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.

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 choice is from Matt Wingett. His novel, The Snow Witch, was published by Life is Amazing on 1 September 2017.

He chose Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling.

Harvey Cheyne, spoiled millionaire’s son, tumbles overboard from a luxury liner–only to be rescued by the crew of a Gloucester schooner. Thus begins the boy’s second voyage into the rugged rites and ways of sailors.

Here’s what he had to say:

“I think Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous is a surprisingly clever children’s novel. Kipling grew up in my home town of Portsmouth, and had the most miserable time here in the clutches of a psychotic woman called Mrs Holloway. Her cruelty and harshness appears in much of his later work, but Kipling pulled an incredible lesson about self-reliance from it. In many ways, Captains Courageous revisits the themes of abandonment and learning how to cope that he first experienced in Portsmouth. The book is extraordinarily rich in content and characterisation. I would also say the same of Kim, another Kipling novel that is a little better known.”

The second choice is from Simon McDermott. His memoir, The Songaminute Man, was published by HQ on 5 April 2018.

He chose A Clown Too Many by Les Dawson.

Les Dawson was many things – slum kid, soldier, boxer, insurance agent, vacuum-cleaner salesman and one of Britain’s best-loved comedians. In this autobiography he tells of ten hard years in the northern clubs, of his friends, his TV career and his illness.

Here’s what he had to say:

“I love this book. It’s the autobiography of Les Dawson, talking about his rise from backstage clubs to one of Britain’s most famous comedians. There’s understated philosophy (as well as overstated LOLs) about life throughout. It may not be Shakespeare – but it’s real.”

So there we have it, two completely different books that had passed me by. Have you read either of them? Do you have a quiet book you’d like to shout about? Do let me know.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for this, I think my boy would enjoy Captain Courageous and I’d never heard of it before!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Neither had I. I do hope he likes it 🙂


  2. Melissa Beck says:

    I love this idea of a series of posts, Janet! There are so many great books that don’t get the attention they deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Melissa. I agree, I’ve come across so many wonderful sounding books since I started this series.


  3. Wonderful idea! I’ll have a think and see what I can come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you. And please do!

      Liked by 1 person

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