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Cathy Macleod

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Fresh tales by old favourites
By Cathy Macleod   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014

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Popular authors of the past are still available for today's readers, thanks to the Internet.

 by Cathy Macleod at Booktaste

THE old favourites can still entertain readers with fresh tales. Many of these immortals wrote stuff you never heard of. Many were prolific, yet only a handful of their bestsellers are still known today.

Publishers recently hit upon the lurk of getting their brandname authors to crib famous characters by other authors. That doesn’t work for me. It’s far better to find popular authors of the past who are still available in titles ready for you to enjoy for the first time.

Many professional writers of the 1900s were reborn when the Worldwide Web was invented. Now their work is easy to obtain in either ebook or paper format. They have become immortal, and an internet browse soon reveals their creations. You’ll also discover titles lost to bookshops and libraries but penned by an author you love.

My first browse to find them is usually on Amazon. It’s not the only source but I believe it to be the most complete, because the book is described and other readers have left comments. If it is rare or out of print, the title you wish to read may cost too much. Do not despair. For a secondhand copy at a giveaway price, I go to Abebooks, a cooperative of used-book dealers.

Maybe you can’t remember the name of a long-ago favourite (it happens). In that case, view bestsellers listed for decades past at www.kruegerbooks.com/books/best-sellers/index.html,

 or www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~immer/books1940s

 or www.goodreads.com/list/show/22.Best_Books_of_the_Decade_1950_s.

Here’s the drill: Note your author, search Amazon for the author’s page, read the jacket blurb and readers comments for titles you have not read. Buy them for a song secondhand from Amazon or Abebooks.

You are likely to be surprised by the numerous titles previously unknown to you. Most folk have heard of the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, fewer have read other books by its author, Harriet Beecher Stowe. These include The Minister’s Wooing, Queer Little Folks, Dred, Palmetto Leaves, The Pearl of Orr’s Island, Oldtown.

Take John Masters, famous for his novels of India. A few of his other creations are Fandango Rock, Trial at Montmoy, Thunder at Sunset, Now God Be Thanked, The Field Marshal’s Memoirs, Casanova, By The Green Of The Spring, Heart Of War, The Rock.

Pearl S. Buck made her name with The Good Earth. But also among her numerous works are The Big Wave, Pavilion Of Women, Dragon Seed, Kinfolk, Peony, Three Daughters Of The Eternal Wonder, East Wind West Wind, A House Divided, Imperial Women.

Kathleen Winsor, who shocked with her risqué Forever Amber, also wrote the romances The Lovers, Star Money, Robert And Arabella, Calais, Jacintha, Wanderers East And Wanderers West, America With Love.

Nicholas Monsarrat (The Cruel Sea) is still thrilling readers who come across some of his other books, such as Three Corvettes, The Tribe That Lost Its Head, The White Rajah, The Kapillan of Malta, HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour, Monsarrat At Sea.

From the above examples – all available to online buyers – readers can see the potential in searching for their own favourites of years past. Use the method described here and you’ll soon strike gold!

Happy reading from Cathy!

Web Site: Booktaste


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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 3/14/2014
Thank you for a very informative article. I am a poor reader (the result of being an engineer and unable to hold a book to read for 50 years) but when I do, I find myself editing (more likely proofing) what I read. I am editing a couple of books right now for other people and not spending enough time on my own writing.

What you wrote bothers me. As open as the Internet is, and the ability to acquire old classics with ease, combined with the copyright laws that only protect for… I believe, 17 years the last time I remember, I'm afraid there are unscrupulous authors out there who would republish these classics under their own name and get away with it. The quality of writing I see here and my experience with plagiarism as a college professor leads me to believe that this process is more than just reviving characters from the past like so many movies do with multiple sequels, I'm afraid whole works are being taken from masters like Chekhov and Oh Henry and passed off as original work.

Just a thought…

Ron