Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

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What is the most obscure book you've read on the list?

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message 1: by Karen (new)

Karen | 65 comments Just for fun, what are some of the lesser known books you have read since discovering the list or had already read when you found it? For me, I would say:

The Leopard by Guiseppe di Lampedusa
She by H. Rider Haggard
Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 31, 2008 01:08PM) (new)

The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki Shikibu
(2008 list update)


message 3: by Coqueline (new)

Coqueline | 28 comments I have to go by 'She' as well. I remember finding a copy of it from a stack of antique books (my mum collects anything that's antique, and it was supposed to be for decor purpose only and not reading material) and read it while sneezing copiously. I was quite surprised to see it made the list.

The other obscure ones are probably 'Exercises in Style' (Raymond Queneau) and 'The Summer Book' (Tove Jansson).


message 4: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) | 627 comments Mod
Well, I haven't read any that I would consider obscure...more or less the typical fare, 'classics' and the like. However, I own copies of House of Leaves and A Void that I plan to get to this year and I would consider them a little more obscure than most. Especially the Perec.

I have skimmed A Void a few times and LOVED his remake of Poe's "The Raven", minus all the e's of course, retitled "Blackbird". Genius!


message 5: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 687 comments The Bamboo cutter, on the 2008 version of the list. Felt like a fairy tale, the version I got hold of had both the english and japanese as well as some beautiful illustrations. At the start it reminded me of the story of thumberlina.


message 6: by Kim (last edited Aug 01, 2008 12:22PM) (new)

Kim (kimbobo) I think mine would be Oroonoko. I had NEVER heard of it until this book...plus it's really old. Does that count? =)


message 7: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) | 627 comments Mod
I'd say so, Kim. I just had to look it up! (Thanks for the link, btw) :-)


message 8: by Denise (new)

Denise | 245 comments All that you have mentioned are obscure to me. 'She' is the only one that looks even vaguely familiar to me. I am intrigued by 'the Bamboo Cutter.'


message 9: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 687 comments The Tale of the Bamboo cutter was written in japan in the 9th or 10th century, I found a copy in the vancouver central library.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessbowen) I was surprised to see "The Story of O" on the list - I read that. I thought it actually fell into a "porn" category, not literature! It's pretty juicy. I'm guessing that a lot of libraries wouldn't carry it, though I couldn't be sure of that.


message 11: by Mike (new)

Mike (rupertmurder) I'm pretty baffled that the writers expect anyone to read "Worstward, Ho!" by Samuel Beckett. I love Beckett but all his later stuff seems to be intended to be unreadable. That's one of the more obscure ones I've read.


message 12: by Judith (new)

Judith (jloucks) | 1203 comments Mike, I noted that "Worstward Ho" was one of the ones dropped from the list for the 2008 version. I had read disparaging reviews of it and had already decided not to read it.


message 13: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 687 comments Mike thanks I'd forgotten Worstward Ho, that's at least 1 hour of my life I won't get back. At least I didn't buy it, and took it back to the library the next week.
As for the story of O Jessica you'd be surprised what books the libraries carry. I've taken to requesting books on the internet from the library here in Vancouver, they search all the the books in all the libraries in the city.


message 14: by Tera Marie (new)

Tera Marie (teradugan) | 7 comments Most obscure would have to be Adjunct: An Undigest. I had to order it from a UK website. Could not find a copy of it anywhere and I regret ever laying eyes on it!


message 15: by Mike (new)

Mike (rupertmurder) Well, personally, I liked "Worstward, Ho" but I can certainly understand any and all complaints about it. I'm a bit of a Beckett apologist.

There are also books that have, unfortunately, grown obscure though they are complete classics of literature. Thomas Mann's 'Magic Mountain' is like that, I think, as are 'Hunger' (Knut Hamsun) and the George Gissing books. It's very strange the way people have such selective memory for literary greats.


message 16: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (lolosrun) | 151 comments Kim, thanks for the link to Oroonoko. That sounds like a great read and I can't wait to track it down. I don't think I've ever read a book set in Suriname.


message 17: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie (blatz) | 1 comments I recently read Oroonoko. It's a quick read, yet interesting and entertaining.


message 18: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimbobo) It was a quick read...but reading it without any background whatsoever was a but difficult for me. It would have helped to read about it in Wikipedia first. =)


message 19: by Denise (new)

Denise | 245 comments Thanks for the tip, KIm. I'll have to be sure to do that once I track down a copy of Oroonoko.

Tera--You had such a strong reaction to Adjunct that I am so curious about it now I almost feel like finding a copy. Almost.


message 20: by Silver (new)

Silver | 307 comments Billy Bathgate I would say is the most obsecure book I have read on the list. I was surprsied to even see it there, though I did enjoy the book, I read it a long time ago.

Though Henderson The Rain King and Native Son are both classics, it does not seem like I run into many people who have acutally read them.



message 21: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) A Tale of A Tub - Swift - is probably the most obscure I've read.


message 22: by Catalina (new)

Catalina | 14 comments Adjunct: An Undigest by Manson. It was only 75 pages, but what a slog. Then it got taken off the list. Arrrrrrg.


message 23: by Leila (new)

Leila (leilatre) | 37 comments My most obscure (in the US) is also one of my favorites: The Trick is to Keep Breathing. I think it was well received in Scotland when it was written, but I've never seen any press on it in the US. Even better, I picked it up primarily because it inspired a song by Garbage. Great song, great book!


message 24: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 7 comments TeraD wrote: "Most obscure would have to be Adjunct: An Undigest. I had to order it from a UK website. Could not find a copy of it anywhere and I regret ever laying eyes on it! "

Deanne wrote: "Mike thanks I'd forgotten Worstward Ho, that's at least 1 hour of my life I won't get back. At least I didn't buy it, and took it back to the library the next week.
As for the story of O Jessica y..."


Tera, do you still have your copy of Adjunct? I can't find it anywhere and if you have it and hated it I'd be willing to buy it!



message 25: by Mike (new)

Mike I'd have to say The Melancholy of Resistance by the Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

Although I don't know what your definition of obscure is. It's definitely not a book I would have picked up on my own accord, but I was able to find it on Amazon


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Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

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The Melancholy of Resistance (other topics)

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