What books would you like to bring back?

Posted January 8, 2017 by Lory in discussions / 32 Comments


In the three years that I’ve been blogging, it’s been quite inspiring to see how in their capacity as enthusiastic and articulate readers, bloggers really do have the power to influence publishers. In particular, there have been several instances where books were brought back into print largely due to bloggers’ support. Several novels of Margery Sharp were made available as e-books this year by Open Road Media (thank you, Beyond Eden Rock and Genusrosa). Heavenali’s championship of the novels of Mary Hocking ended with her being asked to lend her copies to Bello Books for scanning, and they’re now available as e-books and print-on-demand. And Furrowed Middlebrow now has its own imprint at Dean Street Press, bringing back handpicked twentieth-century British fiction and nonfiction by women.

So here’s what I want to know: if you had this kind of power, what books would you like to see back in print? What titles would you select if you could have your very own [Insert Blog Name Here] imprint?

I should keep better track of the lost books that have crossed my path, in case such an opportunity should ever arise. I feel as though there have been dozens, but I can only think of a few, mostly thanks to other bloggers.

  • I’ve been hunting for The Growing Summer/The Magic Summer by Noel Streatfeild since I read this review at Girl with Her Head in a Book.
  • The even more obscure The Children Who Changed by David Fletcher was brought to my attention via A Gallimaufry.
  • Strongholds (aka Persephone) by Lucy Boston would seem a natural choice for Persephone, the publisher — as suggested by Howling Frog Books.
  • Leaves and Pages has gotten me hankering after The Visiting Moon by Celia Furse — which in its turn would seem to be a perfect choice for Slightly Foxed Editions. If I can’t have my own imprint, I can try to offer some suggestions to the publishers that do!

What obscure gems would you want to bring back — either because you’ve already read and loved them, or because you’re dying to have a chance to do so?

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32 responses to “What books would you like to bring back?

  1. There are so many older and out of print titles that I would love to see revived. There Will Be Wolves was a YA story about a girl who is accused of being a witch and must go on a crusade in order to be “forgiven” of her sins.

    There are a ton of other books that I can’t remember the names to, but I would love to read them again.

    • I know, I feel like there are a lots of others that I have forgotten. I need to try to keep better track.

  2. Ooh, I vote for Peggy Bacon’s book The Ghost of Opalina. It’s about a ghost cat who has lived in the same house for many generations and she tells the story of each set of family members who ever lived in that house. IT IS THE BEST and with every chapter, there’s little cameo illustrations in the margins to show what all the characters look like.

    • That sounds familiar, but I don’t think I have ever read it. Copies can be had on Abe for a mere $400+, I see. Seems like it’s definitely time for a reprint.

  3. Oh! I would most like to see John Verney’s adventurous four books: Friday’s Tunnel, February’s Road, Seven Sunflower Seeds, and ismo. I SO want to see these back in print! They’re the closest things I’ve ever seen to Tintin adventures in novel format — that is, they’re about a large British country family, but the adventures they encounter are as convoluted and impossible as The Cigars of the Pharaoh, if you see what I mean. This looks to me like a job for….Puffin Books!

  4. This is a great post. I will have to check out some of the books that you listed. One of the books that I am glad that they still print, and in it’s original hardcover format, it Nancy Drew. The original stories are fabulous.
    I can’t think of any off hand that are out of print that I would champion a return for, but there are several books that have come highly recommended to me that are out of print and nearly impossible to get copies of.

    • Ugh, I hate that when you get a fantastic recommendation and then can’t get a hold of the book. So tantalizing.

  5. It’s funny, about eighteen years ago I was at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum which is one of those places which has old houses rebuilt so you get an idea of what life was like several hundred years ago. Do you have those in the US? There are a fair few in the UK. Anyway, in the reconstructed schoolhouse, they had this antique book ‘At School with the Roundheads’ which is about a group of three girls who end up having to go to school at a boy’s boarding school. I got about a third of the way through it during the visit and have never been able to find it since. The only copies I’ve ever spotted online are very expensive. Also, the later books in the Bagthorpe series are impossible to find. This kind of almost-gone book is the only thing I ever really use Amazon for.

    • You Brits have a lot more scope for re-enactment houses, but yeah, we do. In fact, this morning FB reminded me that a few years ago, I was spending the day at Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento teaching kids about California life in 1851 as part of a school trip. Today I’m spending the day grateful that I’m not wearing a pioneer dress in the cold and rain! 1851 fort life was dang uncomfortable.

    • At School with the Roundheads sounds like something Girls Gone By might be interested in. And the Bagthorpe series should not go out of print…I loved those books.

  6. It is frustrating as I see which books are out of print. I tend to find this out either when I want to read a book or after I have gotten rid of book that is out of print. I have had plenty of arguments about what is and is not available at the library or as an ebook. I would love to see Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono and The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle come back so that I can read them.

    • It is so frustrating! In these days of POD publishing, it would be so great if books could just be available when we want them.

      Is the Last Unicorn out of print? That is sad. I understand the author has had some trouble with his publishers, which is a shame.

  7. I have a very tattered copy of The Growing Summer and I love it. Maybe because it’s set in Ireland and when I was growing up, it was very rare to find children’s books set here. I’m a big fan of Girls Gone By publishing and have used it to fill the gaps in my Chalet School collection. There are a few spin of series that I really want too but they are out of stock everywhere, unless I pay crazy prices.

  8. Oh, this is interesting! I would love to have The Revolt of Sarah Perkins by Marian Cockrell back in print. I loved it as a teenager but now the only copies I can find online are ridiculously expensive. It is the story of a spinster who goes out to Colorado to teach school. The school board is tired of the teachers getting married and having to quit teaching so they decide to hire a woman who won’t cause that problem. Sarah is plain and patient looking so she gets hired. Sarah doesn’t know what she is getting into and the school board gets way more than it bargains for. The book is fun and witty and exciting and has just a bit of romance thrown in. Oh, I loved it. I wish I could read it again.

    I had no idea it was so hard to find copies of The Magic Summer. That is another one I read over and over when I was young.

    • Copies of The Magic Summer can be found, but mostly ex-library or paperback it seems. It would be nice to have a new, clean edition.

      The Revolt of Sarah Perkins looks like fun! I looked it up on Goodreads and see it’s by the author of Shadow Castle, another childhood favorite. I never knew of any other books by her.

  9. I remember the title Nicole mentions as well! The two obscure books I loved as a kid were, I think, thrift store finds even then. Magic Elizabeth, by Norma Kassirer is about a girl sent to live with a stern and scary aunt, who finds an old doll that becomes her friend and takes her on time-blurring adventures. Not in the creepy modern way, but in a very sweet way, with line drawn illustrations that I loved too. The Magic Pin, by Ina B. Forbus, is about a girl who inherits a brooch that allows her to communicate with animals. She ends up using that skill to save the day during a flood. I think I’m the ONLY person who’s rated it on Goodreads.

    • Those sound interesting – I bet I would have loved them too, but I never came across them as a child. Did you read these again in adulthood to see if they held up?

  10. Those are some cool stories of bloggers resurrecting books!

    Though I think you can get used copies fairly cheaply, it would be great if Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough was back in print. It’s a light-hearted travel memoir about two young college graduates who sail from Canada to England and then go to France as well.

    I was once on a search for a children’s book that was based on the author’s memory of their childhood in one of the Scandinavian countries. I put a query in a Goodreads forum and several people suggested I might be thinking of Children of the Soil by Nora Burglon. I found it difficult to confirm however, because of the obscurity of Burglon’s book despite the fact it was the runner-up for the Newbery in 1933.

    • I think I read Our Hearts Were Young and Gay … it definitely deserves a reprint!

      It is weird that Newbery runner-ups are so often not available. The winner stays in print forever, but the honor books get forgotten, and often they’re even better in hindsight. I wish someone would take up a “Newbery honor” imprint.

      • That’s a terrific idea. Some of those runners ups are classics that far outshine the winners. Even the ones that aren’t are still likely to be good.

        • This singling out of one book just seems increasingly unfair to me. How can there be only one most distinguished book? But I suppose if it the award started to be extended to more than one, it would be hard to know where to stop.

  11. There are SO MANY children’s books I’d like to see back in print! But to keep it short…

    The Danny Fox books by David Thomson. I think there are three books, and they follow the adventures of D Fox, who is a trickster sort of hero with a kind heart, a wife and three cubs. The stories are lovely but the way they are told is just magical, great for reading aloud, and funny too. When I rule the world, they will definitely be reprinted.

  12. This is a really good question. I would have to do a little research on what books are actually not in print to answer it.

    I sometimes want to read a book, usually a history book, that I find to be out of print. I am usually able to borrow it from my library system (my local library rarely has it, but it can be ordered within the affiliated library system).

    One author whose books have finally returned is Thomas Disch. His books were unavailable for the longest time.