#T5W: Underrated Books

top5

I love this topic of discussion, because it gives me a chance to talk about books that I feel aren’t read enough. I’m as guilty as anyone for reading hyped books and propped books and the things that probably don’t need another voice in their corner. But there’s something especially satisfying about discovering a wonderful book that hasn’t been talked about. So here are my recommendations for your next under-hyped reads.

5. Lungs Full of Noise by Tessa Mellas. I first discovered this through Jen Campbell, the queen of the underrated read. I tend to gravitate toward the more strange and creepy reads she features on the channel, and this happened to be a wonderful gem full of magical realism and oddities. It was one of those that as soon as I heard descriptions of what was featured inside, I knew it was for me, and this turned out to be exactly so. It’s full of experimental writing and bizarre coming-of-age tales and thought-provoking magic. If you’re into short story collections, please give this one a go.

4. Volkhavaar by Tanith Lee. I could literally make this whole list Tanith Lee books. She is an amazing writer of SFF, and she’s not at all as read and loved as she ought to be. Her stories are always uniquely drawn with lush worlds and deeply felt characters. Her writing is gorgeous. In this book in particular, I loved the message. What starts as instalove becomes a young woman’s search for self. That’s powerful stuff, especially if you’re sick of strong female characters being more concerned with what boy to pick than whether or not the plot of their tale is resolved.

3. Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer. VanderMeer has gotten a lot of hype for his Southern Reach Trilogy, but I haven’t seen anyone going back to read his earlier work. This in particular stands out. It’s a twisted fairy tale about a world that really defies description from me, not if you want this to be brief. It’s told in three parts with an epic third installment wherein the tale becomes an Orpheus expy. It’s beautiful and stunning and bizarre and disturbing. It’s also a slim volume that takes no time at all to get through.

2. Mister Touch by Malcolm Bosse. I’ve mentioned this one before in one of my apocalyptic reads articles. It bears repeating when the book is as forgotten as this one appears to be. It’s The Stand with, amazingly, even more heart. There’s not as much magic to speak of, but there is tons of character, a really unique disease that sets the apocalypse off, and a compelling story. When I think of apocalypse fiction that moved me, that I count among the best, this immediately comes to mind as part of a top three with The Stand and Swan Song. That is enormously high praise, to be sure.

1. The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter. Another author I’m sure you’ve heard of, but the only books people seem to read by her are The Bloody Chamber and Nights at the Circus. So I gladly submit this one as something everyone should read. It’s dark and twisted. It’s about being a woman. It’s about gender and what it means. It’s about pain and confusion and love. It’s making me sound pretentious as hell, which is how you can be sure it’s amazing and I don’t actually have the words to express that. I love The Bloody Chamber, but this book stands out far above it as some of the best writing I’ve ever seen anyone produce.

Thank you for reading! I hope this gave you some new books to add to your wishlists and TBRs. As always, happy geeking!

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