It always kind of pisses me off to see an article titled “Five Books You’ve Never Heard Of” or such, because, unless the author has talked to every single person who reads his post, and gone through his or her library, the guy is simply making an assumption based on his arrogance, though thankfully coupled with his desire to educate the poor unwashed masses who haven’t experienced the same imaginary worlds he has and therefore can’t really be blamed for their plebeian tastes. (Cracked is especially bad at this. I enjoy their site from time to time but guys? You’re really not the only people who look up weird things on the Internet or read strange books, okay? Really.) Now that that’s off my chest, Mr John Green does in fact talk about a lot of books that seem to have slipped under the radar. Yes, I’ve read a few, & no, I’m not going to list them in an effort to show how much of a hipster I am.
Oh, okay, I’ll mention one, but only because of what he said about it. I did indeed read (a couple of times, now) Death Comes for the Archbishop. I wasn’t assigned that book in school, but my 10th grade English teacher used to give us a recommended reading list of other books by the authors we read in class, books she said she’d teach if she had us for a few years. (English teachers/ librarians that are reading this: Please do this. It’s awesome.) That title and the short write-up she gave it definitely caught my eye, and I read it for the first time around the time I turned 16, in between Elric and Black Company books. It’s a quiet, almost slow book, but it’s painfully beautiful, and ever time I read it I like it even more. Yes, My Ántonia is also really good, but I think this might be her masterpiece.
And the downside of reading books no one has heard of that no one ever talks about? I’d say for every completely unknown book or two that I end up thinking is an underground classic is one that I realized, upon getting to the end, that there was a damn good reason it was unheralded. Still, that itself makes finding the true gems that much more special.
Alright, here’s John Green talking about books you may or may not have read but the vast majority of the reading public has, regrettably, yet to discover them, though on the bright side, that means that they get to read them for the first time.