Top 10 Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

I have been burned by the popular vote just enough times that when I hear that a book is really popular, I usually decide that it isn’t for me. However, on occasion I do cautiously decide to read a book that has done really well. Here is a list of books that have really worked for me. Top 10 Tuesdays are hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter was, to my recollection, the first book I ever refused to read because it was so popular. My mom actually talked me into reading it, though, and of course now it’s one of my all-time favorites!

2. And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell

So this was one of the rare books that I heard a lot about and therefore wanted to read it. If you aren’t familiar with this one, it just came out in April. I’m going to have a much longer review on this soon, but this book really got to me. It was so honest, and reminded me so much of when my first was born.

3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I actually refused to read this as a child because it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy, but I recently read it to my 6-year-old and we both loved it! I got a lot more of the humor than she did of course, but it really was cute and clever.

4. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I had a hard time pulling the trigger on this one. I had heard of it as a book, and thought I wouldn’t like it, and then saw the movie previews and thought maybe I would. I finally was given a copy for my birthday and I am SO GLAD because it was the perfect mixture of light-hearted humor and real character development.

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass

This is one of those books that did NOT sound like something I wanted to read, and I was quite sure of that based on the description. However, itw as recommended to me by several people whose reading opinions I really trusted, so I finally decided to listen to the audio-book, since that’s usually less of a commitment for me. I loved it! Of course there are some cringy parts, as it is essentially a speculative fiction Bachelor, but this book had some fantastic world-building and character development, and the main character was just the right amount of spunky for me.

6. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My husband tends to be ambitious with his reading and his book recommendations, and so I wasn’t sure whether this book would be for me. I ultimately decided to try it, though, to keep him happy, and I am so glad I did. I loved this one for all of the complexity of magic and the interesting relationships between the characters, and the great historical tidbits.

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is another book that I had heard so much about that I decided not to read it. However, I was shopping at a bookstore with an old friend of mine and she offered to buy me a copy for Christmas if I agreed to read it. I am so glad I did! Of course The Hunger Games is now a dystopian YA staple, but it also is just a great read with some really interesting questions about what we value in our society.

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I really had no reason for being resistant to this one – the magic and the whimsy is everything I like in YA fantasy, but because it was so popular I had made up my mind not to read it. Once I found out that it was an old NaNoWriMo project, though, I felt like my loyalties demanded that I try it, and I am so glad that I did.

9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Ok, so I am pretty sure I waited to read this for so long because my husband did a terrible job of selling it to me. One of his ex-girlfriends loved this book, and he kept describing it as a fantasy novel that kept receiving romance awards, so I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be my cup of tea. I received a copy for my birthday though so I felt like I had to try it. Now it’s one of those books that I recommend to almost everyone.

10. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Some people love this book and some people hate it, but it seems like very few fall between that spectrum, so I waited a long time before reading this, despite my fondness for the miniseries, which I watched for the first time at far too young an age. I really enjoyed this book, but I do think it takes the right reader to like it. There is so much in here that has provided a foundation for fantasy that followed it, so I do feel that all fantasy readers ought to give it a chance at some point in their lives.

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