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The Greatest Books You'll Never Read (2015)

by Bernard Richards

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Professor Bernard Richards has put together a fascinating list of various unpublished, unfinished and original versions of books and manuscripts from famous authors. One must remember of course that there are often good reasons why something has not been published (I refer to Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" as a case in point), but there are some pieces in there which I feel deserve a look. Sadly, due to my lack of time and financial resources I doubt that I will ever be able to secure copies of the texts I am interested in, and suspect that they will remain forever on my "never read" list. Interesting. ( )
  SarahEBear | Jan 16, 2016 |
The Greatest Books You'll Never Read is a glossy, colorful, entertaining compilation of the stories behind literary works by major authors that remain either unfinished and unpublished or published in an incomplete form. Some of these works, like such as Stephen King's early novel The House on Value Street, were simply abandoned, and others, such as Christopher Marlowe's epic poem "Hero and Leander" were not finished due to the untimely death of the author. Herman Melville's elusive "The Isle of the Cross" may have been a novel, or a short story, or perhaps it never existed at all. Elements of John Updike's early coming-of-age novel Willow appear in his later works, but the only surviving manuscript is under lock and key until October 1, 2029.

Some of these orphaned works may eventually see the light of day, and others are lost forever. In each case the contributors to this volume ask themselves how likely it would be that the missing parts of the work will be found, or perhaps reconstructed by another writer. In almost every case the answer is: don't hold your breath. This may be a loss for scholars, but not for the reading public as a whole. These days, few readers are clamoring for more stanzas of The Faerie Queene.

Each brief chapter is written by one of several contributors, and is illustrated by an artfully rendered proposed cover for the work in question. I read this book straight through from beginning to end, but it would be a good choice for casual browsing as well. ( )
  akblanchard | Jan 7, 2016 |
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ISBN: 9781844037933 1844037932
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