The newest Unsung Letter is heading out to subscribers, and it’s on a wonderful-sounding children’s book (there have been so many discoveries for me too with this project):
When I was a little girl, my room contained an adult-sized birch desk whose expansive surface was protected by a quarter-inch thick sheet of glass, with green-tinted bevelled edges. Long before I could read, and also long after learning how, I spent stretches of time staring into that bevel, convinced I saw another world inside, and that patience would reward me with a glimpse of its inhabitants.
My other strong belief was that anyone could see The Past unfolding if they whizzed round fast enough. Long before I could spell “physics” or “philosophy”, I’d intuited the theory of block universe. I still sneak glances over my shoulder. You never know.
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Look out for a post later today – my debut novel was launched into the world yesterday, and, at the urging of the internet, I wore some interesting garments along to it. More later though, when the pictures are uploaded.
Fourteen Unsung Letters out in the world! Fourteen lovely book-pushers! Here’s a taste of this week’s recs:
I love recommending books to people, especially when those people want a book recommendation because they’re busy, “don’t have time” for reading, and need something to nudge them back into picking up a paperback instead of the TV remote when they have half an hour to sit on the sofa. And half an hour is the perfect amount of time for short stories. You can zip through one on the train, or waiting for the bus, or sitting in a towel, post-shower, drying. (It’s totally A Thing.) You can go to bed half an hour early to read and give yourself super vivid dreams with a beginning, middle, and end.
The Unsung Letter is a weekly and entirely free email recommending an under-beloved bit of fiction, with each UL written from the bottom of the heart by a different writer, critique, or other book-pusher each time. Subscribe here, or if you are still not convinced, read the archive.
The latest Unsung Letter is now heading to subscribers, in this case on a book that’s just recently been awarded some accolades, lifting it into the spectrum of the heard-of. But it is still deserving of praise, argues Nicholas Hogg:
The novel feels as bracing as one of its North Sea waves because, in part, it’s refreshing to read a story that isn’t concerned with pleasing the reader. Characters are not rounded to fit a type, to be likeable, or have their travails in the world neatly understood so we close the book with a lesson learned.
Subscribe here for an impassioned, clear-eyed, or exuberant weekly recommendation for an undersung book by a different writer/book pusher every time.
Before we begin, let’s take a moment to praise the small press industry, shall we? Ever since I was in teenager I’ve had a passionate love of those little publishing houses that could. Sometimes they exist entirely in zines hand-stapled and passed out on street corners. Other times they crawl their way up to becoming tiny empires of their own, with rabid fan bases and bookstore presences to rival the big five.
No matter their size, the small publishers always like to take risks and discover those off-beat talents that the big five wouldn’t take a chance on. Here are the books that are quirky and downtrodden. Here are the books that whisper things people don’t want to hear, don’t want to talk about, don’t want to confront.
(Subscribe to The Unsung Letter if you haven’t yet – a weekly email featuring a different book lover each time singing the praises of a beloved under-loved book they think you should know)
Something recursive and delightful this week – a recommendation of a book written by one of our previous contributors to The Unsung Letter:
Outside of observing words, taking joy in them like a dedicated anthropologist might crawl the undergrowth with a magnifying glass, the stories focus on relationships, and there are a couple of unusual workplaces: a banned restaurant poaching birds in brandy and a rosette manufacturer with gothic undertones (“note: rosettes can be a choking hazard.”)
Sign up for The Unsung Letter here if you haven’t already. A bookish recommendation once a week from a different book lover every time.
This week’s Unsung Letter is heading out to subscribers now.
At school, I was never one of the cool kids. Where other girls would tackle non-uniform days with heels, tight jeans and perfectly-eyelinered scorn, I’d turn up in Reebok trainers and scruffy t-shirt, ready to just get on with it. Rebellious, I was not.
Sign up here if you haven’t already for a weekly lesser-known book recommendation from a different book lover every time. The archive is building up now, so there’s plenty to tackle.
Something a little different from the formula so far – the staff of the excellent Edinburgh bookshop Golden Hare Books give their recommendations in this week’s tinyletter!
Anything I can say about these poems feels inadequate. They brim quietly with the joy of life, reminding us that “the business of our days” is to “hold strong, hold strong and hold to praise” (‘Enough deathbed talk:’). Yet at the same time they are clear-sighted, never falling into pathos or cliché.
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If you’re in Edinburgh, go and check Golden Hare out. They’re a wonderful bookshop tucked down in Stockbridge.