Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week's topic: book that we loved more or less than we thought we would. I decided to divvy it up: five books I liked less than I would have thought, and five I liked more! Expectations are a tricky thing...a beloved author, or favorite topic, can get you thinking that you'll really appreciate something going in, while genre preferences can give you an idea that you might not like it at all. Which is part of why I try to read broadly, because I've been both disappointed and unexpectedly delighted!


Yes Please: I should have known better, because I've tended to find "comedian memoir in essays" to be very hit-and-miss. But I had high hopes for Amy Poehler's book, because I really enjoy her on screen. Sadly, though, this one was MUCH more miss than hit for me.

The Marriage Plot: Jeffrey Eugenides is my favorite author, both The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex are incredible. But his most recent book, The Marriage Plot, was more interesting than enjoyable for me. There are some thought-provoking themes here, but it was wildly uneven.

Pride and Prejudice: I love most of Jane Austen's work, but this, which seems to be most everyone's favorite Austen, didn't do it for me the way I was hoping. I found both Lizzie and Darcy pretty irritating, and while there are things to enjoy here, it didn't do as much for me as her other books have.

The Circle: Dave Eggers' novel is really interesting conceptually, with a Facebook-esque company drastically eroding the idea of privacy feeling very resonant in the modern world. But the writing is clunky and the characters are awful and I hated reading it.

The Catcher In The Rye: This is a book that I think you have to find at the right point in your life to connect with. For a budding adult, feeling lost and alienated from the world, this probably hits home hard. But for an actual adult (which is what I was when I read it), J.D. Salinger's novel about a teenager's existential crisis can be just deeply annoying.


Jane Eyre: I wouldn't consider "gothic romance" a genre that I tend to super enjoy, and Mr. Rochester is kind of the worst, but Jane herself is an incredible heroine and I really loved the way she grew throughout the narrative.

The Rosie Project: I actually wouldn't consider any time of romance my preferred genre, now that I think about it. But this story of an autistic professor looking for love and the so-wrong-she's-right woman that turns up in his life and was funny and charming and sweet and I really liked reading it.

Blindness: I'd seen the relentlessly depressing movie version, so I can't imagine what spurred me to take the source novel off the shelves at the local secondhand store, but I'm glad that I did. It's a difficult book to read, both in subject matter and presentation, but it was really powerful and I had a hard time putting it down.

Lords of Discipline: As a woman raised in a three-person family that consisted of me, my mother, and my sister, I often struggle to connect with material that's strongly rooted in masculinity. And what's more masculine than an all-boys military academy? But this coming-of-age story is written beautifully by Pat Conroy and is rooted in a very human sympathy that will appeal to any reader.

Anna Karenina: Russian literature has a reputation for being boring and a dreadful slog. And while perhaps Dostoevsky might deserve that reputation, Leo Tolstoy does not. Anna Karenina is a the story of a woman trapped inside the strictures of a society that can't and won't allow her to live as she wants and even though it's a million pages long I finished it in less than a week because I couldn't put it down.


  1. You know I was sitting here thinking "Lords of Discipline better be in the liked more column!" Haha.

    And I'm with you on Yes, Please. I find "humor" memoirs end up sounding hokey on the page.

    1. I actually listened to Anna Kendrick's book on audio and found it better than most I've read in hard copy. Mindy Kaling's book (the first one, haven't read the second yet), for me, worked in print, but that might be the only one I can think of that wasn't a major disappointment

  2. Wow! I so agree with you about Catcher in the Rye. I probably should go back and try it again because in high school I remember that I hated it! I know it's an American classic, so maybe it deserves another chance.

    1. I think that's one you either connect with and love when you first read it when you're still growing up or you totally hate (based on my unscientific poll of people I know that either love or hate it)

  3. Hi! I loved all of Pat Conroy's books. The Lords of Discipline was great. So sad to hear about Pride and Prejudice :) And I agree, Catcher in the Rye as an adult would just be annoying!
    My TTT

    1. I can't wait to get to the rest of Conroy's works! I'm definitely out there alone on P&P, there has to be a reason so many other people love it, but it's just not my fave.