Hidden Gems - Obscure Books Which Need More Love

These books haven't appeared on any major best-seller lists, at least not recently. They haven't been made into big-budget movies. They haven't been described as "phenomena". We probably only read them via a stroke of luck, a recommendation or diligent trawling of numerous real or virtual bookshelves.

And yet we've found these books to be just as good as, if not better than, the "blockbusters" of their genre, and we think more people should read them. Add your obscure favourites to this list and help them find the readers they deserve!

(Please exercise judgement in deciding whether a book counts as "obscure". I'll add some guidelines in the comments.)
1

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3.94 avg rating — 280 ratings
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2

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3.93 avg rating — 55,475 ratings
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2

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3.76 avg rating — 49 ratings
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4

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4.06 avg rating — 260 ratings
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4

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3.78 avg rating — 558 ratings
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6

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3.43 avg rating — 644 ratings
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7

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3.98 avg rating — 274 ratings
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8

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3.54 avg rating — 775 ratings
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9

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4.04 avg rating — 501 ratings
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10

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4.19 avg rating — 1,480 ratings
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11

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4.06 avg rating — 5,530 ratings
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11

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3.38 avg rating — 48 ratings
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11

by
3.50 avg rating — 175 ratings
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11

by
3.12 avg rating — 25 ratings
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11

by
3.79 avg rating — 207 ratings
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11

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0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
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11

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5 ratings
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11

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4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings
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11

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3.73 avg rating — 694 ratings
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11

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4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings
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21

by
4.30 avg rating — 178 ratings
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21

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3.76 avg rating — 10,980 ratings
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21

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3.87 avg rating — 187 ratings
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21

by
3.93 avg rating — 631 ratings
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21

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 12 ratings
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21

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3.50 avg rating — 14 ratings
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21

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4.25 avg rating — 12 ratings
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21

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4.24 avg rating — 431 ratings
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21

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4.06 avg rating — 1,036 ratings
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30

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3.58 avg rating — 6,004 ratings
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30

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3.56 avg rating — 8,059 ratings
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30

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3.47 avg rating — 775 ratings
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30

by
4.08 avg rating — 853 ratings
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30

by
3.81 avg rating — 369 ratings
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30

by
4.15 avg rating — 137 ratings
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36

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3.42 avg rating — 1,207 ratings
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36

by
3.42 avg rating — 24 ratings
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36

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3.33 avg rating — 6 ratings
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36

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4.23 avg rating — 1,190 ratings
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36

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3.77 avg rating — 915 ratings
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36

by
3.94 avg rating — 511 ratings
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42

by
3.98 avg rating — 278 ratings
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42

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3.77 avg rating — 2,888 ratings
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42

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4.44 avg rating — 95 ratings
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42

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3.90 avg rating — 96 ratings
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42

by
3.98 avg rating — 309 ratings
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47

by
4.15 avg rating — 10,220 ratings
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47

by
3.08 avg rating — 532 ratings
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47

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4.07 avg rating — 3,048 ratings
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50

by
3.97 avg rating — 1,677 ratings
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50

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3.62 avg rating — 2,380 ratings
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50

by
3.56 avg rating — 1,134 ratings
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50

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3.71 avg rating — 1,919 ratings
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50

by
3.76 avg rating — 9,928 ratings
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55

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2.86 avg rating — 7 ratings
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55

by
3.73 avg rating — 4,317 ratings
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55

by
3.97 avg rating — 313 ratings
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55

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4.05 avg rating — 19 ratings
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55

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4.11 avg rating — 3,051 ratings
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60

by
3.71 avg rating — 3,690 ratings
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60

by
3.94 avg rating — 5,236 ratings
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60

by
3.78 avg rating — 685 ratings
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60

by
4.36 avg rating — 25 ratings
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64

by
3.99 avg rating — 549 ratings
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64

by
4.11 avg rating — 1,328 ratings
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64

by
3.64 avg rating — 14 ratings
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64

by
3.41 avg rating — 420 ratings
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68

by
4.07 avg rating — 190 ratings
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68

by
3.70 avg rating — 174 ratings
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68

by
3.78 avg rating — 602 ratings
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71

by
3.71 avg rating — 252 ratings
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72

by
3.82 avg rating — 891 ratings
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72

by
4.06 avg rating — 172 ratings
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flag this list (?)
73 books · 20 voters · list created June 8th, 2016 by Keith (votes) .
7 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Keith 3578 books
90 friends
Teàrlach 1445 books
17 friends
Cat 152 books
2 friends
Catherine 637 books
1609 friends
Gehayi 625 books
27 friends
Fiona 853 books
113 friends
Nithya 144 books
83 friends
Brittany 538 books
17 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Keith (last edited Jun 09, 2016 12:17AM) (new)

Keith GUIDELINES

It's hard to define "obscure", but here are some traits which might make a book qualify for this list:

-It has less than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads (exercise caution with this one - some books/stories are available in many different editions and can appear obscure when in fact they're well-known).
-You've rarely, if ever, seen a physical copy of it in a bookshop despite frequenting numerous bookshops which sell books in its genre and original language.
-It's out of print.
-You've spoken to few, if any, people who have ever read it, despite having many well-read friends and acquaintances.
-You read it after finding a dusty old copy of it in a second-hand bookshop/charity shop/relative's attic/dragon's hoard - the only physical copy of it you've ever seen.

As regards quality, here are some characteristics which might apply to a book that should go on this list:

-It has one or more quite similar elements to a much more popular work, which you feel it executes significantly better than the popular work.
-It's one of your favourite books in its genre, or in general.
-It's significantly different, in a good way, to any other book in its genre that you've read or are aware of.

Here are some traits which definitely disqualify a book:

-One or more of its editions has at least 10,000 ratings on Goodreads.
-It's been made into a film/TV series/musical/video game/radio serial/breakfast cereal in the last 10 years.
-It frequently appears on school reading lists.

Anyone placing recent high-profile best-sellers (cf. The Hunger Games, Twilight, Gone Girl, etc.) on this list will be soundly and deservedly ridiculed for not reading the title and description. :-P Many Listopia lists are top-heavy with "blockbuster" books, even when said books don't qualify for the list's description; this list by definition excludes such books.


message 2: by Teàrlach (new)

Teàrlach What an interesting idea for a list! I'll have to scour my bookshelves for this, I'm sure I've got a couple of books I love that are also obscure.


message 3: by Teàrlach (new)

Teàrlach Keith wrote: "-It has less than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads (exercise caution with this one - so..."

Do you mean less than 10,000? Some of the books on here have 2000+ ratings, one has 5000+. (One even has 47,000???)


message 4: by Keith (last edited Jun 09, 2016 05:27PM) (new)

Keith Teàrlach wrote: "Do you mean less than 10,000? Some of the books on here have 2000+ ratings, one has 5000+. (One even has 47,000???) "

I'm flexible - less than 1,000 means the book is definitely obscure (unless it's available in lots of editions, which can be the case with shorter works which are often found in various compilations, like HP Lovecraft's novellas). More than 10,000 is definitely not obscure. Between 1,000 and 10,000 is a grey area. The one with 47,000 clearly shouldn't be here, though - I'll ask the person who added it to remove it.

One of the reasons I'm being flexible is that a book can seem obscure or not depending on where you live. Another reason is that older books can be very hard to find because they haven't had a new edition for a while but have been read a long time ago by many older members and therefore have a relatively high number of ratings. When I was choosing books for this list and earlier when I was editing my "needs more love" shelf, I was surprised to find that some of the books I thought were obscure had been rated thousands of times. I wonder if it may be worth creating another list for books which aren't nearly unknown or nigh-impossible to find but are underappreciated compared to "blockbusters" in their genre.


message 5: by Teàrlach (new)

Teàrlach Keith wrote: "I wonder if it may be worth creating another list for books which aren't nearly unknown or nigh-impossible to find but are underappreciated compared to "blockbusters" in their genre."

I think that list would have a lot more entries than this one (if you don't want to just use this list). There are some books I've read and loved that have between 5000 and 10,000 ratings but that I've never heard people talk about and which never get big spreads in bookstores, like ASoIaF and similarly popular series do.

Personally, I always feel that if there is only one book by a certain author in a bookstore, that author qualifies as "obscure". I hadn't considered that it might also be a regional thing. So far, this list has seriously made me think about how I look at books.


message 6: by Peter (last edited Jul 04, 2016 02:40PM) (new)

Peter Tillman Some parallel lists:
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/7...

-- which includes links to more such lists, for various levels of "obscure."


message 7: by Keith (new)

Keith Thanks!


message 8: by L. (new)

L. McCoy Rrr... the book I wanted to add to this list would pretty much 100% qualify if the publisher of the book wasn't also a film studio that made a direct to DVD movie of it. D***.


message 9: by Keith (new)

Keith L. wrote: "Rrr... the book I wanted to add to this list would pretty much 100% qualify if the publisher of the book wasn't also a film studio that made a direct to DVD movie of it. D***."

I think a direct-to-DVD movie can be counted as obscure in itself, so go ahead and include the book.


message 10: by L. (new)

L. McCoy Yay! Thanks!


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