Most Popular Books on my Goodreads TBR

Last week I wrote about the books on my to-reads list on goodreads that had the fewest ratings. Mostly because I think it’s so funny to look at my strange taste in books. In retrospect it’s not at all shocking that nobody was particularly interested in that post, because who wants to hear a bunch of negativity?*

So in contrast, I thought it might be fun THIS week to look at the most popular books! As with last week, by “most popular” I mean the most people have read/left ratings. NOT has the highest star ratings, because Goodreads star ratings can’t be trusted. Buuuut that’s a point for another post. Shall I get on with it, then?

*While the post was not negative, one might expect it to be based on the title…


Author: Frank Herbert
Number of Ratings: 662,384
View on Goodreads

I’m kind of shocked this is THE most popular book on my list, mostly since I have a lot of sci-fi/fantasy favorites on there, but it’s in no way surprising that Dune is on this list. Probably even more surprising is that literally HALF of all ratings are 5-star ratings, so… That’s something! I meant to read Dune this past summer, because it’s so long and summer vacation is typically when I have the most time to read. But then I ended up taking three classes, so it never happened. BUT! I got it for Christmas, so 2020 is the year! It’s going to finally happen! (Me and everyone else… I’m seeing this book EVERYWHERE right now…)

Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1)

Author: Jim Butcher
Number of Ratings: 265,601
View on Goodreads

I added this to my tbr because, hey, why not? Am I actually going to read it? Someday. Probably not in 2019. Will it have aged well? Probably not, but I sure as heck won’t care. I’ll take some monster slaying any day.

Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown
Number of Ratings: 212,251
View on Goodreads

This is easily the most recent book on this list, and now that I see it there I’m just kicking myself. I had this book IN MY HANDS at the bookstore yesterday, and I told my husband to pick for me between it and Every Heart a Doorway. He picked the Wayward Children for reasons known only to him. Which, btw, I am SURE I am going to love. But DANG, 50% 5-star ratings? On a book this new?! Unheard of! So, yeah, I’ll definitely have to move this one up on my priority list. There’s just so much Science Fiction on my tbr… And it’s all* by white dudes! Sorry Red Rising, you might have to wait til 2021…

*Obviously hyperbole

The Martian Chronicles

Author: Ray Bradbury
Number of Ratings: 194,897
View on Goodreads

Didn’t I tell you there was a lot of Sci-Fi by white dudes on my tbr? The thing is, I really enjoy classic Sci-Fi, and (don’t hate me) I don’t know that the fact that it was written by old white men invalidates it. I hear The Martian Chronicles is brilliant, I’ve loved every Mars book I’ve ever read*, and I saw this on sale for three bucks at half price so, I’m reading it. Next month probably.

*If you like books about Mars settlements by old white dudes, I highly recommend Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, even if the science has since been disproved.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Author: Susanna Clarke
Number of Ratings: 183,478
View on Goodreads

So… I might never read this book. I hear it is brilliant, but I also hear that it’s got the same sort of British humor that makes Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams appealing, and I didn’t enjoy either of those books. But the premise is interesting enough, and the people who liked this book are OBSESSED with it. So I went ahead and added it on the off-chance I ever wanted to give it a try. But as of right now I have no actual plans to read it. *shrugs*

So what have I learned about myself in the process of writing this post?

  1. I REALLY like genre fiction
  2. I want to read books about old white dudes, despite being aware that I need to read more diversely
  3. Or possibly the most popular books on Goodreads are by old white dudes
  4. I am more likely to read a book that is more popular (I mean, compare what I said about these books to what I said about the unpopular books last week!)
  5. Apparently I’m blogging using footnotes/asterisks now?

Have you read any of these wildly popular books? What did you think? Have YOU hopped on the Dune bandwagon this year too? Let me know in the comments!

30 thoughts on “Most Popular Books on my Goodreads TBR

  1. I hopped on the Dune bandwagon ages ago… It’s one of my favorite books ever, and I haven’t looked forward to a movie this much since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was announced. Denis Villeneuve is a stellar director. But anyway. Dune is a phenomenal story, but it is weird and isn’t set up or paced like your standard adventure story, so know that going into it. There is a lot of nuance, and parts of it haven’t aged terribly well, but like any great book, it brings up issues that aren’t specific to the time period it was written in.

    If you’re looking for classic Sci-Fi not written by white men, try Joan D Vinge’s Snow Queen (it’s the first in a series, but works as a standalone), Samuel R. Delaney’s Babel-17, Ursula K Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle– particularly her masterpiece, The Left Hand of Darkness, anything by Octavia E. Butler, or Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre (assuming you can find it).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of these and the only one I’ve heard of is Red Rising. I absolutely agree with you that the Goodreads star ratings can’t be trusted. I stopped giving star ratings a while ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d say drop your planned next read and make it “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.” Whoever said it was like Pratchett and Adams is bad at comparisons — it has nothing of their anarchy, puns, or silliness. Rather, it’s more like if Jane Austen decided to write epic fairy tales. There is humor of the Jane Austen kind, and it can be quite funny, but it comes from fine observations about human foibles, and detailed footnotes that poke fun at academic works while deepening the worldbuilding. But mostly it’s an involving drama and epic. If you’re on the fence, check out the BBC series. It was quite good, even though it might be a bit confusing when you haven’t read the book. But the book is magnificent.

    “Dune” is a great read too. Actually exceeded my expectations. I had feared it would be ponderous, self-absorbed, and too clever for its own good. Well, there may be a few parts where it gets like that, but mostly it is fast-paced, thrilling, intriguing, and has lots of interesting and likable characters. I didn’t want to leave its world, although I’ve heard the sequels decline in quality.

    I’ve never heard of the other books on this list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops, except for “The Martian Chronicles.” Read it in high school, didn’t understand it or like it, haven’t returned to it. Maybe one day I’ll return to it and appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hmm, well I think the people making the comparisons were going for the satire element rather than a read-alike. Or possibly I misunderstood what they meant when they were drawing the comparison, because they definitely didn’t describe it as silly. Rather I have a hard time connecting with British humor, so I worry some of the book may be lost on me? I love Jane Austen, though, so I’ll have to give it a chance!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess the thing is, there are many different kinds of British writing and British humor. Pratchett, Adams, and Monty Python represent a particular mode of absurdist satire and silliness. I like it, generally, but it turns some people away. There’s nothing of that in “Strange & Norrell”. I’m not sure I find any satire in it at all. Social commentary, yes, but not satire. It’s probably even less satirical than Jane Austen herself, even though it works very hard (and successfully, I think) to reproduce a prose style similar to hers. But anyway, I’d say don’t be intimidated but do set aside some time, when you get around to the book. And it’s hard not to relate to Mr. Norrell, an intelligent scholar who is much more comfortable home alone with tea and his books than with people!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I really loved The Martian Chronicles, it was a surprising read for me! I’m tempted to pick up Dune, what with the upcoming adaptation, but I don’t know if I’ll get around to it in time. Maybe I’ll wait and see what you think before deciding to pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would probably say it looks more like number 3. I can’t say I’m interested in any of them, and of the 11 male authors I read last year, only 3 brought me joy – Jeff Kinney (latest in the Wimpy Kid series), Trevor Noah and an Islamic author.


    1. I also think that’s more likely. What’s really funny about this is that I *don’t* actually read all that many books by men. Last year it was only like, 30% or something, and the year before it was even less.


      1. Hmm, that makes me wonder whether we simply relate more to storytelling by female authors more or we’ve begun to gravitate towards more female authors now that we know there are more books by female authors available?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s definitely NOT the second for me. I don’t tend to look at the author of a book before I buy it. Unless it’s an author I’m really into. I think that it’s a combination of gravitating naturally towards books by women, which is what you said, and the genres I read a lot in being dominated by women authors. I definitely notice I read more Fantasy books by men than, say, YA.


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