Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Or I’m Sorry for Yelling at You About Books I Love. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is focused on our favorite books with less  than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. I think I have to alter that a bit to really capture what counts as under the radar for me. We’re going to go with books published at least a year ago with fewer than 500 Goodreads ratings (that totally deserve more).


She Weeps Each Time You’re Born by Quan Barry

Historical fiction with a heavy dash of magical realism is probably a pretty hard sell for some people, but I adore this book and feel like it will be a total winner for anyone who loves that combination.


Beneath the Bonfire by Nickolas Butler

Oh, short stories. Everyone thinks they hate them. Maybe you usually hate short stories, but these are a different beast and you should give them a shot (especially if you’re from the Midwest).


Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery

I so wish I could shove this one in a bunch of hands. I’m actually shocked that more people haven’t read it—it’s super intense and eerie while getting to some fantastic commentary on the current state of the American economy.


God is an Astronaut by Alyson Foster

Alyson Foster’s great new story collection just came out to remind me how much I enjoyed her super unique book written in e-mails.


Gabriel: A Poem by Edward Hirsch

Perhaps I talked about how much this destroyed me and it scared you away? Or you heard the Literary Disco team crying over it and didn’t think you could handle it? I think you can. Even if you don’t like or tend to read poetry, you need to read this.


The Animals by Christian Kiefer

I know a bunch of other bloggers loved The Animals and I’ve talked about it quite a bit, so don’t say I tried to keep this one all to myself. It’s that perfect blend of suspense and amazing literary writing that’s so hard to find you just have to treasure it when you do.


Severed by Frances Larson

C’mon, people, a book about the history of severed heads! There are more than 500 of you who are interested and only remotely grossed out by the thought of reading such a thing, I know it.


Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm

So, David Connerley Nahm can write, write, write. You need to read his words because they’re incredible (and summer is the perfect time to pick this one up, so get going).


No Country by Kaylan Ray

I love big, sprawling family sagas that take place over several decades and multiple continents and No Country fits perfectly in that little niche.


The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom

Violent, bloody historical fiction with beautiful writing also rings all my bells and Kent Wascom nails it. The follow up to this book, Secessia, is also brilliant and definitely worth checking out, too.

Are there any books you’d love to see more people read?

  • I’ve only read one of these – Beneath the Bonfire! I am hit or miss with short stories but you’re right, they definitely hit that perfect vibe for Midwesterners.

  • I’m going to see if my library can get some of these!

  • Heather

    I’ve heard of some of these and not of others – Severed is one of the latter and it sounds AMAZING. I went to the library on my lunch break and I could have got it there (they actually have it which is a nice change). I think I’ll pick it up when I drop off my latest borrows. Thanks for bringing it to my attention – it sounds delightful in a completely gruesome sort of way.

  • Oooh – Fallen Land looks really interesting. I’ll check that out. And YES to Beneath the Bonfire. I was that person that hated short stories and only read it b/c it was Butler and I loved Shotgun Lovesongs so much…and it made me much more open to trying short stories ever since.

    • Also – I saw this topic and thought maybe the 2,000 GR ratings was targeted towards YA readers. I haven’t read that many books that have more than 2,000 GR ratings!

  • Wait wait wait, you mean to tell me there’s a whole book about just chopped-off heads? Sign me up!

  • I should definitely pick up those Butler short stories. I really liked Shotgun Lovesongs!

  • Let me start off by saying that you are *so* not sorry about yelling at us about your favorite books. ;)

    I started the audio of Stiff by Mary Roach yesterday, and as of this moment I would totally read a book all about severed heads.

    Also, magical realism + hist-fic AND a book written entirely in emails? Sign me up for both of these.

  • Time. That’s the answer…time and lack of it. I seem to add about ten books a day to my TBR list after reading through blogs, knowing I’ll never get to read them. It’s sad how the books we love and scream about are buried beneath so many other books that are better marketed.

  • Bri

    I completely agree that everyone should read and love Beneath the Bonfire. Such a great collection that feels extremely cohesive yet each story is so different. I think I loved it just because of how much fun it was to relate to certain stories. Great List!

  • I need to check out Beneath the Bonfire. I read his novel Shotgun Lovesongs a while back and remember enjoying it. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Uh oh, somehow I missed your love for She Weeps and gave away my copy. Darn it!

    I adored the novel The Submission, but don’t know anyone else who has read it or heard of it. I thought it was so powerful and provocative about 9/11.

    • Rebecca Foster

      I loved The Submission!

    • I think I read The Submission! I wasn’t head over heels, but do remember thinking the premise ws really interesting!

  • I want all of them! Especially God Is an Astronaut. Short stories ftw!

  • Rebecca Foster

    I hadn’t even heard of some of these! I’ve read the Butler stories, and I share your enthusiasm for The Animals. It took me a while to find some favorites with fewer than 500 ratings, but here we go: The Heaven of Animals by David James Poissant (short stories), On Being Different by Merle Miller, To Travel Hopefully by Christopher Rush, Conundrum by Jan Morris (those three are all memoirs), and anything by Susan Allen Toth, who writes memoir and travel.

  • I’ve had Severed sitting on the wishlist for some time–thought the topic was quite unique! =D

  • I haven’t read ANY of these… for shame! I do own The Animals though, so at least that gives me somewhere to start. So many of these sounds SO good, so onto the TBR they go.

  • I cannot believe Beneath the Bonfire is below 500. That’s insanity.

  • Just put a bunch of these on hold at the library and recommended they purchase the ones they didn’t have! Thanks for posting! (Severed and She Weeps are probably topping my list.)

  • Yeah the Animals. I know I should! I’ll throw out The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland – a fun slim read for old-school journalism folk.

  • Kailana

    Man, this prompt is bad on the TBR. I have not heard of most of the books people have mentioned so far. lol

  • Thanks for the reminder of Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky! That’s a book I keep circling around, then forgetting, coming back to, etc. I need to go on and take the plunge.

  • Well, you know I am a preacher of the Butler, so I’m happy to see it here. I did read Gabriel on your rec, and loved (hated) it, so that’s also a great one to push, especially for people who don’t think they can like/get poetry.

    Ancient Oceans has been on my shelf (actually in a box since September and the Great Disaster), but I have been meaning to dig it out and get to it. Same with The Animals. Ugh, when will I have time to catch up! Severed is on my wish list, but there was something recently that just put me off of it, not sure I even remember what.

    I may have to shove God is an Astronaut somewhere in there, because sign me up for books written in email format.

    Great list!

    • Oh man, Gabriel is such a (great) killer.
      The Animals and Ancient Oceans are very you, so I would love those to come out of the boxes (The Animals especially).

      • Lauren @ Malcolm Avenue Review

        I think those were two I definitely pulled out of the box and put on my TBR bookstand. Especially The Animals. I was so psyched by seeing Christian and could just never cram it in. Sometimes I really don’t like bookish obligations.

  • Amanda

    All severed heads!? Sign me up! I totally forgot about She Weeps too – must get on the library list!

  • Debbie Rodgers

    I already had Beneath the Bonfire on my TBR (thanks for the reminder) and you’ve convinced me to add God is an Astronaut, The Animals, and No Country. Great post!

  • My wishlist just got a whole lot longer. Beneath the Bonfire is lurking on my TBR pile despite the fact that I’m that person that tends to hate short stories. Sounds like I shouldn’t be afraid to just go ahead and read it! ;-)

  • Sigh. I still need to read ALL of these.

  • What a great idea for a list! If we all did one, I can only imagine the growth of everyone’s reading piles…
    Have just added both of Patrick Flanery’s novels to my list, and there are a couple here that I heard about on your blog but had forgotten about. It’s always good to be reminded!

  • I haven’t read any of these… yet :(