I saw Jean of Jean’s Bookish Thoughts do a couple of videos last year in which she read the highest and lowest rated books on her TBR, using books’ average ratings on GoodReads. Although I haven’t ever gone quite so far as to not buy a book if it was one I really thought was up my street that happened to have a low rating, I have used them before to ditch books from my TBR where I was already wavering.
I really like the idea of testing how closely my views fit with those of other readers. I could have started at the bottom but instead, I’m being positive and starting with the five books with the highest average ratings on GoodReads. Slight disclaimer – I’ve excluded the actual top rated book because it’s part of a series that I’m not up to yet. The book I own with the highest rating is The Way of Kings: Part 1 by Brandon Sanderson. I’m in the middle of the original Mistborn trilogy and I don’t want to start another later series until I’ve done with that. And so, without any more introduction, these are the top five rated books on my TBR, and ones that I’m going to try and get to soon!
1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Average rating of 4.64 from 79,324 ratings)
This doesn’t surprise me at all! I’ve only ever seen people rave about this and I actually can’t think of a time when I’ve seen it given any less than a five star, glowing review. I bought it on a birthday book buying binge when I first started seeing those adoring reviews in 2016. I’m fairly sure that I’ll love this non-fiction about the justice system in the US but I have an uneasy relationship with non-fiction so I just haven’t quite ever picked it up. I’m actually quite excited about reading this so I’m glad this is up on the list!
2. The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos (Average rating of 4.58 from 9,456 ratings)
This is the second in a series that is being translated from French. I didn’t read the first book at the best time – I was in hospital for a few days at the end of last year and although I did have time reading, I struggled to focus. The series is about a world in which Gods have splintered Earth into various small cities/islands with their own powers and politics. It follows Ophelia, who is married off by her family and sent to a wintery land and subjected to various political wranglings and much intrigue. It was fun and I gave it 3 stars but it wasn’t my favourite. I bought the second because the editions are beautiful and I wanted them to match and it surprises me that it’s as high up this list as it is. Perhaps because people only read the second book when they’re already invested? Ophelia can ‘read’ items and their history by touching them but we don’t see a lot of that in the first – perhaps the second shows more? Either way, I have actually heard more positive things about this book than I had the first and I want to read more translated fiction so now is as good a time as any to get stuck in!
Of all of the books on this list, this is actually the most impressive given the sheer number of ratings. And I’d actually pretty much forgotten that I even had it on my Kindle. It’s seemingly a story of two sisters set in France during World War II. One sister lives in Paris and one lives in the countryside with her husband and both face different challenges during the war. That’s all that’s in the blurb and I’m hoping to go into it knowing as little as that! I do love a good historical fiction and I’m actually much more keen to read this now that I’ve seen how well loved it seems to be. We’re on holiday in March and I might pick this up then to weep a bit by a pool!
4. The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane (Average rating of 4.56 from 2,031 ratings)
From first glance, it’s clear that this is an absolutely beautiful book. From what I gather, it’s a celebration of the natural world, hand-illustrated and featuring words that are fading out of the vocabulary of children. I actually wasn’t necessarily planning on reading this as such but instead was treating it more as…well, art I suppose. But it is stunning and an afternoon with some gentle nature poetry might be just the ticket while the weather’s still gloomy and cold!
Another unsurprising entry! I think most people know by now but this comic series follows a young couple from different warring races as they try to escape the various assassins and other threats chasing them down. Think alien Romeo and Juliet without the tragic ending…at least as far as I’ve got! It’s gritty and adult and funny and I do love it. I fully expect this to be a four or five star from me too!
And that’s it! The five highest rated books on my TBR that I’ll be picking up soon! Have you read any of these? Do you ever use GoodReads ratings to decide what to pick up?