize! All you have to do comment with how many you’ve read, and which one you’d like to win.
The list – which is in no particular order, btw – can be seen down the right-hand column, or in a table at the bottom of this post. This competition is open to anybody and any country.
(For prize, reasons of scarcity/expense mean I wouldn’t be offering The Lark or Scar Tissue, I’m afraid. Oh, and copies of any title will probably be secondhand, as many/most of them aren’t in print!)
A bit of background: when I started up Stuck-in-a-Book, I wanted it to reflect my taste in literature – which has a heavy leaning towards the neglected and unjustly forgotten. And an ongoing list of books I thought especially deserved attention seemed like a great thread to keep going. Quite a few of them came in the first year of blogging (which is why quite a few of the blog reviews they link to are a bit embarrassing to me – none of us love our earliest reviews, do we?) and I’ve been eking it out for the whole time I’ve been blogging so far. The only rules were that I’d have one book per author, and it couldn’t be too well known – though some of these probably don’t quite fall into the obscure category.
I love me some stats. Here you are…
- 34 books by women; 15 books by men; 1 book by a man and a woman.
- 33 fiction; 17 non-fiction (though the fiction does include a few strongly autobiographical books).
- 3 books in translation.
- 13 living authors; 39 dead authors (52 authors in total because two of the books are volumes of letters between two people).
- I was going to do something about average date, but that would require rather too much digging around. Evelina is the oldest and Speaking of Love the newest, though, I’d imagine.
- It’s not the most diverse in terms of author nationality, but does include British, American, Canadian, New Zealander, French, Hungarian, and Finnish.
- The list includes a father and son, a husband and wife, and somebody with my aunt’s name. Also three people I’ve met in real life.
|50: The Lost Europeans – Emanuel Litvinoff||25. The Enchanted Places – Christopher Milne|
|49. The Lark – E. Nesbit||24. Deceived With Kindness – Angelica Garnett|
|48. Nuts in May – Cornelia Otis Skinner||23. White Cargo – Felicity Kendal|
|47. The Shelf – Phyllis Rose||22. The L-Shaped Room – Lynne Reid Banks|
|46. Charlotte Mew and Her Friends – Penelope Fitzgerald||21. The Long Afternoon – Giles Waterfield|
|45. Patricia Brent, Spinster – Herbert Jenkins||20. Frost at Morning – Richmal Crompton|
|44. Phantoms on the Bookshelves – Jacques Bonnet||19. As It Was and World Without End – Helen Thomas|
|43. Skylark – Dezső Kosztolányi||18. The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow – Jerome K. Jerome|
|42. Stet – Diana Athill||17. The Love-Child – Edith Olivier|
|41. Guard Your Daughters – Diana Tutton||16. The Haunted Woman – David Lindsay|
|40. More Women Than Men – Ivy Compton-Burnett||15. Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead – Barbara Comyns|
|39. One Fine Day – Mollie Panter-Downes||14. Speaking of Love – Angela Young|
|38. The Element of Lavishness – William Maxwell & Sylvia Townsend Warner||13. Lady Into Fox – David Garnett|
|37. Christopher and Columbus – Elizabeth von Arnim||12. Portraits – Kate Chopin|
|36. The Slaves of Solitude – Patrick Hamilton||11. Ex Libris – Anne Fadiman|
|35. Love of Seven Dolls – Paul Gallico||10. Joyce & Ginnie – The Letters of Joyce Grenfell and Virginia Graham|
|34. William – E.H. Young||09. One Pair of Hands – Monica Dickens|
|33. The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck||08. Scar Tissue – Ruth Mary Hills|
|32. Loitering With Intent – Muriel Spark||07. Watching the English – Kate Fox|
|31. Being George Devine’s Daughter – Harriet Devine||06. Evelina – Frances Burney|
|30. Nella Last’s War – Nella Last||05. It’s Too Late Now – A.A. Milne|
|29. Howards End is on the Landing – Susan Hill||04. Miss Hargreaves – Frank Baker|
|28. We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson||03. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank – Thad Carhart|
|27. Selected Stories – Katherine Mansfield||02. The Provincial Lady – E.M. Delafield|
|26. Literary Lapses – Stephen Leacock||01. The Summer Book – Tove Jansson|