For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, we are asked to consider Books That Were Totally Deceiving. Suggested ideas included covers or titles that don’t fit, summaries different than the book, or books thought to be fluff but ended up far more serious. My list will be a mix of those, as I don’t think I could come up with 10 in one category. So, here is my Top Ten Books That Deceived:
1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. This book grabbed me by the cover. I had passed by this beautifully illustrated cover at least 5 times before finally buying the (on my Nook…lol) to read. I knew nothing about the book, except it was about water for elephants and so I assumed it would be a light read about the circus. Even GoodReads synopsis (linked in the title) mentions only a book about “star-crossed lovers set in the circus world circa 1932.” It was deceiving to me, because I thought it would be a simple, possibly humorous read about people who fall in love at a circus. I had no idea the narrator would be narrating as an elderly man remembering this past. Any book that has an elderly man or couple recalling their youth, akin to The Notebook, holds a special place in my reader’s heart. This one surprised me and I thoroughly enjoyed the read and was pleasantly surprised by the “deception.”
2. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson. This one was deceptive from a few different angles. The first being the author, himself. I had been an avid Patterson fan for years, ever since first seeing the movie Kiss the Girls. When I found out that movie had been based on a book, I went out and read it. Then I went back and read the whole Alex Cross series and have continued to follow it ever since. When I saw Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, I thought for sure the author was a different James Patterson. I remember thinking to myself, “How could the J.P. I know write a book like this one?” I try not to judge books by their covers or their authors, but it is how I choose books most of the time. Because I was a J.P. fan, I picked it up and read it. Hooked. I could not believe what a beautiful story Patterson was able to weave together. Another deceptive piece comes from the beginning of the novel. At first as one reads, it seems like there may be some questionable relationships happening and this almost turned me off of the book. But I kept reading and am so glad I did. It is a heart wrenching story of love and life and how to keep both balanced for the best of everyone.
3. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. So, I’m not sure what it was about this book that I found deceptive. I think it had to do with the summary on the back. I bought the book because of the cover. I have the red cover w/ black vines. But, the back encouraged me to really give it a read. I love all things related to fairy tales and this book promised to give new life to old tales. I think I found it deceptive because it took SO LONG to get to the really good fairy tale parts. I have NOT finished this book and know I may not find it as deceptive when I finish it. Right now I have a student reading it and hope he finds it interesting enough to finish.
4. Any Charlaine Harris book. I had heard about the “wonder” of the Sookie Stackhouse books for a few months, seen the previews for the True Blood series, and watched the first episode. I was pleasantly surprised by the show, but when I went to read the first book I could not finish it. I found the writing to be too generic and simplified, the humor lacking in any suaveness, and the characters solidly flat, rather than fully dimensional. Did not live up to the hype for me.
5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I love historical fiction. That and my daughters to die for recommendation encouraged me to give this one a read. My review is here. I felt deceived when I read this book by the title and cover art. The historical side was present. Loved it. The story, not so much. The clockwork angel–needed more of a storyline, I felt. In fact, I can see a whole storyline that could have played out, but didn’t. I haven’t read the next book, so I don’t know if it comes into play in the future, but I was sadly disappointed.
6. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. As a history teacher I am always looking for fiction and non-fiction alike to share with my students. I had heard rave reviews about Red Badge of Courage — no I had never read it myself as a student — and was excited to read it. NOT! I did not finish it. In fact, I stopped teaching it to my students in the midst of teaching it. I said, “I cannot, in good conscience, teach something I do not enjoy. Let’s find something else.” The kids were just as pleased as I was.
7. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This one was a mix of cover art, title, and summary material deception. I was hoping Flavia would be a Nancy Drewish type character. I was not pleased at all-with the writing, the character or plot development, or the supposed humor. Big disappointment :(.
8. 1st to Die (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson. I am not happy putting James Patterson on here (thrice, see #2 & #8 😦 ). I LOVE the Alex Cross series. I LOVE the Maximum Ride series. I love the other’s he has done, like Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas (#2 above). But, the Women’s Murder Club series did not do it for me. I can’t quite put my finger on why. It is his writing. It seems like an interesting premise. I just don’t think it plays out well and I was sadly disappointed.
9. The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge. Again, disappointed in Patterson, well not really Patterson as I strongly believe the books he co-authors are written largely by the co-author. I have not found one I enjoy reading. Most of the story lines are far too predictable and the writing style is basic at best.
10. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings #1) by J R R Tolkein. Why can’t I understand these? I tried reading them again after I watched the movies hoping the background knowledge would help me understand the books. Nope. 😦
There they are–my top ten Deceivers. Don’t forget to hope on over to The Broke and Bookish and check out their list for today!