I'm a bit late, but this week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish was: Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books In X Genre. I had a LOT of trouble with this one, so I decided to mix this one up a bit and cover a few genres.
1. YA Dystopia
Most underrated author: Ann Aguirre
I know she's not exactly unknown, but when compared to The Hunger Games or Divergent, she definitely doesn't get as much play. Which is a shame, because though her first book is a bit rocky in terms of world-building and the writing is a bit clunky, this series actually gets better as it goes on, and by the end I was amazed by how rich the world she created was, and how much I was invested in the plot. Plus the main character was actually awake for the climaxes, so that helped. (Reviews: Enclave, Outpost, Horde.)
Most underrated books: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett & Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
Well, obviously. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Sure, there's a dedicated fandom for this book. But there are also a shocking number of readers who've never heard of it, despite being die hard fans of one author or the other. Which is a shame, because I like this better than Gaiman's solo work (which, for the record, I love) and I couldn't make it through any of Pratchett's books. (Review here.)
My parents read this to me as a child, which was probably wildly inappropriate, but I loved it. Re-read it as an adult and it held up: still wonderful. (Review here.)
Most underrated author: Tom Robbins
I've read nearly every book this guy has ever written - many of them more than once. While I do think that the appeal was stronger for me when I was in my teens, I'll always enjoy his quirky, colourful view of the world. His books are funny and magical and full of memorable characters. (Review of Fierce Invalids here.)
Most underrated book: Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Granted I read this ages ago and barely remember it. And I do remember that it wasn't perfect. But I found it original enough that it has stood out in my memory against the many, many other supernatural and paranormal books I've read. I think what stood out to me the most was the characters and the mythology. I should probably re-read it to remind myself of what I enjoyed, but I think it gets a lot less attention than it probably deserves.
4. Books About Books
Most underrated book: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
This book won my heart. It's about how the Queen discovers books, and the way she, her life and her priorities shift once she becomes a reader. It's brilliantly conceived and shows an ability on the part of the author to imagine the inner life of someone whose life experience is unique. It is also packed with dry British wit, which I love. (Review here.)
5. Travel Memoirs
Most underrated book: Travels by Michael Crichton
I talked about this recently, but I have to include it in this list. This is a series of short anecdotes about different adventures and experiences Michael Crichton had during his life - and trust me, he had one exciting life. It's not strictly a travel memoir, but has enough journeys between its pages for me to classify it as such. (Review here.)
Most underrated book: Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff
I fell in love with this book. Not only is Helene someone I wish I could have met, but her love of books had me feeling such a sense of kinship with her that reading her memoir was nearly as good as chatting first-hand with any of my bookish friends. And that's saying something. I doubt this book would have widespread appeal, but that said, I think everyone who loves reading about books and readers needs to get their hands on a copy ASAP. (Review here.)
7. Dark Humour
Most underrated author: Roald Dahl
You're probably going, "huh?" to this particular pick, since everyone in the world has heard of Dahl. But I feel like most people know his kids' books, but not his grown up books. Which are pretty disturbing. I mean, some of his kids' books are too (bald witches that turn kids into mice, anyone?) but his adult writing... yeah. Dark. My favourite short story of his is called Lamb to the Slaughter, and I can't tell you why I love it because that would be giving away the plot twist, but it's very clever and deeply horrifying if you really think about it.
8. Middle Grade/YA Contemporary
Most underrated book: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I love this book. It's written by the author of 101 Dalmations, but is totally different. I can't easily explain it in a few sentences, so go here to read my review. Suffice it to say that it's one of my favourite books of all time, and one that I've re-read over and over.
I really can't think of any others at the moment - though if you were to turn this question on its head and ask me about overrated books and authors, I could probably go on for days. I think this is partly due to the fact that I know what I like, and I abandon books that don't work for me. So what about you guys? Who/what have I missed?