Five Books That Weren't What I Expected

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm.

I love this week’s topic because it is not something I have ever really thought about. These days the books I pick up are largely influenced by this community and I go into them with certain expectations. It is always interesting when a book turns out to be completely different from what I would thought I would be!

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

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City of Girls is the perfect example of not letting your experiences of reading an author’s past work deter you from trying something else by them. I very much disliked Eat, Pray, Love and if it were not for the hype around City of Girls I never would have picked it up. In all honesty, I went into this I would dislike it. I was proven wrong and it is a book that I think about all of the time. I am not exciting to see what Elizabeth Gilbert writes next and I could not say that a year ago.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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I had heard a lot about Exit West before picking it up, but I did not know that a romantic relationship was at the heart of the story. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it and it completely caught me off guard. I soon became deeply invested and it was an emotional ride. I expected the book to be emotional but in a completely different way.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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I will admit that I went into Normal People completely cynical thinking there was no way that it could possibly live up to the hype. Could a story about the relationship between two people really be that interesting? Well, it was. Normal People quickly became one of my favourite books of all time. I do not think I have ever read a book that quite captures the intricacy of a romantic relationship in such a realistic way. I certainly wasn’t expecting that when I picked it up!

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

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As much as I love dystopians, they are often predictable and follow a certain formula. I went into The Dreamers fully expecting that to be the case. But what I got was something much more quiet and character-driven. There were a lot of different storylines to keep track of, but somehow I found myself fully invested in every single one. I did not expect to come out of this book with real fears. This book is truly a reflection of what could be out future, and it is terrifying.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

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It is very rare that humour works for me in fiction. I kept hearing about how hilarious My Lady Jane was, but I was skeptical. I went into it expecting to not connect with the humour and to have an unpopular opinion. I was so surprised to find that My Lady Jane turned out to be exactly my sense of humour! It is the book that made me realize I enjoy satire. I love that the authors took a tragic story and turned it on its head.

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27 thoughts on “Five Books That Weren't What I Expected

  1. Great list! I felt the same way about Gilbert’s fiction. Since I disliked Eat, Pray, Love, I went into her fiction thinking I would dislike it too, but I was pleasantly surprised. Her “Signature of All Things” and “City of Girls” remain very memorable reads for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just started reading Normal People and am not sure what to make of it. I loved City of Girls but I also loved Eat, Love, Pray and Big Magic so I think I must be an Elizabeth Gilbert fan! I read City of Girls because it was written by her and not because of the hype. Great list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read any of the books you’ve mentioned here, Kristin, but I know what you mean about trying to keep an open mind about an author if you’ve read a book of theirs that wasn’t your cup of tea.
    Kelly Armstrong is my big author that let me down; I’ve read two of her books – liked one and thought the other wasn’t up to the hype. I’m leaving it a good long while before I venture into her books again.
    I hope that 2020 has more wonderful surprising reads than bitter disappointing ones for both of us. x

    Like

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