It is true that when it comes to book recommendations, certain authors and titles tend to be mentioned repeatedly. This is not a bad thing. Many books are considered classics because they have stood the test of time.
However, there are many other excellent books out there. These books, despite being good, have not received the same level of recognition nor have they created the same level of buzz.
Now there can be several reasons for a good book to have gone under the radar of the mass readership.
One reason could be that it was published by a smaller press or self-published, which may have limited resources. Another reason could be that it was not written by a well-known or “star” author.
Another possibility could be that the author or the book is from a foreign country and was written in a foreign language.
In my view, reading a variety of books by different authors and from different cultures can broaden our understanding of the world.
In this post, I am sharing a list of 10 books – fiction and nonfiction – that escaped the attention of a large audience. There is a possibility that you may never have heard of some of these books. But these are hidden gems that deserve more readership.
1. “The Traveling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa
A heartwarming story about a cat named Nana and his journey with his owner, Satoru, as they search for Nana’s perfect forever home. The cat can understand human language but cannot speak.
The book teems with humor and sarcasm, along with beautiful descriptions of Japan.
2. “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov
A satirical novel that combines elements of fantasy, satire, and social criticism, set in Soviet Moscow during the Stalin era. It is a criticism of society’s refusal to see the world in magical ways.
The book centers around the Devil, known as Woland, who visits Moscow and causes chaos. For those interested in spirituality, absurdist fiction, and entertainment, it is a must-read.
3. “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne
A coming-of-age story that spans several decades in the life of a gay man in Ireland. The story explores a range of themes including sexuality, identity and belonging. It is filled with quirky characters and conversations.
The narrative is well-crafted and shifts forward seven years every 70 pages or so. If you are interested in a character-driven story, this is the book for you.
4. “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos” by Dominic Smith
A historical novel that tells the story of a 17th-century Dutch painter and a modern-day art historian, connected by a single painting. The book flashes back and forth in time over more than three hundred years.
The book is fiction but based on real historical context. It has themes of atonement and the impact of past actions on present lives.
5. “84, Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff
This book comprises a collection of letters sent by the author from New York to the staff of an antiquarian bookshop in London. It’s witty, features immensely likable people, and will leave you wishing you had a reason to write letters to a bookseller.
It showcases Ms. Hanff’s love of literature and her friendship with the staff at the bookstore. There’s also a really good movie adaptation with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.
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6. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
This book tells the story of a woman whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge and used for scientific research, leading to many medical breakthroughs. It explores the ethical implications of this, as well as the Lacks family’s reactions to the discovery.
7. “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben
This book is a fascinating exploration of the natural world and the interconnectedness of all living things. It highlights Mr. Wohlleben’s experiences and observations of the forest ecosystem.
The German author describes the world of trees as magical and unreal. For instance, he points out that trees are intelligent beings that communicate with each other and release extra seeds in times of crisis to repopulate.
8. “The Glass Universe” by Dava Sobel
This book tells the story of a group of women who worked at Harvard Observatory in the 19th century, analyzing astronomical data and making important contributions to the field. It is a fascinating look at the role of women in science and the impact they had.
The reader gets an extensive overview of the life stories of many astronomers. It brims with photos and timelines that are useful as reference material.
9. “The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English” by Henry Hitchings
This book is an exploration of the history and evolution of the English language. It delves into the origins of words and phrases, tracing their development and use over time, and offers a fascinating look at how the language has changed and evolved.
The book is an interesting read for anyone who is curious about the quirks of the English language.
10. “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World” by Jeff Goodell
This book is a sobering look at the effects of climate change on coastal cities, and the ways in which rising sea levels will reshape the world as we know it.
Mr. Goodell evokes feelings of despair and frustration, as well as a sense that people are in denial about the reality of the situation.
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