Friday, November 22, 2013

Books That Surprise Us

A few years ago, I wrote a post about boring books.  Books that you had such high hopes for and then ended up tossing aside for one reason or another.  But lately I've been thinking about the other side of that coin.  Those books that you aren't particularly interested in or excited about, but out of nowhere the story grabs you and ends up becoming one of your favorite reads.  I have had multiple books like that over my reading life.  Here are a few examples:

  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves.  Though I love history, Ancient Rome had never been one of my favorite periods to study.  For some reason back in 2009, I decided to read this classic by British author Robert Graves.  And I was captivated from beginning to end!  The political intrigue, the grappling for power, the family problems...all of it worked together to tell an amazing story.  
  •  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I first read this book back in early middle school, and I just wasn't very impressed.  Years later, I decided to try again and boy, was I blown away.  Lee's classic story of growing up in the Depression-era South is one that still resonates with readers today.  Her characters are so real, and the message is so poignant.  So glad I decided to give this one another chance.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker.  I have ever been one for the horror/spooky genre of books or films.  Though of course I was familiar with the modern idea of Dracula, I never considered reading the original.  That is, until The Classic Tales Podcast featured a portion of it for one episode.  My curiosity was piqued and I had to have more.  What I discovered was a well-told story with amazing characters and a fascinating plot.  Nothing like what I had expected.  This was probably the biggest surprise I have had in terms of reading.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  Like horror, YA lit was never something that I thought I would want to read.  Angsty teens, love triangles, sparkly vampires...these just aren't my things.  I really doubted that these books could live up to the hype surrounding them.  I was wrong.  I read the first book in a day and then devoured the other as well.  Each one was amazing, but Mockingjay absolutely blew me away.  

As readers, it is so easy to write books off without reading them.  We judge them based on what we think they are about, what we think we like, and what we think makes for good reading.  But the truth is, you'll never know what a book is truly like until you actually read it.  It's a cliche, but so true, that you can't judge a book by it's cover.  Except 50 Shades of Grey...pretty sure I've got that one pegged.  What books have you loved despite your previous feelings towards them or a particular genre?  Share them in the comment section.   

1 comment:

hopeinbrazil said...

I loved this post. I haven't read the first three books you mentioned so you've piqued my interest. I'm reading a book right now that has taken me completely by surprise.(A Brave New World) Nobody ever told me how amazing it was. Can't wait to blog about it.