Monday, May 23, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Books that Confound and Confund

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday's topic today (Hee!) is a particularly fun one that made me exercise the old gray cells.  My brain was so irritated by the overworking that it, in fact, convinced me to cheat.  Just a little.  But more about that later - first here's the topic:
Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference, thought it was great in a genre until you became more well read in that genre etc.)
I completely understand the phenomenon the topic is referring to but actually changing my feelings about a book, reversing them especially, is somewhat rare for me.  It happens and I have a few examples below.  Here's where the cheating comes in.  The rest of the books are mostly those that I felt differently about at the end then I did while reading - that underwent some shift when taken as a whole.  Not exactly what this topic is about but close enough, my brain says.


1) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

So I have been fascinated with vampires since I was a small child.  They're my monster of choice, if you will.  So I was of course intrigued by the phenomenon that was Twilight.  I was well beyond the target age bracket when I picked it up but I have to admit I got pretty caught up in it while reading.  It took me back and reminded me of all my teenage fantasies.  My very silly teenage fantasies but still I can't deny, I ate it up.  But as soon as I finished the book, all that nostalgia went away and I just felt mildly ill.  I've never had any desire to pick up the rest of the books in the series.

2) In the Woods by Tana French

Twilight is a book that suffered upon further thought.  This book is one that did the opposite.  One of the main characters in this book goes through a pretty profound transformation and while reading it felt like a betrayal.  I was upset and mad.  Then I finished the book and really thought about what the author had done and how she'd done it and what it really meant and Whoa.  This was a book that I realized was amazing only after moving away from the emotion of reading and thinking back on it more intellectually.

3) The Thomas Covenent Series by Stephen R. Donaldson

I read this series when I was quite young and it was my first real introduction to an anti-hero in fantasy literature.  It consequently Blew. My. Mind.  Thomas Covenent is an honest to god leper in the real world but his leprosy is gone when he crosses into the Land and his white gold wedding band, symbol of his failed marriage, becomes a token of power.  The thing is, one of the first things he does when he crosses over into the Land is rape a woman.  As a young person, I was of course bothered by this but mostly thought of it as being a gutsy move on the author's part.  I don't think older me would view this in the same light at all.

I re-read (for the first time) the entire Harry Potter series last year and was surprised to find that my feelings about several of the books changed.  Most notable was book 5, which had been my least favorite on the first go round and was probably my favorite on this second read.  I appreciated Harry's journey this time instead of being annoyed by it.  My Re-Read Review.

5) Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Nothing much happens in this book and my review talked mostly about how charming, delightful and funny the book was.  And it was all those things - I read it in two days.  I realized as I sat with it though that it also had really spoken to me and had a deeper impact on me than I imagined.  It's a book that hides a really substantial core with a veneer of delightful wit and writing.

The rest of the books on the list are all books that while reading I struggled with parts or had portions of the book where I wasn't quite getting it but by the time I closed the back cover and reflected I realized I really loved the book/series as a whole.  The whole is greater than the parts and all that: 

Every single book in this series surprised me by the end. Every single one. In a good way.

I initially thought this book was just a string of imaginative imagery.  By the end it was SO MUCH more while still be an impressive display of a creative imagination.

8) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This one may just be a matter of starting off slow for me but regardless it really pulled off being awesome by the end.  It started lackluster but by the end I was in love.

In each of the three books in this middle-grade series there was a point where I wondered if it was going to work.  It always did and this series was one of my favorite reads of the year when I read it.  

10) The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt

This was a rambling beast of a book that had me occasionally screaming come on at my car's cd player but when it was over I was kind of lost without it for several days.

11) The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #2) by Dan Simmons

This is the sequel to one of my favorite all time Sci Fi Novels (Hyperion) and it's long and involved and so different from Hyperion.  I felt ambivalent and weird about it for much of the time I was reading but at the end I thought it worked and was excellent in its own right.  Though not as good as Hyperion.

This was definitely a TTT that made me wish my brain wasn't getting older and still worked because it was thought provoking.  Hopefully the books I chose work even if they didn't always fit the criteria.

What about you?  Have you had any books you've done a 180 on after having a few days to ruminate upon them?

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