Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #16

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

Today's Top Ten Tuesday Topic: Top 10 Books I Was "Forced" To Read (either by book clubs, teachers, other bloggers, enthusiastic friends). Thankfully, they don't necessarily have to be forced reads that I hated; they can be forced reads that I ended up liking! So I've parceled it out in two top 5 I hated, and top 5 I liked/loved.

Top 5 Forced Reads I Loved:

I put off reading Cinder for a long time because I thought the concept was too weird to even be remotely good. But the Author was coming to the library, and as a volunteer and therefore a representative of the library, I knew I had to read it. It doesn't look good when employees (paid or not) haven't read books pertaining to events, right? So I read it, prepared to give it a low rating and rant on and on about how weird and silly it was. Well . . . my opinion ended up being the exact opposite. I loved this book! It was original, the concept worked amazingly well, and it wasn't a sappy love story.

Once again, the library I volunteered at was putting on an event on the eve of the movie being released: a mini Hunger Games for teens! And since I was to help out at the event, I felt it my duty to read the books first, because I quite honestly knew nothing about the books at that point. I didn't have any preconceived notions about The Hunger Games. I figured it would probably be mediocre at best; sappy at worst. The negative reviews definitely had me intrigued. Was it really as violent and disturbing as everyone said? I didn't become a die-hard fan once I read The Hunger Games, but I did end up really enjoying it - and its sequels. I had favorite characters, it was entertaining, full of survival skills, and not nearly as disturbing as some people made it out to be.

I had to read Beowulf for a Humanities class in college. Being the odd scholar that I am, I was going to read Beowulf eventually on my own (because I'm weird that way), but I was "forced" to read it for school. I always knew the premise of the story when I was a kid, so I already had a liking for it. But actually reading it made me love it all the more. It's probably my favorite ancient epic; I enjoyed it much more than Gilgamesh.

Richard III is my favorite Shakespeare play, and it was also the first one I had to read for my Shakespeare college class. I enjoyed all of the ones we read, but this was definitely my favorite, and it will remain my favorite. Unlike a lot of people, I've never had an aversion to Shakespeare - not even Hamlet. I had never read any of his works before my class, but I knew about them and had seen many plays. I'm a big fan of villains in general, so naturally the play that had the villain as the protagonist (and Richard is such an awesome villain) suited my interests quite well. And what great opening lines: "Now is the winter of our discontent." Love it. :-)

The Ruins of Gorlan was first recommended to me by a friend, whose literary recommendations I often found to be lacking. She recommended this one to me shortly after recommending Eragon (which I hated), so I was extremely dubious about this one. Finally, though, I buckled down and read it. And read some more . . . and loved it and became an eternal fan of the series.

Top 5 Forced Reads I Hated:

Having suffered through the first three books, I had no intention of reading Inheritance. But a friend had told me that she would pay me $50 to read it. I can buy a lot of books with $50, so I agreed. I suffered and struggled and wept and laughed maniacally and screamed and stared for hours like a zombie as my brain attempted to turn itself back on. I hated every second of this book.

There was actually no friend or teacher or parent who forced me to read this entire 15-book series. I did it to myself. Why? Because as the Number #1 authority on kids' and teen literature in the neighboring area, it didn't seem right that I had never read even one Oz book. And how splendid would it be if I read the entire original series in a year? Seems pretty easy; I mean, the books aren't all that long. But I say, the best method of torture is to suffer through 15 Oz books, one after another. You will hate Oz for the rest of your life. I get a twitch whenever I hear the word Oz. I don't like Oz.

The movie is coming out in November, so naturally I had to read the book. The movie forced me to read it. I hate seeing movie adaptions without reading the book first. While I still think the movie is going to be much better (there's no way it can be worse, and Asa Butterfield will be a perfect Ender Wiggin), I really did not like the book. It was boring, it had too many shower scenes, there were no aliens, the twist was contrived, and world description was completely lacking.

I won't say that I hated this book, but I didn't really care for it, either. Recommended to me by a friend, I felt obligated to read it (we always do when friends are enthusiastic about a particular book). I didn't care for any of the characters and some of the elements of the plot were too ridiculous to even be remotely believable - even for fiction.

Two friends recommended this to me at the same time, and my overall opinion is actually very divided. As a regular Reader - a non-Sherlockian - I found it to be an entertaining enough read, and the characters are pretty good. But as a Sherlockian, it frustrated me and even made me angry sometimes. It's just so not Sherlock Holmes! So, again, I wouldn't say I hated this book (I'm finishing the series out); part of me likes it, but the other part of me doesn't. 


  1. I adored Cinder and the Huger Games. Nice list :-)
    Here's mine

    1. Both CINDER and THE HUNGER GAMES were real surprise reads for me; I didn't have any high expectations whatsoever, and I ended up really liking them.

  2. I looove THE HUNGER GAMES! I need to read some of the others. Nice list!

    Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf

    1. If you haven't delved into John Flanagan's RANGER'S APPRENTICE series yet, you should. There are a lot of books, and the first four are definitely the best, but it's still a great series.

  3. Who doesn't love The Hunger Games! I am really excited to read Cinder, I posted it on my book haul last week and I had so, so, soooo many comments telling me how absolutely amazing it was. Hopefully I'm not going in with ridiculously high expectations though. My TTT

    1. A couple of my friends thought it was too brutal. *roll eyes* I know; silly. I hope you enjoy CINDER; I found it to be surprising.


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