Lists, Recommendations

Books I Love That You Might Not Have Heard Of

Hi everyone! There are so many wonderful books out there that it’s easy for some of them to go relatively unnoticed. With that in mind, and to coincide with bookswrotemystory and _livelaughread’s Instagram challenge ‘Top Tuesday’, I’ve put together a list of a few books that I loved that you might not have heard of. Every book on this list has fewer than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads but I think they all deserve more recognition!

The Secret History of Modernism by C.K. Stead
I knew this book wasn’t very well-known, but it only has 43 ratings on Goodreads at the moment. 43! Admittedly, this book won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fan of modernist texts with plenty of literary allusions, this is for you. The novel is narrated by Lazslo Winter, a mildly-successful author from New Zealand, remembering his time as a student in London in the 1950s. It touches particularly on the effects of the Second World War and of the Holocaust, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
This YA/historical fiction/fantasy novel has fewer than 5,000 ratings on Goodreads but it deserves to be read by so many more people! Set in 1930s America, it follows the latest round of a game played between the personifications of Love and Death. Each chooses a player, and this time it’s Henry, a white boy living with a wealthy adoptive family, and Flora, an African-American girl dreaming of becoming a pilot. I read this book years ago but I still remember how incredible the writing was and how unique the story felt. 

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
This is the most popular book on my list but it still only has just over 9,000 ratings. This is another YA historical fiction novel that also deals with race, but this book is set in the 1950s and follows Sarah as she becomes one of the first black students to start at a white school. This is another story of forbidden romance as Sarah and Linda, a white girl from a firmly segregationist family, begin to develop feelings for one another. This book explores racism, prejudice and hatred and felt so well-written.

What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
This is the longest book on my list and is completely different to the other books named so far. What a Carve Up! is a political satire which critiques 1980s Britain by following Michael Owen, a young writer hired to write a biography of the nefarious Winshaw family. I’m not usually a fan of satire but this book was so clever and so genuinely witty that I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. It has about 7,500 ratings on Goodreads so far, which surprised me given that it won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1995, and it’s so excellent that it deserves to be more widely appreciated.  

Translations by Brian Friel
This is an entirely different book again, in that it isn’t actually a book. Translations is a short play by Brian Friel about the British carrying out the ordnance survey of Ireland, anglicising the Gaelic place names and disrupting the lives of the local community. I adored this play: it has so much to say about the way that language provides a voice, and on a lighter note there are some really funny parts too. Fewer than 5,000 people have rated this book on Goodreads, but it’s such a quick read and so worth the time that I hope more people pick it up.

That’s my list of books that I loved that I think more people should read! Have you read any of these books? What are your top underrated reads? Let me know in the comments, follow me on Instagram @afewmorebooks for more book-related content, and thanks for reading!

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