Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’ve Put Down

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I’ve Put Down – Tell Me Why I Should Pick Them Back Up

I’ve added a slight twist to this week’s TTT because when I glanced through my Goodreads shelves I realised that any books I felt a little “meh” about from the start, never went on to become amazing, or even just really good reads, that I’m glad I stuck with. If they were “meh” at the start they were pretty “meh” at the end too. Putting a book down or marking it as a Do Not Read, Do Not Resuscitate, Back-Away-From-This-Book is really hard for me and my bookish OCD, so when I do finally put a book down I’m usually pretty sure that I never want to see it again. However, there are loads of times I’m enjoying a book and just don’t get around to finishing it. It’s not the same as a DNF because I fully intend to finish it; I’m just not in the mood for it at the time, or the story-line slows down, or I get distracted by something new and shiny…

So, this week I bring you the Top Ten Books I’ve Put Down and You Can Tell Me Why I Should Pick Them Back Up Right Now (and breathe!).

Top Ten Books I've Put Down 2014

1. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling: When I was first told that J. K. Rowling was releasing a book for adults I had two initial thoughts – 1. “Damn, I wish it was a new Harry Potter book” and 2. “When can I get my hands on it?”. I think there’s a very unique voice and style to Rowling’s work that I love and I was very intrigued. Then they released the blurb for The Casual Vacancy –

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?”

What?! I felt like I needed to own a twin-set and pearls to even buy this. Obviously, I bought it anyway and began to read it. But I’ve never gotten around to finishing it, so tell me book bloggers, am I missing out?

2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I’m sure this is some form of blasphemy, but I just couldn’t get in to this novel. I tried, twice. I know I want to read it, and everyone goes on and on about how good it is, but for the first time ever I kind of feel like I’d just rather watch the movie (*runs away and hides*).

I found the first few chapters to be so difficult to follow, and the descriptions to be so intricate that I was reading from one detail to the next with not much else in-between, though that was quite a while go, so maybe it’s time to dust it off and try again…

3. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks: When Iain Banks sadly passed away in June 2013, a huge amount of noise was made about his work; he was hailed a visionary, a man ahead of his time, an unappreciated genius and some of his work was labelled “cult classic” or “must read”. I obviously had to give his stuff a go. I bought a 3 book set from The Book People (none of which I’ve finished actually) and made a start on The Wasp Factory, which seemed to be one of his most talked about novels. I spent most of my time reading this squinting, either from trying to figure out what the hell was going on, or from being so disturbed that my squint was the equivalent of covering your eyes at a particularly horrific scene in a movie (think ankle-breaking in Misery). I’ve still not finished this book, and I haven’t been brave enough to try any of the other books either…

4. The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThis book is talked about, referred to and generally loved by all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad review. I don’t feel quite as bad about this one, because it’s a relatively recent addition to my wall-of-books, but every time I’m looking through my wall to carefully select my next read, this just seems to get overlooked. I usually really enjoy novels that are set during, or are about, the Holocaust and WWII, but for some reason I think it’ll be heavy, I think it’s a I-need-to-keep-my-brain-in-to-read-this kinda book, and most of the time at the minute that’s not what I want at all.

So, it continues to sit and mock me for not yet reading it.

5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas AdamsI have all 8 books in this series. I know that doesn’t make any sense. It was supposed to be a trilogy, but there’s really five books in the actual series, and in the set I got from The Book People, there were 8 books. So I lucked out with that one. I’ve heard so many great things about this series, my mum loves this series, it’s considered a modern classic by many and is actually one of the books I want to read in my Classics Club. I started book one about three weeks ago and and have yet to finish it (it’s only 216 measly pages). It’s nonsensical, and there’s so much of it I can’t visualise properly because it happens so quickly and the descriptions don’t really give me enough of a chance to see this intergalactic craziness.

Top Ten Books I've Put Down 2014 Part 2

6. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Rainbow Rowell and her books are probably some of the most talked about topics in the book blogosphere, right up there with John Green. I purchased this as an eBook when it was on offer through Amazon and I’ve barely made a start on it yet.

I think I’m putting it off until the hype dies down. When I read The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns by John Green, I think the hype-monster affected my opinions of the books, and I don’t want that to be the case with Rainbow Rowell.

How much longer I’ll have to wait is another question…

7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this book, people either completely love it, or think it was an entire waste of reading time. I’ve never read anything by Donna Tartt, but this book was much anticipated and I bought it just before I started blogging.

My main reason for putting this read off is the size of the book, it’s huge. That wouldn’t have phased me before I started blogging, I actually preferred longer books as you can really get lost in a meaty story, but now I think of how long it’ll take me to read and just shy away from it. I read the first page, I read the blurb, I read the little intro, and then it was placed delicately back on to my little wall-of-books.

8. The Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum: This is another collection impulse buy I can blame on The Book People. I LOVE the Bourne movies and never actually knew they were based off a book series, so when I found out I bought them immediately.

I’ve never really read anything from the Spy/Mystery/Adventure genre, and for some reason thought the Bourne books would be a good place to start, with all 10 of them. Aside from the fact they are going to take me a while to complete, I read the first few chapters of the first book and wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Maybe they’re a slow burner that take a little while to get into, but it didn’t grab me from the get-go.

9. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessI’m cheating a little with this one as I haven’t actually purchased it yet, but I keep putting it in my shopping basket and taking it back out. You guessed it, The Book People collections, again! I’ve heard mixed reviews on this series, and I know it’s YA, but that’s about all I know.

The titles of these books drew me in originally, but I think I need some more information, minus spoilers, before I commit and buy a series I’m not sure I’m going to like.

Share your opinions people!

10. S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug DorstI LOVED the concept for this book. I own it, I look at it periodically, I take out the inserts and gently caress them (not as creepy as it sounds) while marveling at the minds who created this idea. I couldn’t wait to read it when I first got it, even though the fictional novel The Ship of Theseus didn’t really seem like my cup-of-tea, I was willing to read it so that Jen and Eric’s story made sense (the characters who write the notes to each other in the margins). I didn’t kid myself, I knew this would be a tough read and that there would be many hidden elements to the story I wouldn’t understand and probably never would (the creator is the Director of Lost after all), but this is such a mammoth read and concept that I just stare at it lovingly rather than actually reading it. Then of course, there have been some quite bad reviews online that put me off reading it at all, and instead I began looking at it as a piece of art. I don’t really care how awful it is, or if I never read it, I just had to own “Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word”.

What do you think of my list? Are there any books I should pick up as my next read and just get stuck into them already??

Enter my giveaway to win an eBook of Minutes Before Sunset (International)!

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49 comments

  1. I agree about ‘The Casual Vacancy.’ I thought it was a really good book considering it was written by Rowling, but I had a lot of friends in school complaining about it 😦 You should continue reading The Book Thief!! I finished it in 3 days and I love it 🙂 I hope you have the will to pick it up again!

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    1. I haven’t managed to get to the end of The Casual Vacancy yet, but I will, some day. I’ve heard the ending is a bit of a surprise, I’m halfway through Cuckoo’s Calling too, and I’m enjoying it more than TCV already. That’s two votes to the Book Theif then so far, I’m clearly missing a trick! Thanks for your comment, R x

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  2. Okay, I can definitely recommend The Book Thief. It’s actually not heavy at all, because of the focus on a young girl. It’s a really easy read that will pull you along once you start it. It’s just written in a simple but effective way, which is part of its charm. Definitely try with it, I promise you its worth it.
    As for the Douglas Adams, I love it but its not for everyone. So it’s hard to say what to do with that one, but each book in the series is short soooo…
    Interesting choices and I like your twist here!

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    1. I keep hearing positive things about The Book Thief, so I might need to suck it up and just go for it!! Hitchhiker’s seems to be on quite I few lists today, it’s just really not what I was expecting at all, I have quite a dry and sarcastic sense of humour and I don’t think they work for me. They are short though, so I likely will suffer through them to tick them off my classics list. But damn, I really wanted to like them! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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      1. Hmmm, maybe you didn’t meet Marvin the Paranoid Android in the Hitchhikers books then – he is just a big metal ball of pessimistic sarcasm (at first he’s kind of annoying but some of the stuff that happens to him, especially in the second book, is hilarious). Maybe it’ll grow on you. I kind of hope so, because…well because I like the books pretty much hahaha, I thought I had a better reason that that but I don’t. Oh well. Good luck ticking off some of these books! 🙂

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      2. No… I definitely haven’t met Marvin yet, but I want to! I got about halfway through the first book – the world was just ending and the weird president-guy was flying around to a conference on another planet. I don’t even know what he looks like the description was so strange. Think I’ll try it again. It’s on my list of classics to get through so it has to happen one way or another!

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  3. I haven’t read the Book Thief but I’ve always wanted to.. But I am a bit hesitant in actually picking it up because I also don’t want my brain to be working all the time when reading (as in working massively all the time)..

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    1. So far people have been telling me that although it is a “heavy” topic, the book itself isn’t heavy. Definitely ticking it off the list next! R x

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  4. I didn’t end up loving Eleanor & Park as much as I thought I would. I wonder if it’s because of the insane hype?! I LOVE TFIOS, so I think I was comparing them in my head, aaand E&P just didn’t live up so well. 😉 I want to try The Knife someday. Oh and the Goldfish. But that one’s huge isn’t it? >.< I may wait a while longer…
    Thanks for visiting my TTT!

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    1. Even with the hype I gave TFIOS 4.5/5, there were one or two things that bugged me a little that I wrote about in my review, but overall I thought it was still a super-moving story and deserved the praise it got (though the hype for TFIOS is still waay more than for E&P). I think I’m definitely affected by the hype because a book I would normally find perfectly acceptable is hyped to this amazing-status where I’m expecting to be completely and totally blown away, and it never happens. I’m still fighting with myself over The Knife series, it’s appeared a few times on the lists today! And yes, The Goldfinch is close to 800 pages, and my copy isn’t the mass paperback either, it’s quite hefty! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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    1. Glad it isn’t just me! I have a few friends who actually RAVE about this series but after a few pages I was just “What is happening?!”. I’m definitely going to wait a while for E&P, I just know it could be a 4/5 read, but with all this hype it’s going to kill it for me. Thanks for your comment, R x

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  5. The only book I’ve read from the list is The Book Thief (which I loved!) I saw the Girl with the Dragon Tatto American movie and I’m not sure I would be able to read the book. I do have Eleanor and Park and I hope to read it soon. Great list!

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    1. I think I need to make The Book Thief a priority… I haven’t seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movie yet, because I always try to hold off if it’s an adaptation of a book I might read. I might have to force myself through the start of it and then take it from there. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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  6. Hitchhikers Guide is a book that I actually put down a few times, and that I can’t really remember reading now. I know it was funny. I want to say it’s not worth reading, but I think it is. Just not something you should rush to read.
    Eleanor and Park, on the other hand. Read!
    You may be right about the hype though, I read TFiOS and loved it, but had heard relatively little about John Green’s other books. I absolutely loved Looking for Alaska, but Paper Towns is on my DNF list and I cannot bring myself to continue reading it.
    I want to read The Book Thief really badly, I can’t bring myself to pick it up though! I might crack it open later.
    Thanks for commenting on my post, I love your take on TTT this week. Good luck with the giveaway!
    Aimes @ What Aimee Read Next

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    1. I’ve only picked Hitchhiker’s up once, and put it down once. I’m actually thinking of starting over and reading it more slowly. Because it’s short I thought I could race through it but I think if I take it slower it may sink in more! E&P is on the list, but I’m definitely going to wait a while until the hype settles down. I struggled with Paper Towns, mostly because I really didn’t like Margo, and thought the end was a bit disappointing after the build-up. Want to try Looking For Alaska, I want to read the rest of Green’s stuff just to see how it stacks up. I wasn’t expecting as many “you have to read that” comments on here about The Book Thief, need to bite the bullet with that one! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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  7. if you can get through the 1st triggering book by Stieg, you’ll love the other 2. i too am trying to read the Bourne series. i’ve started twice with no dice. we’ll see . . .

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    1. Let me know how you get on with Bourne, maybe we should do a read-along to push each other through it?? lol I’ve all ten ready and waiting!

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  8. I liked the Bourne books as well as I liked the movies. They are very different. The books are set in the Viet Nam war period–which was my era. It

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    1. Thanks for commenting – not sure if you were cut-off there mid-flow. I’m going to get round to them at some point, just hope I enjoy them! R x

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  9. I didn’t love E&P as much as most because of the hype and because I got to read Fangirl first and that book felt like it was written for me.

    I am in the middle of The Goldfinch and have put it down – not because I didn’t like it, but because books came in from the library. I am really looking forward to getting back to it.

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    1. I haven’t attempted any Rainbow Rowell at all! I’m such a bad book blogger. I didn’t feel from the blurb that I’d like Fangirl that much, and out of the books she had released at the time E&P sounded like my kind of read. The Goldfinch will be tackled at some point. I want to get through some of my TBR pile and my outstanding requested on NetGalley before requesting/buying anything new, and as I want some new stuff, I’d best get a move on! 🙂

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  10. The only one on your list I’ve read is The Book Thief but I would definitely encourage you to pick it back up and finish!! I put off reading that one for the longest time as well and really regretted it once I discovered how amazing it was. It is emotionally heavy but I wouldn’t say it’s particularly brain heavy, like you have to be uber focused or anything.

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    1. Hey, thanks for commenting – The Book Thief is definitely getting the biggest response! Have to make it my next read and bump it up my list.

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  11. I almost decided to campaign for The Book Thief, but saw The Knife of Never Letting Go and never has my heart ached so much for a reader who hasn’t picked up this wonderful book. I almost didn’t pick it up myself but was in the library and needed a book and there it was. I went in with no expectations and was blown away by the protagonist’s unique voice, the characters’ desperation, and the story that begged me to race to the end. I just lent someone this book and now every day I notice its absence on my shelf and am very close to just buying another copy, so I can feel complete again. You should read it and I promise you won’t become as sentimentally unhinged as I am when talking about it…probably.

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    1. Ohhh, now that’s a compelling response if there ever was one… The Book People have the three books for £6.99 and with a comment like that I don’t know if I can refuse. Thanks for commenting – think you’ve made my mind up!

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  12. The beginning of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is really difficult to follow and get through, because it kind of starts in the middle of a legal ordeal that just doesn’t make sense at first. But I promise, the whole book isn’t like that! The story gets a lot more story-like after those first 50 pages.
    Eleanor and Park…well, the movie is in the works, so I don’t know when a good time would be. If you do audio, I have heard that the audio is FANTASTIC, so maybe that would make it a different experience for you anyway.
    And I totally have S. on my shelf too, but I haven’t picked it up yet because I KNOW it will take a lot of time commitment to read it.

    Thanks for stoppin’ by! Hope you have a great week!

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    1. I don’t think I got past the first few pages of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I was around 18/19 at the time, so mayyyybe being older will help?? Maybe not… 🙂 I’m beginning to get a little annoyed at the number of YA books becoming movies, I know it’s being talked about a lot at the minute, and I’m all for movie adaptations, but not everything needs to be a movie. I’ll have to read it before then anyways. I’ve never done an audiobook, I can see their benefits but it’s not something I’ve tried – any recommendations and I could be tempted to give one a go?? S. will destroy me, I just know it, so I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it may take me 20 years to read, or it may never be read, as long as I can pull out the “hand-drawn” napkin every now and then and “ohhh” and “ahhh” over it I’ll be fine 🙂 Thanks for commenting! R x

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  13. I can definitely recommend The Book Thief. The WWII era isn’t something I like to read about, either, because it usually makes me so angry and sad. Still, I think you’d like it, most people do :).

    I loved The Casual Vacancy, but it isn’t for everyone. It’s really depressing and hard to get through. But the ending broke me and I cried for days just when thinking about it. It’s a criticism of our modern society, so if you’re interested in that, I highly recommend it. My boyfriend started it, but couldn’t finish it and I totally understand. It doesn’t deserve such low rating, it’s a really great and powerful book, but it couldn’t be more different than Harry Potter.

    Thanks for stopping by my top ten! 🙂

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  14. I stuck with The Goldfinch and found it really rewarding, but it was a time investment. One strategy I sometimes use to decide if a book is going to be worth it is opening and reading page 50. If I like that page enough to want to know more, I’ll commit to the book. Not foolproof but it has helped me.
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has one of the worst beginnings of any book ever, but I found the mystery to be interesting once it got started.

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    1. Ohhhh, good strategy but I don’t know if I could do it, I rarely let myself read on in case I spoil anything, and never do that thing were you read the last page first! I might give this a go a few times and see if it works for me. I think I’ve been convinced to give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo another go, if I don’t enjoy it after I get through the first few chapters I’ll just have to be brave and DNF it! Thanks for commenting, R x

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    1. I’m not too skeptical about them, I usually go by the principle that they’re popular for a reason (even if I don’t get it, like Hitchhiker’s Guide…), but I prefer reading them once their popularity has died down. To be honest, I’ve read all the books you aren’t supposed to – Twilight, 50 Shades etc. I enjoyed them 🙂 Thanks for your comment, I’ll be sure to drop by your blog.

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  15. Well if it helps, The Goldfinch must be summer read. it is too depressing otherwise. The Knife of Never Letting Go is YA but wonderful but you will want to read them all. And this summer my daughter has to read The Book Thief for summer Honor reading so I guess I will finally have to read it too. (She like to have someone to talk to about her books.)

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! I might hold off on The Goldfinch for a month or two then. I think I’ll have to try The Knife of Never Letting Go, I’ve heard good things since posting this. And your daughter is lucky she has someone to read with 🙂

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  16. Casual Vacancy was the disappointment of my life. I don’t blame her for going in a different direction and it’s a little unfair to expect her to remain permanently in Harry Potter world, but this book wasn’t just a departure – it was terrible. B-O-R-I-N-G. I couldn’t keep reading Dragon Tattoo either, the movie was so much better.

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    1. I think no matter what she did there was always going to be the expectation, and she would always be compared to HP. I can see why she released The Cuckoo’s Calling under a pseudonym. It worked well for her, I initially thought the media frenzy around it was a PR stunt, but she did actually sue the firm for releasing that it was her. I’m halfway through Cuckoo’s Calling and I’m enjoying it, but then I started reading it after I knew it was really by her… The Casual Vacancy just seems like one of the worst plots for a novel, but some seem to like it. I’m determined to give Dragon Tattoo one more go, I’m nothing if not determined! 🙂

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  17. Great books. I gave up on The Casual Vacancy myself so I guess I wouldn’t be the best person to encourage you to continue. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of those books that I feel suffers because it hasn’t been properly edited down. I feel like he died and they sort of published them as they were, but so much needed to be cut down or cut out. The descriptions at the beginning were so detailed and dull that I honestly struggled, but I stuck with it because of the amazing things I’d heard. I am so pleased that I did because that book eventually had me hooked and I ended up loving it. Even if the long descriptions did make it drag at times.

    The Knife of Never Letting Go was one I read years ago and purchased the whole series after borrowing it from the library and enjoying it. It was one that I struggled with a little at the beginning but ended up really enjoying it. I can’t remember it very well now so can’t tell you much about it.

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    1. Hey, thanks for commenting. The Casual Vacancy just taunts me now from my eReader (didn’t wanna splash the cash on poor JK in case I hated it), I’m pretty sure I will get round to it at some point. If the day ever comes when there are no fast-paced stories waiting on my physical bookshelf, I’m pretty sure I’ll pick it up! The Dragon Tattoo might be the next one to taunt me, such mixed opinions and reviews. If a book has a really shaky start, like really bad, I struggle with getting past that and into the story. I will try again!

      I think I’ll give The Chaos Walking trilogy a try, the set is on The Book People for £7, I don’t think I can resist that for much longer! 🙂

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  18. 1) I keep on picking it up and putting it down… I can’t get into it either so I can’t help you there!
    2) One of a handful of books I’ve stopped reading exactly because of the reasons you listed…. the movie was faster paced and had higher-stakes.
    3) Haven’t read.
    4) I LOVE ‘I Am the Messenger’ so I was surprised at how little I enjoyed ‘The Book Thief’… check my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/911997010
    5) Not as good as I expected, but it has some funny passages. It’s quite a quick read though.
    6) Don’t put it off too much longer….. It’s ssoooooo good. But I totally understand not wanting to read things during the hype. I only read TFIOS last week.
    7-10) Haven’t read, but S looks interesting… I’ll be interested to see your reviews!

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    1. Hey, thanks for this, it’s great when you get a “meaty” comment and have to cross-reference it with your post! I’ll get round to The Casual Vacancy at some point, mostly because it’s JK Rowling and I love her. Dragon Tattoo I’m going to give one last shot, I may not make it, and that’s the first time I’m going to be ok with that. I don’t know if you would even want to read The Wasp Factory, I spent most of my time reading it, wondering why I was reading it. I’m about 50 pages in to The Book Thief (go all of you who commented and told me I should read it – yay, for Book Geek peer pressure! :)). I found the narration to be slightly strange at first and took a little while to get used to, but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s not incredibly fast-paced, but so far so good. I want to add I Am The Messenger to my TBR pile though, it looks good. I’m taking a break from The Hitchhiker before I put myself through that again, I find the social commentary humorous enough but the actual story seems to be going right over my head, have you seen the movie? E&P might be next on my hitlist… There have been quite a few comments supporting The Knife of Never Letting Go, so I’d check that out, and S. is INCREDIBLY interesting, but also incredibly long, and the fact there are literally hundreds of scribbles in the margins that make up the second story means if you were to page it out properly it would be over 1000 easy… le sigh, I’ll get to it some day.

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      1. Hahaha you’re welcome!!!
        I have seen the hitchhiker movie – to be honest I laughed more while reading the book. I liked the little quippy comments and the whale/flowerpot section. But I didn’t care much for the overall story so I never read more in the series.
        1000 pages???? omigosh! that might go to the bottom of the list :/
        Will be interested to see your review of The Book Thief. I read through some of your reviews today and I think we have similar opinions about many things!

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  19. I had the same experience with The Cuckoo’s Calling (never read Casual Vacancy). It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t make it through for no reason I can tell. Also had trouble with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hitchhiker’s Guide and The Book Thief. I read Wasp Factory, but I can’t remember it very well. I do, however, remember Eleanor & Park, which I thought was really good. I’m currently part way through both S. and The Goldfinch. S. was just a bit to dark and hard to get into for me. The Goldfinch I’m chipping away at a bit at a time – I find it quite dense (though not in a bad way). I have heard that the last 2/3 of the book really pick up, and that’s where most of the story takes place. Apparently the beginning is more set-up. If that makes you want to give it a go!

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