Like the average bookworm, I enjoy making my reading life much more complicated and stressful than it is.
I mean, you’re sitting there whispering, “If you like books, read books, the end” and thinking that’s the crux of the bookworm life. Well, true. But what if you did that PLUS had at least 50 x life crisis about every single aspect of reading???!
I KNOW. It’s fun.
Also welcome to my blog, this is how I live and we love it here.
Today I want to talk about the interesting phenomenon that is The Underrated Book™. I also want to confess I cannot freaking spell “phenomenon” unless I start by going “phenonononom” until autocorrect helps me out. Just in case you wanted to know my weaknesses. * But back to UNDERRATED BOOKS.**
Being a book blogger generally equals a lot of reading popular books. Certain books seem to get a lot of hype. We talk about them all the time. So basically hundreds of books, every year, get to sit on the Underhyped Train. IT CAN BE SAD. It’s like knowing half the world has not had a Lamington. Cities and moons cry over this.
But the real question is:
IS READING UNDERRATED BOOKS ACTUALLY WORTH IT?
Like technically, if the book is good, then it’s worth it. The end.
But like I said: let’s complicate life!
Yes! I hate me too!
If you’re a book blogger, you probably have (a) minimal time, (b) a gazillion books to read, (c) you’re trying to grow your blog, (d) and you have cupcakes in the oven — THEN CHANCES ARE you don’t have as much time to dig up hidden gems. So obviously it’s appropriate to have a crisis about this. Are we doing the book world a disservice? Does it matter what we read? Are we mindless sheep *** if we read what everyone else is reading? Is it okay, as a blogger, to think about your audience before a book’s feelings?
This calls for a pros vs. cons list.
* Other weaknesses of mine include grammar (where do you even put commas and can you pile them at the end for readers to pick and choose as they like?) and also small chocolates. Because if chocolates are small you can eat DOZENS and it doesn’t count.
** Is this post being particularly random? Yes. Yes it is. Why? Because I’M REWRITING A BOOK AND STRESSED OUT OF MY BRAIN ERGO DON’T. EXPECT. SENSE. FROM. ME.
*** I prefer to think of myself as a mindless Southern Rockhopper Penguin.
Oh and yes HELLO I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday for their prompt “Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre” and I’m actually writing a discussion instead of a list but I WILL have a list of my favourite hidden gem books at the bottom of this post! And I wanted to do a pros vs cons list because I listed some Underrated YA Books earlier this year, so like = been there; done that.
Also I feel these prompts are more like guidelines than actual rules.
Also I’m going to steal a pirate ship and sail the seven seas very very soon because I think it’s the only career left for me in life.
I’m a mess. Help me.
FOR READING UNDERRATED BOOKS
- IF IT’S A GOOD BOOK, THEN IT’S A FREAKING GOOD BOOK, MATE. Nothing takes away the glory that is reading an absolutely delicious novel. That’s why we read right?! That’s why we’ve fallen in love with our little tomes of paperback torture!! So if a book is excellent, then it literally doesn’t matter if you are the only one reading it, or if you are reading it with + 62 million people + your dog + that tree you were dating + local poisonous reptiles + your family because you’ve forced them to read it too on pain of you singing off-key for the next millennium.
- IT IS FUN TO FEEL LIKE YOU’VE “DISCOVERED” SOMETHING. Everyone likes treasure hunting! That’s why pirates exist, aka me, and Indiana Jones does his thing even though he should be in JAIL for destroying cultures and precious artefacts. Excuse me. I like his hat, but those movies stress me out. Moving forward. Even though you are NOT the “only one reading this book” because haha books are never quite as undiscovered as we feel…It still can feel like a DISCOVERY. Which is exciting.
- YOU CAN BLOG ABOUT SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT. When a super hyped book comes out basically allllll I see for WEEKS in my feed is that. book. everywhere. These can get tiring. So when someone shouts “I’VE FOUND A BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE NEVER HEARD ABOUT!!!” then my ears perk up and I whisper thank goodness and go read a blog post about something different.
- A LOT OF THE TIME BOOKS BECOME HIDDEN GEMS BECAUSE THEY DON’T FIT IN. They’re Not Like The Others™ and while that’s a super irritating trope in stories — it’s exciting when it comes to an actual physical copy of a book. Do you know how many books I’ve read this year? 170 OKAY, SO THAT’S A LOT. As much as I love love love looooooove popular books, a lot of times they have similar themes and thoughts. I get it! I have NO malice about this. Writing and publishing is a career and you do what you gotta to make it work. But often times hidden gem books are so flippin’ fantastic because they’ll contain a premise I’ve never heard of. Nice.
- YOU CAN FORCE OTHER PEOPLE TO JOIN YOU. I generally force people to pick up my favourite hidden gem books by asking politely while holding a very large bloody axe. 10/10 recommend this always works. And it’s fun! You end up with a little cult you grew out of the dusty back corners of the library!
FOR READING UNDERRATED BOOKS
- IT’S REALLY LONELY, OKAY? I’m just calling it as it is! There’s no one to discuss this book with and no one reads your review because they don’t RECOGNISE THIS ODD LITTLE BOOK YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. And if you’re running a blog, conversation is key, yes? I’m not saying you “should only blog about popular books!” Loooool @ you. I would never say that. But I’m also just being honest: It’s easier and WAY MORE FUN to actually have people to talk to when blogging. So yes. I talk about popular books because (a) I genuinely truly like them, and (b) I get more interaction from internet robots. And possibly one or two people too, IDK. I’m not judging. AND YES I LIKE STATS. I’M HONEST. THIS IS WHY YOU LOVE ME FOR MY HONESTY.
- THEY’RE OFTEN HARDER TO FIND OR MORE EXPENSIVE. I’m still kind of steaming about the fact I paid $25 for a 250-page hidden gem book recently. Was it worth it? UM, YES. IT WAS A GOOD BOOK. But c’mon!! I’m not made of money!! I have a smol budget and tend to rely on libraries and publishers to send me things.
- SOMETIMES THEY’RE HIDDEN BECAUSE THEY’RE BAD. Like when you try and hide all the dirty mugs you’ve been keeping in your room for 9 years because you’re too lazy to take them to the kitchen and now it’s gotten so bad YOU CAN’T LET YOUR MOTHER SEE. So you hide them. This happens to books. Sometimes books are forgotten because they SUCK. We get all romantically starry-eyed about “how wonderful hidden gem books are” cue exclamation marks!! And heart-eye emojis!! But sometimes they’re badly edited or the story doesn’t flow well or the concept is SO FRIKKIN’ WEIRD you think someone had a little too much red bull in their cornflakes that morning. And you can be elitist that “popular books are often bad” and tHEY CAN BE but they can also be amazing. Hence they’re popular. Because humans see a good thing and want to eat it. #Good #Job #There #Friend Two of my favourite series in the UNIVERSE are The Raven Cycle and Shades of Magic. Both are extremely popular. They 5000% deserve it.
- WHO HAS GOT TIME FOR ALL OF THIS. Okay so you like the sound of a popular book? You read it! Enjoy it! You look at your TBR which has 398938 other books on it! You CRY. ← Does this all sound familiar???? Look some of us don’t have TIME to go digging for underrated books when we barely have time for the well-known ones. A cold harsh truth upon the cold harsh shores of Mars. Where I assume we all live.
- YOU WILL NEVER CONVERT THE WHOLE WORLD TO READING IT. So like sometimes my brain hisses “What’s the pointttttt” like the irritating and disturbingly opinionated organ it is. And I’m kind of an overachiever so like sure I can get 3 people reading a book. AND IT’S GREAT. But I tend to think in BIG or NOTHING. So if the 3 of us read a hidden gem, like, did we make a difference??? Is there a point??
SO AFTER THESE ENLIGHTENING LISTS, WHAT’S MY CONCLUSION?
Be a dragon.
Also read whatever you actually darn well please.
The thing about book bloggers, I think, is that we feel pressured a LOT. We feel pressured to read hyped books and join the discussion. We feel pressured to promote under-hyped books because it’s not fair they’re missing out. We feel pressured to be hipster OR popular OR an individual OR a mixture of both.
And you know whaaaaaat? Just read what you want.
I personally prefer to read like 70% popular books so I can join discussions and grow my blog! I’m not ashamed! But do I go after hidden gem books because I secretly like Indian Jones’ hat and want to be a great discoverer? Yes. Yes I do.
AND AS PROMISED!! Here are 10 hidden gem books I LOVE.
And you can actually flip the covers over on these to get a little summary on the back! Or click on the covers and it’ll take you to my review.