Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Top Ten Underrated Books I Read Last Year
Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is hidden gems, or underrated books. I picked my titles by looking at the books I read in 2016 on Goodreads, arranging them by number of ratings they got, and picking out the 4- and 5-star books that have been rated the fewest times. This was fun! All of these books have fewer than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. They are in an order determined by a complex algorithm in my head based on how much I liked them and how underrated they are.
1. My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
I realize this didn't come out until November, but still. It should have gotten more attention. This was my #2 pick for 2016, second only to A Gentleman in Moscow.
2. Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
Is any author of teen fiction more underrated than Jessica Spotswood? I will answer this for you: no. It's baffling.
3. Beyond the Dark Veil: Post Mortem and Mourning Photography from the Thanatos Archive, edited by Sue Henger.
Even though this book was recommended by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), it still has only 169 ratings on Goodreads. But that doesn't mean nobody is reading it: I asked my coworker who purchases photography books to buy it for the library, and it is always out. Every single time I'm on the Staff Picks rotation, I look it up and it's checked out. You'd think another library in my system would buy it too.
4. A Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood
Oh look, it's Jessica Spotswood again! This is a great collection of short stories about daring young women throughout history, written by an array of wonderful authors.
5. Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
Ok, it's a nonfiction book for teens about the composer Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, so I guess the subject matter is pretty specific. But we in the United States should all learn more about our new Russian overloads. (God, I wish I was kidding. I mean, I heart Russia, but...)
6. The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
Here's another author who is totally underrated, at least in the U.S. As I was reviewing the titles on my list, I actually bumped this one up a star because it has gained a bit the more I've thought about it since I read it.
7. Level Up by Cathy Yardley
I can see why this book didn't get a lot of attention: it's a contemporary romance novella that's only available in ebook form. But it's about a video game designer and has some really fantastic female friendships going on.
8. Pit Bull: The Battle of an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey
Not only does this book not have a lot of ratings, but many are from people who I'm pretty sure didn't read it. People who added a rating just to give themselves an opportunity to spew vile hatred and tell everyone on Goodreads that pit bulls should all be killed. (Side note: remember my dog? I mentioned in the review of this book that she was adopted to us as a "pit bull mix," but we had her genetically tested and it turns out she's not really a mix. She's 87.5% American Staffordshire Terrier.)
9. Walter: The Story of a Rat by Barbara Wersba, illustrated by Donna Diamond
Gosh I miss rats. They really are so adorable. As was this story.
10. The Secret Language of Dogs by Victoria Stilwell
There are like a million dog books out there and I'm sure this one just got a bit lost in the shuffle, but I found it helpful, informative, and easy to read.
So there you go: the most underrated books I read last year. I hope you find your new favorite book on this list!