I won’t go as far as to say it was impossible to complete this week’s TTT, but for me, it was nearly so. I have more fingers than I do books with less than 2,000 Goodreads ratings, and of those, even fewer that I actually love. Rather than tossing up half a list, I created a mash-up of the “Less Than 2,000 Star Ratings Books” with ones that I love and think are criminally underrated. In total the ratings range from 12-94,000. Hopefully, there’s a hidden gem or two therein to be discovered:
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl since January of 2018. Jana writes, ‘it was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.” In that spirit, link up with your list at That Artsy Reader Girl and comment with your list, link, or thoughts below.
Ten Five Books with less than 2,000 Goodreads ratings
I enjoyed reading The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures due to my fascination with history, folktales and the weird explanations people had for phenomena they didn’t understand before the age of modern science. Striking illustrations and in-depth analysis of the (somewhat disturbing) backstories behind infamous beasts, devils, vampires and poltergeists are worthy of a quick read. I’m surprised more readers haven’t picked this one up since the airing of the Lore TV series, as I think the book was better executed. Perhaps any interested fans already listened to the podcast?
If you love the world of Disney for the sake of it’s origins, groundbreaking art and cultural impact, I implore you to pick up They Drew as They Pleased books (there are 3: The Golden Age, the Musical Years and Late Age) Nothing to do with the theme parks here, but everything to do with the process–a fascinating behind-the-scenes tome that would be a gorgeous coffee table book display.
Someone recommended Grief is a Mess to me when I was going through the shock of an unexpected family loss, and I’m so glad she did. Illustrations of animal interactions depict the myriad ways people react to, encounter and deal with grief and the fact that those reactions can change erratically. An honest adult book that’s relatable to younger readers too.
Chris Crutcher is the John Green of the 90’s, depicting the troubled lives of young adults with emotional depth and fully rounded characters. His novels rarely tie up happily or conveniently but always feel satisfyingly real, I remember Running Loose as a gut-wrenching and surprisingly authentic account of a young athlete dealing with first love, loss, and standing up for what’s right even when it costs everything.
My husband gifted me this unabridged poetry collection many moons ago when we were dating. It provided me not only a beautiful source of pastoral, contemplative and thrilling words to ponder, but a genuine idea that he was the kind of man I could spend the rest of my life beside.
Top Five Underrated Books to consider:
Cassandra Mortmain, of I Capture the Castle, is one of my favorite narrators ever. Her lively account of her 17th year in which she attempts to focus on her writing; penning journals and poetry in kitchen sinks, on castle roofs and tops of hen houses, all while navigating first love, untangling romantic knots and devising a plan for her father to recapture his writing career before the family loses their crumbling estate. A charming, classic coming-of-age tale as worthy of accolades as Austen and Alcott’s best.
I’ve written of The Golem and the Jinni before, and spoiler alert, I will again. The magical setting in turn-of-the-century New York, the originality, humanity, sense of community, and emotional range from passion, longing and hatred to hope is extremely powerful. A triumphant and tragic account that captivates like no other story. Helene Wecker is a genius and her writing will haunt you.
Made for history nerds like me, 1602 was my entrance into super hero graphic novels (a pretty dope start with this author). An alternate history origin story collection for the beloved Marvel heroes. Dropping these familiar characters into a (historically accurate) 17th century world re-imagines the exploration of science and sorcery with a clever wink and a nod to the Marvel universe.
What I remember most about The Power of One is a story of friendship as young Peekay grabs hold of elusive kindness in a brutal world. The memories of Granpa’s garden, mentorship of cranky pianist Doc, the profound human integrity of Geel Piet, who taught Peekay to box, the fight for a cause of black rights under Apartheid with lovable Morrie, and the sole comfort of a loyal pet rooster in Grandpa Chook. An epic sweeping novel filled with life, magic, music, love, loss and survival.
If I could convince anyone to read one novel on this list it would be City of Thieves. Written by a Game of Thrones screenwriter, set in WWII during the Nazis’ siege of Leningrad, two strangers are given a task of procuring eggs for a colonel’s wedding cake which is nigh impossible in a city cut off from supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation. What follows is a darkly comic adventure equivalent of a buddy road movie that results in legendary circumstances and one of my favorite least-talked-about novels.
You know how it works, share your thoughts and underrated book recommendations below and I’ll be certain to check them out:)