Leading writers, critics, and scholars show why their favorite forgotten books deserve a new audience. In these thoughtful, often personal essays, contributors — including Caleb Crain, Merve Emre, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Namwali Serpell — read books by writers such as Helen DeWitt, Shirley Jackson, Stanislaw Lem, Paule Marshall, and Charles Portis.
B-Side Books: Essays on Forgotten Favorites assembles 40 commentators, and each writes a brief (approx. 4-10 pages) summary and appreciation of an overlooked book. The mix of writers is impressive: it includes art historians, a Slavic-language expert, novelists from several nations, a science historian, an anthropologist, a gender historian, a religious studies professor, and essayists. There is a plurality of lit-crit academics (from several continents, and not just full professors), but that’s all right. This is what they do for a living — convince other people to explore and love books that have been (unfairly) pushed to the margins ... 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.
Forgotten books earn their readers’ attention ... Most contributors are academics, with a smattering of fiction and poetry writers. Their choices are eclectic, their essays enlightening ... Erudite and appreciative essays on what and why to read.