Robert Boswell

Underdog Literature, September 2012: 15 fresh or compelling, off-the-wall titles

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Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: TOM BISSELL, „Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation“, 301 pages, 2012. [Nonfiction / Creative Writing]

02: JOHN GARDNER, „Nickel Mountain“, 312 pages, 1963.

03: PADGET POWELL, „Edisto“, 192 pages, 1984.

04: MICHEL BUTOR, „Mobile“, 319 pages, 1959. [Journalism / Collage / Nouveau Roman]

05: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Crooked Hearts“, 352 pages, 1967.

06: MOIRA CRONE, „The Not Yet“, 272 pages, 2012. [Dystopia / Science Fiction]

07: ROBERT COOVER, „The Public Burning“, 544 pages, 1977.

08: RICHARD E. KIM, „The Martyred“, 240 pages, 1964. [Korean]

09: WILLIAM SAROYAN, „The Human Comedy“, 256 pages, 1943.

10: LARRY WOIWODE, „Beyond the Bedroom Wall“, 625 pages, 1975.

11: JONATHAN RABAN, „Bad Land: An American Romance“, 384 pages, 1985. [History / Nonfiction]

12: TIM THARP, „Falling Dark“, 256 pages, 1999.

13: ELIZABETH TALLENT, „Museum Pieces“, 233 pages, 1985.

14: DONALD ANTRIM, „Elect Mr. Robinson for a better World“, 192 pages, 1993.

15: LEWIS NORDAN, „Wolf Whistle“, 290 pages, 2003.

16: DOROTHY ALLISON, „Two or three Things I know for sure“, 112 pages, 1995. [Memoir]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: JENNY LAWSON, „Let’s pretend this never happened“, 318 pages, 2012. [Memoir / Comedy]

02: HERMAN KOCH, „The Dinner“, 300 pages, 2008. [Netherlands; German title: „Angerichtet“]

03: KLAUS MANN, „Der Wendepunkt. Lebensbericht“, 737 pages, 1942. [Memoir]

04: MAGDA SZABO, „Door“, 272 pages, 1987. [Hungarian]

05: MILENA MICHIKO FLASAR, „Ich nannte ihn Krawatte“,  [Austrian; Rezensionsexemplar, danke an Verlag Klaus Wagenbach!]

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

4 of 5 stars: KRISTEN D. RANDLE, „The only Alien on the Planet“, 228 pages, 1995. [Young Adult; recommended if you liked „To Kill a Mockingbird“]

4 of 5 stars: DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, „This is Water“, 64 pages, 2005. [Nonfiction / short, likeable commencement speech]

4 of 5 stars: ARNO GEIGER, „Der alte König in seinem Exil“, 192 pages, 2011. [Nonfiction / Memoir, Austrian]

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This month, to find new titles, I went through several lists of personal recommendations from my favorite living author, Stewart O’Nan (Link).

The 15 books that I picked weren’t, for the most part, HIS recommendations. But all the authors make appearances on THESE (O’Nan-curated) lists:

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and:

Summer Reading List – 29 good… and 29 *great* books

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My reading list, this summer?

Here are 29 books… that I suspect to be pretty good.

And another 29 books… that I suspect to be great.

Update, spring 2013: I managed to read a good number of the books. See the orange text for my ratings!

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Good books…

01: JAMES FREY, „Bright shiny Morning“, 501 pages, 2008.

02: ALICIA ERIAN, „Towelhead“, 336 pages, 2006.

03: LYNN COADY, „The Antagonist“, 352 pages, 2001.

04: SAPPHIRE, „Push“, 179 pages, 1996.

05: HOWARD ZINN, „You can’t be neutral on a moving Train“, 224 pages, 1994.

07: CHRISTIE HODGEN, ‘Elegies for the Brokenhearted’, 256 pages, 2010.

08: DODIE SMITH, ‘I capture the Castle’, 352 pages, 1948. [Coming of Age]

09: JOHN B. THOMPSON, ‘Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the 21st Century’, 440 pages, 2010. [Cultural Studies / Nonfiction]

10: JERRY MANDER, ‘Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television’, 376 pages, 1978 [Essay]

11: RUSSELL BANKS, ‘Affliction’, 368 pages, 1989.

12: LAWRENCE DURRELL: ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, 884 pages, 1957.

13: SUZETTE MAYR, ‘Monoceros’, 280 pages, 2011.

14: AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life”, 240 pages, 2005.

15: JOHAN HARSTAD, “Buzz Aldrin, what happened to you in all the Confusion?”, 478 pages, 2005. [Young Adult, Norway] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

16: CATHERINE CHUNG, “Forgotten Country”, 304 pages, 2012.

17: CHARLOTTE ROGAN, “The Lifeboat”, 275 pages, 2012.

18: EDMUND WHITE, “Jack Holmes and his Friend”, 392 pages, 2012.

19: MARK OLIVER EVERETT, „Things the Grandchildren should know“, 256 pages, 2007. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

20: NICK ANTOSCA, „Fires“, 194 pages, 2006.

21: AMY WALDMAN, „The Submission“, 300 pages, 2011. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

22: ARMISTEAD MAUPIN, „Tales of the City“, 296 pages, 1978.

23: MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH, „Only Forward“, 310 pages, 1994.

24: KIRSTEN D. RANDLE, „The only Alien on the Planet“, 228 pages, 1995. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

25: TONY EARLEY, „The Blue Star“, 304 pages, 2008.

26: JOSE MANUEL PRIETO, „Rex“, 336 pages, 2009.

27: GARTH STEIN, „The Art of Racing in the Rain“, 321 pages, 2008.

28: DIETMAR DATH, „Für immer in Honig“, 1035 pages, 2005 [German].

28: WALTER TEVIS, „The Queen’s Gambit“, 183 pages, 1983.

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Great books…!

01: JESSE BROWNER, „Everything happens today“, 224 pages, 2011.

02: SLOAN WILSON, „The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit“, 288 pages, 1954.

03: CLAIRE BIDWELL SMITH, „The Rules of Inheritance“, 304 pages, 2012.

04: LIZ MOORE, „Heft“, 352 pages, 2012. 2 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

05: EOWYN IVEY, „The Snow Child“, 352 pages, 2012.

06: ANDERS NILSEN, „Don’t go where I can’t follow“, 244, 2007. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

07: ADAM LEVIN, ‘The Instructions’, 1030 pages, 2010

08: JAMES SALTER, ‘Light Years’, 308 pages, 1975.

09: DAVID MARKSON, ‘The Last Novel’, 220 pages, 2007. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

10: DOROTHY BAKER, ‘Cassandra at the Wedding’, 256 pages, 1962.

11: TIM WISE, „White like me. Reflections on Race from a privileged Son“, 250 pages, 2004.

12: JOACHIM MEYERHOFF, „Alle Toten fliegen hoch“, 319 pages, 2011.

13: JEANETTE WINTERSON, “Why be happy when you could be normal?”, 256 pages, 2011. [Memoir]

14: ISMET PRCIC, “Shards”, 400 pages, 2011. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

15: GUY DELISLE, “Jerusalem”, 334 pages, 2011. [Graphic Novel; nonfiction] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

16: WILLIAM MAXWELL, “The Folded Leaf”, 289 pages, 1945.

17: ERIC WALTERS, “Safe as Houses”, 160 pages, 2007. [Young Adult] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended for younger readers.

18: SHARON M. DRAPER, “Out of my Mind”, 295 pages, 2010. [Young Adult] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

19: ALISON BECHDEL, “Are you my Mother?”, 224 pages, 2012. [Graphic Novel / Memoir]

20: PATRICK DeWITT, “The Sisters Brothers”, 352 pages, 2011.

21: DOROTHY CANFIELD-FISHER, “The Home-Maker”, 320 pages, 1924.

22: C.D. PAYNE, “Youth in Revolt”, 499 pages, 1995. [Young Adult]

23: KAUI HART HEMMINGS, “The Descendants”, 283 pages, 2007.

24: E.L. DOCTOROW, „The Book of Daniel“, 320 pages, 1971.

25: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Century’s Son“, 320 pages, 2002.

26: ANDRE DUBUS, „Selected Stories“, 496 pages, 1988.

27: TOVE JANSSON, „Fair Play“, 179 pages, 1989. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended. But her „Summer Book“ is even better.

28: FRANCIS SPUFFORD, „Red Plenty“, 448 pages, 2007.

29: JUNICHIRO TANIZAKI, „The Makiota Sisters“, 544 pages, 1946.

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