Top 10 Tuesday: Underrated Books

This is not a current Top 10 Tuesday presented by brokeandbookish.com but an older one. 

I have a few reasons for not doing the actual current posting idea that that blog is doing. 

For one the current Top 10 Tuesday is about the favorite top 10 posts from the last 5 years of Top 10 Tuesdays. And while i love the idea, i have not yet i have only done 6 so far and since i picked three or four that i liked best that weren't the "up-to-date" Tuesday, i certainly enjoyed that one. And since i did the others on the current ones from that week, i like those. Logic. Can you see it?

So clearly i enjoyed those 6 that i did. And while i could list those 6 and pick another 4 that i have not yet done and just list 10 books for each of those 4 categories... that sounds just a bit repetitive to me. If you want to see the last few Top 10 Tuesdays that i did, you just have to look to the last few posts i did and you will find the last three right under this post here.

Back to the actual topic here.

I did not want to talk about the posts that i have done because i just done them and i am not doing those kinds of posts long enough so that people couldn't guess which ones i enjoyed, so clearly i won't be doing that.

And secondly i already had the post of "Underrated or under hyped or books that need more hype" on my list for post ideas. So when i saw it in the list of previously done posts on brokeandbookish i decided that i am doing that one. 

So here they are:

The Top 10 Books that i find deserve more hype. Or are underrated. You know which ever one you prefer.



1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield





This is one of my all-time favorite books. 

If i recommend a book to people, this is most likely the one that comes first. 

Of course that depends on the person and if i think they will enjoy this kind of book, but generally if they are more open-readers and not stuck in a specific genre that this book clearly is not -for example epic fantasy lovers that don't read anything but those will most likely not enjoy this book- this is the first book that i mention to anyone that wants to read a fantastically written book.

It is a bit hard to actually summaries this book, because to me this book has so many aspects and i just loved the overall writing. All aspects of it i mean the way this book was written, how the story was told as well as the characters themselves and how they were written and how they told their stories.

It is not very often that i find a book that i fall in love with the writing of the author as much as i did with this book. To be honest i can't even think of one book that i had the same "love affair" with the actual writing -not in any combination with the story just the pure writing style itself- as i did with this book.

Setterfield just writes very beautiful and manages to pull you into her world and the story that she tells in a very fantastic and wonderful way that is not found very often.

So alone for that, go and read that book simply because of the wonderful writing. What are you still doing here?

Oh you want to know what the story is about?

 If you must know because the wonderful cover and my raving about the writing itself didn't convince you:


The story is about a Biographer Margaret Lea that loves books and stories. And one night while she is thinking about accepting a job about writing the personal story about Miss Winter -the author of Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation- and reads the book written by Miss Winter to families herself with the woman Margaret might write about soon, she notices that the storybook that is supposed to be about thirteen stories only contains twelve tales. Where is the thirteenth tale? What was the story behind naming a book thirteen tales and then only publishing twelve?
Clearly Margaret is intrigued and takes on the job to become Miss Winter's biographer in hopes to find out what the thirteenth tale is all about, as well as the story behind why it was not published in the Miss Winter's book.


This book is not only about someone that loves stories and books, that wants to learn about other people's lives and understand how events change lives, but it also about finding out that not all stories are as wonderfully fantastic as they seem to be in the beginning. Sometimes secrets are bad. Sometimes pasts might be better left there. Sometimes stories are more then stories to you.


One little thing that i feel like i should mention even though it should have not to be said about this book: it is not an action packed, "have to read to know what will happen next or i will die!" book. It has things happen i wanted to know what happened next and not put this book down. But it is not an action book. it tells a story and that story is told very realistically and real and with that there are no car chases or speeding bullets. So if you don't like books that don't have any "real" action, this might not be the book for you. But still... 

Give this book a shot, give it a chance, give it a read. 

And go into it without expectations or trying to think that you know what it will be about, because most likely you will be wrong. This book has many mysteries and stories in itself that you will not know what is coming and you will be surprised.
Alright. That is all that i have to say about this book. You should have at least bought it already and are not just waiting for it to come. Or you already own it and are currently sitting there and just starting it. Because honestly. What are you doing if you have not yet read this one? Or at least own it and plan to read it very, very soon?



2. The language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh





This is another one of those books that i recommend to everyone.

And this is one of those books that surprised me immensely on how much i loved this book.

And i know many people that read it, had problems with the main character.

But to be honest this book is one of those books that gives you a very realistic and honest view into another persons life and how other people live and think and survive, that you will never have if you are not in the same situation with the same background. 

And Diffenbaugh writes fantastically as well.

I have a complete book review for this book here, so if you want to know my complete thoughts and rantings that i have about this book, click on the link and go check that one out, instead of me having to repeat everything that i said there.

Just go into this book with an open mind, and read knowing that you might do things differently, but how do you know how you would handle the situation if you grew up in that situation? 

Let yourself be taken into a different situation. 
A different life. 
And a beautiful story.
Learn something new about flowers and how they can talk to you and let you do the talking through them. 

Read it already, what is keeping you?



3. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham





Another book that i have already reviewed on this blog. So go here and read that one to hear my entire ramblings and see in-depth what it is about.

I do find that this book is not appreciated enough. For one the writing is very easy and fast to get through. And then it is just overall a very nice book.

The story is real and gives a very relative view on the life of an actress that is starting out. Or generally just a person that has a plan on what to do with life but for one reason or another has not yet managed to actually work towards that goal directly.

I don't know how much of it is actually based on Graham's live and how much she made up. But honestly i enjoyed this book because it is just completely honest about how much other things in life can hold you back from doing what you love and you just keep thinking: someday.

This book is more or less all about realizing that you can't just keep waiting, and waiting. And hoping and saying someday. Because then it will always be a maybe.

And yes, i know you just love all the little puns i put in there about the title. But honestly the title is perfect for the book and the story itself.

What i hated about the book and i said ranted about it a bit in my review, is the ending. It is a standalone. But it was written with a very open ending. So if you HATE them, don't read this. 

If you just don't prefer them in books, give this one a shot anyways, and hope that Graham will get her butt into gear and publish the next one already and hope that it will start where this one left of.



4. At the sign of the sugared Plum by Mary Hooper





This is short and sweet and oh so lovely and people just don't talk about it.


It is a book set in 1665 when a young girl goes to live with her sister in London to help her in her candy shop. But it does not go as everyone hopes when London gets taken over by the Plague shortly after the young girl gets to London.


This book is all about family, love and live and the hardships of having to work for a living and having to fight for survival. it is about how horrible people can be, and how lovely. It is about finding hope and keeping it through the hardest times.

How life doesn't always go as you plan. But how the most horrible events can sometimes teach you more then you would have ever learned if they didn't happen.

It is just a very beautifully written story and if you are new to historical fiction, this one is a fantastic start. 

And what i also love is that this book is not about a love between a boy and a girl. Or just generally of the typically romantic love affairs that books, are all about.

This book is a love story, but between two sisters, that learn to love and live with each other and survive through the hardships of being different and learning to accept and love each other for who and what they are. Which to me is a more beautiful love story then an actual romantic love story.

Also this books is apparently one of a series, but i have only ever read the first one and while i might read the second one sometime, because i love the story and the writing itself quite a bit, i don't think that the book itself needs to be seen as one as part of a series since the ending is good enough to read this book as a stand-alone and love it.

I should also add that i did not read this book, or even own it at the moment, in English but i have read and own it in the German version. But i don't believe that the english version can be horrible, when i loved the translated one so much, since in most cases the translations loose something that the original versions have.

If you have not yet read this book, give it a shot. It really is very beautiful and lovely. And it deserves to be read and talked about more.



5. Across the Nightingale Floor or Tale of the Otori #1 by Lian Hearn




This is the first book in a series that was a trilogy when it came out but since then had more books added to it. So honestly i am not completely sure how many books there actually are in this series, i think it is now a four book series -don't quote me on that because i am honestly not sure if that is right-, but i read the first three books and i really did love all three quite equally.

Once again this is a book that i own and read in German, so i am not sure if the writing and story is a wonderfully written in English as it is in German, but once again translations most of the time lose something and are not necessary made better. So i am just going to say that i believe this is as nice in English as it is in German.

The story is about a young boy that has been brought up in a remote mountain village in Japan, where he grew up surrounded by reclusive and spiritual people that taught him that he should always live his live in peaceful ways and that violence is never the way. But when the boy's village is pillaged, the boy is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru and under the guiding hands of lord Otori, the boy learned that he posses the skills of the Tribe -the Otori Tribe- and he lanes that his father was a celebrated assassin. And that he seemed to have a similar fate with the skills be posses.

I make this sound way more boring then it actually is, because the story itself is wonderful.

It is a story in many ways about fighting against your natural skills and the knowledge you grew up with. Do you do what you can do similarly effortless if it goes against what you learned you entire life? Or do you do what you where taught was right, but doesn't come as easy to you?

It is a story about learning where you can go and what you can become. And about finding your own way, no matter what others might thing.

It is in some parts action packed, because clearly assassins!, how can it not be action packed? But it is also a soft story. A story about a different culture and how a child grows up in the remote mounting in japan. And the overall culture of Japan.

I loved the story because of all the different aspects that it brings. It is in part historical fiction and in equal parts fantasy. It is for all ages and teaches you about japan as a culture and nation. It gives you a feel for the people there, and what a different the country you grow up in makes in how you actually grow up -your believes, your knowledge, your entire being.

Overall it is also a wonderful fantasy story that is not to fantastically that it is hard to believe, since the fantasy aspects -while clearly there- are not overdone and so that even people that might not love or enjoy fantasy too much, might find that they love this book -or the entire series.

As i said i can only speak for the first three book in this series, but to me all three are quite good and enjoyable to read, and while i do find that the third one is not as fantastic as the first two, it is still very well done and overall all three books are really good and should be talked about more often.

And i do hope that i will find a good deal on the fourth book -which i think is the last one of this series now- and read it as well to complete the series as well as just finish off the story and see of the author decided to concluded it, after adding another book to the series.

But really. If you have never heard about this series. Or if it sounds like something that you might be interested in. Or even if it doesn't necessary sounds like something you might enjoy. Or if you just want to read a book about a different culture. Or you love Japan and want to read something different about it. Or you just need a good book to read. Or a good new series.

Just go read this. It is fantastic.



6. City of Masks or Stravaganza #1 by Mary Hoffmann



 


Another book series that i think people talk way to little about. And is underrated as well on good reads. Especially the first book. Please don't think that the horrible covers are anything like the actual book. I mean honestly. You have give a book two different covers and both are equally horrible! I mean what is that all about? Really?

Anyways... The book series started out as a trilogy but is now a six book series. Once again i have only read the first three up until this point. And once again i read it in German. So lets just not go over the same thing once again about translation and all that, okay?

Overall the first three books of this series are pretty good, but i really loved -LOVED- City of masks. It is a fantastic book. Wonderfully written and able to take you completely into the story and away from the real world.


It is a story about a boy that is seriously ill and has not much to life for at all because of that. But then his life gets transformed when he finds an old Italian notebook that gives him the power to become a stravagante -a time traveller. When the boy -Lucien- goes to sleep in the real world -or is not awake to say it more clearly- he can travel to a different time and country. and so it comes that Lucien goes to sleep in his bed and wakes up in Bellezza or Venice during the carnival time in the 16th century. And from that point on the story evolves. 
Lucien -of course- meets a girl that he falls in love with and he also meets other stravagante. And he has to figure out how to combine the "real world" where he is sick and can't do much of anything, and his Stravaganza world where he is healthy and able to live as he pleases.


This story is more then just a time travel story. It is more then just a typical love story.

It is a fantastically written historical fiction with fantasy aspects that are about making decisions and having to live with them because while live might give you changes, they are never without consequences. And i really enjoyed how Lucien has to figure out what he wants to do and how he wants to do it, as well as how hard it falls him in the end to make his decision but he sticks with it.

The entire story is very beautiful and magically written and takes you away from the real world just as Lucien is taken away into a different world.

It really is worth a read.

On a side note, this series is not a typical series where all books follow the same characters, but a companion book series, where each book follows a similar style -in this case all books follow a character that is a stravagante- and all stories take place in a city in italy as far as i know, but the characters of each book are different ones. So book one follows Lucien, but book two is about a different main character. And with that, this book can be read as a standalone or if you love the world, you can learn more about the different aspects that exist in the Stravaganza Universe and read the other five as well.



7. Please kill me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McChain






This Book is one that i have already listed in a previous Top 10 listing and raved about it -my Top 10 Beach Books- but i wanted to include it here as well.

Because for one this book is completely underrated. 

And i never hear anyone talk about it. 

And it is fantastic.

So there are three good reasons why it should be on this list right there.


This book is a backstage pass into the actual world of sex, drugs and punk rock -or actual rock. It is written in a way that you feel as if you are sitting in a room with all those punk rock legends and they are talking to each other about a handful of topics. It is not about the actual people, it is not only a book about Andy Warhol or Iggy Pop or David Bowie. it s a book about the musical history and how those people shaped punk rock and made it become what we know it as today.


This book is a must read for people that love the Velvet Underground, or the Sex Pistols, or Iggy Pop.

But it is also a fantastic read for everyone that wants to dip their toes into this type of music, learn more about history -since Punk music is a huge part of our earlier history and how music and the world evolved with and around it!- and if you want start reading Biographies. It is also fantastic to read while listening to all those people that "talk" in the book, so you can get to know the music at the same time as you get to know the people behind it.

I really just loved this book and can't understand how so few people read this!

This is one of the best biographical books that i have ever read -up until now at least and honestly i don't think that i will find a similar book anytime soon- most likely because of the unique style that the two authors wrote this book. 

It has been made up from actual interviews and quotes of the people and just fitted together to that it feels like they are having a conversation with each other and talking about one topic, even though in most cases those people did not necessary talk to each other or at least not about those topics together.

For some reason i loved this style very much, because you actually get what everyone said and believed at some point in their lives without writing around it or putting words into those people's mouths. The authors wrote what was said. Sure in a different context or situation in some situations, since we don't know what some of those people would have said if they would have really been put into a room with all those people. But still. I loved that this book only had the actual words of the people the book was about, without rewriting them or changing them at all. 

It is really a good read and i can only say that everyone should read it, no matter if you love the music style or not. Go on do it. And fall in love with how fantastic biographies can be written and how different people can influence history in the most interesting ways.



8. The Bone Parade by Mark Nykanen



I included the German cover of the book because i like it better. And it fits the story much better. 

This is a killer-thriller.

Yeah. Could not resist. Sorry.

This is a psychological thriller not for the faint hearted. But it is fantastic!


The very brief summary of the story would be that Ashley Stassler is a praised artists for his series of bronze sculptures that shows families together in excruciating physical and emotional pain. What the art world does not know is how he creates those authentic and gruesome human representations, only that he assigns each family a number and now he is up to number nine.... (Dum dum dummmmm! sorry.)


The writing is wonderful (do you guy's see a common factor in all those books on this list?). The story itself is also quite unique for a thriller. 

It is not the very common mostly very easy murderer without real depth or intelligence thoughts. But at the same time while the murderer of this book is quite smart and very methodical and calculating, he is not a genius -which lets just be honest and say that in thrillers or crime books most murderers are either stupid or genius nothing in between.

This book is unique because the killer is really ... something. 

And part of the story is told from his point of view, which i just loved! And even (or maybe because of that) though the story is not boring at all. You know who does it, you know the killer and how he does it and where he does it and to some aspect also why he does it. But that makes this book terrifying in many ways, because you get the entire story from all view points. You get the story told how the murderer decides, takes and kills. You get to experience the whys and the hows while they are happening. 

I just found this book very fascinating and once you start you have a hard time putting it down and at the same time you kind of want to put it down because you want to stop reading the psychological terror that this book is putting you in. But you can't put it down because you have to know what will happen!

The only negative thing that i have to say about this book is that if the point of view is not from the bad-guy the story sometimes can get a big slow. But maybe that is just because I waited for the next thrilling part that will get my heart racing and just... you know go on with what will happen with the thrilling part of the story. And really, how can a part of the story hold up against a murderer killing?

But really. This book is overall fantastic and i can only recommend for anyone that wants to read a fantastic thriller that will leave you a little bit psychologically damaged and maybe a bit paranoid.

To me this book is definitely up there with Stephen King's "Misery" and everyone loves that for his heart-racing psychological thriller writing. So if you loved that book read this one and you will love it. And if you did not like "Misery" (what the heck is wrong with you?) you will enjoy this one because... well it is fantastic and if you love thriller, what the heck is wrong with you if you don't like this book? Just read it. And love it. And let me know that you loved it so that i can send you a virtual hug and love you, because you read a book that i recommended and loved it. Because if you read this you will love it. Alright, enough. NEXT!



9. Dead Simple by Peter James



 
Once again two cover pictures, because once again the german one is better -at least to me- even though the english one fits as well.  

Lets jump into the summary of this book and then go into the itty-gritty details of why you have to read it.

Michael Harrison had it all: Good looks, charm, natural leadership and a wicked sense of humor as well as his finance Ashley. While celebrating with a group of his friends a few nights before his wedding Michael suddenly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped with only a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walk-talkie and a tiny breathing tube. It is supposed to be all good fun, payback for other tricks Michael paid on his mates. That is until the four friends are killed in a drunk driving accident just moments after leaving Michael completely alone and buried alive....

I will leave it at that because honestly that is all that you should need to know to want to read this book.

Can you imagine? You get put into a coffin, buried alive and the only people that know and are supposed to get you out again after a little while are all dead and nobody knows where you are or that you have to get saved?

Yeah not a nice image to me.

And James really does a fantastic job writing the horror into his story, without writing an actual horror story. And while this book is not as heart-racing, make you scream in the dark because you dog snuggles against you unexpectedly as the book before this one does, it is still a fantastic thriller.

You never really know what will happen next and the writing is really well done as well. Which shouldn't be a surprise at this point on this list.

It is very well written and mostly very fast paced story that you can sit down and pretty much read in one sitting if you have the time to read a little over 300 pages in one sitting. It is good enough that you want to do that anyways. And if you can do that, you should because it is that good that the book is worth not putting it down until you have to because you are done with it.

And while this book is the first one in a series about the Detective, i only read this one.

 Mostly because i enjoyed this one as a standalone and i want to keep it that way. 

I enjoyed the writing and the story and i loved the book itself but i did not love the Detective and his story enough to want to continue on reading about him specifically. Which does not mean that the story about him is bad in anyway, but i just did not connect to him so much that i wanted to continue on reading about him. You know how that goes sometimes, right? You love a book but as a standalone and not as part of a series.

But if you find yourself liking or loving the Detective in this book you have an entire series to read. So even better for you.

If you are in search of a good mystery thriller or a crime thriller that is fast paced and keeps you wanting reading and reading. This is a good one to pick up.



10. The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers



 
Yet another book where the german cover is more beautiful and in many ways more fitting- which might be because this time the german is the actual original cover and the english came after? But why not just leave a beautiful cover in all languages?

This is a different book. 

For one it is a book about books. 

And a book for people that love books.

It is a book about an entire city all about books -makes sense since the title does say that it is a city of books- and that is exactly what it is about. An entire city -Bookholm by the way- were the entire city is more or less made up from books.

The funny part of this story is that the main character -a young writer- is not a human but actually a dragon or a dinosaur (to be honest am not one hundred percent sure which one). But that does not matter. The story itself is fantastic. It includes little creatures, ideas and many stories about books.

And the story is really fantastic as well. I don't know if the english version has it as well, but my book version has little illustrations and if for example the main character faints, you see an entirely black page. Because you know, he saw black. The book is cute like that.

To that comes that the entire book and the author clearly loves the written word. It is all about a love for language and stories, about people/creatures that love them as well and build their entire lives around stories and the written word. 

More or less this entire book is a love story to books and at the same time it clearly has its own complete and complex story that is wonderful to read about.

I loved the little hymns and poems, the beautiful and powerful way the author wrote and in many ways the author translated the wish that he wrote about in the book: that books dream about being read because that is what brings them to life.

And in many ways the author managed to do that very fantastically in this book and in a way that after you finish this book you kind of want to start at the first page again and at the same time just get your hands on as many books that you can and help them live their life by reading them.

this is one of my favorite books and i have read it so many times that i am pretty sure that very soon the book will have dents in the places that i hold my books while reading.

This is a beautiful books. It brings joy and love and while you will love the story itself, this book also makes you fall in love with books overall. You read this and want to read more, you want to read all the books that you can.

What i do have to say about this book -because honestly i have to include the very small negative aspect of this book that i personally can overlook without a problem because the rest is so beautifully done- is that this book is a bit cliché in a few aspects. I personally found that they fitted into this book because, well it is a book about books and why not include the clichés that made other books so popular?

I loved this book and i find it a bit sad that this book has not yet made its way into more peoples lives. So if you read this. This is the book from all the books of this list, that you really do have to go out and get. If you love books, if you enjoy reading. If you want a nice story that is very cute and will water and let your overall love for books bloom once again as is if you just discovered your love for books, get this and read it. It is really that good.





So this is it. All the books that i personally love and re-read or have re-read quite a few times already and will continue to do so. 

And while i know that a few of the books on here are not necessary unknown, i do believe that they are good enough to deserve to be better known and that even more people should read and know about them.

Especially the last one i talked about.


What are some of the books that you love but find that most people don't know about or are completely underrated in your option?

Do you share my option of the books that i shared? Or have you read some of them? Loved them? Hated them? Find that all the books i listed should stay as underrated as i find them to be?

Let me know, i am curious what you think.


Write more later...

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