Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hidden Gems

Everybody knows that some books are fabulous. Harry Potter, of course....

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)

Over 2,000,000 people have read Harry Potter #7 on Goodreads, with an average rating of 4.62. That's amazing.

There's also Game of Thrones...

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Over 1,500,000 million people have read Game of Thrones on Goodreads, with an average rating of 4.45.

I'm happy so many people have read and loved Harry and Game. But I've read some unbelievably good books that have been overlooked. Let me share some of my favorites....

Two Wallace Stegner books, Crossing to Safety and Angle of Repose, both rated higher than 4.10, but neither has more than 50,000 readers.

Crossing to Safety

Angle of Repose

An amazing MG book, Ghost, by Jason Reynolds is rated 4.22, but has only been read by a little more than 10,000 readers. 

Ghost (Track, #1)

I can't believe that less than 1500 people have read the complex and intriguing Gold Bug Variations.

The Gold Bug Variations

Ellen Gilchrist is a sadly neglected author. Two of my favorite books of hers have less than 1,000 readers each.

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams

Rhoda: A Life in Stories

Is there any writer who captures families better than Richard Yates? Yet Easter Parade only has 6500 readers?

The Easter Parade

George Saunders is an innovative adult book author. But he has a children's book that you should not miss. 

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

Thi Bui has written a poignant illustrated memoir that was a 2017 National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Finalist, an ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 Selection, and anALA 2018 Notable Books Selection. Why, then, have less than 10,000 people read it at Goodreads?

Why is J.L. Carr's novel, A Month in the Country, finding less than 6,000 readers? 

A Month in the Country

Over the years, I've met many people who read and loved Mrs. Mike. Why don't more people know about it?

Mrs. Mike (Mrs. Mike, #1)

Over 200,000 people have read Pearl Buck's Good Earth on Goodreads, but what about...

Pavilion of Women: A Novel of Life in the Women's Quarters

Pavilion of Women by Pearl Buck is rated 4.12, higher than Good Earth.

You've read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, but what about The Grass Harp? Capote is a masterful writer of fiction, too.

In Iceland, everyone knows the name Halldor Laxness, but not so many people outside his homeland.
Independent People

People raved to me about True Grit for years, but it was only within the last five years that I finally broke down and read it. Now I number among the TG ravers.

True Grit

Almost 1,500,000 people have read The Book Thief, but what about this one by the same author?

Over 200,000 people have read The Things They Carried. If you loved TTTC, I bet you will love The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

I ran across The Radium Girls at a library conference. It's a powerful true story.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

Now this is just sad. The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction is a collection of brilliant pieces of creative nonfiction. No one who considers herself a writer should miss reading this book.

Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present

I don't read scary and Robert McCammon is a name I associate with scary. Boy's Life is not scary; it is an excellent novel. It is ridiculous that only a little over 20,000 people have read this book at Goodreads.

Boy's Life

Maira Kalman. How I adore Maira Kalman. Look at her numbers, though. You all really need to get her books and read her today.

And the Pursuit of Happiness

The Principles of Uncertainty

Mrs. Bridge is a contemporary classic. How is it that so few people have read it?

Mrs. Bridge

I was completely fascinated with this collection of letters. Others are taken with it, too, with an average rating of 4.35, but why so few people?

Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

If you love historical fiction, you must seek out this book by French author Zoe Oldenbourg. Trust me on this. It is a travesty that less than two hundred people have found this masterpiece.

There has never been a better book written that deals with themes of the conflict of spirituality and creativity than My Name is Asher Lev.

My Name Is Asher Lev

One can only hope that many, many more people are reading this collection of Italian folktales in the original Italian.

Italian Folktales

I just discovered this wonderful book by Mark Helprin, and it was only published last year. There's still time for its number to go up.

Paris in the Present Tense

I read anything---stories for adults, stories for children---by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who, sadly, passed away last year. This book is pure fun.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I'm not a sports reader, as a general rule, but this book tugged at my heart.

The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand has over half a million ratings on Goodreads. Here are a few more nonfiction books that are deserving of more readers:

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Into That Good Night

Have you read any of these? What hidden gems do you know about? Share your favorites with me.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


  1. Wow! Lots of different picks there! All new to me ones too!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  2. I love your approach to this week's theme! I have a soft spot for lesser known books, and I'm going to check these out for sure.

  3. So many outstanding books here! I've read quite a few - Crossing to Safety, Angle of Repose, The Easter Parade, Mrs. Mike, Independent People, Pavilion of Women, And the Pursuit of Happiness, The Nine. Most were 5-star reads for me and all are books I would read again. I plan to read Radium Girls for Nonfiction November this year and have a couple of others on my shelf. Excellent post!!

  4. There are a lot of great books here, but I've only read one - other than the Harry Potter books. It's Mrs. Mike. I read that one in my teens. Others have been on my list for a long time or a short time. I'll make note of these. I did shelve THE BEST WE COULD DO at the library the other day and thought about grabbing it. Then, I forgot. I'll look for it this week.

  5. It is very odd how some books become well-known and others, just as good or sometimes even better, find it hard to attract readers. I've read one of these - The Easter Parade - and have A Month in the Country and My Name is Asher Lev on my TBR, all three as a result of bloggers praising them...

  6. I loved Boy's Life! I recommend it to so many people!

  7. I love the wide range of books you included! All of the stats are so interesting, and it is amazing how many great books out there just don't have enough reads and reviews. I added "The Best We Can Do" to my holds list at the library. So much recongition but so few reviews definitely makes me intrigued!

  8. I have not read a single book on your list :( I need to widen my horizons! Take care!

  9. Your list, as always, wowed me! The two books I knew of and had added to my TBR, yet to get to them though - I am the Messenger (in my bookshelf), and The Best We Could Do(courtesy Bill Gates book suggestions earlier this year)..

  10. I was eager to stop by and see what you'd highlighted, and of course you did not disappoint! I've read Ghost, both Stegner books, I Am the Messenger, and of course I had Textbook AKR on my list as well. I suspect I read I Am Asher Lev in high school, because my freshman English class read The Chosen, and I kind of went on a Potok kick. I love Maira Kalman too. I always confuse Boy's Life, which I haven't read, with This Boy's Life, which I have. True Grit is high on my TBR, and it might be because you spoke so highly of it. I tried to read We Wish To Inform You when it first came out, but couldn't make it past the first two pages. Maybe I could handle it better now. As for the rest--you've made my to-read list explode.

  11. Wow, lots of books. I felt “meh” about I Am The Messenger, but I loved The Narrow Road to the Deep North (and The Things They Carried). Great suggestions! Some of them are already on my TBR list.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  12. What an amazing list! I have read a few of these books and really liked them a lot.

  13. A swim friend at the Y has given me 2 books that I now count as total favorites and I have told all my children they need to read: "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger and "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger, so good, so good. My favorite old funny book is "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald, my favorite scary book "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson. I loved "True Grit" also and it made me read other Charles Portis' work. Love your posts Debbie!


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