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Lost Classics: Writers on Books Which are Loved and Lost, Overlooked, Under-read, Unavailalbe, Stolen, Extinct, or Otherwise Out of Commission

Ondattje, Michael, et al (Eds)

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ISBN 10: 0676972993 / ISBN 13: 9780676972993
Published by A.A. Knopf Canada, Canada, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From On The Road Books (Waynesboro, PA, U.S.A.)

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346pp. Yellow/gray cloth. 1st Ed. stated with complete number line. Tight, square, bright copy. No remainder mark. Firm corners. No internal names, notes or markings. Crisp, unclipped pictorial DJ in Mylar cover. Illus. in B&W. A treat for book lovers, writers, and sundry sorts. Includes USPS tracking. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 16074

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Lost Classics: Writers on Books Which are ...

Publisher: A.A. Knopf Canada, Canada

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Cloth

Illustrator: Illus in b&w

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

Book Type: Books

About this title


An Anchor Books Original

Seventy-four distinguished writers tell personal tales of books loved and lost–great books overlooked, under-read, out of print, stolen, scorned, extinct, or otherwise out of commission.

Compiled by the editors of Brick: A Literary Magazine, Lost Classics is a reader’s delight: an intriguing and entertaining collection of eulogies for lost books. As the editors have written in a joint introduction to the book, “being lovers of books, we’ve pulled a scent of these absences behind us our whole reading lives, telling people about books that exist only on our own shelves, or even just in our own memory.” Anyone who has ever been changed by a book will find kindred spirits in the pages of Lost Classics.

Each of the editors has contributed a lost book essay to this collection, including Michael Ondaatje on Sri Lankan filmmaker Tissa Abeysekara’s Bringing Tony Home, a novella about a mutual era of childhood. Also included are Margaret Atwood on sex and death in the scandalous Doctor Glas, first published in Sweden in 1905; Russell Banks on the off-beat travelogue Too Late to Turn Back by Barbara Greene–the “slightly ditzy” cousin of Graham; Bill Richardson on a children’s book for adults by Russell Hoban; Ronald Wright on William Golding’s Pincher Martin; Caryl Phillips on Michael Mac Liammoir’s account of his experiences on the set of Orson Welles’s Othello, and much, much more.


Writers, it's often said, are readers first and writers second. Frequently, it is the indelible mark left by some book that inspires a person to commit to the writing life. Mining that vein, the editors of Brick, a Canadian literary journal, asked their contributors "to tell us the story of a book loved and lost." The "Lost Classics" issue has been expanded into a book, in which 73 authors--Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, John Irving, Philip Levine, Anchee Min, and Michael Ondaatje among them--write about the books they've loved and lost.

These are books worth stealing, books remembered in the twilight that precedes sleep, books that, for these authors, provided "that moment when a reader seems to have found the perfect mate." Though many of the books extolled here are acknowledged classics, many are not. Helen Garner cherishes a childhood book that "except for members of my immediate family, no Australian I've mentioned the book to ... has had any knowledge of it whatsoever." Sarah Sheard writes lovingly of Down and Out in the Woods: An Airman's Guide to Survival in the Bush, "a manual of food, shelter and first aid [that] was the companion text of my childhood summers." Michael Turner reminisces about a book he never actually read, and Erin Mouré describes a book about the history of fishes that "no one I knew was ever interested in reading." Anne Holzman laments her inability to find a copy of a book for lefty activists called Reweaving the Web of Life (hint to Holzman: check online--used copies are readily available). And Nancy Huston introduces Kressmann Taylor's Address Unknown, "a perfectly astonishing [and prescient] little book." A kind of Rand McNally for the literary explorer, each chapter a hand-forged map leading down bookish roads less traveled. --Jane Steinberg

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