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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4.52 avg rating — 131 ratings
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2

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3.55 avg rating — 269 ratings
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3

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3.41 avg rating — 17 ratings
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4

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4.20 avg rating — 269 ratings
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5

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3.92 avg rating — 26 ratings
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6

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3.87 avg rating — 165 ratings
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6

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3.90 avg rating — 154 ratings
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8

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3.72 avg rating — 345 ratings
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9

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4.37 avg rating — 366 ratings
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9

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3.52 avg rating — 180 ratings
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9

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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12

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4.02 avg rating — 199 ratings
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13

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3.79 avg rating — 754 ratings
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14

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3.89 avg rating — 645 ratings
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15

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3.91 avg rating — 369 ratings
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16

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4.19 avg rating — 315 ratings
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17

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3.32 avg rating — 22 ratings
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17

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3.62 avg rating — 155 ratings
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19

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2.86 avg rating — 37 ratings
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20

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3.89 avg rating — 744 ratings
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21

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3.35 avg rating — 71 ratings
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22

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4.28 avg rating — 36 ratings
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22

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3.95 avg rating — 497 ratings
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24

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4.05 avg rating — 149 ratings
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25

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3.86 avg rating — 7 ratings
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26

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3.79 avg rating — 29 ratings
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27

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3.26 avg rating — 62 ratings
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28

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4.01 avg rating — 308 ratings
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29

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3.73 avg rating — 273 ratings
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29

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3.64 avg rating — 150 ratings
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31

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3.67 avg rating — 64 ratings
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32

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3.79 avg rating — 48 ratings
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32

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3.74 avg rating — 362 ratings
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34

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3.82 avg rating — 131 ratings
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35

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4.02 avg rating — 305 ratings
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36

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4.30 avg rating — 146 ratings
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37

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3.28 avg rating — 169 ratings
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37

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3.44 avg rating — 25 ratings
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37

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3.86 avg rating — 58 ratings
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40

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3.80 avg rating — 915 ratings
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40

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3.66 avg rating — 88 ratings
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42

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3.28 avg rating — 105 ratings
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43

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4.33 avg rating — 1,785 ratings
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43

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3.79 avg rating — 116 ratings
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45

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0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
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46

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3.55 avg rating — 135 ratings
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47

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4.01 avg rating — 110 ratings
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48

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2.83 avg rating — 6 ratings
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48

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3.98 avg rating — 264 ratings
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50

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3.52 avg rating — 52 ratings
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50

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3.48 avg rating — 95 ratings
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52

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3.47 avg rating — 30 ratings
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52

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3.80 avg rating — 104 ratings
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52

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3.59 avg rating — 153 ratings
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55

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liked it 3.00 avg rating — 6 ratings
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55

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3.93 avg rating — 902 ratings
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57

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4.12 avg rating — 154 ratings
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57

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3.46 avg rating — 13 ratings
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59

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3.39 avg rating — 104 ratings
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60

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3.37 avg rating — 252 ratings
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60

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3.30 avg rating — 92 ratings
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62

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3.90 avg rating — 202 ratings
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62

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 4 ratings
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64

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3.59 avg rating — 271 ratings
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64

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4.33 avg rating — 27 ratings
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66

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3.72 avg rating — 25 ratings
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67

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4.30 avg rating — 163 ratings
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68

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4.03 avg rating — 518 ratings
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68

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3.67 avg rating — 48 ratings
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70

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5 ratings
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71

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3.90 avg rating — 135 ratings
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72

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3.92 avg rating — 13 ratings
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73

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3.33 avg rating — 18 ratings
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74

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3.40 avg rating — 15 ratings
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75

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3.70 avg rating — 152 ratings
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76

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3.55 avg rating — 20 ratings
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76 books · 15 voters · list created April 23rd, 2012 by Alessandra (votes) .
9 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Alessandra 2196 books
66 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
460 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3118 books
816 friends
Stephanie 11 books
0 friends
Peggy 4365 books
7 friends
Ashley 1840 books
91 friends
Bree 1656 books
82 friends
Jane 1745 books
388 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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