Underrated Bestsellers, Fewer Than 100 Ratings

Once they were top-selling books, but now they have little presence on GoodReads. A snapshot of the tastes of the past, and maybe a source of some interesting works.

For the purposes of this list, "Bestseller" means listed in either the New York Times or Publishers' Weekly. If anyone wishes to suggest another source, please do it in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

If you add books, please say the year and the list they were on, in the comments box under your vote in the righthand column.

For very, very underrated bestsellers, please see Sic Transit Gloria Librorum: Bestsellers With Fewer Than 20 Ratings.

And if (popular taste being what it is) you are looking for more consistently readable lesser-known books (because, let's face it, bestseller status does not necessarily mean quality writing), please see REALLY, Really Underrated Books (Fewer than 100 Ratings)
Super Underrated Books (Fewer than 50 Ratings)
Ridiculously Underrated Books (Fewer than 20 Ratings)
1

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4.17 avg rating — 183 ratings
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2

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4.48 avg rating — 152 ratings
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3

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3.61 avg rating — 330 ratings
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4

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3.38 avg rating — 21 ratings
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5

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4.24 avg rating — 386 ratings
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6

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3.81 avg rating — 31 ratings
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7

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3.90 avg rating — 199 ratings
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7

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3.87 avg rating — 209 ratings
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9

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3.71 avg rating — 383 ratings
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10

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4.37 avg rating — 427 ratings
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10

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3.48 avg rating — 235 ratings
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10

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2.67 avg rating — 3 ratings
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13

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4.01 avg rating — 219 ratings
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14

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3.87 avg rating — 1,465 ratings
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15

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3.91 avg rating — 811 ratings
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16

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3.90 avg rating — 428 ratings
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17

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4.19 avg rating — 360 ratings
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18

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3.35 avg rating — 26 ratings
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18

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3.60 avg rating — 167 ratings
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20

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2.83 avg rating — 41 ratings
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21

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3.86 avg rating — 833 ratings
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22

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3.44 avg rating — 104 ratings
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23

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4.29 avg rating — 112 ratings
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23

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 633 ratings
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25

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4.07 avg rating — 216 ratings
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26

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3.86 avg rating — 7 ratings
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27

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3.76 avg rating — 38 ratings
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28

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3.20 avg rating — 82 ratings
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29

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4.06 avg rating — 399 ratings
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30

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3.75 avg rating — 336 ratings
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30

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3.71 avg rating — 226 ratings
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32

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3.85 avg rating — 85 ratings
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33

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3.84 avg rating — 56 ratings
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33

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3.72 avg rating — 550 ratings
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35

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3.83 avg rating — 174 ratings
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36

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4.05 avg rating — 333 ratings
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37

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4.30 avg rating — 174 ratings
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38

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3.28 avg rating — 176 ratings
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38

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3.42 avg rating — 31 ratings
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38

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3.99 avg rating — 75 ratings
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38

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3.38 avg rating — 66 ratings
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42

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3.91 avg rating — 1,479 ratings
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42

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3.65 avg rating — 102 ratings
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44

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3.30 avg rating — 161 ratings
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45

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4.34 avg rating — 2,078 ratings
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45

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3.84 avg rating — 135 ratings
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47

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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48

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3.61 avg rating — 185 ratings
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49

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4.08 avg rating — 131 ratings
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50

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3.14 avg rating — 7 ratings
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50

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3.96 avg rating — 297 ratings
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52

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3.67 avg rating — 57 ratings
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52

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3.50 avg rating — 113 ratings
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54

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3.60 avg rating — 35 ratings
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54

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3.85 avg rating — 121 ratings
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54

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3.69 avg rating — 223 ratings
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57

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3.33 avg rating — 9 ratings
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57

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3.97 avg rating — 1,103 ratings
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59

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4.12 avg rating — 194 ratings
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59

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3.50 avg rating — 18 ratings
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61

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3.48 avg rating — 133 ratings
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62

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3.38 avg rating — 312 ratings
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62

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3.36 avg rating — 108 ratings
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64

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3.90 avg rating — 240 ratings
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64

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4.11 avg rating — 9 ratings
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66

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3.56 avg rating — 303 ratings
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66

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4.37 avg rating — 38 ratings
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68

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3.79 avg rating — 42 ratings
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69

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4.29 avg rating — 205 ratings
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70

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4.04 avg rating — 689 ratings
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70

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3.72 avg rating — 116 ratings
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72

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5 ratings
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73

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3.90 avg rating — 185 ratings
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74

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3.69 avg rating — 13 ratings
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75

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3.50 avg rating — 20 ratings
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76

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3.61 avg rating — 18 ratings
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77

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3.72 avg rating — 175 ratings
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78

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3.57 avg rating — 21 ratings
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78 books · 23 voters · list created April 23rd, 2012 by Alessandra (votes) .
10 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Alessandra 2196 books
62 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 545 books
375 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3289 books
871 friends
Stephanie 11 books
0 friends
Peggy 4652 books
8 friends
Ashley 1844 books
94 friends
Bree 1774 books
86 friends
Jane 2138 books
376 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) What about foreign bestseller lists equivalent to what the NYT and Publishers' Weekly are in the U.S?


message 2: by Alessandra (new)

Alessandra That sounds fine to me. The only reason I put in the limitation was the (I believe) recent phenomenon of proliferation of more obscure "besteller" lists, which could muddy the waters. Part of the point of this list was to showcase some of the books that, once upon a time, outsold every other book across a wide region.

So, sure. I'm rather US-provincial, anyway, and wouldn't mind learning more about other book tallies.

I am considering starting a list of former bestsellers with fewer than 10 or 20 ratings, to be called "Sic Transit Gloria Librorum." There are quite a number of them. I hadn't realized what a big deal it was until I saw books with fewer than 1000 ratings labelled "underrated."

Actually, from what I saw, <1000 ratings would include the majority of bestsellers from before about 1980. More than 50%, I mean.

Of course, it may be more a reflection of the fact that GoodReads skews young than a reality of these books falling away from the fame they once had.


message 3: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Apr 23, 2012 10:00AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) "Sic Transit Gloria Librorum"

Great title! :)

I'll see whether I can find some non-US sources then.

In the interim, these two links may perhaps be helpful to those seeking to make their selection from NYT bestseller lists of bygone days:

http://www.hawes.com/no1_f_d.htm (NYT No. 1 fiction bestsellers) and
http://www.hawes.com/no1_nf_t.htm (NYT No. 1 nonfiction bestsellers)


message 4: by Alessandra (new)

Alessandra Here is a link to a University of Illinois database which has Publisher's Weekly bestsellers from 1900-1999:

http://people.lis.illinois.edu/~unswo...


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