Tuesday Top Ten


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week the challenge was to choose the books that you thought you wouldn’t like and did – or those that you that you would like and didn’t.  This was a tough list for me – I try to read without expectation – and often it’s not until after I finish a book that I realize it failed to meet/exceeded expectations I didn’t even know I had!

First, five books I didn’t like as much as I thought I would:

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I did like this book, just not as much as I thought I would given all of the hype surrounding it.  Sometimes I think the more a book gets talked up the more likely I am to be disappointed by it…
  2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – Another book that received a lot of attention (thanks to Oprah) and build-up that I found disappointing.  I wanted to hear more about the actual trail, the things she saw and the people she met.  Instead it seemed like a frustrating story about a person destined to make poor choices and shift blame onto others.
  3. Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – Award winners are dangerous – subconsciously the expectations are high which makes it easier to be disappointed.  While the language was beautiful I was disappointed by the story and the characters.
  4. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara – This showed up on my to-read list after reading The End of Your Life Book Club and since it was number 22 of the best English language novels written in the 20th century I thought I couldn’t go wrong.  It wasn’t awful, I just didn’t understand it being in the top 100.
  5. 1776 by David McCullough – This is a wonderful book about the first year of the American Revolution, well researched and showing a seemingly unbiased account of events.  Unfortunately, I am a lover of stories and I wanted this book to tell me a story – it often felt too much like a textbook to me (although a very well researched and well written one) and I’m not a fan of most textbooks.

Now onto five books that I liked much more than I anticipated:

  1. Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I wouldn’t want to have a top ten list without this book in it somewhere!  Truthfully, I picked up this book at the bookstore and looked it over a number of times before I actually bought it.  Another holocaust book?  Nah – not today…  I never imagined the heartbreaking beauty that would be captured in those pages.
  2. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz – I went through a period during my teenage years where I read a lot of Stephen King and a lot of Dean Koontz until I was honestly bored by them.  When my husband picked this one up and encouraged me to read it I was doubtful, but I love Odd and have become a true fan of this series.
  3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – I expected to like this book, it’s about a bookstore after all!  I didn’t expect to love it, to love the melding of technology and antiquity, to become so engaged with the quirky set of characters and their quest.
  4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I heard a lot of wonderful things about this book which made me a bit wary.  I wonder if buzz about a book will actually start to lower my expectations??  But the buzz around this story was well deserved and as Eleanor & Park fell in love I fell in love with them.   My review is coming soon!
  5. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – I was a fan of the author’s first book, Between Shades of Gray, but admittedly was concerned about her ability to write again so masterfully about a different time and place.  If anything, I ended up being a bigger fan of Out of the Easy, and was completely engrossed by both the setting and the characters.

Gone Girl

ImageAmy and Nick’s marriage starts out sounding like a fairy tale come true.  Both beautiful and successful, they meet at a party in New York City, fall in love, get married and live in a beautiful brownstone bought with money from Amy’s parents.  When they lose their money and their jobs, and have to move back to Nick’s hometown in Missouri to help care for his dying mother and aging father, it seems like things couldn’t get worse.  Unfortunately, things are about to get a lot worse…

On their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears.  As more and more evidence is revealed, the tide of popular opinion turns against Nick and he is soon the sole suspect in his wife’s disappearance.  What was really going on in their marriage? What really happened to Amy?  Did Nick kill her?  Is he capable of killing her?  Unfortunately, it’s hard to say much more about the book without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet!

Gone Girl is brilliantly written with gripping language, often darkly humorous.  There were spots in the middle of the book where I was unsure if I really liked it, the characters were getting on my nerves and I just wanted it to be over.  The book has gotten a lot of positive reviews and press over the past year, so maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe my week was just too crazy and chaotic and my heart wasn’t in it.  Whatever the reason, by the end of the book I was thoroughly enthralled again, anxious to get to an ending that may or may not have been what I was hoping for…

Did you read Gone Girl?  What did you think of Nick and Amy?  Did you think it lived up to the hype?  Were you satisfied with the way that it ended?  Let me know what you thought!

   Title: Gone Girl
   Author: Gillian Flynn
   Genre: Mystery
   Pages: 432
   Publication: Crown, June 2012