Fifty Forgotten Books is a very special sort of book about books, by a great bookman and for book-people of all ages and levels of experience. Not quite literary criticism, not quite an autobiography, it is at once a guided tour through the dusty backrooms of long vanished second-hand shops, a love letter to bookshops and bookselling and a browser’s dream wish list of often overlooked and unloved novels, short story collections, poetry collections and works of non-fiction.
In these pages, R. B. Russell, publisher of Tartarus Press, doesn’t only discuss the books, but explains what they have meant to him over time, thus forming an oblique, partial memoir of his life as a writer and publisher for over thirty years . . . and a bibliophile for many more. Here is living proof of how literature, books and book collecting can be an intrinsic part of one’s personal, professional and imaginative life, as not only a solitary act, but a social one, resulting in treasured friendships, experiences and loves one might never, otherwise, have enjoyed.