Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The W's of Reading: The Lesser Knowns

 I've been doing a bit of book trolling lately, and have come up with quite a list of books that I'd like to read.  The thing is, I've noticed that I'm seeing a lot of great books, but a lot of the same ones being repeated.  On one hand, that means they generally are good books that we all want to get our hands on.  That also helps great authors get the kudos they deserve!  On the other hand, I've been thinking a lot about the lesser known books that we read all the time, and bring to people's attention.  I love that moment when someone shares a book that I've never heard of! 

Here's the deal, and don't get me wrong, I really love any and all book recommendations.  I'm just wondering about those books out there we've read before and loved, those older books that seem to feel timely again, and those books that have had a quieter round of advertising.  I'm picturing someone trolling through the shelves of a really great library (maybe even their own), and finding a great book they want to share. 

If I went trolling through my own library, here are a few reads that I think are fantastic, and I would smile if I saw them pop back up in book reviews:

Okay, so maybe I really loved Meg Cabot's Pants on Fire because I was going through and reading all of her books and had taken this one with me on my mega trip through Greece and Turkey.  We had a long day on a bus, and I tore through this one in no time flat.  It was so cute and fun to read that my friend Doc read it, and then we passed it off to a young teenage girl in our tour group from Australia.  We all loved it, and it's a fun memory!

Another book I love, but haven't seen talked about much anymore is Shogun, by James Clavell.  It's one major read, and takes a commitment to get through it, but is FANTASTIC and sucked me in with all the action.  Funny enough, by the time the book was over, I also felt like I understood a few simple phrases in Japanese.  Great read!

 One of my all time favorite authors is James Welch, and the book that converted me over to his Native American novels was Fools Crow.  I originally read this as an undergrad, and again as a grad student, but really came to love the book on its own merits, outside of the classroom scrutiny we read it under.  It is an amazing fictional look at the Blackfoot Indians and their culture, and remains a favorite of mine.

Another ethnic read that I really enjoyed was Gloria Whelan's Homeless Bird.  It's a fast, young adult read that sucked me into the life of a child bride who was eventually left to fend for herself on the streets.  It is a moving book, and one that haunts me still.

The last one that I wanted to mention was Time's Arrow by Martin Amis.  Readers might recognize the author's name, as he is a famous author in the UK, as is his famous father Kingsley.  This particular novel is written backward from the normal narration style.  Yes, backward.  The beginning of the novel is actually where the main character dies, and as you keep reading, you find out the hows and whys and wheres of the story until you reach what would have been the usual beginning.  I have to admit that I couldn't put this one down, because I kept trying to guess the story. 

I'm sure there are a lot of books that either no longer get any advertising because they're outdated, or because they only reach specific audiences.  Either way, I love to see random books reviewed on the blogosphere, and on other book review sites. 

What books do you really love, but rarely see pop up on sites?  Any books that you'd like to drum up some support for or that you recommend to other readers?


  1. Great idea, Becky. I actually have Shogun on my TBR pile, believe it or not. I might never get to it, though.

    I try to avoid reviewing the same books as everyone else--which is really not that hard to do. There are lots of different books out there. One ancient book I love for no reason (and seriously, don't take this as a recommendation or anything) is Here Comes the Sun by Emilie Loring. It's a short romance that my mom let me read in my pre-teens because there isn't any sex in it. It's kind of weird how much I enjoy that book.

  2. Heidenkind -- I'm not going to try to avoid the same books. I don't know if it's all the book tours, or just the bad experience I had with The Hunger Games being overhyped for me, but I really want to find original stuff...if possible. You REALLY should read Shogun. It's so good! :) Besides that, I do have other books that I love, but probably very few others would like. That's what makes book trolling so fun, eh?!? :)

  3. Thanks for doing this. I think it is a wonderful idea. I love going to my library and picking out a random book from the "old" section. The hold lists aren't quite as long (if they even exist) either, which is a plus :)

  4. Kaitlyn -- I totally agree. Sometimes it's just better to go off and find a great book without reading all the ones already being read. It can be so exciting to find a great book that you weren't expecting! :)