December 19, 2009
It’s hard to ignore a book someone says they’ve read three times. I’m not talking about blockbuster seductions like Twilight. I’m talking about books like The Spare Room by Helen Garner. It’s noted in a recent Guardian article, landing on a list of the decade’s best unread books. (Isn’t that an interesting list.) Granted, it’s the book’s publisher making the statement – “I’ve read it three times now and on each occasion my awe at what Garner has achieved increases.” Nevertheless, how many books would a publisher read three times and feel awe each time?
I picked up The Spare Room from the library this morning. From the dust jacket, here’s what it’s about: “How much of ourselves must we give up to help a friend in need? Helen has little idea what lies ahead — and what strength she must summon — when she offers her spare room to an old friend, Nicola, who has arrived in the city for treatment of her illness.”
Kudos to The Guardian for seeking the decade’s unsung literary bests from publishers, agents and translators. The article states: “While people are busy ranking the hit books of the last 10 years, many a publishing insider is quietly mourning a volume that unaccountably never made the ‘best of’ or bestseller lists, but should have.” To get the other 11 books on the list, go here.