Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated and Overly Obscure Books

This is a great topic. Don't all of us readers have a few cherished books that we champion regularly, only to meet with blank stares and courteous smiles?
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...
Why am I always surprised when not everyone on Earth responds with equal passion to everything I love? It's one of the great mysteries of human nature. :P

1. The Little White Horse (Elizabeth Goudge). JK Rowling has spoke of her great love for this book, even blurbing a reprint, yet hardly anyone else talks about it. But it's so beautiful that I cry every time I read it.

2. Patricia St. John's books. I grew up with these, and can't understand how they've ever gone out of print. Star of Light and If You Love Me are my favorites.

3. Summer of the Monkeys (Wilson Rawls). Ever read Where the Red Fern Grows? I liked that book, but Summer of the Monkeys, by the same author, is hilarious and fantastic and apparently much less popular. I've no idea why it isn't talked of more.

4. The Wingfeather Saga (Andrew Peterson). Maybe it's more famous than I realize, but like I said when I reviewed North! Or Be Eaten, I think it deserves a place next to Terry Pratchett's work.

5. Franny and Zooey (J.D. Salinger). Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye gets both lauded and hated regularly, but I found Franny and Zooey more interesting, more pleasant, and no less worthy of acclaim.

6. In the Reign of Terror (and possibly others by G.A. Henty). An excellent book for boys, telling of an English lad who attempts to protect his French host family during the Revolution. Henty's books are occasionally reprinted nowadays.

Wow, this list is proving much more difficult to create than I expected. Help me out here. What books do you think the rest of the world should love as much as you do?


  1. You are the second person in a row that mention Franny and Zoey. It is time to read that book!

    My Head is Full of Books

  2. Franny and Zooey - I'll be adding that to my reading list now too.

  3. Franny and Zooey is under my bed as I speak (or write), with a bookmark at the halfway point.

    Here's my Top Ten post for this week: Top Ten Underappreciated Books
    And don't forget to stop in and sign up to win in the Readerbuzz August Giveaway!

  4. I'm going to admit I've only ever heard of two of these. But I love hearing more about obscure books other people love, so thanks for the recommendations!

  5. I loved Summer of the Monkeys! Way better than Where the Red Fern Grows.

  6. Joy in the Morming by Betty Smith. Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn gets all the attention, but I didn't like it at all. Joy is a wonderful story about a very young couple who marry despite opposition, and their struggles during the husband's last two years of university in the 1920's. Annie is an unforgettable character. This has been a favorite for decades. Ignore the bad film made of it.

    Payment in Full by Henry Denker. A poor young Jewish Orthodox couple in the 1930's adopt a black child when her mother dies, and struggle to raise her in her faith and traditions.

    Eva Ibbotson's novels--a witty concoctions of romance, period Europe, and sly satire--difficult to describe, but I grin my way through them each time. Pure pleasure. Too bad they're now marketed as YA, because teens aren't going to get them.

    Two YAs by Elizabeth Pope: the Perilous Gard; and The Sherwood Ring. Simply terrific.

    I spent years finding favorite out of print books no one had heard of. And I enjoy my collection!


  7. Oh, Arabella, I'm totally with you on Joy in the Morning! I loved that one as a teenager, and agree that it is better than her other more popular novel.

    Also, another one I loved as a teenager that very few people I mention it to know about is A Lantern in Her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich. This one's both heart-warming and heart-breaking, and is based on Aldrich's mother, who was a newly married young pioneer woman living a challenging frontier life in Nebraska in the late nineteenth century.

  8. The Fall, by Albert Camus..everyone reads The Stranger, but The Fall is a bit more obviously hopeful..it's what Walker Percy wanted Lancelot to be, but didn't manage.

    Divine & Human: Tolstoy rewrites a lot of folk tales and Hugo short stories to make them Amazing!

    A Moveable Feast. Hemingway making harsh judgements and amused reflections on his contemporaries, writing about writing, and eating good food.

    The Hounds of the Morrigan: A kids book. I never see it anywhere, but its really good

    Memories of my meloncholy whores: Marquez. I loved 100 years of Solitude, but this is better.

  9. Lots of great stuff here! Shoot... my reading list is getting so long, and so many of these sound so good... :) Arabella, I actually liked A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which makes me really want to read Joy in the Morning.


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