Monday, May 17, 2021

B-Side Books: Essays on Forgotten Favorites


B-Side Books is an anthology of essays edited by Dr. John Plotz, curated from bookish erudite authors and others on their favorite "forgotten" books which they feel don't deserve to lie on the literary scrap-heap of history.  Due out 1st June 2021 from the Columbia University Press, it's 280 pages and will be available in ebook format (other formats currently available also). This is an entry in the Public Books series devoted to scholarly essays and commentary on contemporary culture, politics, and society. 

I always enjoy essays on literature and writing. They provide a wealth of inspiration for hunting down new authors, finding previously overlooked gems, and reaching outside comfort zones to choose cross-genre books which would otherwise get away. There are 40 essays included here ranging from the very popular and well known authors and essayists to those scholars who are perhaps less well known outside their academic niches. The "hidden gems" they've chosen were mostly previously unknown to me. In fact, of the 40 included books, only 4 of them were previously familiar to me.

I'm glad to have found this book and will utilize the suggestions here to at least sample some new works and authors. I found some few of the essays stilted and very dryly academic, but the points were salient and the language precise and worth the effort. 

Three and a half stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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