Thursday, January 21, 2010

Favorite Unknown

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This week, Booking Through Thursday asks:

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

Since I tend to enjoy books by Mid-Century authors no one reads anymore (besides J.G. and C.S. at Hotch Pot Cafe, Joy, and a couple of other blogger buddies), I have several I could choose from.  Kingsley Amis springs immediately to mind, or even Helen McInnes. Or how about Frances Parkinson Keyes?

But my first choice is -- and probably always will be unless there is a massive seachange in popular taste -- Anthony Powell.

His Dance to the Music of Time is incredible and provides everything I want in a novel -- evolving characters, complex story, and England between the wars. Although published as 12 separate novels, Dance is usually listed as one "book" on "Must Read" lists like the Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, so I fidge a little and always make it my "desert island" book

Powell wrote several other novels, literary criticism, and four volumes of memoirs. I hope to read all his books. And I definitely plan to re-read Dance, likely more than once.


  1. The more I read on different sites about this series, the more excited I am to tackle all the volumes when I get there. I love sagas and historical fiction so that should be great.

  2. I will definitely look into Anthony Powell. He sounds like an author I might love and I haven't heard of him. I am enjoying this question today!

  3. Its fun to discover people's Desert Island Reads!

  4. Yes, yes, yes! Well, as you know, I'm a big Anthony Powell fan. But I also really love Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim is one of the greatest comic novels of all time). And I actually almost mentioned Helen McInnes in my post, too - I think I've read just about all her novels at one time or another. Don't know why she seems to have fallen out of favor. But I've never tried Frances Parkinson Keyes - I'll have to put her on my "check this out" list.

  5. What a great title, Dance to the Music of Time. Nice choice. Mine is at The Crowded Leaf.

  6. I've had A Dance to the Music of Time on my tbr list for ages...

  7. I really have to read both Powell and Amis. I hope to get to Amis's Booker Prize winner this year in particular.

  8. As far as my favorite obscure authors so far on the ML 100 list (books 100-85) I would have to root for Erskine Caldwell and Arnold Bennett. Bennett's "The Old Wives' Tale" is fantastic, and anyone who loves Jane Austen or any English books of manners will love it. "Tobacco Road" by Erskine Caldwell cracked me up in parts. Very well written and the story definitely does move along, which is more than I can say for some of the more famous authors I've read on this list so far! :)


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