Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Forgotten Memoirs: Life is Never Ordinary

The Snake Has All The Lines by Jean Kerr (1960)AbeBooks: Forgotten Memoirs: Life is Never Ordinary: Many memoirs, highly rated at the time of publication, slip into obscurity and fade away.  You can find them gathering dust in the corners of secondhand bookshops. But many of these books are worth dusting off. This trip around memoirs from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s includes a few famous names such as poet Cecil Day Lewis, author Gavin Maxwell, publisher Stanley Unwin and French crooner Maurice Chevalier.  However, the majority of authors on this list will be unfamiliar to most people.

5 comments:

Donna said...

I don't recognize those names, but I do recognize Jean Kerr's book. My mom had that and Please Don't Eat the Daisies and we used to love reading them out loud to each other.

We also used to read Sam Levinson's books out loud. He was a comedian back in the 50s and 60s and his books, like In One Era and Out the Other, were humorous memoirs of his life.

Gerard said...

The only older memoir I've read was Nevil Shute's SlideRule: the autobiography of an engineer. The book had bupkis about his novel writing, it was all about his work as an aeronautical engineer. A fine book.

Deb said...

The description of In Great Waters seems to be for a completely different book by a completely different author (possibly Eugene Debs).

I think some of these books were either excerpted in Reader's Digest or were available in Reader's Dugest condensed books. RD was a fixture in my childhood home, there were always old copies and endless supplies of the books and a lot of these titles seem familiar--although i can't recall a thing about them.

Bill Crider said...

I loved Jean Kerr's books. My mother subscribed to the RD Condensed Books, as millions must have. I remember reading several novels that way, but no memoirs.

Deb said...

Perhaps they were just excerpted in the magazine. Or perhaps it's just that the mid-century memoir--brimming with pep and optimism, regardless of subject matter--is such a time-capsule fixture that it's embedded in my brain.