Unread Books That Deserve to Be Read
There are the classics, which richly deserve to be read and richly repay the reading.
And then there are the dross books, the dreck books that sell by the pile: they leave me scratching my head in puzzlement every time I wander through a bookstore.
And thirdly there are those wonderful but neglected books which deserve to be more widely read, though somehow they've slipped into obscurity. Here are just a few of my own obscure favorites:
A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay. Makes you feel the world of Tormance, where there are five primary colors, and the phaens (who are neither male nor female) are referred to by their own third-sex pronouns.
Jack of Eagles by James Blish. One pulp plot device is piled on top of another, in this gripping good read about an ordinary everyday man who is waking up, perhaps too late, to his own psi powers and their central role in an unseen battle of good versus evil. (Original title: Let the Finder Beware.)
Humanism: The Wreck of Western Culture by John Carroll. "We live amidst the ruins of the great, five-hundred-year epoch of Humanism. Around us is that 'colossal wreck'. Our culture is a flat expanse of rubble... We are destitute in our plenty. We are homeless in our own homes." Ah, and with these opening words of his prologue, Carroll is only just warming up, in his gale-force critique of Western culture from the Renaissance to the present...
The Creation of Cloah Sark by Johnny Clougher. The autobiography of a destitute New Zealand ne'er-do-well who lived in a tin shed— and how he designed and built the oceangoing yacht of his dreams single-handed.
How about you? Which great though neglected books are among your favorites?