Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays... Underrated books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, they post a different topic and you get to create your own top 10 list! This week, the topic is: 

Top Ten Underrated Books

1. Born Under a Million Shadows, by Andrea Busfield 
I'm certainly not criticising the mastery of Khaled Hosseini, his books The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns were superb, but with all the hype and publicity surrounding them, Born Under a Million Shadows seemed to be (and excuse the pun) lost in the shadow of the former two. It's a book about "fighting for love in the shadow of the Taliban" and is an absolutely beautiful book, told from the point of view of 11-year-old Fawad. He'll have you laughing out loud and reaching for the tissues. So if you enjoyed Hosseini's books, then definitely look for this one to add to your TBR piles. It's just as good!

2. The Food of Love, by Anthony Capella
Perhaps it's just because I'm relatively new to the world of blogging but I really haven't seen much written or reviewed about The Food of Love. It's a wonderful book about two Italian men - one who can cook, the other who can't - both of whom are out to make an impression on a beautiful English girl. Now if that's not a recipe (haha) for a good read, I don't know what is!

3. The Very Thought of You, by Rosie Alison
This is a real favourite of mine - the story of 8-year-old Anna who is relocated to Yorkshire from London during WWll. It has everything - love, tragedy, mystery and the point of view of a child, which is always so refreshing. For those who enjoy a good historical fiction, I'd definitely put this one at the top of the list.

4. Nicky Pellegrino
I love this author's work. Her books are light hearted, fun, and the perfect summer read. Not annoying, unimaginable chicklit but instead stories of characters who seem to be real people. You can imagine sitting down to dinner in the family restaurant of The Italian Wedding, or watching the group of girlfriends meet up for their summer holidays in The Villa Girls. They're certainly easy reading, but actually have a depth to each of the characters rather than the shallow individuals you often come across in cheesy chicklit.   
5. Jhumpa Lahiri
Wow! Her writing is incredible but I don't think it gets anywhere near enough of a following that it deserves. The Namesake, Interpreter of Maladies and the beautiful Unaccustomed Earth - all of them provide an incredible insight into Indian-American cultures and relationships.

6. Carolly Erickson
I've only recently discovered Erickson's "historical entertainment" but am wondering why it took me so long to do so. The Secret Life of Josephine and The Tsarina's Daughter invite the reader to understand so much about periods of history, in the first instance Napolean's era, in the second, the Russia's last Tsar without being overwhelmingly educational. We learn so much about the men who have shaped history but little about the women. Fortunately, Erickson is putting that to rights.

7. Paddington Bear
I couldn't resist adding this one into the list - but I think this bear gets a little bit forgotten (quite literally!). He, and his marmalade sandwiches, make for delightful stories, and as much of a Winnie the Pooh fan that I am, I do have a little soft spot for Paddington.

Her books never ever disappoint, so why they're not at the top of most of our holiday reading lists I don't know! My first introduction to Pearse's writing was Never Look Back, the story of Mathilda, a Covent Garden flower girl who finds herself as a maid to a minister in the beautiful London suburb of Primrose Hill, before being transported across the Atlantic to America. She may not be quite the character that Fiona Finnegan of The Tea Rose, by Jennifer Donnelly, is - but then she is one exceptional woman! However, while I have been waiting for Donnelly's final instalment The Wild Rose (which has finally arrived, hip hip hooray!), Pearse's novels have certainly filled a gap and now sit quite rightly on their own pedestal in my book collection.

9. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
With so many new and exciting books arriving on the shelves, onto our TBR piles and into our wishlists, we seem to forget about the good ones of old. But a book like The Thorn Birds shouldn't be forgotten!

10. The Red Scarf, by Kate Furnivall
Also known as Under a Blood Red Sky,  I think this book has suffered a similar fate to that of those by Lesley Pearse. When they're similar to others, in this case The Bronze Horseman Trilogy, by Paullina Simons, somewhere along the line they don't get the attention they deserve. Anyone who knows me, or has seen my (rather randomly occuring) list of Friday favourites, will know that The Bronze Horseman is a book that I can't recommend highly enough, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy The Red Scarf. In fact, I haven't been able to put any of Kate Furnivall's novels down!


  1. Paddington Bear! haha too cute!

    Check out my Top 10!

  2. Ahh yes, The Thorn Birds! I still have a battered old copy of it lying around here somewhere. It was such a good story, wasn't it?

    Thanks for following! I'm returning the favour :)

  3. the very thought of you sounds lovely. i'm going to look that up.

  4. Thorn Bird was sure popular when first published. It is odd, though, how some good books just seem to fade away.

    My Head is Full of Books

  5. Wow what an incredible group of choices! I think I'm putting every one on my TBR list! Great blog!

  6. I loved the namesake and definitely think Jhumpa Lahiri needs more recognition. I'll have to look out for Born under a million shadows. What a great Top Ten topic! Best one I've seen so far.

  7. Great list! I really enjoyed Kate Furnivall's books

  8. Delightful list! Lots of possiblities here.

    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!

  9. Hey, I'm trying to pick at least one book from everyone's top ten today. I couldn't decide between The Food of Love or The Red Scarf so I'll probably read them both. ;)

  10. Anything by Nicholas Christopher is highly underrated!
    (Veronica, A Trip to the Stars, etc)
    Look into his books if you haven't already.