Writing Outside of Their Box?

By Stacey

One of the most frequent questions asked at the library is, “I like ____” (fill in the author), what else have they written? Generally, the person is looking for a similar book, but sometimes I bring up an unexpected find, a book uncharacteristic for that particular author.

Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang BangYears ago I discovered Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame) wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I found it fascinating that the author of James Bond wrote this delightful children’s book for his son. It is a tale about a magical car that flies, floats, and has a mind of her own. Enjoy the adventures of the Pott family in their extraordinary car.

capture+castleOne of my favorite books is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. The period is 1930’s England. Seventeen year old Cassandra is an aspiring writer. She lives in a ramshackle castle with her father, a once famous author, her step mother and her sister. Although the castle is cold and money is in short supply, there is a moat for swimming and some fascinating new neighbors.

dalmatiansLooking for another Dodie Smith read I came upon The One Hundred and One Dalmatians. This 1956 children’s book has it all -darling puppies and one very nasty villain–the infamous Cruella de Vil.


RThe country bunny and the little gold shoes : as told to Jeniferather than a traditional  review of  Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward, I am going with a statement by Caroline Kennedy. She  calls the heroine, “My all-time favorite character,” from a childhood book, “I see her now as a woman who re-enters the work force after raising a family — “leans in,” and does it all — much better than the big Jack Rabbits.”

Porgy In 1925, DuBose Heyward wrote Porgy,  the story of a crippled street-beggar who lives in Catfish Row, a black tenement in Charleston, South Carolina. The Gershwin’s classic American opera Porgy and Bess is based on the novel Porgy.

The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose by Paul Gallico is a touching story about a lonely artist, Philip Rhyader, who retreats from society to live in an abandoned lighthouse and paint the beauty of the marshes. He is a kind and brave man with a great capacity for love and healing of the wild creatures.

The Poseidon adventureAnd then there is Gallico’s book, The Poseidon Adventure, which follows the survivors on a capsized luxury liner.


christmasThe short story A Christmas memory by Truman Capote is semi autobiographical story, which takes place in the 1930s, about a seven year old boy and an elderly woman who is his best friend. This tender narrative focuses on country life, friendship, and the joy of giving during the Christmas season. This lovely edition is illustrated by Beth Peck.

coldbloodAnd then almost 10 years later in 1965 the very same author writes In Cold Blood. In the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. The Clutter killings became an obsession for Truman Capote and he eventually wrote In True Blood. Many critics and reviewers consider that In Cold Blood introduced a new genre: the nonfiction novel.

Were you surprised by the range of these titles? Can you share any additional suggestions of unexpected titles from authors that stray from their typical genre?


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2 responses to “Writing Outside of Their Box?”

  1. Jspecht says:

    The Country Bunny is one of my all-time favorite childrens book. I own a copy. And yes, I am a Gershwin fan and know about DuBose Heyward. I also own the Beth Peck edition of A Christimas Memory. It is a lovely book.

    • Stacey says:

      The Country Bunny was one of our family favorites. I must admit I never looked at the bunny as a feminist, but on rereading she is rather progressive.

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