9 Books you MUST read

In my last newsletter, I chatted about how so many books simply fall under the radar because of all the bestsellers, new releases and hyped up books seem to dominate the world of literature.  As much as we love these fabulous books, we're also big fans of reads that go by completely unnoticed.

It seems that many of you agree. We asked you to recommend books that are highly underrated. Here’s what you had to say:

Anything by Guy Gavriel Kay. His first three books, The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire and The Longest Road make up The Fionavar Tapestry.

This is pure fantasy, inspired unashamedly by The Lord of the Rings.  His next books (Tigana, The Lions of Al Rassan, Last Light of the Sun, the duology The Sarantine Mosaic, and Under Heaven) are all historical fantasy, and are all fabulous.

Ysabel is sort of a sequel to the Fionavar Tapestry and is set in the present day.

His writing is lyrical, beautiful, breathtaking. Very hard to find his books in bookshops, much easier to order them on one of the bookselling websites.

I'm currently reading Magician by Raymond E. Feist, after I bought it almost 3 years ago. A friend recommended it and the more I read the more I'm amazed by the author's imagination and rich vocabulary!

It can be heavy reading at times but it's so intriguing and the storyline is so interwoven that you can't help but keep going.

This has definitely added new depth to my fantasy-genre preferences and there's no doubt that I'll read his other books as well!

I rarely read the same book twice, but last weekend I re-read the Troy trilogy by David Gemmell (Lord of the Silver Bow, Shield of Thunder and Fall of Kings).  A different take on the Homer version, with lots of opportunities to laugh and cry.

The characters are so well written that you bond with them so quickly. The issues are the same as today (love, jealous, greed, malice) just packaged differently.

Gemmell died during The Fall of Kings, but it still managed to be a magical book.

Being Dead by Jim Crace. Don’t be fooled by the title; its’ a novel that celebrates every day, ordinary lives, and provides profound food for thought on living life to the full.

I loved, loved, loved Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. It's a memoir about the New York Times restaurant critic and the lengths she went to get a true review of the various restaurants without them knowing that she was reviewing them.

Everyone who has ever wondered about the origins of the things we believe should read Theo's Odyssey by Catherine Clement, translated from the original French.

In the book, Theo and his aunt explore a myriad of religions, superstitions and belief systems in their travels through both the Western and Eastern hemispheres. This book should do for religions what 'Sophie's World' did for philosophy. A must-read for long winter nights in front of a blazing fire.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, a classic book about a boy and his dogs and the love and bond that they share. A gripping story that has all the essentials of a good read, ie mystery,drama and love.

I Want My Life Back by Steve Hamilton. Every parent should encourage their teenage children to read this book. It really gives you an insight to what drugs do to a person - it is not a pretty story, but if your kids are ever thinking of trying it, after reading this biography, they will be cured for life.

The great thing about this book is that it is written by a South African and we can easily relate it to our own culture. (A little too close to home). My teenage son recommended it to his teacher as a "MUST READ" for all teenagers.

James A Michener's The Drifters. I was lucky enough to read it just when it would have the right impact on my life, but I believe every young adult should be exposed to the book. It puts life into perspective while still encouraging you to live, to be young and to have an adventure.

What other underrated books would you recommend? Share your picks with us below. We're always on the lookout for more hidden literature treasures.
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