This week, Jonatha Kottler asks a very interesting question:
So, when I was given the opportunity to write for this project, I decided to ask myself the question, “If I could go back in time and give my younger self one book, what would it be?” It was a brain puzzle that gave me a few flashes into my past – would fourteen-year-old me have benefitted from reading The Yellow Wallpaper or would it have been too far over my head? Would The Handmaid’s Tale have had any more impact on me if I had read it earlier?
Read more here.
Sign up for The Unsung Letter here (why haven’t you already? Book essays weekly, charm and discovery – take a risk, you can easily unsubscribe if you change your mind)
Earlier in the week The Unsung Letter’s Christmas Showcase went out. It may have been too overstuffed, as Tinyletter seems to have struggled with this one. However! You can read it all here.
Another reminder if you are looking for some kind of stocking stuffer, The Goldblum Variation is available for £5 here. It’s also on Goodreads, so you can check out readers reviews here.
Just in time to help with any festive gift-giving, here’s a bumper Unsung Letter, highlighting the contributors of this year, and letting you know what they’ve been up to since their letters were published. The spirit of the letter itself is to highlight living writers with books you can read, so in the showcase you’ll find handy links to works and stories, along with plenty of seasonal gifs to make you feel cosy (even if outside it’s dismal. Or sunny)
Read the whole thing here (bring a warm beverage, it’s a long one)
Or sign up here for The Unsung Letter, a weekly missive on an underpraised book by a living author, written by a writer/book lover each time.
This week, Naomi Frisby of the excellent The Writes of Woman gives her recommendation:
Recently, I’ve found myself championing experimental fiction written by women. There are two reasons for this: one, it’s a genre where I think women are producing the most interesting and innovative work and two, if you looked to mainstream coverage of experimental fiction written by women you might believe it begins and ends with Eimear McBride.
Why, I wonder, does experimental fiction by women go largely ignored?
Read the full letter here. Subscribe here for a weekly missive by a different writer on an underpraised book that deserves a wider audience than the quiet of the void. Stay tuned for a giant Christmas Unsung Letter in the coming weeks (once I get to it – it’s huge!)
Obligatory reminder in the run-up to the festive season – you can buy The Goldblum Variations for £5 here – it’s a collection of Jeff Goldblum stories. Perfect stocking filler/surprise placemat for the Jeff Goldblum appreciator in your life (or anyone who likes absurdist fun). Also if you’d like to get my novel Flesh of the Peach on its rapidly-dwindling print run, you can buy it here (worldwide free shipping) or from your local indie bookshop.
This week’s Unsung Letter is from Helena Roots, on an intense book satirising relationships with food, American culture, and other bodies:
I have a tendency, particularly as the days shorten and the cold tightens its grip, to reach for books that warp my own ideas of normality. If I go off-radar in the Autumn and Winter months, and I often do, chances are I’m wrapped up in a blanket, being chewed up and spat out by books just like this.
Read more here…
Subscribe to The Unsung Letter to receive a weekly essay by a different writer / book lover on a book they think is underbeloved and worthy of praise. The archive is available too, if you’d like to have a browse.
Side note: Vol 1. Brooklyn wrote a piece on the rising popularity of Jeff Goldblum and covered my small book which you can pre-order for early December if you haven’t already for the modest sum of £5 (via the link to 404 included in the article).
This week, Emily Morris brings to our attention a children’s book worthy of adult readers:
I’m writing to tell you about a beautiful book I devoured in one devastating sitting. It’s a breathtakingly bleak little novel, with authentic characters, a vital message and deftly stark prose. And it’s likely to go unnoticed by the vast majority of adults, which is why I think it’s deserving of an Unsung Letter.
Read more here
Sign up to The Unsung Letter here – make sure you keep up to date with weekly, insightful, moving, and funny essays from different writers and book lovers on underpraised works by living authors. Guaranteed to boost your to-be-read pile with fresh excellence you might have otherwise missed.
This week, a meaningful book for a writer making a (slightly) later start:
I was in my 30’s and had never even let anyone read anything I’d written let alone had anything published and everywhere I looked were all these debut writers in their 20’s crushing it. I was not crushing it. I was being crushed.
And then I found [redacted] and her beautiful debut novel [redacted]. A first novel by a writer in her 30’s! I wanted to yell. I’m pretty sure I did a dance. It was like a little ray of light for me. A beacon of hope when I really felt like I’d not only missed the boat but my uber had taken me to the wrong port entirely.
Read more here. (The archive’s looking grand now, isn’t it?)
Sign up for The Unsung Letter for a weekly missive from a different writer/book lover on a beloved but underhyped book by a living author. It’s free and entirely optional (and why wouldn’t you want to discover new wonders you might have missed?)
This week in The Unsung Letter Ryan Vance speaks on a novel of memory and a kind of unseeing:
When reading, all I experience is the printed form of words on the page in front of me, and I find it difficult to totally lose myself in fictional worlds so familiar to our own. So you can keep your meandering realism, your airport thrillers, your meticulous historical memoirs. Give me something so unlikely it sounds ridiculous, even demented, if not outright impossible. Give me something unimaginable. Because for me, literally everything is.
Read more here, and subscribe to The Unsung Letter if you have not yet – the letters are on a different book in print by a living author and by a different book lover/critic every time. You won’t want to miss a one, as each brings its own joys and unexpected emotional connections, and of course another contender for your to-be-read pile.