Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every Tuesday, a different top-ten-themed post is uploaded, and this week’s prompt is books that surprised me (in good or bad ways)! I figured I’d split this up and discuss five good and five bad surprises. Let’s start with the good, shall we?
— Good —
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
If I would have picked this book up based solely on the description on the back… well, I wouldn’t have picked it up at all, honestly. The synopsis does this book absolutely no justice. Luckily, I read a few reviews before making my decision, and I ended up grabbing it. Good thing too, because it’s now one of my favorite books!
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I don’t normally read books that are super popular. I don’t know why — maybe it has to do with high expectations or just a weird feeling of not wanting to follow the crowd — but I generally feel no pull towards these books. Even if everyone is raving about them. I know, it’s weird. Gone Girl was one of those books I heard people gushing about for months, but I never planned on reading it. Luckily, one of my bffs read it and subsequently pushed it onto me. And surprise, surprise, I loved this book!
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Another super popular book that I just had no interest in reading for the longest time. I have no idea why I deprive myself of great books for so long. Please tell me what’s wrong with me.
Side note: review for this book is coming soon!
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
If you have been following my blog, you know how much I love Frankenstein. Surprisingly, I didn’t get around to reading this one until a few years ago. I ended up reading it for one of my classes, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved it! It quickly moved into my favorites list.
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Another book that I had to read for a class, and another book that completely astounded me with how good it was. James Baldwin is an incredible writer, and this book is a beautiful, haunting read about a homosexual relationship in the 1950s. An excerpt from my Goodreads review about my feelings towards this book: “I feel so empty and awful after finishing this book. It’s absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking and painful and perfect.” And that’s the truth.
— Bad —
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Before I read this book, I had heard nothing but good things, and many of my friends claimed that it was their all-time favorite book. So, going into it, I had pretty high expectations, but I just didn’t like it all that much. It was humorous, sure, but there were just so many characters to follow, and it was far too easy to distinguish between the writing styles of the two authors, which brought me out of the story a lot of the time. You can read my full review of it here.
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
I hated this book. So much. I wanted to check Palahniuk out because he was pretty popular when I was in high school, especially because Fight Club had come out not too long before. Well, I either hate Palahniuk, or Haunted was just a really bad first novel to read by him. I still want to try another one of his books, because sometimes authors write bad novels. I know this. I’m just hoping that his other novels aren’t as awful. Haunted was just… no. I don’t have anything against writing that is meant to disgust the reader. If it’s done well, and if it has a purpose to it, then sure, it can work. But with Palahniuk? There was just no point to the gross things he was writing about. It was purely disgust for disgust’s sake, and I can’t stand that.
The Diary of a Rapist by Evan S. Connell
I like books with disturbing topics. They often make you think about humanity and the state of the world, and as a psychology major, it’s fascinating to get a look inside the minds of the world’s most disturbing criminals. While this is a book of fiction, I still thought it might be an interesting read. Boy, was I wrong. It, was, AWFUL. It had that same “shock for shock’s sake” that I hated in Palahniuk’s writing. One of the worst books I’ve ever read.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Faulkner is supposedly one of the greatest American authors of all time, but I genuinely do not get how he got that title. Sure, his stream of consciousness writing style is interesting and unique, but you don’t even know what’s going on in the story because of it! Everything is so convoluted and just down-right confusing. I got about halfway through this book before I had to start completely over cause I just had no idea what was going on. Ridiculous.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
It’s strange how I consider Neil Gaiman to be one of my favorite authors, and yet two of his books ended up in the “bad” section of this post. This was another book that I had heard was amazing but just didn’t fit with my taste. I didn’t hate it by any means, but it certainly didn’t live up to my expectations.
And there you have it, folks. Ten books that surprised me in either good or bad ways.