Friday, 25 January 2008

Booking through Thursday
What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”
:: Since 1966-67, when we read Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford in English class at school, I've always thought that no-one but my fellow students had ever heard of it. Shows how much I know: the TV series is now screening on English telly. I so loved this book, even after wading through it in school, and I've always owned a copy.

:: I'm always surprised when I get a strange querying look in response to mention of the short stories of Saki, the pen name of H.H. Munro. A boyfriend introduced me to Saki in the 1970s, and he's been in my collection ever since. These are brilliant, witty and often acerbic pieces, many of them satirising Edwardian life. They're full of eccentricities, bizarre happenings and weird characters — I just love them. Munro died aged 45 in 1916.

:: I'm going to take this opportunity to mention
Rhubarb, by Craig Silvey — an absolute jewel of a book that hardy anyone outside of Western Australia will have ever heard of. It's a big-hearted story — a love story, in fact — about a traumatised blind girl, her seeing-eye dog, and an agoraphobic cello player.
Had this book been written anywhere else but in Perth, or set so firmly in Fremantle, Perth's port city on the Indian Ocean, it would have been a worldwide hit. I'm cheered to see lists it — can I persuade some of you to try it?


Jaimie said...

I have never heard of Saki so I must look him up. Happy BTT!

Laura Jane said...

I love the book Skallagrig by William Horwood (writer of Duncton Wood).

Its an unusual story, but very moving, a bit traumatic and hard to read in bits, maybe not so well written, but quite memorable. Its about a boy with cerebral palsy in the late 1920's and a young woman also with CP in the 1980's, and the differences in their lives and treatments, and a folk-tale among non-verbal people with CP/ or in residential care that links them both. Very moving.

BooksPlease said...

I loved 'Lark Rise' when I first read it over 10 years ago and Saki I read too long ago to remember, but I have never heard of 'Rhubarb' before - I'll check it out.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've heard of Lark Rise though not read it, I have read some of Saki's stories. I've never heard of Rhubarb though, it sounds interesting, thanks for the recommendation!

Nyssaneala said...

I'll have to take a look at Rhubarb. Is Perth where you lived in Australia? We lived in Brisbane for 4 years, but unfortunately never got over to the west coast.

Lesley said...

Laura — I loved Duncton Wood .. just the title takes me back to 1982-83, when Dave had just come back from a long tour (rock'n'roll) and I'd been subbing on my first paper in Perth for a year straight. We went to Eagle Bay for a whole month. Horwood was my reading matter. It was a month of sleep therapy — we used to get up at 9am, walk on the beach, have an afternoon nap, and then be so exhausted by 8.30 that we'd be in bed by 9pm. We still talk about that month — I think we'll live an extra ten years because of the good it did us!