I think this is a great question. I’m not sure about how to find up-to-the-moment reads that have been unjustly passed over; it seems a bit easier after some years or even decades have passed (although that does not help the starving author much). Here are a few of my ideas, at any rate.
I’ve found some wonderful books and authors that I had never heard of before solely because they were championed by bloggers — one recent example being the fiction of Margery Sharp which got a day of celebration at Fleur in Her World. The Century of Reading project that many bloggers are participating in has also turned up some very interesting finds. And right now a “Remember Mary Hocking” event is going on at Heavenali.
Not necessarily the major ones (Booker, Pulitzer) but some of the more obscure lists that have a specialist focus. Through the blog She Reads Novels, for example, I learned of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction which seems to have some fascinating lesser-known titles on its list along with the big names. Then there’s the Phoenix Award, which goes to a children’s book published twenty years earlier that didn’t win a major award at the time. And I just learned about Fiction Uncovered, a British award with the avowed purpose of “uncovering” outstanding works of fiction.
I love books that are basically book lists. Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust series has dozens of suggestions from a master librarian, and I also recommend A Reader’s Delight and A Child’s Delight by Noel Perrin. These originated in a column that Perrin wrote featuring forgotten or neglected books that he particularly loved, and I was sorry when he ran out of suggestions.
Do you know of particular blogs, award lists, books, or other sources that point you to “under-the-radar” books?