Little-Known Works That You Absolutely Love

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This is the realm where the less popular books, poems, novelettes, and such come out to play. This is not the place for things that will ever have their cover facing outwards on the bookshelf at the store, be displayed near the front, get recommended by your average peers, or be featured on any best-selling list.

So put away thine Harry Potter.

Close thine Tale of Two Cities.

Shelf thine Macbeths and Othellos.

All have their place, but this is not it.

Welcome to the (hastily [and poorly] named) Cubbyhole.

I'll kick off this discussion with one of my favorites that's a little more on the popular side of the unpopular spectrum.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Without giving too much away, this is the tale of a man's punishment for a crime at Owl Creek Bridge. This story was written by Ambrose Bierce, an odd fellow himself who wound up falling off the face of the planet in his later years, and, believe it or not, it is the inspiration for the name of the musical project by Adam Young commonly known as Owl City.

You can find it online in various places, and it really is a fascinating read. If you're a fan of Owl City, this short story is a great insight to the mindset of the songs coming out of the project, especially early on. So, after reading, I highly encourage giving Fireflies and other such songs a new listen.

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I love reading, but to be honest I don't really get time to read for myself much I usually to or listen to my 8 year odl daughter read. With that said I do try to get her interested in things that I am or was interested in at her age. Books I have forced upon her that she really enjoyed are:

All the mystery novels by John Bellairs

Deathwatch by Robb White

The Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson is an entertaining read, probably the last fun book I read and not many people I have talked to have heard it. I think that book is currently being read by the third person who asked to borrow it after I told them about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The depression-era, semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels by Ferrol Sams:

Run With the Horsemen

Whisper of the River

When All the World Was Young

The trilogy is a loving and charming look into a young man's life during the depression and through WWII. Even if you never read the whole trilogy, I cannot over-recommend the middle book, Whisper of the River. It's set during the young protagonist's college years, and is endearing and hilarious.

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

Sort of a young adult's Tolkein, it's a much easier and faster read but, for my money, has just as much depth of character and just as exciting and epic a storyline.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

As far as I know, this is still being taught in high school, so I guess it's not "lesser known" at all; it's just that I've never heard anybody talk about it. It's one that I can read again and again.

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Because of when it was written, I'm not sure if many have heard or read it, or know of Alvin Toffler who was a futurist, but i put up "Future Shock" . . . . .


This book was written 43 years ago, and Toffler's predictions have to a great degree come true. If you've never read Toffler, he's a must. A classic.

Here Toffler speaks of a "Future Shock" in which people are not able to adjust to the quickening pace of society due to technological change. There are certain advantages to technology but are humans capable of keeping up emotionally, spiritually? He speaks of an increase in bizarre behaviour, susceptibility to disease (an unexplained increase in cancer), and emotional breakdowns (which appear to be at epedemic proportions). This may be dated to some, but it's an essential read for those worried about their family and its future.

Even to this day, even though it is 43 yrs old, i still think it pertains more today, than when Toffler was writing about. It is scary once you understand what "Future Shock" is . .

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  • 2 weeks later...


I read this recently and enjoyed it quite a bit. Its structure is a little unusual, and it may have been considered somewhat 'avant-garde' or experimental when it was written in the late 70's. As such, it might be considered a bit more of a difficult read.

The book could be described as part magical realism, part historical fiction. There are a number of threads and themes running through the novel, but it's primarily concerned with semi-mythological events around the founding of a fictional 'cult' by an Irish emigre, the resulting outfall on the cult's demise, and the lives of the people directly affected by the cult's legacy many years later.

The book is particularly relevant to Hinterland, and The Long Dark: It is set primarily in central Vancouver Island, and many of the characters are back-country loggers and/or recluses who prefer the bush to social norms, perhaps not unlike William MacKenzie. It's an interesting snapshot of the types of people who were drawn to the 'wild' frontier that was central and northern Vancouver Island forty years ago.

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  • 8 months later...

I really like Adrian's Undead Diaries. It's written by a guy who started with just a online story blog and it turned into a book series about a end-of-times, judgement day, zombie apocalypse. The flawed hero, Adrian Ring, makes tough decisions that have much more effect on the world than he would initially realize. After the first chapter that leaps to an event in Africa you realize this is much more than just a typical Z-Apoc book.

Chris Philbrook kind of reminds me of Hinterland Studios in that he is undiscovered talent. And just like Hinterland you know great things are just a few breaths away...


I also have been loving Stephen Kings The Dark Tower series. I love it so much I haven't read the last book intentionally because I don't want the series to end. Roland of Gilead is da man!


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  • 2 months later...


My elevator pitch for Neverness is "like Dune, but it does what Dune is trying to do better." Top notch sci fi, albeit a little dense--as it must be, for me to seriously consider it a contender against the King.

Plus, relevant to TLD, I suppose, there are some extended "out in the icy wild" sequences. The main character travels to join the Devakhi, a group of tribes who have retro-engineered their DNA so they have the physiques of Neanderthals, living out on the ice-bound islands. Akin to the Fremen of Dune, I suppose, if you want to keep drawing parallels between the two books.

Hmm, this talking about "surviving on the ice" makes me want to bring up...


Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Hardly a "little-known work," at least within the circles of progressive sci fi I'm so familiar with, but I'll link it here since I realize I may have something of a blind spot in that regard, and this is far and away my favorite Le Guin book. It deals with gender in odd ways you as a reader might not be familiar with or prepared for, and takes a little while to get going, but good grief, the last third or so of the book was a traumatic and formative reading experience. I can't help but wonder how close to accurate that is, for crossing a massive ice plain--I imagine Le Guin based her account on Antarctic expedition accounts, or something...

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  • 10 months later...

A book that I will forever love is Grass Beyond the Mountains by Richmond P Hobson, it's a story of a pair of Wyoming cattle ranches that hear of some truly great cattle country in a very isolated part of northern Canada, and set off to find it, claim it, and build themselves a ranch. Best part is it's a true story!


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Little-known is debatable, outside its genre it pretty much is.

The one and only.


Borges, can't go wrong with that. Again, what is little-known is debatable.


And Lovecraft's best story. Underrated writer to boot. Awful voice for 2015 but brick-wall-solid imagery and just raw rambunctious imagination. Really, it's just a daydreaming journal ;) Even better if you have Beksinski art on the cover, because I'm shallow like that.



If you are rich with money in the pocket swag cash, get Jung's The Red Book. Unique.


Bonus2: Just can't leave without flying the flag.


“As far as I am concerned, I resign from humanity. I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and esthetic ideals? It’s all too little. I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything?”

― Emil Cioran, On the Heights of Despair

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By far the best fantasy books I've ever read are the 11 books in the Three World Cycle by Ian Irvine:

And as I just discovered, at least three more books are in the working, yey ;) What stands out in Ian's work is that there is no clear good vs. evil battle as it is in so many books. "Good" characters are deeply flawed and appearently "pure Evil" creatures and characters are actually the victims of the "good" ones. This is the main reason why I love these books so much and why I began to despise Tolkien-ish stories.

What I also appreciate very much is that Ian pays close attention to everything making sense, there is magic but it's not out-of-the-thin-air magic without any rules and the same rules apply to everyone, there are - technically - no overlords who can do magic stuff that no other can because they are "Sauron" or "Gandalf", but of course some are more proficient and have more knowledge.

If you like fantasy and are looking for a fresh approach, you should definitely give it a go. There were many instants where I couldn't put the book aside and continued reading the whole night until I had to leave for work, that never happend before (and only once since, looking at you Stieg Larsson :D)

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