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The After Life of Overlooked Books
Book lovers, like parents, are often circumspect about naming their favorites. After all, you wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of all those other books you've loved. And besides, there are different kinds of favorites. There's the BFF (Book Favorite Forever), the well-worn paperback you've read over and over until it looks like it's been run over by a semi. There's the A-Student Favorite, the thinky book you admire, but would never take into the bathtub with you. And then there's the Forgotten Favorite. This favorite is a bittersweet affair. You love this book. You think everyone in the world should read this book. And yet, you've never met anyone else who's loved this book like you have, or for that matter, anyone who's read it. It's un-buzzed-about; it's un-award-laden; you greet a copy of it at a used book store with an utterance of complete shock. This book is yours and yours alone.
For me, the eerie, dark After Life, by Rhian Ellis, was one of those books. It's a novel you devour, admonishing yourself the whole time to slow down so you can enjoy each lovely sentence, but unable to resist the urge to plunge forward into the story. I couldn't believe this gorgeous book was out of print, particularly now that the supernatural is experiencing a bit of a media moment.
Well, apparently neither could Nancy Pearl, who runs the brilliant Amazon.com publishing imprint Book Lust Rediscoveries. Dedicated to reprinting overlooked gems from 1960-2000, this publishing outfit is reprinting After Life, which is great news for readers (even though it means I'll have to crown some other obscure novel my Forgotten Favorite). Check out the trailer:Plus, the very existence of this publishing imprint inspires a kind of hope. After all, books aren't the only things that often go underappreciated.What if we all performed an act of rediscovery in our own lives? Think about something you accomplished or created or loved ten or twelve years ago -- something as big as a job or as small as a collage you made for an art class -- and take a moment to appreciate it, consider what kind of new life it might have now. An, ahem, After Life, if you will.
Speaking of Rediscovery: Oprah's Book Club 2.0
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