Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not-So-Great Expectations - Top Ten Tuesday # Ten

Today's Top Ten Tuesday Topic is "Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like MORE/LESS Than I Did".  If perchance this is your first experience with Top Ten Tuesday, you can find more information here.

At some point or another, it is highly probable that you, dear reader, will try something new, only to find that it doesn't meet up to your expectations. Perhaps you find that the regional specialty that came so highly recommended contains anchovies, or the cake you just ordered, maybe the one shown here, inexplicably contains that red dye that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.  Also, you're allergic to red dye, so it really isn't your day.

Alternatively, there may come a time where some dish that you have had some misgivings about turns out to be delicious - so delicious, in fact, that you eat nothing else for the rest of the meal, leading your friends, family, and possibly even the wait staff a little worried about you.

Alright, so that last bit is a tad exaggerated, but it is an entirely plausible scenario, and the same can be said of books. We've all picked up a book at some point that either didn't live up to our expectations or surpassed them entirely... well, maybe not all of us, but the odds are in my favour.  Therefore, here is my list, which I have tried to split between disappointments and pleasant surprises, but that hasn't worked out so well.


1. American Gods - Neil Gaiman: Originally recommended to me by a friend, I bought this book with high expectations.  Taken as a whole, the plot of this novel is amazing.  However, there were numerous elements within the story that I found distasteful or downright repulsive.  Still on my shelf as I don't have a book to fill its slot, but it's going to find a new home once I do.

2. The Great Train Robbery - Michael Crichton:  For similar reasons as American Gods, only this one I picked up because I'd read some of his other works and enjoyed them, so I expected better of this one.

3. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley: I'm not sure why this story rubs me the wrong way, but I simply haven't been able to enjoy it. I generally don't like darker stories, as will become apparent because up next is...

4. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson: I can't think of anything unique to say here, so I instead will point out that the Mazda logo looks like an owl.

5. Crime & Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky:  Upon reconsideration, I think it is more likely that I don't enjoy these because of the main characters' deliberate placement of themselves in a position that is at odds with that which is considered moral.

6. The Awakening - Kate Chopin: I honestly couldn't find anything to like about this book, despite the fact that the professor of the class for which I read it said it was an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

Pleasant Surprises

7. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins: As I have stated in a past blog post, I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I picked up to read it, so it would make sense that I wouldn't have very high expectations of this book.  Still, it did beat my initial assumptions about it based on the summary on the cover.

8. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen: Ok, here we go - the reason I didn't expect to enjoy this one was because it's "for girls".  Yes, a tad immature, but I was a fairly immature person at the time I first read it.

9. Merlin - Stephen R. Lawhead: Merlin was far, far better than I expected after reading the prior book, Taliesin, which was honestly something of  a mental beating to read.

10. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer: Around the time I read this, I was going through a bit of a sci-fi phase... as in I read almost nothing else.  So when I was handed this book and told to read it, I was somewhat dubious about it since it was about "faeries".  But I enjoyed it, so my worries were unfounded.

And there you have it!   I know there are a few items on this list that some of you may disagree with - if so, leave a comment below, I'd love to see your opinions!


  1. Oooo LAWHEAD! My goodness, I read Taliesin and Merlin ages ago and enjoyed them so much. And Artemis Fowl is one of my favorite series of all times. Especially on audio!

    My Top Ten

  2. You don't like Frankenstein? My! Hmm... I rather enjoyed it. It's somber, and sobering. I love M. Shelley's thoughts about creating and taking life. But I also liked The Awakening - up til the end when she drowns.. that was just the dumbest death ever.