cover image Fifty Forgotten Books

Fifty Forgotten Books

R.B. Russell. And Other Stories, $19.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-913505-50-9

Fifty “often overlooked and unloved” works of literature get their time in the sun as novelist and publisher Russell (She Sleeps) presents books that influenced him in this candid outing. Taking each book in turn, Russell traces his own literary development to his Pan paperback copy of Colin Wilson’s The Outsider, bought in 1981 when he was 14. A chat with a bookseller led to him reading The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen, the discovery of whom “was to have a major influence” both on Russell’s career and his personal life. Russell’s list also includes Thomas Tryon’s The Other, Aleister Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend, the short story collections of his partner, Rosalie Parker, and Roland Topor’s The Tenant, an object of his collecting passion (he’s still waiting on a first edition he can afford). Russell’s relationship with these books is intense and long-lasting: discussing Raymond Radiguet’s Devil in the Flesh, he recounts his reactions to the book as a teen (“I was on the side of the narrator”) and on rereading it 40 years later (“I could discern very little of the narrator’s love that was noble”). Filled with quirky observations and personal asides, this is just right for book lovers. (Sept.)