Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish. But now lives over at That Artsy Reader Girl and you can check out her post here.
Books that surprised me is this week’s prompt and I can’t think of many books that surprised me in a bad way so I’m going to talk about books that I was surprised by in a good way.
1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
So this is a book that I have never ever mentioned on my blog (insert eye roll here) but I discovered last year that I had read a smaller number of quality books than I had realised and this was one of the books that made me realise that fact. So I have never really been into ‘adult’ classics. I grew up reading the free children’s classics on my Kindle and the classics that I was given as gifts and loving them but my only experience of ‘classics’ until last year was a failed attempt at reading A Tale of Two Cities (to be honest I didn’t get past the first page). The middle was incredibly slow, but this was one of those books that I just struggled to put down.
2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I started reading an Agatha Christie book once, wasn’t engaged and so I put it away. But then I had two friends who both raved about Murder on the Orient Express and I loved it (My previous blog posts might have given that away . . .). This book and the subsequent Agatha Christie’s that I have read have definitely surprised me because of how much I enjoyed them.
3. Facing the Flame by Jackie French
This book was sooo good. Whilst the last few books in the Matilda Saga have been good, this one was outstanding and definitely in my top three of this series. I loved seeing the connection that all the characters felt to the land and how they shaped and were shaped by the land.
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The writing is good and it might actually have been the first adult fiction book that I have ever read. It is on my re-read TBR and I’m hoping that I’ll get to it before the end of the year.
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
It took me four reads to appreciate this book (and I only read it that many times because I was studying it . . .). But the language in this book is beautiful. The book itself is still really depressing, but I do appreciate the writing.
6. Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I never really understood or liked poetry until I read her poems and they are gorgeous. I read them over Valentine’s Day (because you know, love poetry) and was just struck by her skill and narrative ability under the constraints of structure that a sonnet has.
7. Comparing To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
So apparently Go Set a Watchman was the draft and To Kill a Mockingbird the finished product but the only similarities between the two are the characters and their themes of racism. I can’t quite decide which one is more effective and I want to re-read them both together before I make any kind of judgement, but both books make me stop and think about racism and its impacts and break my heart over history.
8. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
So this is one of the few cases where I saw the movie before the book (in my defence I didn’t know of the book when I was watching the movie) but I was struck by how close they are to each other. Normally when books are adapted into movies they wind up being quote different creations but this one was pleasingly quite close to the book. (I mean they didn’t include a giant hunting maze but I guess you can’t have everything).
9. Act of Faith by Kelly Gardiner
So I had started The Sultan’s Eyes but thought I was missing something and discovered that there was a previous book in the series. I wasn’t too keen on the writing of it, but I am one of those people who after borrowing a book will read it (unless the library is about to start charging me overdue library fees) so I thought, ‘it’s just two books, I’ll survive’. But the writing in Act of Faith was gorgeous and I do not regret picking it up. If you are interested in Europe, historical fiction, books or being an educated female in a world of men go read it.
10. Authors who write non-fluffy contemporary (think Sophia Bennett and Fleur Ferris)
So contemporary YA is my second favourite genre, but as a general rule of thumb I hate romance. Whilst both these authors have used relationships within their works, what I was left with was not how much I hated that love triangle but how slavery still exists (The Castle by Sophia Bennett) and the dangers of social media and the internet (You Don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennett and Risk by Fleur Ferris). Whilst a lot of my reading is for my entertainment, I do want a little bit of brain engagement and thought-provokingness in it.