John’s favorite avocation is editing a Public Books column called B-Side Books, where writers resurrect beloved but neglected books. Now comes a book that collects 40 of these columns (the Washington Post review was a big thumbs-up, and John talked about the B-side concept on Five Books).
This week’s B-Sider is celebrated American novelist Caleb Crain (Necessary Errors and Overthrow). When not photographing cowbirds and orioles for his brilliantly titled Steamboats are Ruining Everything, Caleb took time to read and report on the best novel ever written by an under-10, The Young Visiters.
Mentioned in This Episode
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground (1864)
Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman (written 1939)
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847); what Jane actually says to the odious Brocklehurst is that to avoid Hell ““I must keep in good health, and not die.”
Ursula Le Guin: just kept writing, specifically writing Earthsea books)
Barbara Comyns, Our Spoons Came from Woolworth’s
Jean Rhys, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie
Winifred Watson, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (courtesy of the great Persephone Press)
Listen and Read
Our final Recall This B-Side is Pardis Dabashi’s eloquent unpacking of the funniest Iranian novel you’ve never heard of…..