Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read In The Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week, we're writing about books that we enjoyed reading in the past year-ish that never really got the mainstream love we we think they deserve. 



Life Itself: Roger Ebert was a portly movie critic who spent most of his life in the Midwest. But the reason his reviews became so popular is his real skill as a writer, and his application of that talent to the story of his own life yielded a really fantastic book. He wrote it as he was dying from cancer, and his reflections just tugged my heartstrings constantly. The early part of the book recounts a lot of family history and is on the boring side, but the rest of it is really wonderful.

The Last One: I've written about this one before, it was actually one of my best books of the year last year. This story of a woman in the wilderness on a Survivor-on-budget-steroids show that doesn't know that there's been a pandemic and is making her way through a devastated world is tense and thrilling and I could hardly put it down.

The Lords of Discipline: I'd heard of Conroy's Prince of Tides and The Great Santini before, but this was the one that went on Kindle sale first, so I picked it up. I wasn't expecting to love it, because military-themed stories don't tend to do it for me, but I was sucked in and completely loved it and can't wait to read everything else he's ever written.

I Am Livia: The Amazon publishing imprints haven't been great, honestly, but this book introduced me to a woman with a fascinating life: Livia Drusilla, wife of Octavian. I'm always down for a story about a badass woman, and even though there's a silly "instalove" component, this is a very solid historical fiction.

Enchanted Islands: This book about a lifelong friendship between two women (and how one of them found herself on a secret mission in the Galapagos when she was in her 40s) wasn't splashy, but was quietly powerful and very well-written.

Dead Wake: Most people think about Erik Larson's Devil In The White City when they think about his work, but I actually found Dead Wake better. I loved the shifting perspectives and found myself rooting for the ship to make it to the other side even though I knew going in that it sank.

Sex With The Queen: We all enjoy flipping through the occasional tabloid in the checkout line, right? This is basically a tabloid for European royalty over the ages and it's not super high quality literature but it's super fun to read.

The Big Rewind: One of my favorite reads of 2016, this is a fresh and fun murder mystery/romantic comedy/ode to the power of a good mixtape was a delight.

Mr. Splitfoot: I didn't rate this super highly when I first read it, but it's one of the books that I found myself unable to forget about, while things I thought more highly of initially faded. Really sticks with you.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn: Anne Boleyn has inspired novelists and playwrights and screenwriters for a long time, and Susan Bordo's look at what we actually know about her and the various myths that have surrounded her (and how they've changed over time) is incredibly interesting reading.

6 comments

  1. Creation of Anne Boleyn sounds like an interesting book concept.
    https://runwright.net/2017/01/18/underrated-novels/

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  2. THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE!!!!! It's actually my favorite of his books. And can't wait for you to read everything else he's ever written. I now have and am sad I'll never read a book of his for the first time again.

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    1. I am really excited to keep exploring his work! The only thing better than enjoying a book for the first time is getting to go back and find all the little things you missed when you read it before :)

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  3. I really liked The Last One at first, but after while the main character's refusal to deal with the real world bothered me!

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    1. I had the same feeling at parts when reading it and I agree that it was frustrating, but when I sat down and thought about it at the end, I thought that the fact that she was missing her glasses and literally (as well as figuratively) couldn't see clearly explained it at least in part. It made it less bothersome, anyways, at least for me.

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