07 March 2009

Pushing an Author and a Book

Challenge Me! Results

This week's Booking through Thursday asked about the "best book we never read." I listed eight books. Then I asked you to choose which two books I should read before the year was up. Here are the totals:

Life of Pi — 19
Cranford — 9
Everything Is Illuminated — 7
Adam Bede — 5
The Sea — 2
Quartet — 2
August Is a Wicked Month — 1
Roxana — 0

The clear winner is Life of Pi, and Cranford is next. So I accept the challenge, and I'll read both before the end of the year.

Now I want to push one author and one book on you poor unsuspecting readers!

Pushing an Author

I'm a bit surprised that Edna O'Brien (August Is a Wicked Month) didn't get more votes. I admit that I was hoping she'd be at the top of the list. O'Brien is one of my favorite authors, and I highly recommend her Country Girl trilogy: The Country Girls, The Lonely Girl, and Girls in Their Married Bliss. Lit Chat at Salon reprinted an interview with O'Brien. Here's a sample:

"The Country Girls," was a simple little tale of two girls who were trying to burst out of their gym frocks and their convent, and their own lives in their own houses, to make it to the big city. It angered a lot of people, including my own family. It was banned; it was called a smear on Irish womanhood. . . . When I wrote my second book ("The Lonely Girls"), the opinion was the first was a prayer book by comparison.

I know many of you like an Irish setting and like to read about women's lives. I've read a handful of O'Brien's novels, and I haven't yet been disappointed. I'm hoping some of you might be tempted to pick up one her novels.

Pushing a Book

I don't know much about Quartet and haven't even seen the movie. But I did read Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, which was about Bertha Mason, the first wife of Rochester in Jane Eyre. If you are a Jane Eyre fan (Aren't most of you?), then Wide Saragasso Sea is required reading. I wonder how many of you have read it already.

Now It's Your Turn

My question is what are some the really good books or authors I've never heard of? What author or book do you think is underrepresented on the book blogs? I'm not asking for your favorite author or top read. I'd like to know about authors and books—old or new—that could use some blogging love.


Unknown 3/7/09, 7:25 AM  

I've never heard of Edna O'Brien. I've have to keep an eye out for her in future.

My favourite underated author is Andrew Miller. I have never seen a review for any of his books in blogland, despite them being awarded prizes. Ingenious Pain is my favourite, but I've never met anyone who has read it. I'd love someone else to read it, and love it too!

Ana S. 3/7/09, 7:26 AM  

I LOVED Wide Sargasso Sea. I read it before Jane Eyre, actually. It was so sad, but so rich and so well written.

Have you ever read any Daniel Wallace? The Watermelon King is one of my all-time favourite books. I plugged it like mad when I first started blogging and a couple of other bloggers read it...but I wish even more would.

Sandy Nawrot 3/7/09, 7:30 AM  

My recommendation of an underloved author is Connie May Fowler. She is a local of the Florida panhandle, and writes primarily with Florida as her backdrop. She's lyrical, easy to read, and a proponent of women defying odds and finding themselves (although she does a fine job with the men as well). I found her novel "Remembering Blue" to be a story I could not get out of my head, and I fell madly in love with it. You can read my review here:


I've got two other books of hers in my TBR challenge, and I'm so looking forward to reading them.

Anonymous,  3/7/09, 8:04 AM  

I read Night by Edna O'Brien in grad school, but I haven't read any of the books you listed. I'm going to have to look up the books you suggest. I've read and loved Life of Pi and will be reading Everything is Illuminated this year as part of Dewey's Reading Challenge.

I'm going to have to think about who I would push. If you don't mind, I think I might post on this myself. I'll link back here of course. :)

Unknown 3/7/09, 8:16 AM  

Wide Sargasso Sea is an excellent book. Incredibly poetic. Life of Pi is on my list to read soon as well.

Molly 3/7/09, 9:11 AM  

I am sad to say that I have never heard of Edna O'Brien (but then again, there are many many authors that I have missed in my lifetime). I loved your excerpt from her interview, and I will definitely check out the Country Girl trilogy.

I have also not heard of the Wide Sargasso Sea, and I can honestly tell you that by the title, I would never have picked it up on my own. However, I have learned to truly appreciate Jane Eyre and I find the topic of the novel fascinating. It is definitely on the TBR list.

For me to try to mention an author that you fine literary folk have not read is probably impossible. The only one that comes to mind as a possibility is Elizabeth Mary Braddon. I had to read Lady Audley's Secret for a class this summer and absolutely LOVED it. I even wrote a one month unit plan as a final project, although I will probably not be able to use it in my small school. Anyway, her literature would be classified as "sensational" Victorian Lit --- and I am very anxious to read more of works.

bermudaonion 3/7/09, 9:22 AM  

A great book that I've never seen on any blog is Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. I've read a few of Hickam's other books and none of them stand up to that one, in my opinion. I love Ferrol Sams' books and most people haven't heard of him. Great post!

Sherrie 3/7/09, 10:53 AM  

Hi Beth,
I have an award for you. You can pick it up here:http://sherriesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/03/award.html Have a great day!!


Robin M 3/7/09, 10:57 AM  

I think your blog is the only one I've heard about Edna O'Brien on. I'll have to put her on my list to check out her books. Who do I think is underrated. I think Bodie Thoene is underrated. Her books don't get a lot of play in the blogosphere. Maybe I should take a cue from you and do a post about it.

John Mutford 3/7/09, 3:48 PM  

Wow, what a runaway for Life of Pi!

Anonymous,  3/7/09, 6:04 PM  

I've seen a lot of talk on blogs lately about So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger - which I have't read yet - but his first book, Peace Like a River, is brilliant in my opinion - one of my all-time favorites.

Anonymous,  3/7/09, 6:20 PM  

It's amazing because I couldn't get myself into any of the top 3 on your list. The Life of Pi is most likely the one I'll pick up again.

Anonymous,  3/7/09, 7:52 PM  

Melanie Rae Thon. She's the author of Girls in the Grass and First, Body which are collection of short stories, and Sweethearts. I think underrepresented everywhere. Her writing deals with race and the sometimes emptiness of life.

Amy 3/8/09, 12:40 AM  

Great question, but I have no idea!

Jenners 3/8/09, 10:32 PM  

Well, I voted for Life of Pi so I am glad it won ... but I hadn't heard of any of the others. And your poll inspired me to do my own like this to help me pick which two classic books I'm going to read.

As far as what is "underrepresented" on the blogs, I don't really know -- I can tell you what is OVERREPRESENTED but not the other way around.

S. Krishna 3/9/09, 1:07 AM  

I haven't even heard of Cranford. I'll have to check it out!

Jeanne 3/9/09, 12:06 PM  

I came over from Hey, Lady Watcha Readin? to say that Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World is the best new book I read last year.

Anonymous,  3/9/09, 12:06 PM  

I'm in the list of people who have never heard of Edna O'Brien. Your teaser sentence from the interview sent to my library's search page. They have 24 items under her name including a BBC movie with Helen Mirren. Where have I been? I ordered the country girls trilogy - all in one book.

The books I never see in blogland is a genre - westerns. It appears no one reads westerns anymore but I love them for the old fashioned flavor of them.

You raised good questions here. Lots of fun reading.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 3/9/09, 12:48 PM  

Life of Pi was going to be my other choice, so I will be glad to hear what you have to say about that.

I read Wife Sargasso Sea in college and liked it so much that I hung onto my copy. It's in my stack of things that I want to re-read this year.

I haven't heard of Edna O'Brien.

Anonymous,  3/9/09, 1:58 PM  

You've definitely sold me - Edna O'Brien's on my list now.

Unknown 3/9/09, 3:54 PM  

I have read 'Wide Saragasso Sea' twice and it is a beautiful novel. The movie they made, in my opinion did a great disservice to the book.

Beth F 3/9/09, 5:49 PM  

Thanks for the suggestions. After I complete some more of my challenges, I'm going to challenge myself to read the authors or books suggested by all of you.

Jackie (Farmlane): I'll but Miller on my list. I think you'd like O'Brien.

Nymeth: Wasn't WSS great! I read it years ago and I still think about it. Wallace is new to me! I'll put him on my list.

Sandy: Fowler is also new to me. And Wow! I just read your review. I'll look forward to this one.

Jennifer (Lit Housewife): I hope you do post about an author who needs some blog love. I'll be looking for it!

Laza: I've never heard of anyone (yet) who didn't like WSS.

Molly: I'm so glad you suggested an author. This is yet another new for me. I'm loving this!

Kathy (Bermuda): I've heard of Rocket Boys, but know nothing about it. And I've also not heard of Sams. Two more for my list.

Robin: I haven't heard of Thoene either. I hope you do post about her books.

John: I was so surprised that Pi was so popular!

Carrie: I've heard of Enger, but haven't read either book.

Matt: I'll be posting about Pi when I read it, so you'll know my thoughts!

N. Vasillis: Thorn sounds like she writes about important issues. And another new to me author.

Amy: no problem.

Jenners: LOL!!! Yes, we can all talk about the popular books.

Swapna: (S. Krishna): It always makes the must-read lists.

Margot: Ah. Good thought. You know, westerns are really underrepresented.

Nicole: I know it's an amazing book.

Belle: I hope you really do read one of her books.

Lilly: I had no idea there was a movie. I think I'll stay away from it.

Anonymous,  3/10/09, 11:18 AM  

For bibliophiles, I think the most underrated author is Jasper Fforde, at least in terms of pure fun with literature. It's not so much the writing that's great as his sense of humor, incredible creativity and the fact that he incorporates OTHER well loved books and characters so much! It's not serious literature, they're just great fun, fairly easy reads.

Anonymous,  3/12/09, 9:34 AM  

Overwhelming results for *Life of Pi*, wow!

The only one on your list that I've read is *Everything is Illuminated*. I actually liked *Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close* more; it felt more solid to me.

Hava 4/4/09, 5:51 PM  

I know I'm a little late, but I just found your blog through Books and Movies on Today.com.

Anyway, I think one thing that is underrepresented in book review blogs online is an entire genre of books - the nonfiction ones!!! I love reading nonfiction books (hence my book review blog is focused on reviewing just those books) but it is very rare to meet anyone else who does that. You will get an occasional nonfiction book thrown in, but that's about it.

So go read more nonfiction! LOL!

And if you want read reviews of great nonfiction books so you know which one to pick up, I know a gal who has a blog focused on just nonfiction books. ;-) LOL!


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