R. B. Russell is an author, composer and publisher, co-running Tartarus Press with Rosalie Parker. As a writer, he has published three novels, four collections of short fiction and three novellas to date.
Image copyright Rosalie Parker.
‘A groovy and delicious and intimate jigsaw of memories and passions and books, and schisms and oddities and books – Ray Russell is a bibliomaniac that it is a delight to spend time with. Falling in love with books voraciously, whilst growing up ferociously, has never been so beautifully described – a memoir that is as accurate and enthralling as it is dreamlike – just like the books about which he writes with such love!’
‘R. B. Russell’s beautifully told part-memoir gives us the story of a life lived alongside books, and the joyous way in which those dusty first editions often reverberate throughout our lives.’
Andrew Michael Hurley
‘A compelling celebration of reading, writing, publishing and the unexpected treasures to be found in second hand bookshops. Ray Russell writes so eloquently about his deep love of books as things in themselves but also his joy of discovering the new, the strange – those books that act as life’s waymarkers.’
‘This is a book to send you scurrying to the dusty mote-filled light of the secondhand book shop, to the chilliness of the jumble sale, to late nights at the blue screen of the laptop, seeking out the books you don’t know and can’t wait to know, and to renew old acquaintances. A memoir and commonplace book as delicate, suggestive and enchanting as the books themselves.’
‘Absolutely wonderful. A unique and enchanting memoir like no other. A book lover’s paean to the volumes that made him, which also opens a window on his soul. Charming, vivid and singularly evocative.’
‘Decadents, bohemians, cult musicians, the odd (very odd) spy, shady publishers, backstreet booksellers, writers of the weird and wayward, they’re all here. R. B. Russell’s memoir gives us literature on the edge, in all its wonderful strangeness.’
‘Mixing personal reminiscence with literary recommendation, Fifty Forgotten Books sweeps the enchanted reader along as Ray Russell celebrates the fiction and nonfiction that have shaped him as a collector, writer and publisher. I say "enchanted" because few readers will find it easy to tear themselves away from these captivating mini-essays. I certainly couldn't even when I knew they should be parceled out slowly, if only to savor each more fully. Whether Russell is remembering his discovery of Arthur Machen, chronicling his sometimes comic negotiations with the crafty bookdealer George Locke, or reflecting on his own personal library of tatty paperbacks, signed firsts and rare association copies, he makes clear that a bookish life can be an enviably rewarding one, replete with the quiet satisfactions of the study, the rowdy pleasures of the literary conference, and warm friendships with the learned, the widely read and, not least, the winningly eccentric.’