The Mountains of Instead

Championing fiction as an escape from pandemics, politics and bad TV.

Books I Thought I'd Hate But Ended Up Loving

This post is inspired by The Book List meme hosted by the awesome I'm Lost in Books.  I really liked the topic this week (which was the brainchild of Cristina at Shredded Cheddar), so here goes... As usual all book titles link back to their Goodreads page so that you can check out these gems for yourself.

The Secret History
Donna Tartt

Now, I know that this isn't a YA book, but it is one of my all time favourites and I re-read it once every year (in November, it just seems like a November sort of book). Also, all the characters are at university, so are all late teens/early twenties anyway.  I have had to buy countless copies of it as I keep giving it away so that I can share the love.  However, the first (and second, third, fourth and possibly fifth) time I came across it I thought it looked like pretentious, over-bearing, over-hyped nonsense.  I should really have just picked it up and read the first line of Chapter One.  Which is awesome.  It's a fascinating story of murder, betrayal, love and friendship and the extraordinary things that people find themselves doing in order to belong.

City of Bones
Cassandra Clare

I honestly was completely put off by the cover.  It's not that half-naked men don't do it for me, it just didn't make it look like a book of "quality" to me.  Also, I found the blurb on the back uninspiring.  Then one day, I found myself in an airport bookshop with few options and thought like it might make an easy read on my flight.  I loved it.  In fact, I now love Cassandra Clare so much that I plan on devoting a blog extravaganza week to her books at some point in the future.  The story is great, the characters are fun and multi-faceted and I defy anyone not to fall in love with Jace.  I'm probably going to marry him myself one day.  Mark my words, people - you heard it here first.

Stephenie Meyer

I ordered this on whim after reading about the hype in my Sunday newspaper.  Before it arrived I made the mistake of reading an article and some comments on Breaking Dawn (which had just come out). I thought that Edward sounded cruel and controlling, Jacob completely pointless and Bella a real sap.  When the book finally arrived I shoved it on my shelf and forgot all about it thinking that I could give it to my young cousin at some point.  Then I went on holiday and grabbed it as a lazy read.  My poor holiday buddy had to put up with me trying to sneak a few pages every we sat still as I was instantly hooked.  Luckily, I leant it to her so that she could get sucked into Twi-land too.  I've obviously read all four of Stephenie's books now, and at point s still think that my original views on the characters were right in some respects and it's not a work of great literature, but that doesn't mean that I didn't get totally involved with the story.  Ultimate escapism and something that I have enjoyed re-reading and passing on to friends.

So that's it.  There are many more, but I am secretly hoping that this topic can be followed up with a Books I Thought I'd Love but Ended up Hating as then I could really get my rant hat on.  So hint hint - can we do that sometime soon??


Lauren said…
I'm totally with you on Twilight. That book has a weird effect on me: it's like, I *know* that I don't like some things about it and the dynamic between Edward and Bella, but my heart doesn't know it.

I'm looking forward to seeing the 'books I thought I'd love but ended up hating post'. I love a good rant.
Carla said…
I am with you so much on The Secret History. I read that way back when and at first I reallt stuggled with the conecpt of the story and the obviously very strong philosophical references, but something about it just reeled me in and it's just wow. See with Twilight, I read it before the hype and fell in love with it, despite its flaws and despite the fact that Jacob should've won the girl.

I loved City of Bones so so much, its not even funny. I am a ridiculous Cassie fan girl. I joined her fan forum a while back, way before I started blogging, and after realising how much I loved reviewing books on the forum, I decided to head out on my own. I will forever be thankful for my friends I made on that site, it opened up my eyes in a way only amazing books can.

Fabulous post. I apologise for the babbling nature of my comment :-)
Splendibird said…
Lauren - I know... I should really object to so many of the messages in Twilight but I just get totally swept away.

Carla - Yes, The Secret History is amazing! And I may be in touch when I get round to doing my C Clare week at a later date (maybe to coincide with Clockwork Angel being released). Not sure what I'm going to do but it will be fun, fun, fun! And ensure my betrothal to Jace. Naturally.
Unknown said…
OK now I'm thinking why have I never heard of The Secret History. I will have to add it to my wishlist. I'm intrigued. I can't think of any books that I thought I'd hate but ended out loving. Hmmm... Actually I can. Jinx by Meg Cabot. I read it because one of my students wrote a very persuasive book review and I said I would read two student choices last summer. Jinx was one of them. I actually loved it. It was very teen and sugary but none the less, it kind of rocked. It had a ridiculously pink and glittery cover. I would never have read it of my own accord.
Anonymous said…
I too bought The Secret History penguin edition for 9.95 from Borders because it had a greek statue on the cover, and it ended up being one of my favourite books of all time.

So rare that it happens, makes the reading it and the pleasant surprise all the more special.
Cecelia said…
I've definitely found myself being that friend who will try to sneak pages of a book at any opportunity. Under the dinner table! During bathroom breaks! Yep...when a book is good, it's good. Nice list!
Becca said…
All great choices! Twilight is one I don't know if I would like or not. I only watched the movie after an acquaintance persuaded me to and I did enjoy it, but I don't know if I did enough to read the book. However, I keep hearing (as is the case many times) that the book is better.
Jessica said…
I love this list. There are so many books that I thought I would hate but ended up loving. Twilight and City of Bones would be on that list. Twilight was the first book I picked up in years and I really didn't expect to like it. I looked at City of Bones and it had terrible reviews. I picked it up probably 10 times in the bookstore lol. I ended up LOVING the entire series!!
Carol Ordonha said…
Hey, I just found you website, and I'm actually in love with that. i'm from brazil and I'm used to read a lot of this kind of websites from here, it's amazing to see how people around the world think about the books I see right here in my own shelf ... Anyway, I'm gonna give some opinions that we have here!
I don't really know the first one, so I can't tell anything. The Twilight Saga I think we have kind of the ssame thoughts, and here we have like two sides: the ones that absolutely love Twilght and the haters, and maybe a third side, the ones who reads books and really prefer the books than the movies.
And City of Bones I have heard many people saying this book is amazing, I don't know because I didn't read yet.
Well, I think it's that, sorry if my english is bad, I hope you could understand it well!

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