Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week, we're going through books that surprised us. I'm going to split mine up, and highlight first five books that surprised me by how good they were, and then five that I was surprised to find I did not enjoy.

Happy Surprised

Anna Karenina: Never having really read Russian lit, I thought I didn't like it because it was too long and boring. And then I read this book and discovered that I really did love Tolstoy. Both this and War & Peace are a million pages long and amazing.

Moby-Dick: Again, a book with a reputation of over-long snoozer, this time about some dude obsessed with a whale that ends up killing him, the end. But this book is actually delightful and has a ton of information about whales and whaling, religion, seafaring life, and so much more, as well as creating some truly unforgettable characters.

Jane Eyre: I thought this was just a gothic romance, which has never held that much appeal for me, because all you ever hear about is Mr. Rochester and his crazy wife in the attic and the looooove story. I was happy to find out that this is much more a book about a young woman discovering herself and making her own place in the world and very much liked it.

The Rosie Project: I usually shy away from romances (no offense to those of you who love them, they're just generally not for me), but I'd read such good things about this one and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really did enjoy reading it! It's just incredibly charming and a breezy, pleasant book.

So Big: I never would have picked this up but for its Pulitzer Prize (I'd never even heard of it before), because a story about a young woman being widowed with a baby son and scraping out an existence in midwestern farm country doesn't sound like something I'd really like. But Selina DeJong is an incredible character and I got totally sucked in and this book is really really good, y'all.

Not Happy Surprised

Don Quixote: I've gone on a classics kick over the past several years, and found that I actually liked a lot more of them than I thought I would. And then I got to Don Quixote and words cannot adequately describe how much I hated it and it was so long and reading it was like torture.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: Everyone I knew who'd read this book described it as super funny and really good. And then I read it, and found its cavalier treatment of mental instability horrifying. I know they're making a movie of it and I think it might work onscreen, but it fell so very flat on the page for me.

Crazy Rich Asians: This is kind of along the same lines...rave reviews for a frothy fun romp and I mostly wondered if Kevin Kwan had ever been in a relationship before, because the one at the center of the book was deeply unrealistic and not in a good way.

Fahrenheit 451: I loved many of the dystopian classics I read in high school, and I wanted to love this one (it's about book burning! how could I not love it?) and I found it so boring I honestly can barely remember it.

Yes Please: This pains me, because I love Amy Poehler so much and wanted to just love every second of her book but it did absolutely nothing for me at all. It was neither interesting nor funny nor insightful. It was just kind of there.


  1. I'm always so happy when I find people who love Jane Eyre because I enjoyed it so much. I think sometimes I should reread it to see if I still feel the same way - but maybe not, if it's not broke don't fix it.
    Lynn :D

    1. It's always a hard call on re-reading something you love...but usually I find that it's worth it and you find more and more in it every time!

  2. I loved Anna Karenina too, but I also loved Where'd You go Bernadette. Go figure. I have been reading all of your past blog posts and I am almost caught up. We have very similar tastes in literature but not completely. I can't really remember how I found this blog but I am glad I did. I also work at the Legislature during session as a committee secretary and I am originally from the Midwest (northern Indiana). I am old enough to be your grandmother, but I am a prolific reader and think that keeps me young and aware. I am also very liberal and belong to three book clubs--so my reading list is huge. Keep up the good work. I love this blog.

    1. I am so glad you found it too! Love of books and reading is more important than of my favorite members of my book club to sit next to is old enough to be my grandma and I look forward to seeing her and catching up every month! And thank you for leaving such a kind comment!

  3. Oh man, Fahrenheit 451 and Yes Please are two that I intend to read at some point, so this is certainly disappointing to see!

    1. Honestly, I've thought about re-reading 451 at some point because I read it so young that I feel like I might change my mind about it now? But go into Yes Please not expecting greatness and you might have a better experience with it? I had very high expectations and I think that contributed