Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

I’m part of a wonderful online community called Book Connectors where bloggers, reviewers and authors can discuss all things book related. During one of the threads there was mention of ‘quiet’ books, the ones that miss out on the big publicity push. It was agreed that it was such a shame that certain books weren’t as widely read, as the reading public were missing out on hidden gems. So that sparked a germ of an idea and I decided to do a series of posts highlight titles that myself and other bloggers and authors feel may have gone under the reader’s radar. (That was the working title for this series of posts and as inspiration hasn’t struck me with anything better, its the one I’m going with for now).

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

The first suggestion comes from Koethi Zan. Koethi is the author of The Never List. Her latest novel, The Follower, was published by Vintage in ebook format on 23 February 2017 and is out in paperback on 18 May 2017. Koethi has suggested Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Falluda, published by Penguin as part of their Modern Classics range under the title Alone in Berlin and translated by Michael Hofmann.

Inspired by a true story, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin is the gripping tale of an ordinary man’s determination to defy the tyranny of Nazi rule. This Penguin Classics edition contains an afterword by Geoff Wilkes, as well as facsimiles of the original Gestapo file which inspired the novel.

Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. At the house on 55 Jablonski Strasse, its various occupants try to live under Nazi rule in their different ways: the bullying Hitler loyalists the Persickes, the retired judge Fromm and the unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel. Then the Quangels receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France. Shocked out of their quiet existence, they begin a silent campaign of defiance, and a deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich. When petty criminals Kluge and Borkhausen also become involved, deception, betrayal and murder ensue, tightening the noose around the Quangels’ necks …

Read more on the Penguin website.

Here’s what she has to say:

“I would recommend EVERY MAN DIES ALONE by Hans Falluda, written in 1947, but only translated into English in 2009. I’m constantly buying copies of it and shoving it in my friends’ hands. It’s about a working class couple who dare to participate in the German Resistance, and I guarantee it is one of the most suspenseful books ever written.”

The next suggestion is from J.S. Monroe, who’s novel Find Me was published by Head of Zeus on 9 February 2017.

He has suggested Shake Off by Mischa Hiller published by Mulholland Books.

An internationally acclaimed thriller of love, espionage and subterfuge, in which Middle East meets West with dangerous consequences.
Years of training have transformed Michel Khoury into a skilled intelligence operative. A refugee whose family was murdered by extremists, he has one mission: the peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict that upended his life.
An alluring enigma, he attracts the attention of Helen, a pretty English girl who lives in the adjacent apartment. As their relationship develops, Michel is unable to tell Helen about his past–or the collection of passports and unmarked bills he’s concealed in the bathroom they share.
When Michel’s secrets turn deadly, Helen and Michel find themselves pursued through the streets of London, Berlin and the Scottish countryside, on the run from the very people they thought they could trust.
A critically celebrated novel that “recalls the cool detachment and compelling eye for ordinary detail that characterized the early thrillers of Graham Greene” (“Independent on Sunday”), SHAKE OFF is that rare breed of riveting tale–of intrigue and suspense, love and betrayal–that announces a bold new voice for our increasingly global times. (Image and synopsis from Amazon)

Here’s what he had to say:

“A cracking spy story with a unique voice and perspective that deserves to be an international bestseller.”

So there we have it, two books that had certainly passed me by. Have you read either of them or do you have a quiet book you want to shout about?

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this feature, but seeing my all time favourite book “Alone in Berlin” getting a mention makes me love this even more.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks. And what a coincidence. Both you and Koethi share excellent taste in books 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If only I had a smidgeon of Koethi’s talent…..


      2. janetemson says:

        Ah but you have untold knitting talent – whereas I can’t even tie a knot in wool, let alone knit with it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. awh bless you, such a lovely wee confidence boost on a day I really needed it. Thank you lovely xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As The Quiet Knitter says, this is such a great idea, a lovely, positive blog. Both books sound intriguing and I’m ashamed to say that Alone in Berlin has been in my TBR for ages. I’m going to move it up to the top, now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Jackie. At least you have a copy of Alone in Berlin. I have neither book, but this feature certainly increases the wish list! Hope you enjoy alone in Berlin 🙂


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks very much. It always seems to prove popular and I love hearing about books that may have passed me by otherwise 🙂


  3. BiblioManiac says:

    Brilliant idea for a post Janet and I will be following with interest!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Katherine, so far there’s been 44 books recommended that had, in the main, passed me by 🙂


  4. A bit of calm reading goes a long way. Keep up the good work- I’m loving the quiet treasures you’ve been uncovering… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks, so am I, the wish list is rapidly increasing though!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.