Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Best Overlooked Books of 2013 - a list heard on the radio

I just heard this on the radio program Word of Mouth and thought many of my readers would be interested in the titles. 

The Best Overlooked Books Of 2013



Credit Dan Klimke via flickr Creative Commons
Well, the holidays are upon us and there’s nothing quite like a well-told story for seeking refuge from the chaos or a little too much quality time with family. A lot of big-name authors had terrific new titles out this year, but we have a fondness for books that don’t get full page ads or window displays – call it the literary equivalent of the island of misfit toys – great books waiting for a good home; you just have to know that they are there. 
With us today are two seasoned purveyors of overlooked books. Michele Filgate is a writer and critic as well as the events coordinator at community bookstore in Brooklyn.Liberty Hardy is events coordinator at Riverrun bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She’s also contributing editor for Book Riot.
Here is a list of the books discussed in the segment:
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
White Girls by Hilton Als
Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce
Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet
Instructions for a Heat Wave by Maggie O'Farrell
Reality Boy by A.S. King
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Duplex by Kathryn Davis
Submergence by JM Ledgard
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud 

Addendum: I borrowed the Matt Bell book from the library, read a few pages, and found it weird and awful. Not for me at all!

18 comments:

  1. Interesting... I've seen Claire Messud's book all over the best-of fiction lists I've been perusing, so I'm not really sure how much more attention they feel it needs. (A few of the other titles I've seen occasionally on a list here or there, but that one is definitely a regular item.)

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    1. Yes, I've seen it around too, especially on a lot of blogs. The woman said that yes, this one had gotten some recognition, including from Maureen Corrigan, but she thought it deserved even more! I wish I could have provided a link to listen to the show, but it isn't available yet. It would be nice for you to hear what the two women said.

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  2. I very much like the idea of introducing/presenting overlooked books. There surely are many great stories out there which, for lack of clever marketing and other things, never make it "big" in the literary world. After a first glance at your list, I was sure I knew "The Woman Upstairs" - but it turned out I had read and reviewed a different book, incidentally by the same title: http://librarianwithsecrets.blogspot.de/2012/05/read-in-2012-11-woman-upstairs.html
    Your header photo is so beautiful!!!

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    1. Thank you! It was a lucky picture out the window just before the sun left. Those deer come every day.
      I also like the idea of spotlighting books that may not get noticed.

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  3. Someone already beat me to the comment about Claire Messud. There was a time in the blogging world where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an effusive blog post about The Woman Upstairs.

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    1. Well, as I said, the woman from the bookstore said she was aware it had gotten some press, but she thought it deserved even more!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this list nan. I did love The Night Guest, The Woman Upstairs and the Other Typist.

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    1. I'll have to go read about the Night Guest. That is the one that most interested me.

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  5. I can't resist a list! Have read two of these and both made my own 'best of' lists… The Woman Upstairs for fiction and The Other Typist for audiobook fiction. I also borrowed Cinnamon and Gunpowder from the library, but returned it unread :-(

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    1. Me, either. Love 'em! Yeah, I didn't think I'd be interested in C and G either.

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  6. I'm not familiar with any of these. Will you try more of them? Are you still reading your Christmas fiction? I've read the Little Christmas you recommended to me twice. The illustrations in it are each like a work of art.

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    1. I'm not very savvy about new books, and the ones that are new that I do read rarely make any lists. :<) I'm mostly interested in the first one on the list. I'm not reading my Christmas books. I got caught up in Provence 1970. :<) Most of my reading has been in bed and that's where I use my Kindle only. Oh, Little Christmas. Just the best.

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  7. I like lists too, but there are so many older books I haven't read... unless I find a new one at the library that looks irresistible, I pretty much concentrate on older books that I haven't read yet. I have my own list of books I missed reading back when I should have and besides .... someone who shall remain nameless keeps giving me wonderful old (but new to me) authors to investigate (thank you nameless person ... I just added another Hildegarde Withers to my Kindle.)

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    1. I'm with you. I don't read the books that are in fashion very often. It's always a happy surprise for me when I love something that is popular. So many have themes I just can't take. So delighted that you love Hildy too. :<)

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  8. Gosh, I haven't read any of these those some of the authors sound familiar to me (such as Messud). I must have missed blogosphere's obsession with The Woman Upstairs, though - I don't remember anything about it!

    I wonder how much diversity is represented in this list. As a rule of thumb, I usually think that POC authors are much more overlooked than their Caucasian counterparts, so I would hope that at least some of those above are minorities!

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    1. I took it upon myself to search the names in google images to see about the diversity because I know you are right about this! Okay, here you go: all Caucasian except for Hilton Als who is African-American. It would be interesting to see other lists from other sources. Something to do in our spare time!
      I just went through my list of books read this year, and every single author is white. Granted a fair many are olden days writers, but still, but still. Not very pleased with myself. This will be my own personal little challenge next year to read more POC authors.

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    2. I am so glad, Nan! It can be such a shock to see your reading in such stark terms, can't it? I took on the task this year of reading more diversely, too, and you quickly realize how difficult it can be to find books by people of color. It is definitely most obvious in Best Of lists like this one- most of them are not very diverse at all.

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    3. I've gotten out all my books and plan to post about this soon. I'm calling it NJC - not just caucasian. :<)

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