I'm finally doing another Top Ten Tuesday (hosted as always by The Broke and the Bookish). Sorry it's been so long, but life just got crazy and there were a few topics on which I was a bit uninspired. Also, sorry for posting this one day late. Yesterday was a rush and I forgot to go on and push "Publish". Yep, it was that kind of day. Anyway, this week's topic is underrated books or authors from any genre. I am honestly not great with dividing books into genres, so I'm just listing books and authors that I like, but that I find many people have never heard of:
1. David Bezmozgis: I found his book of short stories, Natasha and Other Stories, at the library by serendipity and enjoyed it. I ordered his first novel, The Free World, as soon as it came out. As a russophile and a Torontonian, there is so much in his work that I find interesting.
2. Connie Willis: I've posted about her books a few times before, but I can't believe she's not that well known. For those who like time travel, she's a must-read.
3. Octavia E. Butler: Again, I've mentioned her before, but she's awesome, and her dystopian work is leaps and bounds over most of the dystopian fiction being published now.
4. Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South is similar in many ways to Pride and Prejudice, yet has nowhere near the fan base of Austen. Maybe it's because there are too many smokestacks and not enough turns around the garden?
5. Francisco Goldman: When I was in high school, I had a gift certificate to spend at a big book store, and I recall spending at least an hour scouring the shelves to pick *just* the book that I would get. For some reason, I came away with Goldman's The Long Night of White Chickens, possibly for the title alone. I loved it and have enjoyed other work by him, but I've never met anyone who had even heard of him.
6. Yevgeny Zamyatin: Okay, speaking honestly, I never finished We, probably because I started in grad school when I was already having to read hundreds of pages a week, BUT it's an important novel. Brave New World and 1984 get all the credit for the dystopian genre, and Zamyatin's influence is sadly overlooked even though he predated Huxley and Orwell. I do plan on picking it up again one of these days.
And a few underrated books:
7. The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith: I love this book and probably read it a dozen times as a child, but invariably people tell me they never knew the movie was based on a book. Folks, the book is so much better. Read it.
8. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra: I thought this was fabulous, but have never met anyone that has heard of it.
9. Dracula by Bram Stoker: Okay, not really underrated as everyone knows about it, but I've been surprised at people who say things like, "Why not just read Twilight?" Dracula isn't just another vampire novel; it is THE vampire novel.