There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.
So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.
The first book recommended today is from Rebecca Fleet. Rebecca’s novel, The House Swap was published by Doubleday on 3 May 2018. She suggests Eating People Is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury, published by Picador.
Forty-year-old university professor Stuart Treece is rather set in his ways, and in the midst of the changing attitudes of the ’50s, his encounters with the younger generation are making him feel decidedly alien. When he falls disastrously in love with one of his students all his efforts to acclimatize are hilariously undermined.
Timeless and brilliant, Eating People is Wrong is Malcolm Bradbury’s first novel, and established him as a master of satire.
Here’s what she had to say about it:
“There is a book called Eating People Is Wrong written by Malcolm Bradbury in the late ‘50s which I love. The thing I find most striking about it is that it is very funny in parts, but also very tragic. I think it’s rare for books to achieve both successfully, and something to aspire to.”
The second suggestion comes from Helen Cullen. Helen’s debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, is published by Michael Joseph on 12 July 2018. She picked The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, published by Persephone Books.
The Home-Maker describes Evangeline, an obsessively house-proud mother and home-maker who renders each of her children miserable in different ways, through her perfectionism and her need to control; without realizing it, she is frustrated and bored – yet she thinks she is a good and devoted mother.
Lester, her husband, is also unhappy, at home and at work. It is only when he falls off a roof that his family’s life changes; he is wheelchair-bound at home and his wife goes to work in a department store (the setting is smalltown New England). The children gradually blossom.
Here’s what she has to say:
“This stunning, revolutionary novel was published in 1927 and it is remarkable how much ahead of her time Canfield Fisher was. It tells the tale of the Knapp family and, in particular, Evangeline Knapp who struggles terribly with her role as the perfect mother until an unexpected role reversal with her husband sets her free. I have recommended it to so many people and they are all blown by it.”
So there we have it, too more quiet books being shouted about. I have heard of The Home-Maker and it’s on my list of books to buy already. I may have to bump it up the list!
Have you any quiet books you want to bring to the reading world’s attention? If so, do let me know.