Friday, December 18, 2009

The Best Unread Books of the Decade

As many in the media present their lists featuring books that defined the decade, I often ponder upon the books that missed my radar. January Magazine will be unveiling its best of 2009 lists shortly. While sending my crime and thriller choices to Rap Sheet editor, J. Kingston Pierce, I pondered on the games fate and luck play in life. Many highly successful writers have often indicated that much of their success can be laid down to “luck” or “fortune” and that it took many clicks on the wheel of fortune to get success. I know many worthy books remain on the shelf because fortune and fate didn’t play a hand. I enjoy books that give me challenge and I am always on the look out for something that can alter or reinforce my view of life.

It was rather interesting to read The Guardian’s decade’s best unread books:
While people are busy ranking the hit books of the last 10 years, many a publishing insider is quietly mourning a volume that unnaccountably never made the 'best of' or bestseller lists, but should have. Here publishers, agents and translators speak up for the ones that really shouldn't have got away.
I read this listing and selected the following to purchase this afternoon as they intrigue me and I am surprised I missed them:

From Christopher MacLehose, MacLehose Press publisher:
Journal by Hélène Berr, published in 2008, deserves to be read and studied in every school in the civilised world, read and reread for what it tells of the circumstances of the arrest of a young and brilliant Jewish girl in Paris and her eventual murder in Bergen-Belsen, days before that camp was liberated. The story of how the text of her journal came to light so many years later is remarkable enough. The journal, which is a love story too and an account of inescapable horror, is beautiful and beautifully translated by David Bellos, whose Afterword entitled France and the Jews is also essential reading.
From Isobel Akenhead, Hodder & Stoughton women’s fiction editor:
The one book I would say I felt almost physically heartbroken about not succeeding with in the last decade was The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson. She's the most phenomenally talented (and bestselling) American author, whose unique voice just sings off the page, and this brilliant novel tells the tale of a woman who has to search through her own past to uncover what really happened to a little girl who has just been found dead in her swimming pool. It's as pacy as a thriller, but so rich that you feel you're reading something much deeper. There were a number of reasons it wasn't the success we hoped for -- primarily I think that it trod the line between commercial and literary in a way that made the retailers struggle to understand it. But I'd urge anyone to read it -- I feel absolutely sure they wouldn't be disappointed.
Here’s The Guardian’s complete list of books that may have missed your radar.



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