Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top 10 Lists: Hyped Books I Haven't Read

Since starting this reading blog, I've realized how many hundreds (at least) of reading blogs already exist.  This is both intimidating and exciting.  I'm not going to be competing for anyone's audience, but I can learn a lot, as a reader and as a blogger, from exploring what else is already out there.

One fun discovery is The Book Addict's Guide, which in turn led me to The Broke and the Bookish.  From them, I learned of a "Top Ten Tuesday" hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I wanted to jump in and join, but when I saw that this week's topic is "Hyped Books I've Never Read," I knew I was in trouble.  I had to break the topic into further subtopics in order to make it manageable for me.  In future Top 10s, I will stick to the spirit of these lists and force myself to choose just ten items, but for now, here are five categories of Hyped Books I've Never Read.

Regarding those books I haven't read on purpose--I resisted reading "the German dwarf book," as I'd mentally labeled Stones from the River, for years.  It sounded too grim.  My sister finally talked me into reading it, and I loved it.  So if you have a compelling case to make for any of the books I've written off, let me know!  I'll take your "don't bothers" into consideration also.


These are books that I am grumpily resistant to ever reading.  

10. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.  "Paranormal teen romance."  Yeah, no thanks.

9. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.  Sounds like the kind of thriller I like the least.

8. A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer.  My students love this book and its sequels.  I find the idea of reading about someone's abuse to be creepy.  Now that I'm a mom, even more so.

7. Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawles/Old Yeller by Fred Gipson.  I don't do dead dog books.  Certainly not if I know going into it that the dog dies.

6. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory.  My sister didn't like it.

5. Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke.  I started to read Inkheart recently, thinking I'd love it, or at least that child me would have loved it, but I didn't really get into it.  This makes me reluctant to attempt another series by her.

4. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  I know the basic premise, and there's no way that ends well.  There's something emotionally manipulative about that setup.

3. City of Bones by Cassandra Claire.  Really mixed feelings about this author, based on what I learned about her after I read a few of her Infernal Devices books.  Also, I understand that the Mortal Instruments stories are essentially the same plot line, just set in modern times and with different character names.

2.The Notebook (or anything) by Nicholas Sparks--too sappy.  I've read my share of sappy romance in my time, but given Sparks' huge popularity, I have just dug my heels in.

1.The Host by Stephanie Meyer.  Twilight was boring to read, and infuriating to think about, so I have no trust or respect for the author.


I love to read fiction, but some of my favorite books of all time have been nonfiction.  I don't have a lot to say about each of these books individually.  I don't expect to agree with each one entirely, but I think their merit is clear, and I'm embarrassed that I've never challenged myself to read them.  

10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

9. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

8. I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

7. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

6. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.

5, Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey

4, March: Book One by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin with art by Nate Powell.

3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson

2. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Bren√© Brown

1. Night by Elie Wiesel.


Either I was grown up before they came out, or we somehow never crossed paths.  I find that children's books, unlike YA, are hard to get into after a certain age. I'd be happy to see my kids reading any of these, but I have no interest in most of them myself.

10. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  Isn't this one of those series with 75 installments?  I got over that when I got over Nancy Drew in 3rd grade.

9.  A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket  I tried reading these with my nieces and nephews, but they were such a one-joke series that I couldn't maintain even a facade of interest.

8.  Frindle by Andrew Clements.  I suspect that this is a good book, but the cover is really childish, so I've never picked it up.

7. Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks. Another one my sisters' kids loved, but I never got into.

6. Redwall series by Brian Jacques.   I've actually bought a few of these, because my nephew was obsessed with them at one point.  I skimmed the first chapter of one, and decided it was not for me.

5. The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.  This has been recommended to me as a high interest book for reluctant middle school readers.

4.  Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.  I've loved some of her other work, and one of my students last year really talked up how much she liked this, so I'm going to give it a try.

3. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.  It's a classic, and I have no idea how I missed it.

2. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  I started reading this to my children.  They found the beginning too distressing, but I plan on finishing it before I return it to the library.  I loved the style and voice!

1. Chasing the Falconers by Gordan Korman.  Take a look at my blog title, and you'll know why I intend to read this.


This was the toughest subset for me to decide on.  I finally went with the not-very-scientific method of checking how many reviews on Goodreads each of my contenders had, and choosing the most-reviewed, figuring that these are the truly "hyped books."  A few were included despite not being quite as famous, because I have other reasons for prioritizing them on my to-read list.  

10.  Inside Out and Back Again by Tanhha Lai.  Novel in verse.  Historical fiction set in my own lifetime.  An author and story well outside my personal experience.  I am so looking forward to this book, although I'm worried that it will be too "serious" or "message-y."

9. Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck.  The author came and spoke at my school last year, and many of my students were excited to read the entire series after hearing her.  It's a little too girl-meets-tiger for my taste (Ms. Houck freely admitted that she's a Twilight fan), but I need to be able to talk about this book with my students.

8. Leviathan by Scott Westerfield.  I loved the first book or two of the Uglies series, then I got bored.  The steam punk cover to Leviathan didn't do much for me.  I recently read and enjoyed Afterworlds, so I've decided to give this series a try after all.

7. The Selection by Kiera Cass.  I keep waffling on this one.  The cover art and book blurb make it seem derivative and vacuous.  However, it is also the most-read book on this little list, and I keep seeing it pop up on others' blogs and in reviews of other books.

6. Boy Meets Boy by David Leviathan.  Another YA author that seems to pop up everywhere.  I disliked Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, but I really enjoyed Every Day and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, so I'd like to read his debut.  I'm expecting both wittiness and depth--let's see what I get.

5. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.  Reading the blurb, I feel like I've seen this type of story plenty of times, and that I've seen it done really well enough times to have high standards.  Again, the title, author, and characters keep showing up in others' enthusiastic reviews, so I'll give it a shot.

4. The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger.  One of my colleagues loved it.  Another one hated it.  Now I need to see for myself.

3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  I read Shiver due to the lovely cover and a student's enthusiasm.  I was underwhelmed.  I've read that this book is different from that series, and that people who dislike one might still like the other.  The premise certainly sounds more original.

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.  Another hugely popular high fantasy that I am almost scared to read--what if it's not as good as people say it is?

1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  This one has more mixed reviews--some found it formulaic, and some complain that the Russian elements are mishandled.  But that cover tho.


10. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.  I just read Me Before You and thought it was great, so now I want to read this one too.

9. In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.  It's Judy Blume.  What more do I need to know?  I don't expect it to be life-changing, but I'm confident she knows what she's doing.

8. Blankets by Craig Thompson.  I don't like graphic novels, except when I love them.  This sounds like one I'll love.

7. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  I don't know much about this one, and since it's billed as a "psychological thriller," that's the way I want to go into it.  It has great reviews and a girl on a train.  I'm in.

6. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  I finally read Gone Girl last week, and I'm ready for more Flynn!  Again, I figure the less I know ahead of time, the better.

5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  Another one where the author's name is all I need to know.

4. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  I'm actually halfway through this.  I was tired of being the only person who hadn't read or seen it.

3. Still Life by Louise Penny.  I love a good mystery, and this series has been recommended to me several times now.

2. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I saw this at Powell's last spring, and put it on my to-read list.  I've been a sucker for orphan train stories from way back.

1. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin.  I received a copy of Gift from the Sea for a high school graduation gift, and included quotes from it in my wedding.  I've read a bit about Charles Lindbergh, and found both his fascism and womanizing unsettling, especially in the context of his wife's book about marriage.  All in all, I am looking forward to this fictionalized biography.


  1. Wow, impressive list(s)! I'm all for giving Dan Brown and Cassandra Clare a miss. I just read The Ocean at the End of the Lane even though I was doubtful about the horror elements going in. I should have trusted that Neil Gaiman wouldn't let me down.

    1. I'm definitely not a horror fan, but I think some authors can write quality ANYTHING.

  2. What a list! I haven't read a lot of those, either. Hush Hush was a truly awful book, though I admit to absolutely loving the cover art.

    The Boxcar Children (the first one, not the 70+ others!) is one of my favorite kids books. It's one of the first books I remember my mom reading to me. Bedtime was my favorite time, since I knew I'd be hearing more of that book.

    I haven't read any Sparks, either! He's just too sappy.

    1. Being read to is such a great thing. My kids have the option of helping with the dinner dishes or reading aloud to me, and they always choose reading aloud. I can't WAIT until they are able to read me chapter books! :) For now I sure love reading aloud longer stories to them.

  3. Great lists! I've read three books so far in the mystery series by Louise Penny and am enjoying those. I did read Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone, but haven't read the second books in the series. I don't read a lot of YA books.Good luck getting to all these books, Wendy!

    1. Thank you! I'm a voracious reader, but my to-read list grows faster than I can keep up with. Was there a reason you didn't continue the two series, or have you just not got around to it?

  4. Oh so many choices!!! I haven't read many of these either. I do recommend Throne of Glass (although you need to read the second book immediately after full the full affect to take place) and Scorpio Races was simple brilliant. all of your "not gonna happens" make me giggle since I fully agree! Happy Reading!
    <3 Britt @ please feed the bookworm

    1. I am looking forward to both of those. I will probably read all of the YA books before I've read 2 of the adults fiction or any of the nonfiction books...

  5. Yes, try The Scorpio Races. I did not enjoy Shiver, but I love this one and her Raven Cycle series which are a lot different than Shiver. Night is one of the most moving books you will ever read. I highly recommend Grave Mercy and avoiding Hush, Hush will save you from a lot of eye rolling.

  6. Wow, that's an impressive set of lists! Boy Meets Boy is great if you're looking for a more lighthearted romance. I remember Frindle being good too, but then again, I was very young when I read it, so it may well be childish.

    The Scorpio Races is on my to-read list; I've read Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle and loved it (the summary makes it sound trite, but it's not), so I have high hopes for The Scorpio Races.

    1. That's three votes for Scorpio Races; I guess I'm going to move that up the list!

  7. LOVING SCORPIO RACES! Completely different than Shiver. Completely different than everything!


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