I’ve run across some interesting lists lately. My favorite is The Best Bad Books You’ve Never Read. This obviously isn’t a shopping list, rather a hilarious column by a reader whose bookshelves include Crabs on the Rampage and God Is for Real, Man. He’s also the author of Bad Book Club: One Man’s Quest to Uncover the Books That Taste Forgot. It’s available on Amazon’s Kindle or via U.K. sellers. Robin Ince writes:
“It’s easy to find a classic – there’s no epic journey required to get your hands on one. How much trickier it is to track down exquisite drivel, horribly misguided prose plumbing unimaginable depths, dreadful hacks who traverse the mundane to make the bland blissful. You can’t walk into a bookshop and say: ‘Where are the wrong books, please? Do you stock any books that should never have been published?’”
A more useful list is Publisher’s Weekly’s Start-ups for Fall: First Fictions. Here are 10 debut novels considered promising. You get a plot summary, a pitch from the publisher, first lines of the novel and more. One of the 10, The Wake of Forgiveness, has gotten attention from a few other sources and is on my own list for fall books to consider.
Tired of the predictable beach reads? Here’s some eclectic choices from Library Journal’s Classic Returns: Reprints, Updates, and Bargains. An odd list of four, for sure, that includes The Trade by Fred Stenson — “One critic likened it to Lonesome Dove with beavers replacing cattle. Fans of that book and sprawling adventure stories in general will go for this.”
The beavers provide a nice segue to Audubon Magazine. Its online edition published a list of Top 11 Climate Change Books. No escape reading here, but the topic fits the moment, considering we’re boiling up in this hot summer of 2010.
Finally, to settle things down a bit, In Defense of Privacy: The 20th Century’s Most Reclusive Authors. No real surprises in the list of Marcel Proust, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy and Harper Lee, but the stories are interesting. (I didn’t know Pynchon studied under Nabokov at Cornell.) The source, Flavorwire, explains “…we decided to examine why a few authors of a certain age chose to shut themselves away from the media, and in some cases, from publication and society, as well.”