Friday, January 22, 2010

Booking Through Thursday--Favorite Unknown


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading?
The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

I guess I don't read that many authors that nobody has heard of, because I can't truly answer this question the way it's phrased. However, I do have a pretty long list of authors who are not unknown or unread, but who I think are underappreciated. My list includes the book I've read that puts them on my list...

Elizabeth Bowen (The Death of the Heart)
Dawn Powell (Dance Night)
Elizabeth Hardwick (Sleepless Nights)
J.L. Carr (A Month in the Country)
May Sarton (Kinds of Love)
Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Rough Strife)

It doesn't surprise me that a couple of these books are published by NYRB Classics. I'm sure I could go on. Who is your favorite underappreciated author?

12 comments:

Kristen said...

I loved May Sarton's Kinds of Love. It was quietly magical and yet I can never describe it appealingly enough to get others to read it.

SFP said...

I've read all those but the Carr and the Sarton. Is Lynne Sharon Schwartz still publishing? I haven't seen her name in a good long while.

litlove said...

I would love to read May Sarton - I've never known where to start, so any recommendations would be great! I love Clare Chambers for pure pleasure and Penelope Fitzgerald for great literature, and don't think they are particularly widely read.

Gentle Reader said...

Kristen--I think Kinds of Love was quietly magical, too--that's a lovely way to put it!

SFP--that's a good question, I'm not sure if Lynne Sharon Schwartz is still publishing. The last thing I read of hers was a really great book about reading called Ruined By Reading, published in 96. I think her most recent novel was The Writing on the Wall, published in 2005. Not sure what she's up to now, though.

litlove--I've only read Kinds of Love, which I enjoyed and definitely recommend, and some of her poetry. What I really want to read are her journals, about having a stroke, and about aging, which are supposed to be great.

Anonymous said...

Did I give you Rough Strife? I loved that book when I read it years ago.

Liz

Gentle Reader said...

Liz--Yes! You gave me this copy. Great book, right?

Bybee said...

I started to read a Lynne Sharon Schwartz novel and got sidetracked; meant to finish it.

Little Miss Nomad said...

My people used to be well-known or are well-known in their countries. Raymond Queneau (Zazie in the Metro), Victor Palevin (The Helmet of Horror), Pat Barker (Regeneration trilogy), and Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle). Among non-fiction writers, William Finnegan (Crossing the Line) and Sara Wheeler (Terra Incognita) are fantastic and under-read.

Gentle Reader said...

Bybee--LOL, maybe that's why she remains a lesser known author!

Little Miss Nomad--I love your list! I've been meaning to read Pat Barker and William Finnegan, thanks for reminding me :)

Dorothy W. said...

I really enjoyed the Dawn Powell I've read and also Elizabeth Hardwick. I struggled a bit with Bowen, and the rest I've yet to try. I wouldn't have much of a list myself, because I tend not to read very many obscure or unknown authors. I might put Jenny Diski on my list, although she's more known in England than the U.S., I think.

mattviews said...

Bravo! I love your list. I considered three of your choices when posting to the question: Elizabeth Bowen, May Sarton, and J.L. Carr, all three of whom I want to read more the works. I didn't enjoy Bowen's The Heat of the Day as much as I did the others. May Sarton is just a fine prose stylist.

Gentle Reader said...

Dorothy--I'll have to look up Jenny Diski. When I was thinking about this meme, I realized I don't read many obscure authors, either. Some have lost favor, but most were at least popular at some point :)

Matt--As they say, great minds think alike! I'd really like to read more Sarton, I just love her writing.