Top Ten Tuesday: Surprisingly Brilliant Books

This week’s TTT, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is about books we’ve either loved more or less than we expected. I’m not in the mood for slagging off ten poor, innocent books (except Norwegian Wood, which I am always happy to insult), so I’m going for ten books I liked more than I anticipated.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
I didn’t love Beautiful Broken Things, but Barnard’s second novel, about a mute girl and a deaf boy, appealed to me far more. It was sweet without being sickly, and I felt like it was more realistic.

Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
On opening this punctuation-free book, I thought, ‘there’s no way I can read this,’ but I’m glad I stuck with it because it was darkly humorous and very engaging.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
As a self-confessed book snob, I wasn’t going to read something that other people actually like. But it was £4 in Morrison’s, so I bought it and did enjoy it a bit, although I did guess the big reveal pretty much straightaway. This is very unusual for me. Review here.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Another book I pre-judged because I wasn’t a huge fan of the author’s previous work, I found myself really enjoying this historical novel about a young Irish girl who claims not to have eaten in months. Review here.

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
I downloaded this in a Kindle sale and left it neglected for months, but when I finally read it, I was enthralled. I now want to do a PhD in geopolitics. Review here.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
I didn’t expect to like this, but read it anyway as I was on a mission to read everything on the Booker shortlist in 2016. It turned out to be my favourite from the list; I liked the unusual story-telling style and the many plot surprises. It was delightfully dark.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallero
I was apprehensive about this Sherlock Holmes retelling because I hadn’t seen much chat about it in the usual places, but I liked it a lot; the teen descendants of Holmes and Watson have an enjoyably snarky relationship and the book makes clever use of the original stories. Review here.

The Fireman by Joe Hill
This book is 747 pages long. I assumed it would be a slog. It wasn’t. Review here.

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
I think I mention this book every ten minutes. I don’t even like dogs, so how did a book about them end up being one of my favourites of 2016? Review here.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Shamefully, the first time I sat down to read this, I couldn’t get into it. Oddly, I blame the fact that I was reading it on my Kindle. Once I got a paperback, I completely loved it and it was one of those rare books that I didn’t actually want to end.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know if you have, or if I’ve tempted you to pick them up.

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Surprisingly Brilliant Books

  1. Katy Sauer says:

    Both The Girl on the Train and The Fireman have been on my TBR for quite a while but I’ve been hesitant to dive into either. A Study in Charlotte sounds interesting, I’m a big fan of Sherlock so I’m very curious. Thanks for sharing!


  2. justanothercreativewriter says:

    “As a self-confessed book snob, I wasn’t going to read something that other people actually like.”

    I relate to this oh so much, whenever a book is over hyped I have either already read it or refuse to do so, thus I haven’t read Divergent and don’t plan to. I also haven’t read any Cassandra Clare books due to this. Book snob is such a good term.


  3. curlygeek04 says:

    I went for the negative with this one – I always like talking about the books that let me down, for some reason. I totally agree with your picks Americanah and The Wonder. I clearly need to check out some of these others. I think His Bloody Project goes on my list.


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