What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller…whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”
The Poison Master by Liz Williams (my review is here). I first read about this book on a mailing list/Yahoo! group. I usually lurk on such things, if I don’t have anything else to do or am bored–not that often, really–and the current thread at the time was a discussion about books people recently read and liked. Of course, there were plenty of well-known authors and books being bandied about, but one person mentioned The Poison Master. But other than that one mention, no one else on that mailing list ventured any opinion on whether they had also read the book or that they thought they might try it.
I’m not sure what prompted me to note it down on one of my scattered lists for “books to find and read”. The poster was rather vague about the book’s premise and I never bothered to look elsewhere online for a synopsis or other people’s reviews. The poster wasn’t a regular and didn’t have a track record for having similar tastes to mine. I just went straight to the library to find a copy. (Of course, after I read the book, I went to look for other reviews. They’re rather mixed–which is understandable. I don’t think Williams’ literary style is for everyone.)
In retrospect, I think I picked up this book because the title was similar to another, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, which I had been looking forward to for several months (because I happened to read the excerpt)–and, I think, publicized enough that a sizable number of people online were talking about it. I read Poison Study after The Poison Master and although it would be hard to compare the two (the former is fantasy, the latter is science fiction), there’s something far more complex and satisfying about The Poison Master than Poison Study even though the endings were, in some respects, up in the air. I think surprise and randomness also plays a part in which books I grant “favorite” status to. Poison Study was good, but I had expected it to be that. I had absolutely no expectations about The Poison Master, and I think my surprise that I really liked this story that no one knew about helped contribute to labeling this as a “keeper”.
Hm. Now that I think about it, the majority of my favorite books were found serendipitously. And they all seem to be books that no one of my acquaintance has heard of–even the Pulitzer Prize winning ones. (Maybe I should get more book-knowledgeable acquaintances.)
Onesome: Harlem– Nights? The Apollo Theater? If we came to visit your area, where would you recommend we sightsee?
Hell’s Gate State Park. I took some photos here.
Twosome: (The) Globetrotters– can be quite a show! Have you ever seen them? Are there any “show” teams you like to watch perform? Pep competitions? Bands?
I suppose it would be interesting to watch bands perform, but I don’t have any particular preferences.
Threesome: Basketball– is in full swing, and March Madness isn’t all that far away? Any opinions on either NBA or NCAA teams? …or is it all downhill after the Packers lost?
I do not pay attention to basketball.