Friday, May 23, 2008

Gone but not forgotten

Patti Abbott has asked me to contribute to her Friday book recommendation series. Here's her description of what she was hoping for when she began it:
recommendations of books we love but might have forgotten over the years. I have asked several people to help me by also remembering a favorite book. . . . I'm worried great books of the recent past are sliding out of print and out of our consciousness. Not the first-tier classics we all can name, but the books that come next
I am slow off the mark this morning--just got back from Florida, where I did my first triathlon and also ate an ice cream in the shape of Mickey Mouse. It was an utterly delightful trip.

Book recommendations? I am always so full of 'em that I hardly know what to say!

The older novel that I am constantly recommending (it is my favorite novel of all time) is Rebecca West's The Fountain Overflows. But I am thinking for today that we want the great books of the more recent past. I am not sure I am really doing anything very complimentary by singling out people's books as slightly forgotten! Novels that received some considerable attention, then, but that deserve to remain front-and-center in the readerly imagination: Stephen Elliott's Happy Baby; Andre Aciman's Call Me By Your Name; Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai. Jo Walton's Farthing books also, and Charlie Williams' Deadfolk and sequels...

But I think the novel I will particularly single out for passionate recommendation is Cintra Wilson's Colors Insulting to Nature. I see she has a truly demented-sounding book coming out this fall--hmmm, better get hold of a copy of that one...

I do not actually have this novel in my possession; I have had several copies, but they have been pressed into the hands of other readers. So I can't give a great excerpt or description here. Here, though, are the previous Light Reading mentions; and here is where I really delved into it.

Nico and I continue to have regular e-mail exchanges where we foam at the mouth with excitement at the appearance of the latest Critical Shopper column...


  1. Thanks again for a truly original choice. But they all are usually. I'm the one most likely to come up with something prosaic. Anyway, triathlon. Wow.

  2. Some great recommendations there. And I wouldn't worry about insulting an author by suggesting that his or her book isn't as well known as it ought to be. I haven't met one yet who thought his or her work WAS as well known as it ought to be.

    Anyway, Mickey Mouse. Wow. Was just round with the mouse ears, or was it Mickey's whole outline, with the big gloves and shoes?