Mwuh?

This week’s Booking Through Thursday could have been written for me.

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

Anyone paying attention here on Stuck-in-a-Book will not be surprised when I offer a resounding “yes!” It always comes as a shock to me if anyone has heard of the books I like. Of course, there is the odd Jane or Virginia to balance out the rest, but in general my favourite books are obscure, usually out of print. In fact, being obscure adds to my enjoyment – more exclusive; I feel like I’ve made the discovery myself; just special. Everyone knows Pride and Prejudice is brilliant – Miss Hargreaves is a little more personal.

And that’s given the game away. Miss Hargreaves is my favourite obscure book. But I have given the matter a little more thought, as I hope regular visitors will have noticed. Down the left-hand column is 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About. (BYMRBMNHHA if you like). Does what it says on the tin – though we’re a long way off 50 at the moment. It’s not in any particular order, but clicking on any of the titles will take you to my comments and advocations.

And so, my little Mwuh?-test. How many of the 17 BYMRBMNHHA had you heard about before I mentioned them? Comment, and let me know… and don’t worry, zero is an anticipated answer!

27 thoughts on “Mwuh?

  • January 25, 2008 at 1:00 am
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    From your 50 must-reads (17 so far),I’ve heard only of Monica Dickens’s One Pair of hands. My grandmother borrowed it from the library in Norwich once, in the 1960s, and I borrowed it from her and thereafter read everything MD wrote. I’ve just bought a copy of One Pair of Hands via amazon, reprinted by a Chicago publisher which, I noticed, is also re-printing all the Delafields you love so. (Hope they haven’t stuffed around with the English spellings etc.)

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  • January 25, 2008 at 1:38 am
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    I’ve heard of 3 – Diary of a Provincial Lady, Evelina, and the Piano Shop on the Left Bank (sorry, can’t see the list anymore). I enjoy your ‘novel’ suggestions.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 2:10 am
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    I’ve heard of One Pair of Hands, A Provincial Lady, Ex Libris, and Evelina ( and read the last two before coming to your website — the first two are still on a bookshelf waiting to be read). I’ve enjoyed being introduced to so many “obscure” titles — I often find them more enjoyable than the newer, bestseller types.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 3:43 am
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    Hmm, I haven’t heard of any of the 17 you listed. I think I have to start expanding my reading horizons a bit more….

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  • January 25, 2008 at 7:59 am
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    I can claim 5 from the list but only one from years and years ago and that is OPoH by Monica Dickens. I have read many of hers but she has actually written far more books than I realised. Two of my favourites used to be Thursday Afternoons & Flowers on the Grass.
    The Summer Book I had just heard of but the other 3 books are known about because the online circles we move in overlap quite a bit:
    The Provincial Lady, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank & Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead.

    Because of you I have a copy of Miss H & The Haunted Woman. Lady into Fox has been whispering to me and the voice is getting more insistent!! I may have to go on a bookhunt for it soon.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 8:07 am
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    I can only manage 2 from the list – The Summer Book (which I own but have not yet read), and Ex Libris, which I have known and loved for many years. So much, in fact, that I have 2 copies! I have recently purchases Miss Hargreaves from eBay & look forward to that greatly.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 8:42 am
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    The only one I had heard of (and read) prior to your posts was One Pair of Hands. I am a bit of a Monica Dickens fan, but it all started with that book.

    P.S. This is the blogger formerly known as Possum Magic:)

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  • January 25, 2008 at 9:36 am
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    Only read 3 so far… but I suppose I’ll give in to your persistence eventually! I find the image created by the title ‘Lady into Fox’ off-putting. How wrong am I?

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  • January 25, 2008 at 10:03 am
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    My total is 6, and two were read entirely on SSiaB’s recommendations!

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  • January 25, 2008 at 10:30 am
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    Three out of seventeen (but only one of them have I read) for Dark Puss; as usual I’m way behind Karen.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm
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    Delafield, Dickens, and Fadiman – better than zero, yes?

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  • January 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm
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    I’ve heard of three and read two – One Pair of Hands and Speaking of Love. What has happened to the rest of the list? I hope you can put it back on the sidebar. I’d love to check out the rest.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm
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    Up to 17 should be there, visible, Margaret – are they not?
    The rest are yet to be decided!

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  • January 25, 2008 at 5:15 pm
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    Five, all of which I had read and loved years before (The Summer Book, Diary of a Provincial Lady, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, Evelina and One Pair of Hands).

    Authors on the list that I had heard of (although I didn’t know the particular titles mentioned) were Frank Baker (my mother knew him), Edith Olivier (an early encourager of A. G. Street, A. A. Milne, Kate Chopin and of course Joyce Grenfell.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 5:26 pm
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    Eight, of which I’d read 7 (haven’t read the Milne book). Dickens, Garnett and Comyns have long been favourites, but I have to thank you for Miss Hargreaves, and The Haunted Woman sounds intriguing. I’m waiting for Speaking of Love in paperback. I’m looking forward to the rest of the 50.

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  • January 25, 2008 at 9:52 pm
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    So far I have heard of 4, Evelina, Summer book, Diary of a Provincial Lady and Who Was Changed. Of these I have read Tove Jannson and Barbara Comyns. I had a real run on barbara Comyns about 20 years ago and read nearly all of them, why isn’t she more popular?

    When is Mary Webb going to appear on the list I wonder?

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  • January 27, 2008 at 7:17 am
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    Simon, sorry, I was not paying enough attention – I thought there were 50 already listed!

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  • January 27, 2008 at 4:28 pm
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    12 for me! And I think I may, just may have told you about a couple of them, perhaps? Or is that me being a bit bold and presumptious :-)

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  • January 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm
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    If you want suggested additions, what about As I was Going Down Sackville Street by Oliver St John Gogarty. An extraordinary novel, full of literary and political interest, set in Ireland at the time of independence, by a polymath and renaissance man. Enjoy!

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  • January 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm
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    One book I loved when I first read it at age 15 and which hardly anybody has ever heard of is Lena Geyer by Marcia Davenport.this is a story about an opera singer in Vienna, new york, etc in the 1900-1940’s and though it is fiction there are so many ‘real’ characters in there, Mahler for one, that you begin to feel that this lady really lived. I have an old withdrawn library copy on my shelves (it was withdrawn when i worked at Highgate library – who could have withdrawn it do you think?) and I simply adore it. Lots and lots of Wagner in it as well which I did not enjoy at the time but I do now!

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  • January 29, 2008 at 10:26 pm
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    I’ve heard of six, but have only read two (Monica Dickens and Anne Fadiman).

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and have bookmarked it :)

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  • February 1, 2008 at 9:35 pm
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    So far of the 17 titles listed, I’ve heard of eight and read four of them. Being an ex-librarian, I’ve also heard of about four of the other authors, although not come across the titles in your list.

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  • August 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm
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    I've read 3 — Watching the English, Ex Libris, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but certainly will be sampling some of the others.

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