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Hyped-up books you still thought were good


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Old 08-04-2010, 16:35
Veri
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There's a thread for Hyped-up books that you were disappointed with and even one for So-called classics that you didn't like, but what about those much hyped books you liked: that you enjoyed reading and thought were worth the time?

Not that they have to fully live up to the hype -- in some cases, the hype is so high as to make that impossible -- but books you thought were good and didn't leave you feeling cheated.

I've certainly been disappointed by some hyped-up books, but I liked many of the ones that are often complained about, such as The Historian.

So: a partial list to start things off:

The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
I thought it was great. I've already read it twice but could happily pick it up right now and read it again. I like the double story, the travels through eastern Europe, the way the two story lines come together. It's one of a couple of recent books -- the other is Death and Restoration by Iain Pears -- that's made me interested in that part of the world and led me to buy various books on Byzantium etc that are now on my to-read list.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
My only complaint is that the book was so heavy it was difficult to hold it comfortably. But an interesting variation on stories of magic and faeries and one I enjoyed reading.

The Lord Of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Most of what's often said against it is wrong, imo -- see for example the thread The Lord of the Rings (Novel) Thread -- but how much you like it is affected by when (in your life, and after what other books) you read it.

Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
The quality of the series declines as it goes on, imo, but this one I liked.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Easily interesting enough for its length.

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Yeah, I know: sparkly vampires, soggy heroine, creepy watchinghersleep, and over-hyped in a market where publishers are desperate to find "the next Harry Potter"; but still, enjoyable enough as a quick read, and not actually worse than lots of other recent teen fiction. There may be something to the idea that vampires are stony, btw: see The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers.
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Old 10-04-2010, 18:48
Becker
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The Harry Potter books. They were extremely hyped-up and lived up to expectation in my opinion. Although I do feel that these books went downhill towards the end too.
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Old 10-04-2010, 21:50
capricorn_night
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'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt was pretty hyped up to me and I thought it was great.
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Old 11-04-2010, 00:52
-Sid-
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The Twilight and Harry Potter series.
Both were recommended to me by my sister and I was sceptical at first (having asked what genre they were) but knew I should have more faith in my sis as I loved them.

The Millenium series.
Although I've still the final installement to go, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was even better than I was led to believe.

Into the Blue by Robert Goddard.
It was actually a user on DS that highly recommended this book and I wasn't disappointed. The twists and turns made for an enthralling read. Possibly one of the best thrillers I've come across.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I kept hearing about how wonderful this book was, but nothing prepared me for just how engrossed I'd become in it. The writing was almost hypnotic and the heroine of the novel captured my heart like no other.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
The size of this novel was a bit off putting, but I ended up devouring it within a week. It stirred up so many emotions in me. Full of love, hate and treachory. Just brilliant.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:22
trinity2002
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The Book Thief - it is probably my favourite modern day book.

The Pilla's of the Earth was fantastic as well although I can see where the critisism comes from.

Captain Corelli's Madolin - The first 50 pages or so made me think 'neh' but after that wow what a good story.
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:56
bubbsy
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Took several chapters to get used to the writing style, but absolutely loved it in the end.
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Old 11-04-2010, 14:27
-Sid-
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The Book Thief - it is probably my favourite modern day book.
I didn't expect to be as moved by this book as I was. It will always stay with me.

The same goes for After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell. Really, really sad story.
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Old 13-04-2010, 12:03
meroko
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The Book Thief

The Lovely Bones (although the movie was rubbish)

The Other Boleyn Girl (although the movie was rubbish)

The French Lieutenants Woman

The Kite Runner
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Old 13-04-2010, 12:39
Agent Krycek
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The Book Thief - even if a certain section of it made me cry solidly for a couple of hours

The Kite Runner

Cloud Atlas
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Old 13-04-2010, 13:19
MR. Macavity
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I've probably mentioned this before on the 'other' threads, but my ultimate 'hyped-up' book would be Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

Mainly because the first time I read it, I found it complicated, difficult and gave up on it after 100 pages or so, dismissing it as over hyped rubbish! But I gave it another go a few years and maybe 500 books later and saw it in a totally different light. I'm not sure if that was because I had by then read so many hundreds of other run-of-the-mill books, that to read something as imaginative as C22 came as a welcome change, or perhaps I was able to better comprehend the themes and highly unusual 'circular' narrative style. A bit of both I expect. One of the great things about reading generally is that you can pick up a book you've read before, but get a completely different experience second time around.

Also on my list are To Kill A Mocking Bird, Clockwork Orange and The Time Traveller's Wife (the official DS Book Forum Marmite Book!)
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Old 13-04-2010, 13:34
Frood
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Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
The quality of the series declines as it goes on, imo, but this one I liked.
I'd actually go the other way round.

I was very dissapointed by the first book but having recently read the last two could see what the fuss was about. I think (despite a brief fall of near to the end of the 3rd book) they were, overall, worth the praise.

I'll add The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Two truly wonderful books.
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Old 13-04-2010, 17:58
Veri
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The Harry Potter books. They were extremely hyped-up and lived up to expectation in my opinion. Although I do feel that these books went downhill towards the end too.
They certainly got longer towards the end, and probably could have used some editing. Still, the final two are probably my favourites.

Also, in defence of length, I think most HP fans are glad there's a lot of it to read (and re-read), even though the series probably wouldn't have caught on with so many people if the books had been so long from the start.

'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt was pretty hyped up to me and I thought it was great.
I liked it too. I also liked a book that is sometimes thought to be similar, though it's in many ways very different, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. (Thread.)

Special Topics seemed to be more hyped in America than here, though (going by memory of here and by comments on the Amazons).
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Old 13-04-2010, 18:09
capricorn_night
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I liked it too. I also liked a book that is sometimes thought to be similar, though it's in many ways very different, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. (Thread.)

Special Topics seemed to be more hyped in America than here, though (going by memory of here and by comments on the Amazons).
I haven't heard of that book before but it looks good. I'll keep an eye out for it in the library.
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Old 19-04-2010, 02:37
louise81
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time ~ Mark Haddon
The Lord of The Rings ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
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Old 14-05-2010, 12:32
Blue_
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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I kept hearing about how wonderful this book was, but nothing prepared me for just how engrossed I'd become in it. The writing was almost hypnotic and the heroine of the novel captured my heart like no other.
'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt was pretty hyped up to me and I thought it was great.
I agree. I read those years ago and I still remember how good they were.
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Old 15-05-2010, 03:11
Bowker's Cat
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The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
I thought it was great. I've already read it twice but could happily pick it up right now and read it again. I like the double story, the travels through eastern Europe, the way the two story lines come together.
Agree with you. I think a lot of people got the wrong end of the stick with The Historian.Treated as a homage to the original Dracula it's a great book, NuVamp it ain't, and It's far superior to Dacre Stocker's effort.

Book Thief - Excellent.

Blood's A Rover - James Ellroy. - His best book since The Cold Six Thousand.

Wolf Hall - hyped to the rafters but worth it.
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Old 15-05-2010, 16:11
Veri
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...
Wolf Hall - hyped to the rafters but worth it.
Hmm. I've been avoiding that book so far. Perhaps I should give it a chance.
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Old 15-05-2010, 17:57
Salbates
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Took several chapters to get used to the writing style, but absolutely loved it in the end.
Oh I'm glad you've said that. I borrowed it to read but haven't even picked it up yet
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Old 15-05-2010, 18:09
MorganleFay
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The Book Thief... I loved it and I wasn't really expecting to so it made it even more memorable for me.

The God of Small Things ... once I got used to the strange 'toing and froing' storytelling I really enjoyed it. Good to learn about Goa and Indian culture.

Harry Potter.... cracking good story, read them all a few times.
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Old 16-05-2010, 03:09
summerain
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A Thousand Splendid Suns - Amazing book, it played on my mind for a long time after reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird - It was recommended by a friend when I asked for recommendations of classic books. It was a very enjoyable read, I couldn't put it down and finished it within a couple of days.

I'm currently reading The Time Traveller's Wife. Initially I wasn't keen and as another poster mentioned, the writing style takes a bit of getting used to, but I'm really getting in to it now.
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Old 18-05-2010, 13:38
kimindex
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Gone with the Wind
A Suitable Boy
Frankenstein
Dracula
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Old 18-05-2010, 13:57
Shappy
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To Kill A Mockingbird. One of the few books I have ever read where I have watched the film first. I still loved it.

The Kite Runner.
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Old 22-03-2013, 00:24
Veri
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There's a thread for Hyped-up books that you were disappointed with and even one for So-called classics that you didn't like, but what about those much hyped books you liked: that you enjoyed reading and thought were worth the time?

...
I noticed a new thread of that sort, A Popular Or Well-Respected Book You Just Didn't Catch On To.., and it reminded me of another book I could add here:

A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking.

I thought it was a pretty good, not too hard to understand, popular science book, and I'm sure how it got the reputation of being unreadable, impossible to understand, or something people displayed but didn't read.

But I think part of the answer is that a lot of people who wouldn't normally read that kind of book ended up with a copy because they were given it as a gift or bought one because there was so much talk about it.

I also suspect many people thought they were supposed to understand more than they were.
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Old 22-03-2013, 02:25
wombat18
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Harry Potter

The hype is nothing compared to how much I love those books. I currently reread the entire series a minimum of once a year. I used to read them much more often when they were first out.
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Old 22-03-2013, 09:53
Lizzy11268
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An up to date one - Gone Girl. Brilliant. Superb. And it actually was. Backed up by the fact that its the first "crime" book since the 1950's to be up for a mainstream award!
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