Top Ten Tuesday: Probably Will, Probably Won’t (Read These Hyped Books)

This week’s Tuesday Top Ten, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, asks us to list ten hyped books we’ve never read. Honestly, this list could be a long one, mainly because over the years I’ve been very susceptible to the suggestions of other enthusiastic bloggers. I’ve grown less so, as everyone now seems to be reading the same things in time for getting reviews out on pub days. But there are 392 books on my current wishlist, so I don’t think I need to worry much about adding more.

I decided to divide my list into books I’ll probably get to eventually and ones I’ll probably never, ever read:

Probably Will
(Full disclosure: I own four out of five of these, so that weighs heavily in the factoring for reading at some point.)
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov. So many people love this book, and I actually own a copy, so just for those reasons alone I feel like I should read it. If one book exists in the literary fiction blogosphere that feels like a “must read,” this is the one.
The Passage, Justin Cronin. I’ve started this book a few times and then got distracted by something else, but it seems entertaining enough. I guess vampires have had their moment in the sun (get it?), but this still seems like it would be a highly entertaining novel. Whether I’ll read the trilogy…well, doubtful.
The Magicians, Lev Grossman. Because campus novel. Also a trilogy. We’ll see.
Neil Gaiman. Yes, I realize Neil Gaiman is not a book, but an author. I’ve come to terms with the idea that I should read something by him at some point, because he’s blurbed and influenced so many other books/authors I’ve enjoyed. Also, I think if you spend too long in the book blogosphere without reading something by Gaiman, they shut down your site.
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel. When everyone was talking about this one, I went ahead and bought it even though I was doing a TBR challenge, during which I read her earlier novel The Lola Quartet. I’m glad I read that earlier novel because she’s a good writer and so I expect good things, but to tell the truth I am sick of hearing about this book.

Probably Won’t
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara. The People in the Trees was one of the best books (with one of the most despicable characters) I’ve read in a long time. I was excited to hear she had a new book coming out so soon after that one, but then three reviewers (Teresa at Shelf Love, Jenny at Reading the End, and Lydia Kiesling at The Millions) I respect basically said, “No, don’t do it.” I’m listening.
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho. Isn’t this like the literary equivalent of The Secret? Meh, even if it isn’t, whatever.
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green. Okay, hang on. I really, really like and respect John Green. I’ve been out of school a long time, and I still watch Crash Course. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook. But the truth is this book’s premise just never sounded interesting to me, and then once Shailene Woodley got involved it was all downhill from there.
Room, Emma Donoghue. I tried to read this. I didn’t get past page five. I didn’t buy any of it. Sorrynotsorry.
Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon. Nothing against it really except a time commitment. I know this one is well loved. But maybe I’ll watch the show. Will it make sense if I haven’t read the books?

I have a bonus question for you! Tell me a hyped book you read but wished you hadn’t wasted your precious time reading…Mine’s The Help.

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10 comments

  1. I’ve read… two of the books on this list?
    On the topic of John Green… I know he has a huge fan following and yes his Crash Course videos are fabulous (especially for AP World tests) but his books are… really overhyped in my opinion. I didn’t like The Fault in Our Stars very much at all. Sure his writing might be pretty but the stories are pretty drab.
    And I finished Room. It was really weird to me. Not a huge fan.
    A hyped book I read but didn’t like aside from the ones I mentioned above was Eleanor & Park. Noooo. But to balance out the negativity, I’ll say that I did really like Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda like a lot of other people.

  2. Ha ha, you can probably guess what one of the hyped books I’m sorry I read would be, but I’ve actually been having so much fun griping to Jenny (and anyone else who’ll listen) about A Little Life that I’m almost not sorry I read it. I was glad to see the review in The Millions, which echoed so many of my own thoughts but more eloquently.

    Outlander is another I’d add. I really disliked it. The writing is not great, the plot is unbelievable (even in the context of a time-travel romance), and there’s violence in the main characters’ relationship that I found extremely upsetting but that is mostly shrugged off.

  3. Aw, I’m touched that you trust me and Teresa so much! Like Teresa, I was excited to see the review in The Millions, as it was the first professional review I’ve ever seen that had the same problems with the book I did. Anyway, you’re right: Best to steer clear.

    I hope you take some time off from the hype machine before reading Station Eleven. When a book’s been overhyped it can absolutely kill any hope of enjoying it.

  4. Mylittleemo, I think you are the first person I’ve heard say anything negative about Rainbow Rowell, which reminds me that I haven’t read any of her books either even though she is wildly popular. I do have Fangirl on my TBR, because that one appealed to me the most. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Teresa, hm, let me think….what book could it be? I admit I have seen a lot of positive reviews that kept me on the line, but The Millions review pushed me over the edge. And at this point I have so many books on my wishlist and TBR that I’m starting to use any old excuse to knock something off. That said, I deleted Outlander from my list. I feel so light, so unencumbered! (Not really.)

  6. Jenny, see my reply to Teresa re: A Little Life. I do trust the two of you because I’ve gotten some good recs before. We aren’t all always in sync, but you’re both thoughtful reviewers.

    And I am definitely letting Station Eleven sit for a while. Plenty of other books to read, like all the Station Elevens of years past.

  7. Well, every reader will have her own preferences so I suppose it’s no surprise that I disagree heartily with Jenny & Teresa re: A Little Life. I love Yanagihara’s first book and I was similarly impressed—and deeply moved—by her second. I thought it was beautifully written and the friendships and characters were portrayed in an achingly devastating fashion. Yes, there were aspects of it that I thought were a bit excessive and drawn out but it’s a massive book and I’ve yet to read a book of that length that I haven’t felt was slightly bloated to some extent. If you enjoyed her first book, I do think it’s worth trying the second. I’m sure it says something about me as a reader, however, I still think A Little Life is the best book I’ve read this year.

    (But feel free to skip Room & Outlander… I never understood the hype about either of those books. Room’s narrator to me is the perfect reason why five-year-olds don’t regularly publish novels, and Outlander is super boring when it’s not busy being creepy with all the violence and rape…)

  8. Steph, lovely to hear from you! You make some very good points. I do know that many people have loved it and have been, as you say, deeply moved by it. Maybe I shouldn’t completely cross it off my list. I know I felt that way about The Goldfinch, a book I loved but many others did not (and which also at times suffered from bloat).

    Your comment re: Room was my same exact issue (with the 5 pages I read, anyway). That’s another book so many people loved, but its charms clearly escaped me.

  9. Eh, The Passage had its thrilling moments, but I found it to be a slog at times. The beginning was perhaps my least favorite aspect. I think I’m also going to wait to read Station Eleven until I’m a little distant from the hype. I think that I will like it but just want its omnipresence to die down a bit.

    Not interested in The Fault in Our Stars at all. Haven’t read any John Green yet – such a haze of hype around him in general that I’m wary.

    I have enough people recommending the Room that I will try it at some point, but it’s interesting to see these more negative comments cropping up here as I don’t recall seeing anything but praise for it during the peak of its popularity.

    I read Outlander last year and it has its page-turning aspects, while also being kind of weird in others. That said, I did like how the protagonist applied her medical knowledge so competently.

    I was expecting to hate The Help when I finally read it a few years ago. It was better than I expected, while still being the kind of book-club bait book that I just can’t get enthusiastic about.

  10. Christy, “book club bait”–exactly. In fact, that’s one reason I’m happy to be out of my book club. Honestly, I think The Fault in Our Stars falls in to that category as well, especially since YA has become so popular for adults.

    The thing about Room being so popular–that was why I read it. At the time, nobody had a bad word to say about it. I couldn’t get past page 5.

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