Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Forgotten Authors I've Rediscovered

Time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book-themed meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today is another "freebie," where participants choose their own theme, so I thought it would be fun to highlight a number of the more obscure authors whose books I've rediscovered over the past couple of years, mostly since getting my Kindle gave me access to the treasure-trove of the public domain. I've been like a kid in a candy shop! Here are my favorites—clicking the linked names will take you to any reviews or other posts related to these authors that I've done here on my blog:

1. B.M. Bower
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you've probably seen many mentions and reviews of Bower, my favorite Western author. Though she had a long and successful writing career, her name is not as well known, except perhaps by real fans of the genre.

2. Booth Tarkington
Tarkington seems to be often dismissed as a second-rate classic by the critics...but since when do I listen to the critics? I've enjoyed his novels much more than some supposed to be better, and I especially enjoy their flavor of the times they were written.

3. Anna Katharine Green
An early American mystery author, who wrote from the 1870s until shortly before WWI—sometimes called the "Mother of Detective Fiction," but again, not well known outside fans of the genre. Her books are intricately plotted and filled with delicious period atmosphere and melodrama.

4. Kathleen Thompson Norris
An early-20th-century author of popular fiction whose charming, heartfelt stories of family life and romance I've been absolutely loving lately. (I reviewed a short story collection of hers here just the other day.)

5. Melville Davisson Post
Another lesser-known American mystery author, with a lush, beautiful writing style and often unique settings for his stories.

6. Cornelia Meigs
Though she was a Newberry Medal and three-time Newberry Honor winner (best known for a biography of Louisa May Alcott), much of Meigs' historical fiction for children and young adults seems to have fallen by the wayside. I've always been captivated by her beautiful writing and was delighted to learn recently that she wrote many more books than I was aware of.

7. Henry Herbert Knibbs
Another early Western writer whose books I've enjoyed, enough to make him a solid secondary favorite for me in the Western genre.

8. Christopher Morley
I've only read three of Morley's books so far (I have a knack for choosing books and authors unheard-of by my local library), but I found them all charming, and am planning to try and track down some more.

9. Myrtle Reed
Another writer of popular romantic fiction from the early 1900s—I've read a couple of her books which I liked and one that I loved.

10. Mary Roberts Rinehart
The only reason I'm putting Rinehart last is that she's not exactly forgotten or unknown, especially to mystery readers. Actually, I've only read one of her mysteries so far. But I have read and enjoyed several of her non-mystery works, which I think do fit the definition of 'forgotten,' and it's for those that I'm including her in this list.

Have you read any of these authors? Who are some of your favorite obscure or forgotten writers?


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I have read a book or two by B.M. Bower, Booth Tarkington, Anna Katharine Green and Mary Roberts Rinehart and out of these I enjoy reading Green's detective fiction. She has written quite a few novels and, luckily for me, I haven't read all of them yet.

Some of the many forgotten writers I have discovered in recent months are Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Eva Wilder Brodhead, Rebecca West, Enid Bagnold, and Grace Livingston Hill. I'm fascinated by the works of women writers from the late 19th century to mid-20th century, which include those mentioned above. I have read a few so far.

I'm currently reading one such writer, Elizabeth Strong Worthington, whose book "How to Cook Husbands" has delighted me no end — she writes, "Truly, man is a harp, and truly, woman does the harping."

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I'm familiar with a few of those authors too—being a horse lover, of course I've read Bagnold's National Velvet; I've read a couple short pieces by Eva Wilder Brodhead, and Grace Livingston Hill is on my list of authors I'd like to try.

kelley jensen said...

I think most well-known authors were once little known authors, so there is a chance they will become better known. In the meantime, enjoy. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

J.T. Webster said...

I've read a few books by B.M.Bower and Christopher Morley and thoroughly enjoyed them. I just put a couple of Anna Katherine Green's on my Kobo, and hope to get to them soon.
I must say a huge thank you, Elisabeth, because it's been your blogposts that have introduced me to these fine authors.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Lots of new to me authors here, thanks.

Ron Scheer said...

While both of us fish in the same waters, I'm always marveling at what you bring home. Of your list, I've read only Knibbs and Bower. I think of you when I look at the top-ten best seller lists from that era and wonder about these forgotten writers, who didn't write westerns but must have been good storytellers to have been so popular. Winston Churchill's novels keep catching my eye, and I have no knowledge at all of what the man wrote. Maybe you're the person to find out.

Brian Busby said...

I'll join J.T. in recommending Christopher Morley. Thunder on the Left is a good place to start. Of the other writers, I've read only Kathleen Norris - and that was because she was sister-in-law of Frank Norris. I've been meaning to read her husband, Charles G. Norris, for two decades now.

One day.

Ron Smyth said...

I have read several books by Melville Davisson Post. His short mystery stories about Uncle Abner are highly endorsed by Ellery Queen but I personaaly prefer those about the unscrupulous lawyer Randolph Mason. I mean, how many people can tell you how to literally get away with murder.