AP Photo/Victoria Will
By Jen Doll
The term “B-side” is an old-fashioned record-speak way of distinguishing the big hit or hits of an artist or band from their more obscure work. In the old, old, old days, you might get a two-sided vinyl single or a cassette tape: The “A-side” featured the mainstream, popular song; the “B” had tunes you might not have even heard on the radio, but when you gave them a listen, often you found you quite liked them, maybe even better than the billboard hits on side A. Sometimes such songs were compiled into entire B-side albums, which superfans of a band could add to their comprehensive collections. Inspired by that turn of phrase, we have sought out the best “B-sides” of some of your favorite Y.A. and children’s authors.
Often these are also successful, award-winning books in their own right, but for whatever reason they simply haven’t achieved quite the same level of fame as some of their authors’ other works. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading, or even, in some ways, better than the more popular books.
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Markus Zusak’s 2006 Printz Honor novel The Book Thief (Knopf) has just sold two million copies, across multiple formats, in the United States. “There’s so much you can’t control when you’ve finished a book and it makes its way in the world. You hope it will find a path into the right people’s hands, and I think that’s what happened with The Book Thief,” Zusak said in a statement. “It’s a book that found its audience—and it’s a great audience, because it’s people who love books and want their friends to love them too.”
| Charlotte Williams
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has been voted the most popular title to be given away as part of World Book Night 2012.
The organisation launched a public vote last month asking people to vote for the titles they would like to see given away at the event next year. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is in second place and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief rounds out the top three.
Also in the top 10 are The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. J K Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, sits just outside the top 10 in 11th place.