Thursday, December 6, 2007

Out of Print Faves...

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This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several)

These all were out of print the last time I tried to buy a copy, and I had given my own away. Boo hoo. I didn't have time to check this morning as to whether they are still out of print:

Cloud Street by Tim Winton is an epic Australian saga written in its own, almost Joycean language. Mesmerizing and beautiful.

Waiting for the End of the World by Madison Smart Bell - is a crazy, messy story surrounding a photographer who rescues a child being abused by a satanic cult. This sounds nuts, I know, but it has its own thoughtful purpose. The best part is the revolutionary cell that harnesses human anger as a terrorist tool.

For Kings and Planets by Ethan Canin is about the deep friendship between a straight-laced young man who aspires to, well, normality is the best way I can think to put it. He meets Marshall - an out-of-control dreamer, an "other" on his first day at Columbia University and... read the book. I found it a beautiful story and have read it numerous times.

Shadow of a Man by May Sarton (one of my Outmoded Authors Challenge authors) is a lovely coming of age story set in 1940s - 50s Paris. It's a quick read, if you can find it. As a young man trying to figure out who he was, I loved it.

finally Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Moseley, although always criticized for subsuming the normal elements of story and character in big ideas, is a charged tail of the confluence of revolution of scientific ideas and political thought in Europe between the wars. The splitting of the atom, and the rise of the national socialists in Germany, the bursting forth of adolescence into adulthood all crash together to provide the force behind this difficult book that I have found worth the effort of a reading more than once. Sheila and I continually rave about this sleeper. One day, we shall prevail.

It also looks like Narcissus and Goldmund by Herman Hesse may be out of print as well! How can that be? Good grief, what a great book. It has similarities to For Kings and Planets in theme but could not be more different in setting and style. I think The Glass Bead Game by Hesse is back in-print but if it's not, it ought to be.

These books rank as all time faves for me, it's a shame they're not more widely available.


SFP said...

Hurray! The university library has the Madison Smartt Bell.

Sheila O'Malley said...

One of my favorite books of all time is Max Shulman's I Was a teenage Dwarf - I laughed so loud reading it in my high school library that I was asked to leave the premises. Shulman was a HUGE success in his day - I'm trying to think of who to compare him to. Dave Barry maybe? But his name is lost in the mists of time - and his books are hard to find now.

I had mentioned to my dad how much I yearned for a copy of I Was a Teenage Dwarf - and a couple months later, a random package arrived on my doorstep from my dad - he had tracked down an out of print old copy from a second-hand bookseller.

Glory!! I reread it and again laughed so loud I think I might have scared my neighbors.

Sheila O'Malley said...

And yes, once I get done rehabilitating Dean Stockwell - I will move on to Hopeful Monsters - one of my favorite books EVER!

Sheila O'Malley said...

Another one of Max Shulman's books - which was made into a movie - was Rally Round the Flag, Boys - and the heroine of that book, the main girl character, is named LOADSTONE O'TOOLE.

What? Loadstone???

One of the funniest names ever.

Shulman was a total Cold War subversive author - he mocked the 50s, his main decade of success - with these wacky ridiculous stories ... he's so much fun!

Anonymous said...

The Moseley book is one I've had my eye on...the ever growing mountain of books I'd like to read just gets bigger and bigger.

The complete works of Marie Chauvet, a Haitian author, are what I'd like to see come back into print.

Ted said...

Sheila - I'll have to see if I can find shulman in the library. that sounds like it would be a fun break read. Another fun thing to do on the break would be to see you!

Ted said...

SFP - Let me know what you think. It is one whacked book.

Sheila O'Malley said...

He also wrote the "Dobie Gillis" series - which i Was a teenage Dwarf is a part of - and I've seen the Dobie Gillis stuff at the Strand, on occasion - but I never enjoyed the rest of the series as much as I enjoyed Teenage Dwarf. So if you can find that - that's the one to read! That and Rally Round the Flag, Boys - which is a true atomic-bomb era comedy.

gautami tripathy said...

I own Cloud Street!

reading room

Ted said...

Gautami - Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think of it? I just love that book.

Bobby D. said...

I am always sad when I book I love goes out of print-- but usually find a copy if I want to get one at Al Libris or someplace. I just wanted to say I was thrilled when "This Place on Third Avenue" by newspaperman John McNulty was reprinted-- I bought 4 copies (3 for friends.)

Also when Maeve Brennan's stories were reprinted
I was beyond thrilled--I see reprinting happening more often.

For friends I have tracked down old spy novels & sci fi .--I think if these were reprinted they would certainly sell.

I just found your blog and LOVE the title--and am anxious to read past posts!

Ted said...

D. C. - Welcome! Sounds like you're good to your friends.