I’m usually pretty suspicious of anything bearing the label ‘insider’. They lure you in with the promise of forbidden knowledge and the hope that, one day, you yourself can be one of the select few keepers of the evertindered Promethean Zippo. The other day I came across such a guide put out by some merry band called Fang Duff Kahn. Edited by Mark Strand, this fanny pack-sized volume has suggestions from various book sellers, publishers, poets and authors for off-the-radar books that they think are worth sharing with us. There are some pretty obscure choices in here, and not a few small-press selections. Apparently, proceeds from Books: The Essential Insider’s Guide also go to First Book, a group who buys words for children in low-income families, which is rad. It’s a good, if random, source of new stuff to read (especially if you’re tired of looking on your own backlogged list of books that you’ve been meaning to buy but haven’t got around to buying for a few years).
If you could name-drop just one favorite “forgotten, underappreciated, or little-known work of literature,” what would it be and why?