I’m about a third of the way through my 26-week book challenge (well, okay, a little further than that), and I’ve just realised that I should have done another interlude after my Fifty Shades rant. If people recall, that covered my most overrated book, so it makes sense for the original challenge to also ask for my most underrated book. And this is a question I cannot answer.
In a way this is related to the fact that you cannot point out a perfect book. Not objectively. I can list a lot of books that were perfect for me, but someone else is going to pick up one of them, read three pages and toss it in the bin* because they hate it.
*I’m speaking metaphorically here, of course. No one should ever throw a book in the bin, not even if it’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Find your local second-hand bookstore, leave it on a table at work for someone else, hand it to a charity shop, just for the love of sexy pointy-eared half-elves don’t ever throw it away!
Similarly, there are plenty of books which I dismissed within three pages, but somebody somewhere is going to love it. I would sincerely question their taste, of course, but it is a fact that every book will have someone who loves it. As a result there is no such thing as an underrated book, if you look at it objectively. Even if you look at it subjectively there is no such thing, because when I read a book there are four basic options:
1) I read it. I loved it. Hurray! I cannot underrate this book because I loved it.
2) I read it. I hated it. Well, most likely I stopped halfway because I hated it. Either way I cannot underrate it, because that implies that there was something to like about it, when subjectively, for me, that’s not the case.
3) I read it. I loved it. I tried to read it again and couldn’t finish it. Yes, this has happened to me. This means I cannot underrate it, because it’s more likely that I overrated it initially.
4) I read it. I hated it. For some reason I read it again and loved it. Hasn’t happened yet, but theoretically it’s possible, I suppose. Anyway, the end result is point 1.
So that’s why I won’t answer this question. Whichever way you look at it, a book cannot be underrated.
Do you agree, or do you have a clever argument to convince me that I’m wrong? Comments always welcome.