18 Great Books You Probably Haven’t Read

by on February 18, 2014

In which John shares 18 of his favorite books that aren't wildly popular bestsellers. CLICK SHOW MORE TO GET THE BOOKS:

1. This Bloody Mary is the Last Thing I Own by Jonathan Rendall: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/088001685X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=088001685X&link_code=as3&tag=vlogbrothers-20

2. One of Us by Alice Dreger: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674018257/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0674018257&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

3. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312274920/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0312274920&link_code=as3&tag=vlogbrothers-20

4. The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U898X4/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003U898X4&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

5. Thirsty by MT Anderson: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0763638951/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0763638951&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

6. Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0763627968/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0763627968&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

7. Fly on the Wall by E Lockhart: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385732821/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0385732821&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

8. The Untelling by Tayari Jones: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446694568/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0446694568&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

9. The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/081090960X/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=081090960X&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

10. Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399237496/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399237496&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

11. The Enormous Room by e. e. cummings: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486421201/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0486421201&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

12. Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312422199/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0312422199&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

13. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679728899/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0679728899&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

14. This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005Q75K6Q/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B005Q75K6Q&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

15. Kendra by Coe Booth: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0439925371/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0439925371&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

16. The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067972883X/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=067972883X&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

17. Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone: The Carter Family and their Legacy in American Music: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/074324382X/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=074324382X&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

18. The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0803215916/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0803215916&linkCode=as2&tag=vlogbrothers-20

WILL YOU MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE FROM YOUR PANTS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbvbEMSLKpI

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin February 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

You have got to read God is Dead by Ron Currie Jr.! Quick, quirky but very thought provoking: http://www.amazon.com/God-Dead-Ron-Currie-ebook/dp/B000TO0T8K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392763593&sr=1-1&keywords=god+is+dead

Reply

Lianna February 18, 2014 at 11:36 pm

My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Read my lips by Jana Novotny Hunter

Reply

Elise February 19, 2014 at 12:19 am

I really recommend the book Being Here by Barry Jonsberg. It is absolutely amazing.
http://www.amazon.com/Being-Here-Barry-Jonsberg-ebook/dp/B004NIFXM0

Reply

Agus February 19, 2014 at 12:44 am

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is really really good John. I totally recommend it!

Reply

Billie February 19, 2014 at 2:33 am

“the tiny wife”-andrew kaufman

‘the inland sea” -K.J Orr (really hard to get a copy of)

“breaking away” -Anna Gavalda (I think it did well for a while, then it sort of sank into literary oblivion, but is one of the most poignant and realistic depiction of family I have ever read…also its french, and france is good)

xxx

Reply

Billie February 19, 2014 at 2:34 am

*depictions

Reply

Amanda February 19, 2014 at 5:19 am
kelly February 19, 2014 at 8:56 am

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

Reply

Autumn February 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Dear Mr. Green,

Such as the fashion of a highly-regarded letter written in regards to “An Imperial Affliction” to a certain Peter van Houten, I set out today to deliver an equally as poetic address to you, the outstanding author of “The Fault in Our Stars”. I have recently read your book, and, let me just say, as I’m sure you have been told countless other times, well done. My goodness, this is truly one of the most spectacular books that it has ever been my pleasure to read.

After reading the Q&A that you did on your website (much appreciated, thank you) however, a few questions remain atop the expanse of rubble that this novel has reduced my mind to. I, as did many others, I assume, thought that the story would end mid-sentence as did “An Imperial Affliction”, up until the very moment when I read those last few sentences. Again, thank you. I would not have been writing this letter had such been the case. Quite honestly, I would have been heart-broken. Also, though I realize that we, the reader, are perceiving our opinion of Augustus Waters through an account filled with bias and favor, how in the world do you create such a personable character? You have managed to construct the very idea of romance and masculinity into a human state, and I am only left to marvel…how?

In addition, were you physically roaring with laughter, smirk upon your face as you wrote the scene nearing the end of the book when Hazel finds Peter van Houten awaiting her in her mother’s mini-van, accompanied by compositions of obnoxiously loud Swedish hip-hop music? I just about jumped out of my skin envisioning the mental image of being in such a situation, but shortly there-after, the very event struck me as utterly hilarious. On a related note, this serves to be the pinnacle of importance in this letter, how did you make everything so clever, and so funny at the same time? Waters and Lancaster have the most intellectually gorgeous conversations, just during their regular talks, but still there arises a truly lovely romantic line that pops up extremely-unexpectedly, and the leaves the reader, (at least such has been my experience), giddy and smiley and forces them to reread the paragraph or so, and grow increasingly happier each time that they do so. And when Lancaster lashes out upon Peter Van Houten in his home in Amsterdam? I can’t even. :)

Also, I digress here, but I have been watching “Mental Floss” videos for a really long time, and I had absolutely NO IDEA that you were the same guy! Paradox! I can’t believe I didn’t put it together. I saw your picture in the back of the book, and I immediately knew that I had seen you somewhere, I just hadn’t recognized where. Figured it out! Really though, it enabled me to hear the voice of the author (which I am continuing to find out that I strangely wonder after upon finishing a novel that becomes one of my favorites such as this? Do you ever get that?), and has given me insight into your personality, as well. You’re pretty cool. We share a lot of similar perspectives on things. And, could you please respond? I’d be tickled pink hearing from you. Maybe on your website homepage, or under the TFiOS tab? It would be MUCH appreciated.

But, as far as “The Fault in Our Stars” goes, I so admire how throughout the entire course of the story, you create such perfect description of the setting at hand, the emotions, visions, thoughts; you really embody the reader in the situation, and I couldn’t have enjoyed reading this story, I feel, more, because of this very thing. Though, as you may have observed, I described your writing style as perfect in the previous statement, which, I would assume, would draw forth much elaboration upon the very idea of perfection from your vast enigma of a mind. Is it attainable? Does it exist? Is such a concept mere ludicrous? Countless possibilities to be further explored!

The very reason of which I so enjoy your writing style. You manage to be entirely thought-provoking, attention grabbing, and mind-shattering as well as being hilarious and causing me to laugh aloud in the middle of a silent occasion (attracting many perplexed and disapproving glances from my fellow peers, rest assured), while at the same time gripping my very existence with a tale that feels as though it was written from the sub-conscience section of my very soul. I know, pretty extreme right? Simply stated, you’re a pretty kick-butt writer with a fantastic talent, and a wonderful book. I can’t wait to read “Paper Towns.” And, keep writing. I’d love to read more from you. “Quite frankly, I’d read your grocery lists.”

Sincerely,
-Autumn

Reply

megan February 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm

I Wonder as I Wander by Langston Hughes.

In this autobiography, Langston Hughes is thoughtful and observant, endlessly good-humored and kind. He describes his life as he lives and travels in the Jim Crow south for the first time, to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, to Stalinist Russia including central Asia and Siberia, to China and Japan (just as Japan was invading China), to Mexico, and to revolutionary Spain. In the process, he meets and befriends dozens of recognizable names including Alfred Koestler, Ernest Hemingway, Diego Rivera, and Madame Mao.

Holy moly, the experiences alone would be worth reading, but the poetry besides? It’s an astounding piece.

Reply

Melissa February 20, 2014 at 12:14 am

Two of my favorite books that should be famous are Mistborn (It’s the first in a trilogy and they’re all amazing!) and No Passengers Beyond This Point (Best surprise ending I’ve ever read).

Reply

Silvernic February 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I’ll vote for Mistborn. Brandon Sanderson is a pretty fantastic fantasy writer.

Reply

Yamiya February 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm

My favorite book is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. And I just finished reading The Fault in our Stars and I really wish An Imperial Affliction was a real book because, I’d defnitely read it. I was devastated when I found out it wasn’t. But thank you for the book recommendations, I was just asking for book recommendations from my friends and that’s how I ended up reading TFIOS.

Reply

Jenny "Sarty" February 21, 2014 at 8:57 am

God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment –Scott Adams

Reply

LJ February 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Red Sky At Morning by Richard Bradford

Reply

Shawn February 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

Thin Blue Smoke by Doug Worgul
Edisto by Padgett Powell

Reply

Libby February 23, 2014 at 1:13 am

The Flames of Rome by Paul L. Maier

Reply

Layla February 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

1.) “See You at Harry’s,” By Jo Knowles
2.) “The Empty Mirror,” By James Lincoln Collier

Hope You enjoy if you choose to read these! :)

Reply

Catherine February 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Reply

Mary February 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm

So I’m a YA librarian, which means I get to read tons of fantastic YA books – here are a few of my favorites that haven’t received enough buzz:

Ash by Malinda Lo (or Huntress – both are fantastic)
Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena
Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
Vessel by Sara Beth Durst
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
One of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Reply

Rianna February 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
and
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Reply

Lexi February 26, 2014 at 11:59 pm

The Burn Journals By Brent Runyun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DO IT!!!!!!!

Reply

Neal February 27, 2014 at 12:00 am

YES!! BEST BOOK ABOUT A KID WHO IS SUISIDAL FOR NO REASON EVER!!!

Reply

Nicky February 27, 2014 at 12:02 am

I like Maybe By Brent better

Reply

Abby February 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

Two words (well they’re not exactly in the dictionary but they’re words enough for me): PATRICK NESS. I’ve read four of his books, all three of the Chaos Walking Trilogy novels as well as his book The Monster Calls. Each one of them have individually and collectively changed my perception on humanity drastically and eternally. I cried, and screamed, and drowned in an ocean of absolute awe. And every minute of it was so utterly worth it. Check ‘em out, yo!

Reply

Kate H March 6, 2014 at 11:03 pm

You were right. I have never read any of those but I plan to now. Thank you for posting these up. One author that hasn’t had nearly enough attention yet is John Benedict. His medical thrillers ‘ Adrenaline’ and sequel ‘On The Edge Of Death’ are absolute top draw stuff. I’ve recommended those books to a ton of friends and the reviews are always the same. “Outstanding”. If you haven’t heard of these books go and read some of the reviews on amazon or check out the authors website. You’ll be glad you did. http://johnbenedictmd.com/

Reply

Jerry March 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry

Reply

Meghan March 12, 2014 at 9:03 am

I have waited to see if anyone posted this, but since they haven’t:

Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts.

It is a memoir of Roberts’ incredible life, which includes breaking out of prison, living in the slums of Bombay, working for a mob boss, and fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. After many years and literally thousands of books read (I am a very fast reader), it is still the most movingly beautiful writing I have ever experienced

Reply

Donna Boucher March 15, 2014 at 11:24 am

Thank you for sharing this wonderful list!

Sister of my Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

and believe it or not…

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Reply

Donna Boucher March 15, 2014 at 11:31 am

P.S. On March twelfth I wrote a short blog post using your beautiful quote about book love. I asked readers what books they loved. I think you might enjoy seeing the comments.

Donna

Reply

ygor March 22, 2014 at 11:44 pm
Leslie H. March 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

What a fantastic list! It’s also great to see all of these recommendations from your readers :) I’ve always been interested in DNA and its function in shaping us as human beings. I just finished a really interesting novel called Human Source Code by author Lubos Borik (www.lubosborik.com) that deals with this subject matter in a very unique way. Full of suspense and twists, it follows a detective named Klapman who discovers the evil truths behind an organization weeding out the population based on their DNA and what they perceive it does to their very nature. Dealing with themes of DNA manipulation and the effect of nature vs nurture this novel really makes you think. How far could someone go when the ability to change the very structure of our DNA is discovered. Very thrilling and left me with a lot of new thoughts on the subject

Reply

more you can get March 24, 2014 at 5:14 am

TheXbox 360 Coreused to be the cheapest version of the XBox 360 and then later onsubstituted with the “Arcade”. It was released in many a nations but,visit the pagegfdddz5482, it was not available in Japan until November 2, 2006. The XBox 360 Coreconsole came packed withcomposite videocables, capable of onlySDTVresolutions. In this handout photo provided by Disney, dressed as Princess Leia from “Star Wars,” Abigail Petrousky, 5, from Orlando, Fla.,fake beatsgfdddz5482, meets “Star Wars” characte

Reply

Taylor March 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Here are some books I think you would enjoy, that aren’t best sellers…
Travels In The Scriptorium by Paul Auster
They Never Came Back by Caroline B. Cooney
Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer
Betti On The Highwire by Lisa Railsback
And (a personal favorite of mine),
Skies Over Sweetwater by Julia Moberg
I really hope you read at least one of them. They’re all incredible. But then, I haven’t read a book that wasn’t.
Much love,
Taylor

Reply

cheat gta san andreas ps2 May 9, 2014 at 4:13 am

Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting
anywhere, when i read this post i thought i could also make comment due
to this brilliant post. http://www.cheatgame4u.com

Reply

E Walsh March 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Another vote for The Princess Bride – the first book that made me laugh out loud.

Great fiction about Vikings, and also quite funny:
The Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson (NYR of books).

So Long, See You Tomorrow by Wm Maxwell

Reply

lead generation techniques April 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm

The same central database created by the marketing activities of the call tracking
software can be accessed by customer service representatives
when the customer calls with an issue about a product or the company.
When using call tracking services there is no need to pay
for a bank of telephone numbers. So, for example, a national pizza delivery service can be called by the same number whether the caller is based in Edinburgh, Wolverhampton or London.

Reply

Home Goods Shopping Online April 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home
a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog.
A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

Reply

Amara July 2, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Awaken
Katie kavinsky

Reply

Amara July 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

I love a book that forces you to look at the big picture and then pulls you back after you close it.

Reply

Ron Baer July 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Hi John, Love your list. As a teacher, I show students your recommendations on YouTube. By the way, if interested, I have my own list of about 138 books, with mini reviews and recommendations.
http://www.mrbaerswebsite.com/young-adult-booksrecommendations/

Reply

used spinning bikes October 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Excellent website. Lots of useful info here. I am
sending it to some friends ans additionally
sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks to your effort!

Reply

Chloe November 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Half Bad by Sally Green. Can’t wait for sequel!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: