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25 Out-of-Print Books That Were Used Bestsellers in 2019


Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick’s debut novel from 2000 is bizarrely out-of-print. This fantasy story, aimed at young adults, imagines a future where England is covered by water and the city of Norwich is now an island. Zoe has been left behind and struggles to survive amid the chaos. This piece of environmental fiction doesn’t look so fictional today.

Celia, A Slave by Melton A Mclaurin

In 1850, 14-year-old Celia became the property of Robert Newsom, a Missouri farmer. For the next five years, she was abused by her master. Based on court records, correspondences and newspaper articles, this non-fiction account describes the extraordinary events concerning this young woman’s bid for justice and survival.

It’s Always Something by Gilda Radner

Radner’s memoir was last published in 2009. It’s funny and painful. The comedienne died in 1989 from ovarian cancer and this book describes her struggle against the disease. Radner was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live and this book takes its title from one of her character’s catchphrases.

Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia by Suzanne Massie

An in-depth look at Russian history from 987 to 1917, spanning the ascension of Vlad and the Orthodox Church to the factors that led to the Revolution. Czars, serfs, merchant, and babushkas – nearly a thousand years of critical history that is still impacting the world today.

Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora

This book was published in 1986 and remains the best field guide to mushrooms. Why hasn’t it been republished when foraging is bigger than ever?  David Arora provides a beginner’s checklist of the 70 most distinctive and common mushrooms, plus detailed chapters on terminology, classification, habitats, mushroom cookery, mushroom toxins, and the meanings of scientific mushroom names.

Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet by Claire Joyes

Monet lived for half his life in the famous house at Giverny where he entertained countless visitors. The recipes collected in his cooking journals include dishes Monet encountered on his travels or had enjoyed in restaurants in Paris, as well as recipes from friends, such as Cézanne’s bouillabaisse.  Illustrated with reproductions of Monet’s paintings, photographs of Giverny, selected shots of dishes, and facsimile pages from the notebooks themselves.

Typical American: A Novel by Jen Gish

This novel portray the Chinese immigrant experience in America and follows the fortunes of the Chang family as they adjust to their new surroundings. They quickly become caught up in suburban life and the American dream. First published in 1991 and last reprinted in 2008.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America by John M. Barry

One of America’s greatest natural disasters occurred in 1927 when the Mississippi flooded. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, influenced politics, and forced thousands of people to move north. A timely reminder of how nature cannot be controlled.

Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale by Garth & Vicky Waite

An illustrated account of a newly married couple’s first year on the tiny Scottish island of Easdale. The book took six years to complete, and will delight anyone who dreams about quitting the city and heading to a remote island. First published in 1985.

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans by A.J. Baime

This non-fiction book encapsulates the plot of the Ford vs Ferrari movie starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, released in November 2019.  It describes how Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca and Carroll Shelby reinvent the Ford motor company by racing at Le Mans in the 1960s.

Gnomes by Wil Huygen

First published in Dutch in 1976 as ‘Leven en werken van de kabouter’, Gnomes was the first in a series of Gnome-related books written by Wil Huygen and illustrated by Rien Poortvliet. The book explains the life and habitat of gnomes. No, really.

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

Non-fiction. Mary grew up fatherless in a one-room cabin, without running water or electricity, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Rebelling against the aimless drinking, cruel missionary school, and violence of reservation life, she joins the new movement of tribal pride sweeping Native American communities in the 1960s and 1970s. Originally published in 1990.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This novel describes the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close. What could go wrong? Like Water for Chocolate was published in 1989 by Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel, who uses magical realism throughout. Not published in English since the 1990s.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

This children’s book won a Newbery Medal but hasn’t been published since 2009. Still hugely popular in schools. Jeffrey Lionel ‘Maniac’ Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run. His feats change the course of a racially divided small town.

Mapping the Mind by Rita Carter

Last published in 2010. Drawing on the latest imaging technology and the expertise of scientists, Carter explores the geography of the brain. The book’s 150 illustrations present an illustrated guide as Carter shows how our personalities reflect the biological mechanisms underlying thought and emotion, and how behavioral eccentricities may be traced to abnormalities in the brain.

Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk

Published in 2006, a portrait of Lincoln’s personal struggles and how depression influenced both the president’s character and leadership. Shenk discovers the president’s coping strategies, including his rich sense of humor and a tendency towards quiet reflection.

Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson

A reminder of why hurricanes should never be under-estimated. Not published since 2008, this non-fiction book describes how Galveston in Texas, was destroyed in 1900 by a storm that killed 6,000 people.  It is still the greatest natural disaster in American history and human arrogance played a huge contributing role in the death toll.

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler

Last published in 2013, this is the true account of a boy’s harrowing journey through the vast wilderness of the Katahdin Mountains. Twelve-year-old Donn Fendler steps away from his scout troop for only a minute, but in the foggy mountains of Maine, he finds himself lost and alone.

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick

Last published in 2013. The first person to successfully raise newborn elephants, Daphne Sheldrick has saved countless African animals from certain death. In this memoir, Daphne describes her remarkable career as a conservationist. She also shares the story of her relationship with the Tsavo National Park warden whose death inspired the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

This children’s novel was last published in 2004. When 10-year-old Lyddie and her younger brother are hired out as servants to help pay off their family debts, Lyddie is determined to find a way to reunite her family. Hearing about the textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, she heads to the city. Paterson is best known for Bridge to Terabithia.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible

Published once in 2003, this cookbook is still in demand from curry fans. With over 150 recipes, Jeffrey starts with the best curry recipes in India today, moves on to Asian curries, and even includes European curry ideas such as French curry sauces.

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

Published in 1996. The award-winning director describes the world of film, discussing the art and craft of directing, writers and actors, the camera, art direction, editing, sound tracks, distribution and marketing, and the studio role. Lumet died in 2011. His films include 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon and Network.

The Lunar Men : A Story of Science, Art, Invention and Passion by Jenny Uglow

Non-fiction published in 2003 by Faber and Faber. In the 1760s, a group of amateur inventors met and became friends in the English Midlands. They formed the Lunar Society of Birmingham and their band included toy-maker Matthew Boulton, steam engine inventor James Watt, potter Josiah Wedgewood, poet Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen. These people launched the industrial revolution.

In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honor

Non-fiction, published in 2005. These days faster is better. But in the race to keep up, everything suffers – work, diet, health, relationships. Carl Honore uncovers a movement that challenges the cult of speed by proving that slower is often preferable. The slow movement covers food, cities and relationships.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

Vreeland focuses on a single painting, Auguste Renoir’s instantly recognizable masterpiece, Luncheon of the Boating Party, which depicts a gathering of the artist’s friends having fun at a café terrace along the Seine. This novel is narrated by Renoir and seven of his models, and captures the hedonism of the era.

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