I just now finished writing an essay about older novels worth a read. Which led me to wonder: what older collections are worth a read?
Fortunately my library is capacious, even if my memory sometimes fails. So, here are notes on five older collections that you might enjoy. Do I own stock in a used bookstore? No, I have no financial incentive to recommend older works that might be out of print. In fact, I was surprised to discover (on searching) that some of these collections were still in print (if electronic versions can be considered print).
The rest are all available through the wonders of online used book stores.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
Each quarter, Panorama Picks takes a deep dive into the data about ebook use at libraries across the U.S. It’s a fascinating look at not just the most popular ebooks in public libraries — they don’t stray too far from what you’d expect of the bestseller lists — but also at the books that are seeing uniquely high demand at libraries.
These are books which are seeing a lot of interest but haven’t necessarily stayed atop bestseller lists for months and/or books with particular interest locally. The data looks at adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and young adult books (which includes fiction, nonfiction, and comics). Panorama Picks groups public libraries by coordinating American Bookseller Association (ABA) regions, which allows for a really neat way of exploring interest on a regional level. A book might be especially popular in California but less so in the Midwest, and looking at that data provides a real opportunity for local bookstores and libraries.
A major goal is to help independent bookstores identify unique opportunities to reach the unmet needs of local readers for these books.
“We compile and publish Panorama Picks on a quarterly basis and we endeavor to promote our findings to local booksellers as well as to publishers and authors,” said Daniel Albohn, Panorama Project’s lead.
The days are dying, the plants are darkening, the books are crisp and the leaves are fascinating—the academic year is in full swing, for those lucky (?) enough to be on a campus during this most campus-y of seasons.
For the rest of us, there are only novels. So to keep you company as the cold weather descends, here is a list of the greatest academic satires, campus novels, and boarding school bildungsromans in the modern canon.
I limited my selections to one per author (though I made an extra note here and there, and a set or two may have slipped in) and I excluded anything written for children (or the magic schools would overwhelm), though boarding schools in general are allowed.
Finally, my obligatory caveat that not every campus novel that anyone has ever loved is included here, lists and time both being finite and literature being subjective, but please feel free to add on in the comments section.
“I should say, it doesn’t stop with just banning books. What we’re seeing across the country is they’re banning voices, modern voices, librarians, teachers,” said Patrick Stewart, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation. “It’s gone beyond just the banning of a book, or a certain piece of literature or textbook.”
Stewart joined San Diego Public Library director Misty Jones on Midday Edition Monday to talk about their reaction to the report’s findings.
“It’s disheartening,” Jones said. “It is seeing just the increase in the number not only of challenges, but the extent and the links to what people are going for, these challenges going before school boards, the personal attacks on librarians and teachers for doing their job.”
Many of the books being targeted involve topics on race and sexuality.
Alright, it’s time to talk text. Way back before people assumed that you could compress meaningful explanations into Tweet-sized blurbs, people read these super long tweets called “books,” and, uh … oh, you know those? The truth is, judging by the numbers, plenty of people still love cozying up to a piece of fiction, non-fiction, paperback, hardback, whatever, and having some peace of mind. It’s estimated that book sales will rise to $129 billion in the U.S. in 2023 alone (via Statista). Publishers’ Weekly reports that unit sales rose from 757.9 million to 825.7 million from 2020 to 2021. That’s individual books, mind you, an insane figure considering all the bugbear “death of publishing” rumors of yesteryear.
Globally, literacy is at an historical high. Back in 1800, only 12% of the global population could read, as Our World In Data shows. As of 2016, that number was 86.25%. Some countries like Finland, Ukraine, and Czechia for all intents and purposes have 100% literacy rates, per World Population Review. This doesn’t mean that people in those countries or elsewhere are actually reading every day, but judging by the aforementioned publishing figures, it seems like folks still love books.
So how many books do you have in your personal library? If you have to pause and count them, then congratulations. But no matter how many you’ve got, you definitely have less than the Harvard University Library, which has a jaw-dropping 21.8 million titles (via Guinness World Records).