This is a quantifiable way to look at underappreciated books.  Here’s how to figure it out for yourself.

“An easy way to find this — go to Goodreads, your read list, at the top of your read list where it says settings you can add a column for # of ratings, then you can sort by that.”

I’ve always known that I tend to read things that are a bit off the beaten path.  This confirmed it for me.  I had to go deep into my Read list to find anything with OVER 2000 ratings.  About 250 of the 1000 books I have listed as read on Goodreads have under 2000 ratings.

My Book With the Lowest Number of Ratings (that isn’t an ARC)

The Pope and I: How the Lifelong Friendship Between a Polish Jew and Pope John Paul II Advanced the Cause of Jewish-Christian RelationsThe Pope and I: How the Lifelong Friendship Between a Polish Jew and Pope John Paul II Advanced the Cause of Jewish-Christian Relations by Jerzy Kluger

“This book describes the surprising, lifelong relationship between Pope John Paul II and his Jewish friend, Jerzy Kluger. Their friendship played a role in shaping Karol Wojtyla’s early views toward the Jewish people, and his later efforts, as pope, to overcome the legacy of anti-Semitism. Though their story has been previously recounted, here for the first time Jerzy Kluger offers his own account of their relationship over many years. The story begins with their friendship in grade school in Poland, Kluger’s extraordinary survival of the war, followed by his reunion with Archbishop Wojtyla in Rome during Vatican II. After his friend’s election as Pope John Paul II, their relationship unfolds against extraordinary advances in Jewish-Christian relations. Kluger tells a fascinating tale, highlighting the surprising confluences of history, politics, and religion sealed by friendship and mutual respect.”

This one has 17 reviews. 17! It was really interesting.

Blue Sun, Yellow SkyBlue Sun, Yellow Sky by Jamie Hoang

“Hailed as “One of the best technical painters of our time” by an L.A. Times critic, 27 year-old, Aubrey Johnson’s work is finally gaining traction. But as she weaves through what should be a celebration of her art, a single nagging echo of her doctor’s words refuses to stay silent—there is no cure. In less than eight weeks Aubrey is going blind.”

This book is amazingly well written. It is the story of an artist who takes a round the world trip to see all she can because she is going blind. That sounds depressing but it isn’t. Trust me. Read this one.

InkInk by Sabrina Vourvoulias
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“What happens when rhetoric about immigrants escalates to an institutionalized population control system? The near-future, dark speculative novel INK opens as a biometric tattoo is approved for use to mark temporary workers, permanent residents and citizens with recent immigration history – collectively known as inks. Set in a fictional city and small, rural town in the U.S. during a 10-year span, the novel is told in four voices: a journalist; an ink who works in a local population control office; an artist strongly tied to a specific piece of land; and a teenager whose mother runs an inkatorium (a sanitarium-internment center opened in response to public health concerns about inks).”

114 ratings? Seriously? People, this will not do! .Stop reading this post right now and go read this book. Here’s the Amazon link. The ebook is only $5.99 as I’m writing this post. This book is amazing and breath taking and heart breaking and terrifyingly real and possible even if there is a touch of magical realism thrown in. Read this one especially if you are an American in the middle of this stupid election. This is what happens when rhetoric about immigrants is taken to its logical conclusion. Seriously, you HAVE TO read this book.

Why are you still here? Have you gotten copy your copy of Ink yet? Ok, then we can move on.

Noah's WifeNoah’s Wife by T.K. Thorne

“Noah built an ark, but this story has never been told! Noah’s wife is Na’amah, a brilliant young girl with a form of autism (now known as Aspergers). Na’amah wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey–a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother, the love of two men, and a disaster that threatens her world.”

Wonderful historical fiction set in the ancient world

Sofia Khan is Not ObligedSofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

“”Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.”

Like light and happy books? Get this one.

Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of IntoleranceFaith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance by Linda K. Wertheimer

“A suburban Boston school unwittingly started a firestorm of controversy over a sixth-grade field trip. The class was visiting a mosque to learn about world religions when a handful of boys, unnoticed by their teachers, joined the line of worshippers and acted out the motions of the Muslim call to prayer. A video of the prayer went viral with the title “Wellesley, Massachusetts Public School Students Learn to Pray to Allah.” Charges flew that the school exposed the children to Muslims who intended to convert American schoolchildren. Wellesley school officials defended the course, but also acknowledged the delicate dance teachers must perform when dealing with religion in the classroom.

Courts long ago banned public school teachers from preaching of any kind. But the question remains: How much should schools teach about the world’s religions? Answering that question in recent decades has pitted schools against their communities.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer spent months with that class, and traveled to other communities around the nation, listening to voices on all sides of the controversy, including those of clergy, teachers, children, and parents who are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, or atheist. In Lumberton, Texas, nearly a hundred people filled a school-board meeting to protest a teacher’s dress-up exercise that allowed freshman girls to try on a burka as part of a lesson on Islam. In Wichita, Kansas, a Messianic Jewish family’s opposition to a bulletin-board display about Islam in an elementary school led to such upheaval that the school had to hire extra security. Across the country, parents have requested that their children be excused from lessons on Hinduism and Judaism out of fear they will shy away from their own faiths.”

This was such a great look at the state of idiocy and hypocrisy in teaching about religion as history.

SEAsoned - A Chef's Journey with Her CaptainSEAsoned – A Chef’s Journey with Her Captain by Victoria Allman

“Victoria’s Recipe for Marriage: Take two adventurous newlyweds and place them on a floundering yacht where the wife is the chef, and her boss, the captain, is also her husband. Add two inexperienced crew members, an anorexic diva and her bully of a husband, a CEO who thinks he’s in charge, a drunken first mate, and a randy wife looking for diversion. Stir with a violent storm and a rapidly flooding engine room. Apply pressure and watch the situation simmer to a boil. Sprinkled with over 30-mouthwatering recipes and spiced with tales of adventure, SEAsoned is the hilarious look at a yacht chef’s first year working for her husband while they cruise from the Bahamas to Italy, France, Greece and Spain, trying to stay afloat.”

This is Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous from the help’s point of view.  I gave a copy of this away for one a prize one month for Foodies Read.

The Violinist of Venice: A Story of VivaldiThe Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi by Alyssa Palombo

“Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d’Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.”

This is a wonderfully written historical fiction novel.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa ParksThe Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks’s politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought—for more than a half a century—to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.”

I can’t believe this book hasn’t gotten more attention. It was amazing.

The Cosy Teashop in the CastleThe Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts

“When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.

When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew.”

I just read this one. It was so cute.

A Bonus Entry

Moonshine (Zephyr Hollis, #1)Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson

“Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss.

What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request — not to mention attempting to resist (often unsuccessfully) his dark, inhuman charm.”

I love this series. Vampires and other supernaturals mixed in with social justice work in 1920s New York? What’s not to love?

This is my most popular book on this list and even it only has 500 ratings on Goodreads.