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Today's Topic: Top Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time) -- or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else.
I thought I'd have a go at handling both sides of this topic today. The first part was much harder to narrow down than the second part as I'm usually very reluctant to read books that I don't think I'll enjoy!
Top Five Books I Loved Less Than I Thought I Would.
1. Paper Towns by John Green. I read this book purely on the strength of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. I loved that book so much when I read it a few years ago and I remember being really excited to read more from him! But Paper Towns was such a disappointment. The early chapters of it were actually quite promising and made me think that it was going to be a really interesting and fun novel, but once Margo went missing it became such a boring and aimless read and I found both her and Quentin's characters super whiny.
2. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett. I've only read two of Terry Pratchett's books but both of them were disappointments. One of those was Good Omens which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman (who's usually a favourite author of mine) and the other was The Colour of Magic - the first novel in his Discworld series. I think I read that book sometime back in 2012 or 2013 but I never reviewed it on this blog. I know I didn't enjoy that book but unfortunately I can't really explain why because I can remember absolutely nothing about it apart from the fact that I didn't like it! I still intend to give the Discworld books one more try though because a girl that I knew at university once told me that all of the Rincewind books in the Discworld series were crap and that I'd be much better off starting with one of the books that feature the Witches. And what do you know! I had a flick through the Witches' book Maskerade at the library the other day and it was... funny!
3. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I did enjoy some of the descriptive passages in this book and its refreshing choice of setting (1920s' Western Australia). However, the pacing was much too slow for me and I found Isabel so incredibly selfish that I just couldn't bring myself to feel very much sympathy for her.
4. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. This book certainly isn't bad and I did still like it overall but I ended up much preferring its film adaptation which I saw afterwards! The film has a great ensemble of actors who are all perfectly cast in their roles (i.e. Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda), it's less crude than the book, and it's also much funnier than the book.
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. As I've already mentioned, Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors but not everything that he's written has worked for me. Good Omens is one of those books and so is American Gods. Although I know many people out there consider American Gods to be his masterpiece, it's never been a book that I've much cared for. The book has a great premise and some interesting themes but it really drags in places and I found Shadow's character to be so bland that I just wasn't able to connect with or care about him at all.
And now for the happier, more positive side of this topic...!
Top Five Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would.
1. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I read this book after falling for its Studio Ghibli adaptation and I was so pleased with it! Because I'd loved the film so much - and had heard that it was actually very different from the book - I really wasn't expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did! Although I do still love the film I now love Diana Wynne Jones's book even more as it's much funnier, its world is richer, and its characters are more flawed and are therefore more interesting in my opinion.
2. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. A friend of mine had to read this book for school and didn't enjoy it which then put me off from reading it for several years. But when I then discovered that two of my blogger friends were both big fans of it I thought I might as well give it a go for the Classics Club. I then loved it! The book was much funnier than I thought it was going to be and I loved its prose, its colourful characters, its Jane Austen-esque social satire, and its Italian setting!
3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen's lesser-known works and because I hadn't seen it talked about all that much I really wasn't expecting all that much from it the first time I read it. But boy was I in for a surprise! Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney are both such loveable characters and this book has made me laugh out loud more than any of Austen's other works! It's such a fun read and is one of my favourites of Austen's novels.
4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Since I'd read both Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre I was starting to feel that I really ought to read something by Anne. The reviews for Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were more favourable than for her other novel Agnes Grey so I decided to go for that one first but - just as with Northanger Abbey - I still had some doubts about this book because of it not being as famous as the works by her sisters. But I was amazed! The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is brilliantly-written and is such a fascinating, powerful and modern book! It's a criminally underrated work!
5. Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray. This book is literally the book that I last finished! Even though I'm a massive Star Wars fan I haven't had very much luck with its tie-in novels. Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars books were hilarious reads but up until now I've been very disappointed with the few EU and new Disney canon novels that I've read. So even though I'd heard a lot of good things about Bloodline I still had some doubts about this book. But in the end I was hugely impressed with it! The book is set six years before the events of The Force Awakens and is focused on Leia Organa's character. Claudia Gray captures Leia wonderfully and I had no trouble whatsoever in imagining Carrie Fisher saying all of Leia's lines, which was especially welcome to me given her recent tragic passing (I sobbed when I heard that she'd died). The new characters in this book (Ransolm Casterfo, Joph, Greer Sonnel) are extremely interesting, likeable and well-developed as well and the story in this book is great. I honestly think that this book is a must-read for Star Wars fans!
So what books have surprised you in both good and bad ways? :)