Saturday, 6 August 2022

Fifty Forgotten Books

Wyrd Britain reviews R.B. Russell's 'Fifty Forgotten Books' published by And Other Stories.
R.B. Russell
And Other Stories

Fifty Forgotten Books is a very special sort of book about books, by a great bibliophile and for book-lovers of all ages and levels of experience. Not quite literary criticism, not quite an autobiography, it is at once a guided tour through the dusty backrooms of long vanished used bookstores, a love letter to bookshops and bookselling, and a browser’s dream wish list of often overlooked and unloved novels, short story collections, poetry collections and works of nonfiction.

There is a small but much loved and growing section of my collection that can be described as books about books including Nicholas Royle's love letter to Picador and Penguin Books 'White Spines', Mark Valentine's championing of forgotten and underappreciated authors in, amongst others, 'A Country Still All Mystery' and Mike Ashley's celebration of British science fiction 'Yesterday's Tomorrows' to name just a few and now joining them is Ray Russell's 'Fifty Forgotten Books'.

Wyrd Britain reviews R.B. Russell's 'Fifty Forgotten Books' published by And Other Stories.
This new book from Tartarus Press publisher Ray finds him discussing the fifty books (and referencing many more) both old and new that, along with the shops and the people he discovered them through, have impacted on his life.  Featuring authors such as Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, M.P. Shiel, Aleister Crowley, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Walter de la Mare, David Lindsay, Robert Aickman, Rosalie Parker, Mark Valentine, Avalon Brantley, and many, many more it's an enthralling, and very gracious, wander through a love affair with literature that has, in many ways, defined his life.

Presented as a nifty dust-jacketed paperback 'Fifty Forgotten Books' tells a literary autobiography as Ray relates a life spent amongst books and of the various folks he has encountered on his quest for the next perfectly formed sentence.  It is a sublime read that's heartily recommended to everyone with a love of books and in particular of those beautiful obscurities that seemingly only exist on the lowest shelves, in the dustiest corners of the most charismatic of second-hand bookshops.

Published on 13th September 2022.


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