Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can’t Believe I Read

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

January 30: Books I Can’t Believe I Read

I decided to be pretty open in how I interpret this one. It could mean books I can’t believe I read because they’re not my usual genre or books I can’t believe I read because I hated them so much, or books I can’t believe I was lucky enough to read. A lot are books that didn’t appeal to me at first but I read them anyway and was surprised by how much I liked them. A few are books that looked great and I can’t believe I kept reading them when I discovered how disappointing they were.

51j4urrkj3l-_ac_us218_1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy– I read this for a class in college. I wasn’t a fan. I found the war parts dull and several of the peace characters really irritating. It’s a long book to read when you’re not enjoying what you’re reading! But I did it.




51qf7-d2cl-_ac_us218_2. Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews– This is more in the category of “I can’t believe I read this stuff in middle school!” I loved it at the time. I read the whole thing in a weekend and went right on to the sequels. But the story involves incestuous romance, child abuse, religious fanaticism, and that’s just the first book in the series! Scandalous stuff for an 11-year-old!


41bdgu2fkpl-_ac_us218_3. New Moon by Stephanie Meyers– Well I can believe I read the first one. It was really hyped and I like to check books out when they’re really popular with a lot of people. But I can’t believe I read the rest of the series. I suppose because I found the first one to be OK (at the time) and then wanted to finish what I started? I don’t think much of this series though.


51vg7zt42ul-_ac_us218_4. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda– Stories told in reverse don’t usually work for me. It usually becomes more about the trick than the story itself.  That was my problem with this book. I read this because I found it for a dollar at a used book sale. It was worth the dollar but I’m glad I didn’t spend much more than that.



51pnvfoqqcl-_ac_sr160218_5. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken– I think I outgrew YA a few years ago. That’s a very general statement. There are many YA books that I love. But in general, the YA fantasy trilogy/series thing doesn’t interest me much anymore. But a few people told me that this series was a lot of fun so I decided to give it a try. It was a fast read, but even though it ended with a pretty big cliffhanger, I realized that I didn’t care enough about the characters to keep reading.


515a-chyel-_ac_us218_6. Public Secrets by Nora Roberts– I don’t usually read Nora Roberts. I have nothing against her, but I always saw her as sort of “corporate” in a way… I picked up this book when I was staying at my grandmother’s house and needed something to read. It was OK. It didn’t make me want to run out and read lots more Nora Roberts books, but it entertained me enough at the time.


51bphux9gl-_ac_us218_7.  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear– Something about this series seemed very… blah to me when I first read the description. Or maybe I just didn’t find the cover intriguing (I know, I know, I’m not supposed to judge them that way…) I read the book based on a recommendation and I’m really glad that I did. Three books into the series, I’m loving the series about a female psychologist/detective in England between WWI and WWII.


51lnzses14l-_ac_us218_8. The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley– I picked this up because a dual timeline novel taking place in contemporary England, and during WWII sounds right up my alley. The review from Shelf Awareness said that it was  “sweeping, poignant saga that will enthrall fans of The House at Riverton, Rebeccaand Downton Abbey”. So really it’s not surprising that I read it. What’s surprising is that I kept reading it. I suppose I wanted to see if it got better as I went on. It didn’t.

61wblmzijl-_ac_sr160218_9. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett– My dad recommended this one to me. I had my doubts about being entertained by a novel about building a cathedral in the middle ages. But once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.




41ii-qq8gpl-_ac_us218_10. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley– I’d seen this recommended so many times. When it started off slow, I told myself to give it time. When it didn’t get better, I told myself there must be a reason why people love it so much. When I finished the book I wondered why I gave it so much time and effort.


12 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can’t Believe I Read

  1. I did not care for The Orchid House either. It was definitely one of the books that taught me to be more wary of dual timeline historical fiction that claims to be perfect for readers who love Kate Morton, Downton Abbey, etc. I keep meaning to give the Maisie Dobbs series a try, so I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying it so much. I’m also surprised I read and loved The Pillars of the Earth. Have you read the rest of the series?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel that way about the Twilight series as well. I LOVED them when I read them back in middle school, but I would HATE them if I tried to reread the series now. It’s funny how drastically reading tastes can change!

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  3. Oh I’m really sad you didn’t like War and Peace- I guess it’s not for everyone- and it’s certainly true that it’s harder when it’s an especially long book that you’re not enjoying. hahaha I’ve heard of Flowers in the Attic- can’t believe anyone’s read that tbh- it does sound scandalous for an 11 year old! 😉 I can actually believe that I read Twilight because I picked it up in an airport before it was famous (I know, such a lame thing to be hipster about- “I read Twilight before it was cool”) and, well, the term “airplane book” exists for a reason 😉 What I can’t believe is that I accidentally got my whole school year into it… even though I progressively liked it less and less (and I was never a Twihard 😉 ) hehehe yes it’s amazing what we keep on reading even when it sucks 😉 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think part of my issue with War and Peace had to do with not liking or being interested in the main characters. The other issue I had was that it didn’t need to be as long as it was. The professor who assigned it admitted to the class that “Tolstoy was a great writer, who could have used a great editor”. I agree with that.

      Thanks! I can believe I read Twilight because it was really popular. If enough people recommend a book, I’ll probably check it out sooner or later. But I can’t remember what made me think “I’ll read the second book.” I suppose that I thought it was OK at the time and wanted to see where the series went? And then I must’ve figured “well, I’ve read this much, I may as well finish off the series.” I think that was probably what my thought process looked like! Which in retrospect was pretty silly. So now I won’t continue with a series I don’t find interesting, unless I’ve been told something like “it really gets good in book 2”

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      • I think that’s fair enough- I really liked the characters, but that’s entirely subjective, so it’s fair enough if you didn’t. Hehe I don’t agree with that funnily enough- but I actually really enjoyed some of his (seemingly random) musings on the nature of history. (though I do find that a lot in some classics- this was just one of those rare ones which completely worked for me… he could’ve trimmed out the discussions of 19th century agriculture in Anna Karenina though 😉 )

        You’re welcome! hehe I get that. heheh yes- I think the first one seemed okay, except for the sparkling and the fact that she didn’t just become a vampire at the end (that annoyed me anyway) hehe I definitely got to that point though by book 3. It is really silly- but I used to do that with book series all the time- for some reason it took me ages to unlearn that 😉 Yeah I agree with that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh it’s totally subjective. And for me the characters are key. I don’t have to “like” a character, but I need to be able to invest in what happens to them. Otherwise it doesn’t feel like much is at stake in the story. There are books and characters where I’d happily read 75 pages of a character doing laundry, because something about the writing grabs me, or because I love the character’s thoughts/ideas/whatever.


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