Lists, Reviews

Backlist fiction: Ten books to remember

This week’s top ten list: backlist fiction (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). These are books that run from a few to several years old. They tend to get lost in the mix of new releases and popular classics. It’s worth noting that I included only one Stephen King and one John Irving title on here, it was an exercise in restraint.

10. Black Spring by Henry Miller (1936). Sort of a continuation of the Tropics novels, check it out if you like Henry Miller (I know he’s not for everyone…).

9. Straight Man by Richard Russo (1997). It’s hilarious, Richard Russo is one of my favorite contemporary writers.

8. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992). A bit long, but worth reading.

7. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (1995). The best Alice Hoffman (in my opinion only, of course).

6. Deliverance by James Dickey (1970). Spare prose and wonderfully atmospheric. Good movie too.

5. Bag of Bones by Stephen King (1996). My personal favorite of his novels, though the miniseries didn’t do it justice.

4. The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (1981). I’m not really worried about people forgetting this one, but it’s not remembered like A Prayer for Owen Meany.

3. Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway (1970). Published posthumously, it’s one of my favorite Hemingway novels. It’s divided into three parts, but was originally divided into four. The fourth one was The Old Man and the Sea and, of course, was published separately.

2. Trainspotting by Irvine Walsh (1994). It’s good and so is the movie.

1. Living; Loving; Party Going by Henry Green (released as a set of three novels in 1993). These can be a bit confusing to read, but are worth it. Especially if you like Downton Abbey…

Most overused adjective in this post? Favorite. There are three and that’s after I removed three others. It’s backlist fiction, of course I’m going to recommend my favorites (that’s four).

Photo: Pinterest user Dawn Lerner

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  • Amy

    I picked up Bag of Bones from the library this weekend. It’s my next book and I’m looking forward to it.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Excellent, let me know what you think!

  • Sophie Saunders

    Downton Abbey huh? Well…This weeks prompt has added far too many books onto my wishlist. Sorry bank account…

    • Rory O’Connor

      I know! The top ten lists have essentially made my to be read list insurmountable.

  • kaye

    i’m not familiar with any of those titles, thanks for the intro to them. -nicely done today. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

  • tarynwanderer

    Ooh! So many of these sound right up my alley! I’ve been looking for a scary story to read for Halloween, and Bag of Bones and Deliverance both look like they fit the bill. (And I only learned about The Secret History this year, and loved reading it!)

    Thanks for stopping by Bookwanderer, and thanks for sharing your list!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Those would both be great Halloween books. Bag of Bones has more of a creepy factor versus Deliverance which has more suspense.

  • Kat (AussieZombie) (@katlb82)

    Trainspotting is an awesome movie, I must read the book too (I have it, somewhere!)

    • Rory O’Connor

      Definitely! I just picked up Skagboys, which is the third book featuring the characters (after Porno).

  • Elena

    I came across Living; Loving; Party Going by Henry Green while reading a “Downton Abbey inspired readings” but have not even added it to my TBR list… yet.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It can be kind of a cumbersome read. They’re written almost entirely in dialogue, so you really have to pay attention to who says what.

  • Jessica

    I haven’t read any of these! But I have read other books by some of these authors, so I’ve added them to my (never-ending) TBR list!

    P.S. I love your blog design AND your name. 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thank you!

  • Birgit

    I’m slowly re-discovering Stephen King now (I’ve always been more of a Koontz person, really), so I will definitely have to check out “Bag of Bones” … it’s quite a tome I see, but that’s ok and perfect form my *Tea & Books Reading Challenge*, yay!

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s funny how that works – Stephen King fans vs. Dean Koontz fans. Most people tend to distinctly prefer one or the other. Bag of Bones isn’t quite on par with The Stand or It in length, but it’s not short either.

  • rubybastille

    Those Green books sound interesting, and I am definitely intrigued by their being similar to Downton Abbey!

  • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    I like your restraint re: Irving – a good pick. Haven’t read Living, Loving… will check it out.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It is a set of three novels, my favorite is Loving, but all are decent.

  • Uomo di Speranza

    “Living, Loving, Party Going” IS the perfect title for Downton Abbey. Words cannot express how much I love that show–all the costumes, all the accents, all the Maggie Smith….I cannot wait for the new season to begin. *End of rant*

    • Rory O’Connor

      After college a couple of my friends moved to Scotland and I get jealous every time they talk about the new Downton Abbey that they are watching NOW while I have to wait for January.

  • Britt

    Great list! I love Practical Magic and Trainspotting. Trainspotting is sort of tricky to read though, because of the accent.

  • readerbuzz

    The two I’ve read on this list are personal favorites, so I feel certain I need to try some of the others here. I often think that I need to read Practical Magic. Alice Hoffman sounds like an author I’d love, yet I’ve never read any of her work!

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