Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Underrated Authors and Books


Somewhat depressingly I would find it easier to list books that I think are overrated then those that are underrated.  I admit it, I'm a little stingy with the stars but there are some books that I feel like I was maybe a little out of step with the average person in a positive way.

I picked out a few from Goodreads where my score was higher than the average.  I noticed that the average star ratings on some famous works of  premiere literary writers were quite low. For example Atonement by Ian McEwen, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, all of which I liked, all had average scores at or below 3.83.  Not exactly low but low for such preeminent books.  I don't know if this is an artifact of backlash because they were so well critically received?  This is a tangent but all this is to say that I didn't include any of these and instead chose books that I think are a little more under the radar.

The other half of the list is a few authors that I feel like don't get enough popular attention from book fans, though this is admittedly from my limited view of the world.

Lastly, the exact topic from The Broke and the Bookish who host this awesome weekly meme, is the top ten underrated books in X genre.  I did not stick to one genre. Links are to Goodreads.

The Native Star/The Hidden Goddess by M.K. Hobson: I really loved these books and rated them with 4 and 5 stars.  On Goodreads, they have an average rating of 3.59 and 3.72 respectively  People who rated it poorly seemed to really dislike the heroine whom I very much liked.  So perhaps the issue rests there?

Moo by Jane Smiley: This is a fun cynical little book about the drama and crazy people at a land grant University in the Midwest.  The word on the street is that this grew out of Jae Smiley's time teaching at one of my alma maters, Iowa State University. Jane Smiley is a fantastic writer. I really enjoyed it but my book club at the time and obviously the folks on Goodreads do NOT agree - 3.43 average rating.  

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai:  I found this book about a children's librarian on a road trip with one of her quirky young patrons totally charming.  However, the average Goodreads rating is 3.47!  This book addresses some controversial political issues so I am guessing that is the reason for the mixed opinions with which it is regarded.  I gave it 4 stars.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley:  I LOVE this vampire novel by Robin McKinley but it is quirky and quite different then her usual fare.  It doesn't have a really low rating on Goodreads (3.83) but it  should still be higher!

Territory by Emma Bull:  Interestingly this is the second entry here that is a western with a magical twist (The Native Star/The Hidden Goddess).  This is such a great book surrounding the events leading up to the battle at the O.K. Corral. It is obviously the first book in what was at least supposed to be a two book series and I liked this one so much that I regularly check in to see if there's any news of a sequel.  Sadly this book is now 7 years old and no sign of a sequel:(.  Average rating on Goodreads is 3.74.

Authors I think deserve more attention, as in everybody on the planet should be hailing them as geniuses. I've gotten all soapboxy about them before on the blog.

Lois McMaster Bujold: She writes both science fiction and fantasy and all her books have well developed characters, great story and substance.

Georgette Heyer: In my mind she's the undisputed queen of Regency RomanceReading her books is what got me reading romance.  Her books are pure delight.

Dorothy Dunnett:  Her Lymond chronicles is the most perfect series of historical fiction.  That's right.  I said it.

I think that's it for me.  What are your most underrated books?

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