Monday, July 4, 2016

Top Ten Books I've Enjoyed That Have Under 2,000 Ratings On Goodreads

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

I did a version of this week's topic last year for a freebie week, when I shared books I like that had under 1,000 ratings on Goodreads. The link-up topic this week specifies 2,000 ratings, so let's see which books I can add to the list that have between 1,000 and 2,000 ratings!

1. The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
I love the accessible way that McKnight walks the reader through the process of reading the Bible, specifically the preconceptions we have about it (it's a puzzle to solve or a to-do list) and our discomfort with things that aren't clear-cut. He shows that ultimately, it's not unreasonable for two different people to walk away from reading the Bible with two different convictions about the right course of action.

2. Einstein Never Used Flashcards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and Diane Eyer
I need to reread this now that I have a child! The authors show how we have a tendency to focus on big development milestones (first step, first word), when there are so many smaller, fascinating ways that young kids learn and grow. They encourage imaginative play rather than pushing kids to be able to memorize information (even if that's what will impress the relatives).

3. It's Not You, It's the Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson
This might not be the most accurate crash course in economics you can find, but it doesn't really matter — it's all about rethinking the conflict-prone areas of marriage from a less feelings-heavy point of view. By relating economic principles to things like chores, parenting, and sex, they encourage the reader to shake up their views about what's "fair" to figure out what actually works.

4. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork
Although not as popular as Stork's wonderful Marcelo in the Real World, this is a solid, enjoyable story that delves into the themes of death, life, race, revenge, and family. Be aware that it does fall somewhat into the trope of "sick person teaches healthy person about life."

5. Marriage, a History by Stephanie Coontz
If you start doing any research into the history of marriage, you're going to run into Stephanie Coontz's name rather quickly. This book is an overview of marriage throughout the centuries, from ancient times to the Middle Ages to the 1950s family unit so often called "traditional" today. I found it very interesting and accessible despite being heavily researched.

6. Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
I had to include this on here! This is my toddler's favorite book and one that deserves to be considered a classic picture book. As a parent I appreciate the relatability of the parent's pleas that make up the book's rhymes ("Don't eat the sand, baby, please, baby, please!" / "Now hold my hand, baby baby baby, please.") "Baby" was one of my son's first words as a way to request this book.

7. Positive by Paige Rawl
I've recommended this book several times, as a 5-star read and a book I should recommend more often. I'm surprised it has so few ratings. It's an amazing and inspiring memoir from a teenage girl who contracted HIV at birth about the bullying and discrimination she experienced and what helped her heal from those experiences.

8. Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
This is an incisive exploration of the stereotypes that affect African American women's identity, both in how others perceive them and how they perceive themselves. I was relatively unfamiliar with a lot of historical context Harris-Perry shares and felt that I gained a valuable lens for viewing media representations of black women. If that's unfamiliar to you as well, this is definitely worth picking up.

9. Telling Lies by Paul Ekman
I love research like Ekman's, which turns popular beliefs on their head through research. In this book, Ekman walks the reader through the different kinds of lies people tell and what nonverbal signals really do betray lies and which are myths. If you enjoy social science research, this will be up your alley.

10. Torn by Justin Lee
Another book I don't talk about enough, this is a good introduction to the intersection of faith and sexual orientation and the related "culture wars" from someone who's lived through them. It's compassionate and not preachy, which makes it stand out among most of the discussion in this arena. If you've ever wondered how someone can be gay and Christian, Lee's story is a great one to start with.

What are some of your favorite underrated books?

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