Thursday, August 10, 2006

The List of Lost Books

This column is a little early this week, and will be quite short. Basically, we're running a competition to give away a very rare signed hardback proof of The Book of Lost Things. Publishers don't usually do hardback proofs, but Hodder & Stoughton did 90 numbered editions of TBOLT, and we have one of them on offer this week.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is nominate a "lost book", a book that may not be very well known but that means a lot to you. I mean, you may have liked The Da Vinci Code or The Silence of the Lambs, but they hardly qualify as 'lost' books, or titles that could do with a little more exposure. We'd prefer you to pick something a little less well-known and, in one paragraph or, if you prefer, ten paragraphs, to tell us why this book matters, and why you think others should read it.

I've been thinking about this myself, and I suppose I'd go for Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, or maybe i: sixnonlectures by e.e.cummings, or Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme, or even Lost in Music, Giles Smith's fabulously funny book about growing up with popular music. The problem didn't lie in coming up with 'lost' books, but in limiting my selection to just one. Thankfully, I don't have to narrow it down. You do.

The closing date for receipt of entries is August 25th, and we'll announce the best one in this column the following week. Just go to competition, and good luck!

This week John read

Set up, Joke, Set up, Joke by Rob Long
The Outlaw Sea by William Langewiesche

and listened to

Bach(!) and assorted candidates for the next Voices From The Dark CD


owen said...

Lost Book:

If people remember Terry Southern at all they probably think of Dr. Strangelove, or the novel Candy. Great work, but my favorite Southern is The Magic Christian. The movie is a dated sixties throwaway, but the novel is worth rediscovering.
I know it’s kind of cliché to compare satirists to Swift, Burroughs, Twain, Vonnegut….but Southern really deserves to be in that mix. His protagonist, Grand Guy, has the soul and the moral sense of a contemporary CEO. Grand's a cartoon, but as in all great satire, the farcical casts a disturbing shadow of truth.
The set-up is simple: Grand Guy believes that everybody has a price, and he sets out to prove it, no holds barred. It’s cynical take, but it is the bedrock of capitalism. Southern illustrates this with one absurd vignette after another, leading up to an apocalyptic finish.
Magic Christian is as good as satire gets. Funny, sad, and thought provoking. Southern died too young. I wonder what he would have done with Grand Guy Bush.

owen said...

...oops. Got over excited, posted my entry on the wrong spot.