Penpontman is mikethep’s nom-de-plum over there on Instagram. If you are on Insta and not following him, you really ought to be. His adventures in the world of secondhand books are a delight, as are his photos of architecture in Brisbane, Folkestone and elsewhere.
This week Mike really captured my imagination with a photo of Blue Angels and Whales by Robert Gibbings. (see below), a book which was the very first piece of writing commissioned by Penguin in 1938. Gibbings (1889 – 1958) was a very talented Irish writer and engraver who was rather well-known in his time. Read his biography on Wiki! He was quite a character.
Anyway, this got us on to other writers who were once successful household names and now are largely forgotten. What an interesting idea for am AW thread, I thought. Mike was less convinced, Too limited and esoteric! So, please, blow the dust off those neglected paperbacks and help me prove him wrong. He will be delighted.
I would like to hear about those books (and authors) which were once in the bookcase in every home, or in the rucksack of every globetrotter yet are now largely forgotten.
Children’s writers are very welcome. It’s amazing to me, that despite the very retro atmosphere of her books, Enid Blyton is still going very strong . Perhaps because of it? Enid does not seem to have a Best By date.
Richmal Crompton’s Just William and Frank Richards’s Billy Bunter don’t seem to have fared as well as the Famous Five. Not sure how well Buckeridge’s Jennings is doing these days.
German, Swedish, Spanish, Icelandic, Italian, French Danish etc writers are also very welcome. Come on Locust! I suspect you have tales to tell-
Dennis Wheatley, Georgette Heyer, Francis Durbridge, Emma Orczy…… Why were they so popular then and now so neglected? Is it time for a comeback for any of them?
Mike recommended Christopher Fowler’s Book of Forgotten Authors. Luckily, the English Bookshop on Södermalm had a copy. It is extremely informative and a very entertaining read. It will keep me very busy in the week to come
It has a piece on Leslie Charteris: half Chinese and born in Singapore in 1907. He had experience as a plantation worker, bus driver, pearl fisher, bartender and professional bridge player. He also gave Roger Moore his first big break….. (cue music)