I’d already drafted this before I reread this week’s theme and realized I’d misinterpreted Favorite Overlooked Authors as Favorite Authors Overlooked Books. Sigh. So I went ahead and let it fly. At first, I was confused by what “overlooked” meant and then, because I like research, I hit the Internet and was blown away by what I found—hidden gems by some of my all-time favorite authors that I’d never heard of. For example . . .
Did you know that Margaret Mitchell wrote a novella, Lost Laysen? It was found years after her death and was finally published in 1995. Like many others, I believed Gone with the Wind was the only book she’d written.
Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey isn’t written in the romantic, realistic style she’s known for, but is more of a satire of the popular Gothic form. The book follows her character Catherine Morland as she visits the town of Bath and stays at a mysterious abbey where she imagines horror around every corner. This sounds too delicious to miss. I wonder where I can find it.
Most know Louisa May Alcott for her Little Women and Little Men books. She also wrote Behind a Mask, a novella published in 1866. It’s the story of a governess who has a secret that she must keep from the family that adores her. Now to get my hands on that . . .
There are many other overlooked books by famous authors like Mark Twain and his partially autobiographical book Roughing It. It recounts his travels through the Wild West as a young man. And Charlotte Bronte, best known for Jayne Eyre. Her Villette is a book that explores complicated psychological issues of identity and autonomy.
A corner of my bookshelf holds small books that I treasure, some by unknown authors. My daughter Carla and I are always on the hunt in antique shops and used bookstores for little gems. She found The Best Short Stories of O. Henry and Rosabella, A Doll’s Christmas Story, by “Auntie Bee,” the only author’s name I could find, and printed by Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press, dated 1878. “The Author” dedicated the book to The Viscountess Jocelyn. I see more research ahead. If only I had time.