Top Ten Books I Liked More/Less Than I Thought I Would

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Today, the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list top ten books I liked more/less than I thought I would.

Expectations are always so damning, aren’t they. So many times I go into a good book with great expectations, and end up disappointed. At other times, I read a book that seems just about ok, and then end up surprised and amazed by the book. It may not be a particularly good book, but because my expectations were low, I end up loving it.

toptentuesday

Anyway, enough rambling. Starting off with top five books that I didn’t like as much as I thought I would.

  1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – This was a series that was loved all over the blogosphere. Well, I remember this series for just how ordinary I found it. Maybe, because I thought this was going to be the next Harry Potter or something misguided like that, but whatever the case, I thought it was just about average.
  2. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer – A series of books about vampires and werewolves couldn’t possibly be boring, right? Especially considering these were worldwide bestsellers. I read each book thinking it would improve on the earlier, and I ended up so, so disappointed.
  3. Room by Emma Donoghue – It’s not that this was a bad book. It wasn’t, it was a really good one. But I think my expectations of this book were so high, it was impossible for it to match it.
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – My expectations from this book were pretty much bargain basement, but this book failed to meet even those expectations.
  5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – I love reading books on Anne Boleyn even if they are predictable. And I liked Gregory’s idea of focusing the story on Mary Boleyn. The execution of the book was terrible though, and I ended up really disliking it.

And now comes the list of five books that I liked more than I expected.

  1. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – I was gifted this book one Christmas (as part of a book blogger Santa swap). I wasn’t too sure what to expect from it. It was so big and fat. But I read the first two chapters, and I was simply bowled over. I ordered the rest of the books, and read them back to back two times over, and watched the entire series without missing an episode. I am on top of all news GRRM related too, reading all the fandoms, wikis, and drooling over all the Westerosi art on the web. I definitely did not think I would be so sucked in when I first read the extremely poorly worded synopsis at the back of this book.
  2. Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfield – Dystopia as a genre doesn’t interest me too much, and YA dystopia even less so. But Westerfield’s decision to keep the lead character Tally so morally ambiguous makes these books quite interesting. And though I couldn’t overlook some of the problems with the writing, I ended up liking the books anyway.
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir – Similarly, science fiction is not always my thing. I mean, I am still stuck in the awesomeness of Asimov and Ben Bova, that later science fiction novels have failed to appeal. The Martian changed that though with its wit and humor, and I ended up really enjoying it.
  4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – The synopsis of the book conveyed very little to me. But then were all the rave reviews on the web, and so I picked it up, and then sat on it for ages. Finally, when it was time to return this book to the library, I decided to at least give it a try, and I ended up loving the Dickensian feel of it. Great characters and really touching. I ended up loving this book.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – My previous experiences with Atwood were quite disappointing, and so I went into this book with pretty low expectations. This tale though blew my mind away, and it’s one of those books where I can remember the details and quote lines from it, and OMG, I loved it so much.

What books did you end up liking more than you expected? Which books disappointed you?

  • Mithila Menezes

    I too loved The Martian, and didn’t want to put the book down at all! I have read mixed reviews about The Goldfinch, and hence haven’t gotten around to reading the book.
    I guess you’d like Storm of Swords more than A Clash of Kings, because Storm of Swords has a lot of crazy, unexpected twists and deaths!

    • Nishita

      @mithila_menezes:disqus Oh yes! I definitely loved Storm of Swords. By then I was already heavily invested into GOT, and in love with the series. Clash of Kings just happened to be the first book I read.

  • Zoë

    Great list here Nishita!

    I absolutely adored The Goldfinch. I actually want to read it again sometime, it was awesome. As for the Twilight books? I got roped into those and I bitterly regret it. Then there are those Fifty Shades books – I refuse to touch them because I love my Kindle too much, and I am positive that I will throw it against a wall in frustration.

    • Nishita

      @disqus_VgvrqNgGl4:disqus I want to read The Goldfinch again too, and The Secret History as well. They are such brilliant books.

      • Zoë

        I really need to get to The Secret History – I keep meaning to, and then something comes up!

        • Nishita

          @disqus_VgvrqNgGl4:disqus Pick up that book now. It’s a chunkster, but you”ll just be zipping through it. So good!

  • Karen

    i’ve read only the first part of Pullman’s trilogy but enjoyed it far more than I expected to. I’m not keen on fantasy at all so the first few chapters which talked about their dæmons were a bit of a struggle, but then the idea of dust was introduced which I found fascinating

    • Nishita

      @disqus_gmoXW9BOB2:disqus I loved the idea of dust, but then it all got messed up in the second and third books. The third book was overall a damp squib and totally killed off any liking I had for the series.

      • Karen

        i have the second book – picked it up very cheaply second hand – but havent felt motivated enough to read it yet. Now I know from your comment that the dust theme gets diluted maybe it will just go into the charity box

        • Nishita

          @disqus_gmoXW9BOB2:disqus I won’t say the dust theme was diluted, but I didn’t really care for where the story went with it. This is a problem for me mostly in the third book. The second was ok.

  • natasha stander

    Great idea for a list 🙂 I managed to get about halfway through His Dark Materials. It is too drawn out and just not written well enough (in my opinion) to match such a long story. I also had no time for Fifty Shades, I agree with you there. The ridiculous characters and abuse was just too much for me.

    The five books you liked more than you thought you would are all books I would love to read. I’ve actually started The Martian, so should really just commit to finish it.

    • Nishita

      @natashastander:disqus at last, some one who agrees with me on His Dark Materials. For the longest while, I would sit uncomprehending at all the intense discussions surrounding these books. I even tried watching the movie. But, it was all just so boring.

  • Awww, The Goldfinch. That makes me happy — I love it when people enjoy Donna Tartt!

    • Nishita

      @readingtheend:disqus you put me on to her books with all your raving about The Secret History. It’s a pity she takes so long with writing each book, because there’s just this strangely addictive quality about them. I am thinking about giving The Little Friend a try, although many have told me it’s not very good.

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