Saturday, November 12, 2011

Books That I Was Skeptical About But Loved

For this post, I'm going to go through the books I have listed on Goodreads to find ones that I was skeptical about but really enjoyed.  These are all books that I didn't really think I was going to like when I began reading, but I gave them at least four stars on Gooodreads.  I'll post a link to the book's page on Goodreads, the synopsis from Goodreads, a little on my thoughts on the book, and a link to my review if there is one.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.
Please don't judge The Host based on Twilight.  I know it's the same author, but they're completely different.  I can't really tell it's even the same author, and I know several people hate Twilight but enjoy The Host.  The reason I was skeptical at first is actually because it's about aliens.  I think it's the first (and probably only) book I read about aliens.  They're not your typical aliens though.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters--Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth-- and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.
I really only picked this book up out of boredom.  I have to admit though, I've only ever read the shorter kids version.  I plan on reading the actual one at some point.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
My sixth grade class read this because our teacher was a bog Lois Lowry fan.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
I only read this book because I'd heard such great things about it from other people.  It didn't sound at all interesting to me.  I'm always interested in WWII stuff, but for some reason I was reluctant to read The Book Thief.  It sounded boring.  I'm so glad I finally gave in and read it!  It's a great story.  The fact that it's narrated by death put me off a little at first, but I really did enjoy The Book Thief.

Plastic Fantastic by Simon Cheshire
Fifteen-year-old Dominic is crazy about the pop group Plastic—especially their attractive lead singer. Lisa Voyd is a style goddess, and her voice makes Dominic’s heart melt. He knows every word and every note of every song, of course, and has sworn his allegiance to all that is Plastic. So what if Dominic’s best friend, Emma, thinks he’s wasting his time? The silly girl likes classical piano music. Anyone who knows anything knows Plastic is the best.

But when Dominic gets trapped in an elevator with none other than Lisa Voyd, she’s nothing like the star he thought he loved. Turns out the life of a pop singer is not all it’s cracked up to be. And the world’s biggest fan might have an even bigger fan of his own.
This is probably the least known book on the list.  I was at a Book Warehouse, and if you bought so many books, they were a certain price.  I needed another book, so I picked up this one.  I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it.  It really is a nice book though.  It's also a British book, which is always a plus.  I wrote a short little review on it over on Goodreads.

The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter
When John Cameron Butler was a child, he was captured in a raid on the Pennsylvania frontier and adopted by the great warrrior Cuyloga. Renamed True Son, he came to think of himself as fully Indian. But eleven years later his tribe, the Lenni Lenape, has signed a treaty with the white men and agreed to return their captives, including fifteen-year-old True Son. Now he must go back to the family he has forgotten, whose language is no longer his, and whose ways of dress and behavior are as strange to him as the ways of the forest are to them. A beautifully written, sensitively told story of a white boy brought up by Indians, The Light in the Forest is a beloved American classic.
This is the start of the books I read for school and ended up loving portion of the list.  I've ranted about all of these books numerous times in various places.  I'll just add a link to my review on Goodreads.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to reign in his immense physical strength.
My review is here.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. Though on the surface it explores religious faith--the intellectually committed as well as the passionately observant--the struggles addressed in The Chosen are familiar to families of all faiths and in all nations.

In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love.
I've ranted about my love for this book so many times.  I thought I would hate it, but it's one of my favorite books of all time.  My review is here.

This list isn't that long really.  I'm usually pretty open minded about books.  I try not to judge whether or not I like it until I read it.

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