The Most Underrated Books Of All Time 

Do you ever feel like you’ve read a book that should have been more appreciated than it was? We’ve all felt this in our reading careers, but what defines an underrated book? Which books did readers and critics overlook due to their genre or other factors such as lack of marketing? 

We’re diving into the depths of literature and exploring the most underrated books ever. These remarkable stories deserve recognition for their incredible writing and unique narratives. 

Underrated Books of All Time

Underrated books didn’t get the recognition they deserved. It could be because they were published when their genre wasn’t popular or because there wasn’t enough promotion. Readers and critics may have overlooked these books, but their unique stories are worth exploring. From classic literature to more contemporary reads, here are some of the most underrated books ever.

Most Underrated Books Of All Time

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

A Rage in Harlem is a classic work of fiction by Chester Himes. This novel follows the story of Jackson, an African-American man living in 1950s Harlem who finds himself embroiled in a dangerous criminal underworld. 

Rich with details and colorful characters, this book demonstrates Himes’ ability to write powerful stories that remain relevant today.

The novel revolves around Jackson’s attempts to retrieve a buried fortune for a crime boss. 

Along the way, he encounters all sorts of characters from Harlem’s seedy underworld, including an alluring femme fatale who leads him astray. As Jackson finds himself in increasing danger, Himes paints a vivid picture of 1950s Harlem and its inhabitants. He writes with humor and insight about racism, poverty, and crime that still resonate today.

A Rage in Harlem is often overlooked due to its genre, but it deserves recognition as one of the great works of African-American literature. With its compelling characters and powerful story, this book has stood the test of time and remains relevant decades after its publication.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow is an acclaimed science-fiction novel written by Mary Doria Russell. This compelling story follows a Jesuit priest and his crew traveling to a distant planet, searching for extraterrestrial life. With themes of Faith, exploration, and romance, The Sparrow is an incredible read that deserves more recognition than it has received.

The story begins with Father Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest who has experienced loss and struggles to find hope in his Faith. In response to an interstellar message from a distant planet, Sandoz and his crew journey into space aboard the spaceship Raphael. 

With limited resources and no idea of what awaits them on Rakhat, the crew sets off for an adventure that will test their physical and spiritual strength.

Throughout their journey, they encounter many perils, both physical and spiritual.

 As they explore this strange new world, they uncover secrets challenging everything they know about themselves and their mission. The Sparrow weaves together themes of Faith, exploration, knowledge, love, loss, and mystery, taking readers on an incredible journey across the universe.

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff is a collection of hilarious and heartfelt essays written by one of our most beloved humor writers. David Rakoff examines his life with wit and self-deprecating humor in these stories. 

He discusses topics ranging from his battle with cancer to his lifelong obsession with Barbra Streisand. With stories full of warmth and wit, Fraud deserves more recognition than it has received.

David Rakoff’s writing style is uniquely humorous and poignant; in each essay, he finds the perfect balance between laughter and sorrow. His frankness about his experiences allows readers to connect emotionally with him as they share his joys and griefs.

 Through his incisive observations, Rakoff also points out the absurdities of modern life with a lighthearted touch.

Fraud truly stands out because it perfectly captures the human experience in all its complexity. 

Each essay is full of humor and wisdom, exploring topics from family relationships to mortality with equal intensity. The essays are funny and thought-provoking, providing an in-depth examination of what it means to be alive today.

Chéri and The Last of Chéri by Colette

Chéri and The Last of Chéri by Colette are two classic novels about love, loss, and relationships. First published in the 1920s, these books tell of a passionate affair between a young man named Chéri and an older courtesan named Lea. With its frank exploration of sexuality, romance, class differences, and female independence, this story remains relevant today.

The first book in the series is Chéri. It follows the tumultuous relationship between 19-year-old Chéri and Lea over six years. During their time together, they experience both heartbreak and joy as they grapple with societal expectations around gender roles and class divisions.

 At times humorous and heartbreaking, this novel provides an insightful look into the complexities of relationships.

The second book, The Last of Chéri, is six years after the first book’s conclusion. This time, however, it is Lea who must grapple with her feelings for Chéri as she comes to terms with his death. 

Through Lea’s grief and emotional journey, Colette paints a vivid picture of what it means to love someone deeply and then have to let them go.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge is a riveting story of mystery and intrigue that has something for readers of all ages. This acclaimed novel follows the journey of Faith, an independent-minded young girl in Victorian England who is determined to uncover her father’s secrets.

 With its strong female lead character, thought-provoking themes, and vivid historical setting, this book deserves more recognition than it has received.

Faith discovers a strange tree that feeds on lies t her father’s home. 

She soon realizes that it gives her special powers—the ability to see truths and unravel secrets hidden around her. As she delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding her father with the tree’s help, Faith realizes just how powerful truth can be.

Faith must battle prejudice and limited expectations for women in Victorian England throughout her journey. This book provides an interesting commentary on women’s issues during this period and encourages readers to think critically about gender roles and inequity.

 Themes of truth, courage, justice, and family dynamics are explored through Faith’s story as she learns how power is exerted over individuals and societies.

Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola

Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola is a classic novel exploring human emotions’ dark depths. First published in 1867, this powerful story follows Thérèse and her husband Laurent as they are driven to desperate measures out of their passion for each other.

 With its frank exploration of forbidden love, family dynamics, and revenge, Thérèse Raquin remains a timeless classic that deserves more recognition than it has received.

The novel begins when Thérèse moves in with her husband’s family after their arranged marriage. Trapped in an unhappy life, she does not want, Thérèse soon finds solace and passion in Laurent’s best friend, Camille. Together they embark on a forbidden affair, leading to devastating consequences.

Through Thérèse’s story, Zola explores the complex emotions of love and passion and its darker sides, such as jealousy, guilt, and revenge.

The novel also provides an interesting commentary on the period’s social conventions by highlighting how society manipulates and controls individuals.

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh is a comic novel set in London during the 1920s. It follows Adam Fenwick-Symes, an aspiring writer who strives to make it big in the high society of the Roaring Twenties. Along with its lighthearted and humorous tone, Vile Bodies provides an interesting commentary on social class and privilege that still resonates today.

The novel paints a vivid picture of life in interwar Britain as Adam navigates the vibrant yet superficial world of upper-class Londoners. Throughout his misadventures, he meets many eccentric characters with unique motives and ambitions. 

The narrative delves into themes such as love, excess, ambition, and the pursuit of pleasure and how these intersect with social class.

Adam’s journey also reflects on the troubled times of 1920s Britain and its struggles to adjust back to peacetime after World War I.

 Waugh provides insightful commentary on the era’s political situation and cultural landscape, showing how people used materialism and hedonistic pursuits to cope with difficult circumstances.

The Crazy School by Cornelia Read

The Crazy School by Cornelia Read is a unique and captivating novel that delves into the lives of two families. Set in modern-day Connecticut, this story follows the main characters, Emma and Lewis, as they discover what being part of their respective families means.

 Through their shared experiences, readers are offered an intimate look at how family dynamics can shape our lives.

Emma’s mother has recently been institutionalized for mental illness, and she copes by attending The Crazy School, a special class where students learn to navigate life with mental health issues. 

On the other side of town, Lewis’ father struggles with his demons as he attempts to keep his powerful corporate job while dealing with bipolar disorder.

Shikasta by Doris Lessing

Shikasta by Doris Lessing is a science fiction classic that explores the complex themes of colonialism, power dynamics, and morality. Set in a distant galaxy, this epic five-part novel follows the story of Shikasta, an advanced civilization facing various challenges posed by the powers that be.

The narrative begins with the introduction of Johor, a kind but firm leader who must contend with both internal and external forces threatening to tear apart his homeworld. He is aided in his quest by Sadeeka, a mysterious figure capable of accessing ancient wisdom and knowledge. 

As they traverse through time and space on their journey to restore peace to Shikasta, readers are given an in-depth look at how colonization affects humans and their environment.

Lessing’s exploration of morality is especially notable as she examines how power dynamics can create an “us vs. them” mentality and how this attitude affects individuals’ decisions.

 Shikasta is a must-read for any science fiction fan with its thought-provoking themes and captivating characters. It will leave readers with plenty of food for thought on the complexity of human behavior in our world and beyond.


Who reads every book in the world?

No one has read every book in the world. With over 130 million books published, it is impossible to read them all. It would take someone thousands of years to even come close. However, some people have read more books than most. Some prolific readers have managed to read thousands of books during their lifetime.

Which country reads the most books?

The United States is the country that reads the most books. According to a 2017 survey, Americans read 12 books yearly. Other countries with high rates of book consumption include Britain, Germany, and Canada. Generally, European countries tend to have higher rates of book reading than other parts of the world.

Which language has the most books in the world?

English is the language with the most books in the world. A 2017 study shows over 1.7 million English-language books are published yearly, more than any other language. Spanish, Chinese, and German come in second, third, and fourth place, respectively. This international diversity of literature allows readers to explore different cultures and perspectives worldwide.

What is the hardest language in the world to read?

Arabic is considered to be the hardest language in the world to read. Unlike English, which reads left-to-right and up-to-down, Arabic is written right-to-left and top-to-bottom. Arabic letters have various forms depending on where they are placed in the word, making it difficult for readers unfamiliar with the script to decipher. 


Altogether, it is clear that countless works of literature are considered underrated and overlooked. It is clear that regardless of genre or considering the amount of award-winning authors, great stories are within our grasp. As such, we should be bold and explore what is out there and always continue learning. Without further ado, let us delve deep into these gems of books and uncover incredible stories filled with raw emotion, suspenseful thrills, and comedic hilarity. 

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top
Verified by MonsterInsights