Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

First Lines: Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you're dead.
I don't think there could be a finer guide than Christopher Fowler to the back catalogs and backstories of ninety-nine authors who, once hugely popular, have all but vanished from our bookshelves. The stories of the ninety-nine authors are interspersed with Fowler's twelve essays discussing topics such as the now-forgotten novels Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock brought to the screen, contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and women authors who introduced psychological suspense long before it became a mainstay on the bestseller lists.

Fowler kept me entertained throughout Forgotten Authors with his humor (describing actor Charlton Heston as a "heroic plank" or "Klane's prose is as fast and blunt as a chucked brick") as well as telling readers how he went about digging up information about these authors. I think my favorite is Fowler's chapter about Polly Hope, "Where the Rainbow Ends."

It was always gratifying when he chose a forgotten author that I'd already discovered and enjoyed, such as Australian Patricia Carlon and time traveler extraordinaire Jack Finney, or when he praised a favorite book like Consuming Passions. Of course, the danger in reading a book like this is finding a long list of authors and books you want to read, but isn't that why you pick it up in the first place? No reader worth their salt wants to feel as though they're missing out on literary gems, do they? Did I finish Forgotten Authors with a list of my own? Of course I did, and I'm working on finding copies of every single title on my (rather short) list.

Even though you might not want to read Fowler's book for fear you'll add too many books to your already staggering list, I recommend you do so anyway. Forgotten Authors is filled to bursting with fascinating facts and stories that will add to your knowledge of popular literature. It's fascinating and fun, two things that I always love to experience when I read a book-- and don't you dare miss "A Note on the Author" at the end!

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler
ISBN: 9781786484901
Riverrun Books © 2017
Paperback, 400 pages
Non-Fiction, Standalone
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. This sounds interesting, thanks for sharing

  2. Sounds like an entertaining read. Thanks for the review.

  3. I really need to put this one on my wish list, Cathy. I like Fowler's work, and he's very knowledgeable. This sounds like a really good resource, too.

  4. My husband and I were discussing "forgotten books" the other day. How timely that you reviewed this one! Adding it to my list. :)

    1. :-)

      A week or so ago, my husband and I briefly mentioned the phrase "taking your coals to Newcastle." Two days later, it showed up as an answer on Jeopardy!

  5. This sounds like an excellent match of author to project - I'm adding it to my list, and have every expectation that it will cause me to add even more titles :)

  6. I think it's a perfect match of author to project, and I know that Fowler added some titles to my own list. Fowler read my review and told me that he thought the book didn't sell any better than it did because booksellers didn't know which shelf to put it on!


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