Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) topic is Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would.
Well, I’m going to spin this one…possibly so much that it doesn’t much resemble the original topic because I got inspired by a book I read last week (A Separation).
You’ll notice some running themes here…in both the “isn’t for everyone” and “was for me” categories. Namely, writing, dislikable characters, long books, and the lack of a propulsive plot.
12 Books That Aren’t For Everyone…But WERE For Me!
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Why isn’t it for everyone? It’s over 900 pages. It’s full of odd, fantasy / magical realism – type elements.
Why was it for me? Despite not usually buying into magical realism, Murakami made me believe in the world he created. Plus, back when I read this, chunksters didn’t scare me.
A Separation by Katie Mitamura
Why isn’t it for everyone? It’s a 100% style book. Not much happens plot-wise.
Why was it for me? That style completely worked for me. I could read the narrator’s observations about life, marriage, grief, etc all day long. Plus, she created emotional tension despite the lack of action.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? One particular story element gets super creepy and icky.
Why was it for me? By the end of the book, Greenwood had forced me to see how this situation could be more gray than I initially thought. She talked me out of my initial revulsion.
Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? It’s a short story collection. The stories and characters are dark, depressing, and maddening in their inaction.
Why was it for me? Miller’s writing was filled with “yes, that’s exactly how it is” statements.
Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? The plot meanders and fails to explain a major element of the story. Also, the narrator is dislikable.
Why was it for me? I’m a diehard fan of Koch’s distinct writing style…particularly his social commentary.
Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? This memoir is an emotional gut-wrencher (it’s about a father suffering from ALS)…and also chock full of crass and inappropriate humor.
Why was it for me? I love books that make me feel a range of emotions and this one made me laugh, cry, cringe, and everything in between. And, crass humor definitely doesn’t offend me.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? Plot has been called boring and nonexistent. Tess (the main character) isn’t particularly likable.
Why was it for me? The writing…especially the food writing. It’s just incredible. Plus, I lived in NYC when I was the same age as Tess (the main character) and have worked in restaurants, so I could identify with the setting.
Tender by Belinda McKeon (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? Parts of this story are utterly cringe-worthy and uncomfortable to read. Catherine’s (a main character) terrible decision-making makes the reader want to shake her many times.
Why was it for me? Another book that took me on an emotional roller-coaster and created extreme tension without much action. Plus, the writing.
The Dinner by Herman Koch (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? See Dear Mr. M. Plus, there isn’t much action in the beginning of the book.
Why was it for me? See Dear Mr. M.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? It’s looong. And, the Las Vegas section of the book is a massive departure from the rest of the story…and isn’t appealing to everyone.
Why was it for me? The writing. And that Las Vegas section introduced the character that stole the show (Boris, of course).
The Shore by Sara Taylor (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? It takes a lot of concentration to read…there are a gazillion family members to keep track of and the timeline jumps around randomly. Plus, the last chapter was either love it or hate it.
Why was it for me? Again, the writing. Also, the raw focus on the terrible treatment of the women in this story and the soulful setting.
The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder (my review)
Why isn’t it for everyone? Non-sports fans are put off by the apparent football premise. Plus, there’s not much of a plot.
Why was it for me? I actually am a football fan (but you don’t have to be to love this book). Also, the spot-on social commentary about all aspects of life and the darkness running just under the surface of the seemingly mundane.
What are some books that you loved, but you don’t necessarily think would appeal to lots of people? And, what books on this list worked for you too?