A blog about books. Oh, and some other stuff too.

The Top Ten Books that Deceived Me In Some Way

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. Are you a blogger as well? All that’s asked is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it!

Today’s Top Ten:

The Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving in some way, shape or form

There are not a lot of books that surprise me. Now with the advent of book trailers and social media marketing campaigns, we know a lot about a book before we even crack open the cover. Still, there are those amazing, incredible books that still manage to surprise you when you least expect it, in some kind of way.

10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare Wait- Jace and Clary are WHAT?? No spoilers here, but … honestly? Nooooooo! This book inspired many, many conversations between my niece and I, and many reassurances had to be given to persevere. See also: City of Fallen Angels – also having a what the what?!?!? moment!

9. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White Okay, I’m taking the blame for one of the surprises with this one. I’ve told this story before but here it goes:

I was reading this book aloud to my class of twenty-five four-year-old Montessori students. Of course, I had read the book (a while ago) but I remembered the story, right? It had reached that point – that crucial and important point where Wilbur has won at the fair and is safe from being butchered. Charlotte has, sadly, reached the end of her life, and is about to die. Do I remember this point? Do I read ahead the night before to see where I might best stop? Um, no. No, I don’t.

I am reading the book aloud, and before I realize what I’m doing, I’ve uttered those incredibly simple statements:

“Charlotte died […] Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.”

I just about died with her. Horrified with myself I stopped, and looked around the class to judge the reaction. Before I could say anything, I felt a small hand on my leg, and a little one in my class sat up on his knees and looked me in the eye.

“Please, Ms Jenn, you aren’t going to stop there, are you?”

No, my darling child, no I will not.

In fact, I kept reading and we finished the book. When we did, the entire class was silent for a moment, then, as one, started clapping.

I’ve never before – or since – been so surprised by the power of a book to move a child.

8. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I didn’t know anything about this book when I picked it up, except that it was apparently a Scottish time-traveling historical piece. Oh, and one of my good friends adored it and couldn’t wait for me to read it so that we could discuss it together. I’ll admit right up front that I wasn’t keen to read it, but I decided to give it a go as I was travelling downtown to work via the subway and figured it was a great TTC read.

Wow. I was completely unprepared for this book. Not for the characters, not for the action, and definitely not for the sex. Remember that this was in the days before the e-read, so everyone saw what you were reading. When those sex scenes appeared seemingly out of nowhere, I blushed deeply, and got a few odd looks from people on the train!

7. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby Who knew that 144 pages could elicit such an incredible response? Bauby was the former editor-in-chief for Elle magazine when he had a stroke that left him almost completely paralyzed except for his left eyelid. By blinking, he wrote his book about his life philosophy and his struggles to reconnect with his family as he lived with locked-in syndrome. Sadly, he died three days after the book was published. At times humorous, at times heartbreaking, this book was astonishing and my level of commitment was a total surprise to me.

6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert This was one of those disappointment books. I head heard such great things, and I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn’t happening for me. I was too caught up in the author’s narcissism to really enjoy the life lessons learned. I wanted more seriousness from it; instead I got navel gazing and travelogue reviews.

5. Home Truths by Jill MacLean Sometimes you get a book and you look at the cover and sigh. I had read a lot of books for one of my reading committees, and when I reached this book, there was an internal groan. I read the author’s reasoning for wanting the type of cover that the book has, and I completely understand. The cover is… nice. There’s nothing wrong with nice. However, the book inside? It’s amazing. It completely blew me away as this book is well written and poignant, filled with detailed characters and able to incite tears from both male and female readers. This, my friends, is a YA book that deserves a better cover to sell it to future readers.

Note: The cover was redesigned for the next printing, and while it’s still not perfect, it’s much better.

4. Vivien Leigh: An Autobiography by Anne Edwards Originally published in 1977, I read this book when it was less than ten years old. It’s not a particularly scandalous autobiography, and there isn’t a tonne of salacious detail within, but it’s stuck with me because it shocked me how quickly I fell into this book. This was the first ‘star biography’ that I devoured, and the one that stimulated my love of reading about other people. Biographies are still one of my favourite things to read.

3. Coraline by Neil Gaiman Yeah, this book really freaked me out. Completely. I’m talking about not being able to sleep kind of freaked out. I figured that the book would be a slightly twisted tale, but I had no idea … and I loved it. The movie was good but the book was just.. wow. The Other Mother is truly terrifying, and if you ever needed a cautionary tale to “be careful what you wished for”, this would be it.

2. Karsh Portraits by Yousef Karsh I grew up in a house filled with coffee table books. My mother loves them, and we have them in all shapes and sizes, and on a variety of topics. To be honest, my brothers and I have casually glanced through them from time to time, but I don’t think we can say that we’ve actually read them. Karsh, however, was an eye-opener. I innocently opened this book – and emerged from reading it from cover to cover several hours later, dazed and inspired. This is the book that smacked me upside of the head and made me want to take pictures, and this is the book that I still go back to read every time I’m at my parents’ house.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Honestly, I’m not really a Pollyanna. I do realize that bad things happen, and that not everything has a Disney ending. Still, the ending of this book broke my heart. I kept waiting for things to work out … but we all know what happens. Life lessons are hard and this book makes them in the most powerful and effective way that I’ve ever read.

 “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

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