Underappreciated Books

Every so often I see people talk about books they think are under-appreciated! I realised after I made this list that many people base that on “less than 1,000/5,000” ratings on Goodreads, but I thought it was less than 500… SO I guess these ones are really underappreciated! hahah Maybe you’ll find some unknown gems? 🙂

 

Harry’s Last Stand

HARRYS LAST STAND-B-HB.inddThis book really should have so many more ratings. Harry Leslie Smith—British Great Depression survivor, WW2 veteran, cool old person who uses the internet so well and tweets better/more regularly than my boyfriend who is decades (a half century!) younger than him—has been through so much and has every reason to be angry and filled with hate…But instead he is fired up and filled with hope! He tells a brief summary of his life and in this slim volume he goes through so, so much. It’s very sad at times to read about what someone so young had to go through and the struggles he continues to go through (often because he repeatedly greeted the world with love and an open-mind than with selfishness and malice). My blatherings really do the book no justice.
There is a lot in here about British politics (as it is aimed at the British voting public in particular), but none of it is difficult to comprehend. Smith’s writing is lovely and lyrical, but also honest and direct. I wish more people knew his story and understood the importance of the things Harry is standing for. Highly recommended.

Number of ratings: 290
Average rating: 4.21 stars
My rating: 4/5 stars

 

Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen

6353906This is one of my favourites and is pretty wacky. Very sexual in parts, but there is a lot of commentary on the immigrant experience; confusion about viewing oneself and one’s ‘people’, who/what you actually represent as an individual, who/what you are responsible for… But it makes all these comments in a cheeky, irreverent and simultaneously poetic way. Not for everyone (is my constant disclaimer with this book), but worth checking out.

Number of ratings: 329
Average rating: 3.45 stars
My rating: 5/5 stars

A Beginner’s Guide to Reality

265347Now, getting back to reality (eh? eh? ha. I’m good), this book explores what is really meant by the concept of ‘reality’! I love thinking about this kind of thing and I found this book so interesting. It explores reality first in societal terms: the societal constructs to which we all conform. How and why is this ‘real’? What is meant by that kind of reality? Baggott asks specifically, how is the social construct of money real? I think, with current gender discussions in society today we could ask the same of gender: how is that social construct real? How far does it go? Next Baggott tackles reality in sensory terms: we perceive the world completely based on our senses since how else could we test what is real and what isn’t…but our senses can be fooled. How do I know if you and I are seeing the world in the same way? How do I know if we think of the same colour when I talk about the colour “red”? And finally (the chapter I have been struggling with for a while because it loses me a little in its technicality through no fault of the author’s), we get past senses and ask what is really there? What is objectively real regardless of what we are capable of perceiving and how we perceive it!?? Fascinating!
I hope I haven’t made it seem inaccessible because this “Beginner’s Guide” really is just that and I feel that, without any condescension, Baggott has done a good job at making this kind of discussion very accessible. Also, he really likes movie references (especially The Matrix—can you tell from the cover?? haha)

Number of ratings: 143
Average rating: 3.58 stars
My rating: 5/5 stars

 

None of the Above

Let’s get political! Ooooh! Well, if you live in the UK and are a little lost in the politics arena, I would suggest you read this book. I quite like politics (though I am no politics buff!) so I was already familiar with a lot of the subjects touched on here, but there were some details here and there I didn’t actually know about and whole sections of politics I haven’t given much thought at all. This is, though, a very introductory overview. I think it’s written sort of for young people in their late teens/early twenties—which isn’t to say you can’t read it when you’re older (I did) so much as to warn you that there will be a few things/some general knowledge that you’ll have picked up from just living in the world longer than a teen. But the book doesn’t assume anything about your knowledge. I found Edwards’ writing style fun, humorous and conversational. I didn’t find him patronising at all, but I did think he was almost frustratingly even-handed/diplomatic/unbiased when talking about parties I would say were created and championed by bigots and/or ignorant folks with no minority friends. An impressive skill. So if you want a good, layman’s terms introduction to British politics, even though the political scene has changed quite a lot in the past few months, I still think this is a great place to start!

Number of ratings: 105
Average rating: 4.02 stars
My rating: 4/5 stars

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3 Responses to Underappreciated Books

  1. Pingback: Claire and Nikki Talk “Genre” | Bitches With Books

  2. Claire (BWB) says:

    I might steal this for next week… great post! You talk about mooncake vixen a lot but I can’t find it! It seems like such a good read!

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