thinking out loud

Top Ten Underrated Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads. In my case, I chose from books with less than 2000 ratings from my list of 5-star reads. Now I feel kind of sad, because they’re all my very favourites, and they have so few ratings!

touchmagic bonekey somewherebeneaththosewaves reflections girlzines

deargenius cheekbyjowl hiddenland hotelunderthesand lovewesharewithoutknowing
Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood by Jane Yolen
This book only had 282 ratings on GoodReads, averaging at 4.09. Of course, for the non-fiction, I’m not all that surprised, because GR is really geared more towards the fiction. But this collection of essays on the importance/effects of fantasy, fairy tales and folklore really got to me, and I wish more people would read this. “Touch magic, pass it on” – I’d also love to have these words on a bookmark or button badge!

The Bone Key by Sarah Monette
The most popular of my week’s top ten, this book has 847 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at 4.07. If you like Lovecraft and M.R. James, but realise that they’re not the best at character development (and would rather do away with the racism/sexism/homophobia), then The Bone Key is the book for you. It’s a collection of short stories about Kyle Murchinson Booth, an archivist who seems to attract all manners of bizarre and supernatural things.

Somewhere Beneath Those Waves by Sarah Monette
This book had 416 ratings on GoodReads, averaging at 4.14. I’m not a big reader of short stories, so I might have passed on this myself, if it wasn’t for The Bone Key. I bought this hoping for more Booth stories, and there was ONE, but I ended up falling in love with all of the stories. I’d recommend this collection to fans of Kelly Link, whose short stories are much more popular where I live.

Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones
This book had 443 ratings on GoodReads, averaging at 4.31. Of course this would be in my list. And of course, I could talk about this book for hours, and find every other paragraph very quotable.

Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism by Alison Piepmeier
This book had only 124 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at 4.08. I’m not surprised about the lack of ratings, since I suppose zines are kind of a niche topic anyway, and feminist zines would be even more so. But this book is also perfect for me, because it’s a study of most of the zines that made such a huge impact on me during my teens. My favourite chapter is the one on intersectionality!

Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom edited by Leonard Marcus
This book had 445 ratings on GoodReads, averaging at 4.41. Another niche non-fiction title; I’ve never even heard of Ursula Nordstrom when I first got this. I got it because it was edited by Leonard Marcus. And then, of course, I ended up really loving Ursula Nordstrom herself, because these letters are EXCELLENT and she’s so AMAZING.

Cheek by Jowl by Ursula K. Le Guin
This book had 103 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at 4.17. Another essay collection that I sometimes get mixed-up with Touch Magic, because they’re both similarly awesome. This one is by Ursula Le Guin, and I have to say, as much as I love her fiction, lately I’m realising that I love her non-fiction even more. The essays and talks in this book are on why fantasy matters, and really, I find her points/arguments pretty much dead on most of the time.

The Hidden Land by Pamela Dean
This title had 680 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at 3.77. I don’t really know what it is, maybe it’s reading too many samey YA dystopias a couple of years back, but when I read The Secret Country (the first book), I thought that Pamela Dean is brilliant and this series is brilliant and I’ve never read (current) YA/Children’s fantasy quite as good, with the exception of Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief books. I still haven’t read Pamela Dean’s Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary, because I loved this trilogy and Tam Lin so much that I want to keep the unread book for when I really need a treat.

The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker
This title had 278 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at 3.75. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that this gem of a book exists, and not many people I know even know about it. It’s such a perfect piece of middle grade fantasy.

The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
This book had 443 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at 4.03 average. (Mostly) fantasy short stories on love and death. I find this book very beautifully written, although the cover’s a bit unfortunate. I got this book because of a Barzak short story I read in an anthology (that story is also included in this collection), and by the time I finished it Christopher Barzak became one of those authors whose books I’d buy based on name alone.

Tomorrow’s our Eid celebration in Malaysia so I’ll be away at my parents’ – but I can’t wait to see everyone’s lists once I get back!

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