The Top 10 Books That Never Make It Onto Top 10 Lists

The new school year is upon us and students are looking over their reading lists. I guarantee none of these books will be on anyone’s list:

1983 – George Orwell’s little known prequel to 1984, where society is full of not nice people, but better than it will be the following year

Stan of Green Gables – The adventures and travails of a young orphan boy who wanders Prince Edward Island distressed that no one – including himself – can figure out how to spell his name with an E on the end.

Julius’s Caesar – How one ancient Roman invented the salad … and then got stabbed by a hungry friend, prompting the dying Julius to ask, “You ate too, Brutus?”

Jane’s Heir – After a poor governess inherits a windfall, she tries to find a suitable heir herself, but ends up blowing the whole wad rebuilding her blind ex-boss’s burned down wreck of a house.

The Agony and the Ambivalence – Michelangelo Buonarroti can’t decide whether to paint the ceiling or the walls. It’s agonizing.

Grime and Punishment – An impoverished student in czarist Russia learns his landlady won’t return his security deposit if he doesn’t clean up his apartment. He kills an old pawn broker and her daughter to get the money for cleaning supplies. While at first he thought he’d get away with the dirty deed, in the end he comes clean with the police.

Lord of the Files – In an alternate ending to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Piggy survives and grows up to become the webmaster of the largest file sharing network on earth.

A Passage to Indiana – A young British schoolmistress finds herself in the exotic rural environs of 1920s Indiana. Local customs – as well as the people – beguile and bewilder her. After some unpleasant business, she departs Indiana never to return.

The Secret Gardener – Frances Hodgson’s little-known prequel reveals the secrets of the gardener. Never published, because then the garden wouldn’t be so secret any more.

The Bun Also Rises – A baker in Pamplona rues the annual running of the bulls because the stampede always causes his bread dough to fall no matter how much yeast he uses. An American expatriate tells him to try making small bun-sized loaves.

Which books would you add to this reading list of books not on reading lists? Let me know in the comments.

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[This list is compiled from two archived posts. Why? Because it’s Friday and I’m not feeling original today.]

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6 Responses to The Top 10 Books That Never Make It Onto Top 10 Lists

  1. Janey says:

    Lord of the Anniversary Rings — Jeweler figures out how to motivate men to move money from their wallet to their wife’s finger many years after the first ring begins to take hold of their lives.

  2. I love these every time, Tim — keep ’em coming! I thought of The Fridges of Madison County: Weather-beaten yet irresistibly attractive appliance salesman has fling with bored rural housewife.
    “Is it cold in here, or is that just the AMAZING freezer compartment in the unit you’re trying to sell me?” “No money down for 18 months, Francesca….”

  3. Mary Anne says:

    How about . . .
    The Great Gadfly: a rich bootlegger slips Socrates some hemlock-laced bathtub gin

    Frank ‘n’ Stein: The doctor and the monster open a beer and sandwich shop

    Dragula: a remote Carpathian village is terrorized by cross-dressing vampires

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