top 10 tuesday: Ten Hidden Classics Gems

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish – to join in the fun, check out their blog here!

This is probably going to be my most hastily written weekly meme post ever, I say as I begin to write this on 3:57 pm on Tuesday afternoon.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this topic, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of it, so here we go:

August 29Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre: Pick a genre and share with us some books that have gone under the radar in that genre!

I’m going to go with classics!  It’s such a broad genre, and obviously a book doesn’t get to be considered a classic without quite a bit of acclaim, so these may not be as ‘hidden’ as if I had chosen another genre… but here are some classics that I consider to be frequently overlooked for their much more oft read peers (To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, etc).

227463A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.  I only read this recently (review here), but I absolutely loved it.  This is one of those books that seems to be on everyone’s TBR list, but very few people have actually read it.  So if you’re waiting for some kind of sign to motivate you, here it is.  Read this book!  It’s unsettling and fascinating, and it becomes easier to read than you’d think possible as you struggle wrapping your head around the first chapter.


6251566The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.  It’s one of her more famous novels, admittedly, but often gets eclipsed by And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express.  As good as both of those novels are, Roger Ackroyd is one of the most unique mystery novels I’ve ever read.  If you’re able to guess who murdered Roger Ackroyd, I’d like to buy you a drink.


923693White Noise by Don Delillo.  It was published in 1985, so it’s a more recent classic, but a classic nonetheless.  White Noise is a bizarre post-modernist literary exercise in coming to terms with one’s own mortality.  It’s funny and unsettling and weird.  It took me longer to read than it should have, because there was something I found rather draining about thinking about mortality at the end of a long day, but I ultimately found this very fascinating and satisfying.

3103Maurice by E.M. Forster.  This novel is flawed, especially stylistically as it was published posthumously and didn’t undergo the kind of rigorous editing that it needed, but that doesn’t stop me from singing its praises.  Maurice is Forster’s gay romance that he wrote in 1913, so it’s really remarkable that this is a novel we have access to.  I haven’t read any other Forster, so I can’t comment on how it compares to some of his better known novels, but it’s a delightful book that everyone should read.

76778The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.  I love Fahrenheit 451 as much as the next person, but it’s a shame to not read any Bradbury beyond that.  The Martian Chronicles is a series of vignettes that are loosely linked together, about the future colonization of Mars.  It’s a very odd and disturbing book, and while some of the stories make a stronger impression than others, this whole collection is a relevant allegory on imperialism that’s not to be missed.

31196The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.  I adore everything I’ve read by Somerset Maugham, none more than Of Human Bondage, but an oft-overlooked brilliant novel by him is The Razor’s Edge, about a group of friends in postwar London and Paris.  Not a whole lot happens in this book, but at the same time, it covers so much.  Somerset Maugham’s writing is absolutely stunning, and if you haven’t read anything by him you should amend that immediately.

13270Poetics by Aristotle.  I think Plato’s Republic is really fascinating, but Aristotle’s Poetics is perhaps more accessible and interesting reading, for those looking for a good introduction to Greek philosophy.  It’s basically a short analysis of Greek tragedy and how plot and language come together to elicit certain reactions from the viewers – how we basically use theatre as a form of catharsis in seeing such dramatic emotions portrayed on stage.  As a fan of theatre and philosophy, I found this fascinating.

51yqc21t3nl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault.  Renault’s epic Alexander the Great trilogy isn’t to be missed by historical fiction fans who like a heavy emphasis on the historical.  There isn’t much of a fast-moving plot, here, but Renault’s writing is gorgeous and the sheer amount of research she put into these novels is admirable.  This isn’t the kind of book you can read in a quick weekend, but if you’re interested at all in Alexander the Great, it is an amazing novel to devote several weeks or months to.

847168A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller.  People usually think they can call it a day with Miller after reading The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, but A View From The Bridge I think is one of his masterpieces.  It’s a play about a Brooklyn family who take in two Italian cousins who are looking to find work in America so they can send money home to their starving families.  Like The Crucible, A View From The Bridge deals with themes of perception and honor, just on a more intimate scale.

566328The Betrothed/I promessi sposi by Alessandro Manzoni.  Since it’s usually assigned high school reading, most Italians I know hate this book.  I didn’t.  Okay, granted, it’s a bit long, but it’s also an epic whirlwind romantic adventure of a novel, and I can’t help but to love this story a lot.  Sorry, my Italian lit degree is completely useless if I can’t recommend an obscure 700 page long Italian classic on my blog every now and then.

How many of these classics have you read?  Comment and let me know!

23 thoughts on “top 10 tuesday: Ten Hidden Classics Gems

    • Oooh I didn’t see your list but I’ll go check it out now. I love that we both included The Razor’s Edge! That book is amazing and I’ve never met anyone who’s read it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • DO IT! As long as you go into it with the right expectations – i.e., it’s not going to be perfect, but it’s really exciting that we have access to this perspective as contemporary readers – it’s a really cool book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those are very good tings to know!! I feel more prepared now. I’m also really interested in the perspective and am fascinated by the fact that it was written 100 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love your topic choice, and I have so much reading to do! I did have a really good night in the used bookstore the other day and picked up the entire Daughter of the Forest trilogy I’ve been told to read for about $12 but more importantly, I got a copy of Of Human Bondage!!! So obviously that is going to happen. I’d wondered how you felt about his other works though. I’ve sadly only read two of this list, but I would really like to try something of Renault’s soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooooh that is exciting!! I just read the Daughter of the Forest summary and that totally seems like your kind of book.

      YAY OF HUMAN BONDAGE! I’ve read 4 Somerset Maugham novels and absolutely loved 3 of them. The exception is The Painted Veil, which… I did like, but imo it’s not one of his stronger ones. Unfortunately that’s the one that most people read, probably because of the short length and because the movie’s kind of famous. But it’s definitely not the best that he’s capable of. Of Human Bondage, The Razor’s Edge, and The Moon and Sixpence are all incredible. And I really need to read Theatre and Cakes and Ale.

      And YES you need to read Renault, I think you’d love her! I really need to keep going with the Alexander trilogy, but I also have The King Must Die and The Charioteer on my Kindle and both of those are very tempting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel like historical fiction is always this genre I’m really drawn to and I love the books when I get around to reading them, but it’s a genre that I tend to buy (often used) copies of and then they sit on my shelves for ages. I had to stop myself from buying a few more the other night! I think that’s going to be a goal of mine after War & Peace – Commit to actually reading at least one or more hist fic books a month! Renault is near the top of the list for sure, and I’ve only read one Sharon Kay Penman but I really enjoyed her writing and characters and want to read more. Most of the hist fic books I’ve been eyeing are tragically too long to suggest for book club though. 😦


  2. What an amazing list! I completely agree with you on “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” being one of the most unique mysteries there is. I don’t think anyone is capable of guessing the murderer there. I also love “White Noise” – I just could not put it down, and am really impressed with your “The Betrothed” recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Roger Ackroyd was one of those unique cases for me where I hadn’t seen the reveal coming at all, but still I didn’t feel like it was a cheap trick, because Christie’s plotting is just that clever.

      Hahaha, I admit that a lot of my Italian lit favorites are some of the more obvious ones – Dante, Boccaccio, et al, so I was trying to come up with a decently obscure one that’s still been translated to English. I don’t think a lot of English speakers have even heard of Manzoni, and those who have are probably scared off by the length, but that story is such a fun ride.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is probably my second best novel of Christie, after And Then There Were None. I mean, in And Then There Were None, I still could guess the culprit because of his profession, but, in Roger Ackroyd, it was a mind-blowing realisation. And, I agree. I myself came to know The Betrothed only through reading up on the history of Milan.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve only read four Christie novels, but I completely agree that I’d rank ATTWN first and Roger Ackroyd second. Tragically I watched the BBC miniseries of ATTWN before reading the novel, so I’ll never know if I would have guessed the killer from the novel alone. I’d like to think so, but who knows. Christie always keeps me on my toes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s