Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday-Ten Books I Read on Recommendation

I've decided to take the plunge and join in on Top 10 Tuesday. Top 10 Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish, and today's topic is to list books that you read because of book blogs, hype or recommendations from friends. I have lots of books that fit this category, because I'm much more likely to read a book if I hear someone else praise it first--and this method has helped me find most of my favorite books. 
Little House on the Prairie- This was the book recommendation that shaped my childhood. My mother had loved the TV show when she was growing up, and encouraged me to read the books. I started with Little House on the Prairie, since that was the one the TV show was named after, and I read the entire series multiple times through my childhood.

Ella Enchanted- For a time, this was the cool book for every girl at my elementary school. It was my first encounter with fantasy world-building, and the book stuck in my imagination. Several years later, it served as my inspiration to write fairy tale retellings, and I now reread this book about once a year.

Pride and Prejudice- Every girl I knew went crazy for the 2005 movie. I didn't understand the hype--I hated romances and I thought the movie was boring and sappy. But all my friends were reading the book, and I knew it was one of the biggest classics in literature, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. When I read Mr. Bennet's sarcastic comments about his wife's nerves, I knew I'd found a new favorite. No one had told me it was a comedy! I soon read through all of Austen's work, and she remains one of my absolute favorite authors. (Plus, I no longer think romances are stupid).

The Blue Castle- Heidi on the Surlalune Fairy Tales blog put this in a list of Valentine's Day recommendations, and called it a rare romantic retelling of "Bluebeard". It's now probably one of my top five favorite books. The story is sweet and funny and uplifting, Valancey and Barney's romance is the most adorable thing ever, and the descriptions of the forest make me want to move to Canada.

Daddy Long-Legs- When The Lizzie Bennet Diaries became an internet sensation, I stumbled upon a discussion of what book the company should adapt next. One person suggested Daddy Long-Legs, and when I mentioned that I'd never heard of it, they insisted that I needed to read the book immediately. So I did, and was instantly enchanted by Jerusha's surprisingly modern narration style and the sweet story. (And this would totally be perfect as a webseries).

The Hunger Games Series- I would never, never, NEVER, have read this series of my own volition. The concept of children fighting to the death sounded horrifying. But the hype grew and grew, and once I saw the movie trailer, I knew I had to read the books. I was surprised to find a thrilling but surprisingly deep exploration of morality and the media, and I read through the series in about a week.

The Lord of the Rings- One of my friends was a major Tolkien fan in high school, and though I had no interest in fantasy then, over time, her praise and the general hype for the series convinced me to plunge in. It took me months to read, but it was worth it.

Gaudy Night- I'd heard this one praised for its romance between equals, but I wasn't able to make it past the first few pages of Harriet staring out a window at Oxford. Then I started seeing praise and fanart for Harriet and Peter's relationship in some of the earlier books, which intrigued me. When I had the chance to buy Gaudy Night at a thrift store for -50 cents (long story), I took the chance, and found a book that stunned me with its depth and made me a Dorothy L. Sayers fangirl.

Psmith series- This was another case of being drawn in by the enthusiasm of a small fandom. I loved the Jeeves and Wooster stories, and the Psmith fans convinced me to check out this earlier P.G. Wodehouse series. The Psmith books are very different from Jeeves--they're less of a complete farce--but they have a charm of their own. Psmith and Mike's friendship is one of my favorite things in all of fiction.

The Queen's Thief Series- Now we come to my current reads. This series had been on my radar for a long time, but when I saw the excitement surrounding the announcement of the coming fifth book, I couldn't stay away any longer. I'm about a third of the way through The Queen of Attolia, and I'm stunned by the intricacy of the world-building, the characters, and the political intrigue. I hear that it gets even better from here, and I'm very excited!

Aaand, that's ten!

How about you, readers? What books have you read because of recommendations? Have you been pleased or disappointed? Do you prefer to have outside input on what you should read or to follow your own instincts? Please share in the comments!


10 comments:

  1. Hey, we have a couple books in common on our TTT lists this week! Both The Blue Castle and Daddy-Long-Legs are on mine as well.

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    1. I had noticed that! They're both such hidden gems. It seems like recommendations are the only way most people find them.

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  2. I've read and enjoyed most of these too; and I know I read at least Gaudy Night and The Blue Castle because of reading good reviews/blog posts about them. I hadn't heard of the Queen's Thief books though, I might have to look into them :)

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    1. Definitely check out the Queen's Thief books if you like detailed world-building and political intrigue. They're marketed as young adult or even children's books, but they're as complex as most adult books I've read.

      If you try them, make sure to stick with them to the end of the book. The first parts can feel a bit dry at times--I've found myself feeling emotionally distanced from the characters--but this allows the author to set up some amazing and ingenious twist endings.

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  3. My sister recommended The Thief to me years ago, and I've adored the entire series. Actually, I've read almost everything on your list and loved it. I've only read the Anne books by Montgomery and the Wooster/Jeeves books by Wodehouse, but based on how much I enjoyed those plus how much I love everything else on your list, I guess I'd better read Blue Castle and Psmith too!

    Actually, I just realized that we chose the exact same wallpaper for our blogs, so I guess we really do have similar taste!

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    1. Definitely check out those books. I've never seen anyone who didn't like "The Blue Castle" (and most people love it and call it their favorite Montgomery). And if you can get past the endless cricket of the first Psmith book, Psmith is a delightful hero (a bit like Bertie with Jeeves' cunning).

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  4. I've read or at least heard of most of these. The Queen's Thief series is SOOOOOOO good!

    Book recommendations are always hit or miss for me. Sometimes they live up to the hype, but often I feel they fall flat. A book I would have probably otherwise enjoyed can be ruined by too much hype. And sometimes I am severely disappointed and wonder what my friends were thinking with some of their recommendations. Other times, I am quite pleasantly surprised. It's all about individual taste for writing style, I think - and I like a style that isn't quite as popular right now with most readers.

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    1. Indeed, the Queen's Thief is so good. I just finished Book 2, and I'm excited because Book 3 is supposedly the best. I also agree with your points about recommendations--hype can destroy a book, and I sometimes worry it can inflate my opinion of a book that isn't very good. The ideal, I suppose, is to get recommendations from friends with similar reading tastes.

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  5. I had the same initial reaction to the plot of Hunger Games, too! Such a dark concept - but it ended up being super exciting and I read through them quickly, too. Neat that you read "Pride and Prejudice" on recommendation, since it's such a common book to read in school!

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    1. Yeah, my school stuck mostly to American lit. I only wish they had assigned something as cool as "Pride and Prejudice".

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