Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday's Forgotten Books, April 22, 2016

 Happy Eighth Birthday Friday Forgotten Books

Here is what it looked like then.

FRIDAYS: The Book You Have to Read

This is the first of what I optimistically hope will become Friday recommendations of books we love but might have forgotten over the years. I have asked several people to help me by also remembering a favorite book. Their blog sites are listed below. I also asked each of them to tag someone to recommend a book for next Friday. I'm worried great books of the recent past are sliding out of print and out of our consciousness. Not the first-tier classics we all can name, but the books that come next. Here's my choice.

Desperate Characters by Paula Fox
It's difficult to remember, thirty years on, New York in the seventies, The City was facing bankruptcy, the streets were dangerous, frequent strikes left unattended garbage for the rodents, buildings crumbled. Paula Fox's novel Desperate Characters perfectly captures that time along with the similarly disintegrating marriage of Sophie and Otto Bentwood. The story begins with an unexpected cat bite. "Because it's savage," Otto answers Sophie's puzzled, "why?" It was a cat she was trying to feed that bit her. This well-intentioned act, this McGuffin, sends the couple off on a weekend odyssey, where ominous events continue to haunt the childless couple. They find little solace in each other and there is no easy resolution at the end. The quiet desperation that suffuses their story is heart-breaking. The writing is haunting, lucid, and succinct.
Fox has also written two books about her life (Borrowed Finery and The Coldest Winter), a few other novels (The Widow's Children) and many children's books. But nothing is finer than this one for me.

 Here it is now

Yvette Banek, DEATH AS A DINOSAUR, Frances and Richard Lockridge
Joe Barone, STICK GAME, Peter Bowen
Elgin Bleeker, NIGHTMARE ALLEY, William Lindsay Gresham
Les Blatt, RICHARDSON'S FIRST CASE, Sir Basil Thomson
Brian Busby, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, Jean Rivard [Vida Bruce, trans]
Bill Crider, WIPED OUT, John D. Newsome
Martin Edwards, THE RIVERSIDE VILLAS MURDERS, Kingsley Amis
Curt Evans, DEATH OF A BUSYBODY, George Bellairs
Ed Gorman, CROSS COUNTRY: THE BOOK BIZ. Herbert Kastle
Rich Horton,  Ace Double Reviews, 95: The Genetic General, by Gordon R. Dickson/Time to Teleport, by Gordon R. Dickson
Jerry House, THE BIG BOOK OF ADVENTURE STORIES, ed. Otto Penzler
Nic Jones,  DEATH OF A CITIZEN, Donald Hamilton
George Kelley, COLOR OUT OF TIME, Michael Shea
Margot Kinberg, THE PAGE 3 MURDERS, Kalpana Swaminathan
B.V. Lawson, A TIME FOR PIRATES, Gavin Black
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, DEATH OF A RUSSIAN PRIEST, Stuart Kaminsky 
Todd Mason, THE COMPLETE HUMBUG, edited by Harvey Kurtzman et al.
J. F. Norris, I'LL BE JUDGE, I'LL BE JURY, Elizaberth Hely
Mathew Paust, JACKSTRAW, Ron Faust
Reactions to Reading, SIX FOUR, Hideo Yokoyama 
James Reasoner, PHANTOM RAIDERS, Peter Dawson
Gerard Saylor, PARADISE SKY, Joe R. Lansdale
Kerrie Smith, PROHIBITED ZONE, Alastair Sarre
The Rap Sheet, Steven Nester. THE FEARMAKERS, Darwin L. Teilhut
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, SON OF A WANTED MAN, Louis L'Amour
TracyK, WHAT IS MINE, Anne Holt; TROUBLE ON THE THAMES, Victor Bridges 
Westlake Review, ONE OF US IS WRONG, Samuel Holt


George said...

Congratulations on hosting FFB for eight years! You're the hostess with the mostest!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Happy Eight Years! I've found many books I would otherwise have missed here.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

And for maybe the first time in year I've missed posting - darn! Congrats on the anniversary Patti :)

Margot Kinberg said...

Congratulations, Patti! FFB is a staple in the world of crime fiction, and one of my 'must-read' posts. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

Yvette said...

Congratulations, Patti! I'm glad that I posted your eighth anniversary. FFB is an Institution! :)

TracyK said...

I love that juxtaposition of the first post with this one, and I am glad it has continued so long. Thanks for making the effort to pull these together, Patti.

Todd Mason said...

And speaking of long-standing tradition: I'm ready at last with THE COMPLETE HUMBUG edited by Harvey Kurtzman, et al. Happy eighth anniversary...conserving older books is the least we can do on Earth Day! Thanks for all the good work.

Brian Busby said...

Congratulations, Patti! Here's to many more years and many more forgotten books!

Mathew Paust said...

Late to the party, having stopped at our library's biennial used-book sale on the way to my usual wifi corner, so everyone else grabbed the best congratulatory comments for themselves. But I can still say, CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS LOADS, PATTI!

John said...

The best part is that every year you find new people (or they find you!) to add to the line-up. Such a fabulous idea, a real celebration of what good internet communities can do. So glad to be part of it for the past six years and four months. Long Live FFB!

Jerry House said...

Thank you for eight years of pure magic, Patti.

Mine's up now (after a two-day involuntary internet withdrawal, courtesy of a demonic cat who somehow managed to knock the computer on the floor): Otto Penzler's THE BIG BOOK OF ADVENTURE STORIES.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And thanks to you all who make it such a pleasure year after year.

SteveHL said...

Congratulations and thanks to you and all the people who join you in making ffb such a great source of information and entertainment.

Elgin Bleecker said...

Patti – Congrats on 8 years. Thanks for all your work rounding up the posts. FFB is a reason my TBR stack is so tall.

seana graham said...

It's quite an achievement, on everybody's part. Just came over after reading Martin Edwards' most recent contribution Kingsley Amis, of all people. I had no idea he'd even written a mystery.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Big time congrats on the 8 years of FFB.

And thank you for allowing my blog to be a small part of things.

neer said...

Congratulations Patti. More power to you and to FFB.

Richard Robinson said...

We've come a long way. I'll try to get back in soon!