Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Showcase B-Side Books edited by John Plotz A Columbia University Press new Release

If you were around when records were played on a juke box or record player you know all about B-Side records well today I'm showcasing B-Side Books a conglomeration of essays that slipped through the cracks.

ISBN-13:  9780231200578
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 06-01-2021
Length: 280pp
Buy It: Publisher/ Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound



There are the acknowledged classics of world literature: the canonical works assigned in schools, topping every must-read list . . . and then there are the B-Sides. These are the books that slipped through the cracks, went unread, missed their rightful appointment with posterity. They were ahead of their times or behind their times or on a whole different schedule than the rest of the universe.

What do you do when a book that you love has been neglected or dismissed by everyone else? In B-Side Books, leading writers, critics, and scholars show why their favorite forgotten books deserve a new audience. From dusty westerns and far-out science fiction to obscure Czech novelists and romance-novel precursors, the contributors advocate for the unsung virtues of overlooked books. They write about unheralded novels, poetry collections, memoirs, and more with understanding, respect, passion, and love.

In these thoughtful, often personal essays, contributors—including Stephanie Burt, Caleb Crain, Merve Emre, Ursula K. Le Guin, Carlo Rotella, and Namwali Serpell—read books by writers such as Helen DeWitt, Shirley Jackson, Stanislaw Lem, Dambudzo Marechera, Paule Marshall, and Charles Portis.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Sharon Marcus, series editor
Introduction, by John Plotz
Part I: Childhood, Through a Glass Darkly
1. A Girl of the Limberlost (Gene Stratton-Porter), by Rebecca Zorach
2. The Young Visiters (Daisy Ashford), by Caleb Crain
3. The Diary of “Helena Morley” (Elizabeth Bishop, trans.), by Elizabeth Ferry
4. Brown Girl, Brownstones (Paule Marshall), by Adrienne Brown
5. An American Childhood (Annie Dillard), by Salvatore Scibona
6. The Last Samurai (Helen DeWitt), by Toril Moi
Part II. Other Worlds
7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by Seeta Chaganti
8. The House on the Borderland (William Hope Hodgson), by Namwali Serpell
9. Lolly Willowes (Sylvia Townsend Warner), by Ivan Kreilkamp
10. Mythology (Edith Hamilton), by Kathryn Lofton
11. Other Leopards (Denis Williams), by Emily Hyde
12. Solaris (Stanislaw Lem), by Kate Marshall
13. Riddley Walker (Russell Hoban), by Paul Saint-Amour
Part III. Comedy
14. The Beggar’s Opera (John Gay), by Yoon Sun Lee
15. Lady Into Fox (David Garnett), by Maud Ellmann
16. Prater Violet (Christopher Isherwood), by Stephen McCauley
17. “Rogue’s Gallery” (Mary McCarthy), by Sean McCann
18. Gringos (Charles Portis), by Carlo Rotella
Part IV. Battle and Strife
19. The Road to Calvary (Alexei Tolstoy), by Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee
20. The Forbidden Zone (Mary Borden), by Steven Biel and Lauren Kaminsky
21. Nikola the Outlaw (Ivan Olbracht), by Jonathan Bolton
22. The House of Hunger (Dambudzo Marechera), by Isabel Hofmeyr
23. The Short-Timers (Gustav Hasford), by Steven Biel
24. A Flag at Sunrise (Robert Stone), by Ben Fountain
25. The Vehement Passions (Philip Fisher), by Lorraine Daston
Part V. Home Fires
26. Annals of the Parish (John Galt), by Ursula K. Le Guin
27. The Dry Heart (Natalie Ginzburg), by Merve Emre
28. Life Among the Savages; Raising Demons (Shirley Jackson), by Sharon Marcus
29. My Uncle Napoleon (Iraj Pezeshkzad), by Pardis Dabashi
30. We Think the World of You (A. J. Ackerley), by Kevin Brazil
31. All Aunt Hagar’s Children (Edward P. Jones), by Elizabeth Graver
Part VI: Mysteries and Trials
32. The Diaries of Lady Anne Clifford, by Ramie Targoff
33. The Riddle of the Sands (Erskine Childers), by Margaret Cohen
34. Stamboul Train (Graham Greene), by Penny Fielding
35. The Hours Before Dawn (Celia Fremlin), by Leah Price
Part VII: Journeys of the Spirit
36. A Life of One’s Own (Marion Millner), by Vanessa Smith
37. Butcher’s Crossing (John Williams), by John Plotz
38. Journey in Search of the Way (Satomi Myōdō), by Theo Davis
39. I Remember (Joe Brainard), by Andrew H. Miller
40. Transformatrix (Patience Agbabi), by Stephanie Burt
List of Contributors


These diverse, passionate, and persuasive essays are a rare gift—a form of exhilarating literary conversation with brilliant readers. B-Side Books introduces forgotten gems by beloved authors and undiscovered marvels by unfamiliar authors, in joyful celebration of books that the writers secretly adore.
Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children

Italo Calvino suggests we all have our classics, whatever the canon says. Many of us also cherish books that are an essential part of any world we can imagine or remember. This volume gathers a wonderful set of such books and offers intimate essays about them: treasures upon treasures
.Michael Wood, author of The Habits of Distraction

Personal, conversational, and enthusiastic, the writers in this collection come not as critics but as readers fired up by the books they love and who want to pass on these experiences
.Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn: A Novel

B-Side Books is a book about the pleasures of reading that is a pleasure to read. It is motley and varied and tonally wide-ranging in all the best ways.
Briallen Hopper, author of Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions

Erudite and appreciative essays on what and why to read.
Kirkus Reviews

[A] smart and fun collection . . . more than being just a collection of ‘what to read next’ suggestions, the pieces easily convey a sense of how powerful reading can be. Book lovers are in for a treat.
Publishers Weekly, starred review

This slim volume is the ideal antidote to something like Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon and the other beefy works that lay out The Official Reading List For All Educated Persons . . . B-Side Books is a helpful and thoroughly enjoyable curated guide, perfect for quick bedside consumption. The volume will keep your reading list full for years to come, or it can simply serve as a reminder to be grateful for literature’s fertile nooks and crannies.
The Arts Fuse

Whether identifying 'the perfect anti-Western,' an Iranian comic novel from the 1970s or the cheerful account of a Japanese grandmother’s fitful Buddhist practice, these wide-ranging essays are a prod to pursue the world’s sometimes hard-to-find novels, novellas and memoirs.
Washington Post

About the author:
John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of Humanities at Brandeis University. His books include Semi-Detached: The Aesthetics of Virtual Experience Since Dickens (2017) and the illustrated children’s book Time and the Tapestry: A William Morris Adventure (2014). He is the editor of the B-Sides series on Public Books and the cohost of the podcasts Recall This Book and Novel Dialogue.