Monday, January 16, 2017

Ten Underrated Books I've Read In The Past Year

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

I've shared some of my favorite underrated books before — literally "underrated," with fewer than 1,000 ratings or 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. Here are ten books I read in the past year who have also been discovered by relatively few readers! It looks like they're mostly religious books, with a couple of parenting ones thrown in as well. I've included the number of Goodreads ratings each book has as of this writing.

1. The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (638 ratings)
I'm kind of surprised this book has so few ratings. Either other Catholics aren't that interested in reading a compilation of the Pope's speeches/writings, or they don't use Goodreads! The selections are pretty short so they don't go too deep into any one topic, but they cover a wide range about how we live day to day, how we pray, and how we care for those most in need.

2. Dear Mister Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood? by Fred Rogers (174 ratings)
This was one of my top nonfiction reads of the year. My son has just gotten interested in watching Mister Roger's Neighborhood, and it would be fun to go back and reread this book after rewatching more episodes.

3. Friendship at the Margins by Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl (213 ratings)
I heard about this book through word-of-mouth recommendations from a couple different sources and finally picked it up this past year. This book is both a gentle indictment of typical mission work and an exploration of the benefits and challenges of becoming friends with people whose life circumstances are vastly different than your own.

4. Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther (1,087 ratings)
This has the most ratings on this list, but still not many. In this book, Elizabeth Esther shares her story of growing up in a fundamentalist cult, finding a way out, and learning how to heal. It definitely deserves to reach a wider audience, and I'm surprised it hasn't gained traction after the popularity of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

5. Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki (822 ratings)
Another one of my top nonfiction reads of the year. This method worked well to quickly train our toddler to use the toilet. It's the #1 method I hear recommended, so I'm kind of surprised more people haven't rated it.

6. Philippine Duchesne by Catherine M. Mooney (4 ratings)
I picked up this book because I wanted to know more about the saint I'd chosen as my confirmation saint in high school. It's actually quite an interesting biography and has a great introductory chapter about saints in general. I guess, as she's not one of the more well-known saints, most people aren't seeking out a bio of her.

7. Prototype by Jonathan Martin (437 ratings)
I originally heard about this book from Rachel Held Evans, and I thought it was a great reflection on Christian identity and community blended with Martin's own memoir. Martin's thesis is that Jesus was a prototype for a new kind of human who acted out of knowledge that he was loved by God, not as a way to earn God's love.

8. The Rise and Fall of the Bible by Timothy Beal (430 ratings)
I listed Beal as one of the best new-to-me authors I read in 2016, specifically for this book. It's a nice exploration of the history of the Bible, as well as the current state of Bible publishing (which preys on people's desire for the Bible to be a straightforward answer book).

9. The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne E. Schooler (125 ratings)
Unlike some other adoption books I've read, this book is fairly comprehensive in its information on choosing between the different adoption processes, talking about adoption with your child at different stages of their life, and dealing with potential issues unique to (or more common with) adoptive children, such as attachment issues and birth parent searches. I'm glad our social worker recommended it.

10. With Burning Hearts by Henri Nouwen (204 ratings)
Yet another top nonfiction read of the year. (Funny how many of them were lesser-known books!) It's a beautiful reflection on the different parts of the Mass and how we are invited to participate at each stage, using as a scaffolding the story of the travelers on the road to Emmaus.

Which underrated books did you read in the past year?

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