Hello friends, happy Monday! I feel like I haven’t done a recommendations post in ages, even though they’re my favourite types of posts to do. So today, we’re rectifying that. I’m going to be talking about some books with fewer than 5,000 ratings on Goodreads that you should read!
I am always trying to read underrated books, particularly by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors. So I thought I would highlight some of my faves that I think are overlooked, and in a few weeks, I’ll talk about similar books that I want to read. Some of these books are books I’ve talked about a ton, but that’s only because I want more people to read them and have made it my mission to get everyone to read them.
But, let’s get into the recommendations.
Shut Up, You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji (711 ratings)
This is a short story collection by a Black Canadian author that follows the narrator at different points throughout her life. It’s really well-written, and very sad and poignant but also funny without trying too hard. Definitely look up trigger warnings beforehand (sexual assault, parental death, addiction, and abortion). It’s not an easy read content-wise, but it’s so well-written that it feels easier to read.
Red River Girl: the Life and Death of Tina Fontaine by Joanna Jolly (724 ratings)
This is a true crime nonfiction about an Indigenous girl who was murdered in Winnipeg, Canada. Though it’s mainly about Tina Fontaine’s life, death, and the police investigation into her murder, it’s also more broadly about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It highlights a lot of the atrocities that Canada often overlooks, and talks about the pitfalls of the police in Winnipeg and Canada in general. I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend.
Hunger by Lan Samantha Chang (1,164 ratings)
This book is criminally underrated. It’s a short story collection about Chinese immigrants in America (maybe Canada, I can’t quite remember atm). It’s so good and heartbreaking, particularly the titular novella. I genuinely enjoyed all the stories in this book, which is not common.
The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya (1,541 ratings)
This book is so. good. It follows two musicians, Neela and RUK-MINI, who become friends and then have a falling out when one of them subtweets. It’s such an interesting exploration of friendship and jealousy, and it’s so well-written. The ending of it was literally perfect, and I want everyone to read it.
Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese (3,152 ratings)
This book follows a troupe of four homeless people who befriend a retired journalist, and then find a winning lottery ticket but can’t cash it because they lack a permanent address. It has some of the best characters I’ve read in a while; they’re all so unique and have distinct voices, and genuinely feel like real people. The book largely revolves around them, which I think really works for the story. I cannot recommend it enough.
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott (3,414 ratings)
This essay collection is one of my absolute favourites. The essays are some of the best I’ve ever read, and Elliott manages to make talking about lice or food insecurity interesting and deeply personal. If you only read one book from this list, it should be this one.
She Would be King by Wayétu Moore (4,693 ratings)
And if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to read A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, this should be the one book you read from this list. It is criminally underrated and deserves all the love and hype. My review for this book was literally just me saying “I love [aspect of the book]” for all aspects of the book. It is a fantastical retelling of the formation of Liberia, and it’s perfect. Please read it.
So, there are some underrated books you should read! These are all books I gave four or five stars, and some are my absolute favourites, so please read at least one of them
But what are some of your favourite underrated books? Any recommendations for me? Have you read any of these? Let me know!