I recently took part in the Penguin Postcard Project. The project was the brainchild of someone who for Christmas received a box of 100 postcards featuring covers of classic Penguin editions. Deciding they didn’t know 100 people to send said postcards to, they decided to find volunteers to take them, the idea being that 100 people would sign up, get sent a random postcard, buy the book, review it, and then send the postcard back.
I got Hotel Splendide by Ludwig Bemelmans, who is invariably (and invariably justifiably) better known for writing the Madeline books. My review is now up on the site. Reading the review back now, a week after finishing the book and days after finishing the review, it might seem like I hated the book. The truth is I didn’t have any strong feelings about it at all. It wasn’t badly written, it was just wholly forgettable. As such it was at least a useful reminder that though I sometimes feel a lot of modern fiction is throwaway stuff, that’s probably always been the case. Chaff like this goes out of print, and we’re left to judge the literature of the past solely on the merits of the wheat.