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Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t
1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (my review)
I feel like I had a really hard time getting into this book at first. There are so many characters and they all have similar names, which are in most cases also extremely long. In addition to that, the characters are occasionally identified by their nicknames and it took a lot of time for me to follow which character had which nickname. Also, there are so pretty long segments about farming and Russian agriculture and so which took some time getting used to. But I am happy I soldiered through because Anna Karenina ended up becoming of my my favorite books of all time and one I definitely want to re-read at some point in my life.
2. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
I think the main reason for me having a hard time getting into this book at first had a lot to do with the fact that I had seen the first season of the HBO show before I decided to pick it up. So I kind of knew what was going to happen (of course there are more details in the book, but the main events are pretty much the same in the show) and I kept waiting for those things to happen and got frustrated at points when I felt like the book was dragging… I am not a big high fantasy reader in general (at least I wasn’t), so the extensive world building and characterization were kind of new to me. I have decided that I won’t watch the consecutive seasons of the show before I read the books. I have read book two now, so I can watch season 2, yay!
3. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (my review)
When I was like 13, my music teacher showed us a clip of the Phantom of the Opera film (the adaptation of the musical with Gerard Butler). After seeing that clip, I knew that I would have to see the whole film and that led a massive Phantom of the Opera obsession. After doing some research I realized that the musical the film was based on was actually based on a book and of course I knew that I have to read it. At the time I read mostly Finnish YA novels, so plunging into something like this classic by Leroux was a definite change for me. Being a fan of the musical, I first had a hard time accepting that the book is very different, but once I got into it, I got really intrigued and I am definitely planning a re-read of this one, this time in English.
4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen) (my weirdly long review)
I really don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this book. It was back when I bought everything that was somehow related to Jane Austen, and when I saw this in the shelves of the local bookstore, I simply had to have it. I loved the parts that had nothing to do with zombies (so basically just Jane Austen’s original story), but the zombie parts were just…meh. I think the only reason I did not put this down for good was the fact that I had it with me at work during that summer and I pretty much just read it during my lunch hours. Haven’t looked into the other zombie adaptations of classics because this one did not really convince me.
5. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (my review)
When I started reading this one, I had a feeling that it might be too much for me. I had seen the film, so I kind of knew what was going to happen, but still, I was not prepared at all. This was one of those books that was extremely good, but at the same time one I did not want to continue reading because I knew that every single turn of a page would lead to an ending that would completely devastate me. I am quite proud of myself for actually finishing with it, even if it meant that I did not sleep at all the following night. The image of the ending of this novel is one that will keep haunting me for the rest of my life.
6. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (my review)
To be completely honest, I don’t remember much about this book. All I remember is the fact that I kept reading it just because I knew that my mom had loved it. My mom works in a library, and knowing that I love books like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, she brought this one for me, telling that she used to love this when she was my age. I remember really enjoying the vivid descriptions of the locations and the nature while being annoyed by the characters. I think one of the main disappointments for me was the fact that the “hero” Barney was not the hero I expected him to be. My expectations might have been too high too, since my mom kept raving about this book. Despite the fact that it did not become my favorite or anything, I am happy that I read it through.
7. Fallen by Lauren Kate (my review)
Now that I think of it, I cannot actually believe that I did end up finishing this one. I feel like it had most to do with the fact that I paid like 13 euros for the book and did not want to have that money wasted. I remember hating the characters, the writing style, the instalove… The reason I got excited about this one when I heard about it probably had something to do with the fact that someone compared it to Twilight and I was really in my Twilight phase back then… I can’t believe they are adapting this one into a film because the book was just plain crap. I kind of feel like almost rereading it again just to see if it’s possible that I could hate it even more.
8. Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2) by Candace Bushnell (my review)
I quite enjoyed the first instalment of the Carrie Diaries, but quite quickly had a feeling that I would not enjoy this one as much. The Carrie from the first book ends up turning into a complete bitch, to be completely honest – she is full of herself, extremely annoying and more than often very pathetic. I don’t remember much from the events of the novel, but I remember being extremely disappointed with it right after I finished reading it. I don’t know whether Bushnell is writing more of these, but I don’t think I will check them out even if she is. The show wasn’t for me either – maybe I am growing old for these superficial teen dramas….
9. Boys Next Door by Jolene Betty Perry
This is one of those books I requested from Netgalley just because I thought the cover looked nice. I did not read the summary or anything, and after I started to read it, I quite quickly realized that this novel is quite heavy on religious content and issues related to fate. I usually pass novels like that right away if it is mentioned in the synopsis (I am not religious, so I have a hard time connecting with notably religions protagonists), but since I had already started this one and quite enjoyed the characters, I kept going, and I’m happy I did so, because I think I ended up giving this 5/5 stars. The portrayal of love and friendships is extremely well executed by Perry and and the characters are so unbelievably realistic it felt like I was reading about people I actually know.
10. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (my review)
I found this book for like 50p from HMV and wanted to give it a try after seeing it featured on some booktube channels I subscribe to. Right away, I noticed that it has a lot of references to philosophers and such and as I kept going, I got kind of overwhelmed by those references, thinking that I’m not smart enough to read the book. I checked a couple of things from wikipedia and got more into the story and realized that despite the fact that there might have been so things I did not quite understand, I still immensely enjoyed the story and decided to go on.