Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s topic is: Freebie! Which means that I can choose any topic to talk about. Since I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday since April (oops!) I have a lot of previous topics to choose from.
So, I’ve chosen Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed. These are all books that I hated when I first read them but I’m grown to like (or appreciate) them over time.
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
I despised this book when I first read it. I was very young, about 13 or so, and I was trying to get back into reading but this book was just awful. I hated the plot, the characters, everything. However, I read it again while I was at college, I was 17 I think, and while I didn’t love it I did appreciate it more. I finally understood that the characters are meant to be awful and that you’re not meant to like Heathcliff at all. He’s not the romantic hero that everyone makes him out to be, although he is a Byronic hero, and understanding the intention behind the story really helped me to appreciate it for the work of art that it is. It’s not a story that I’ll ever love but I certainly enjoy it much more than I used to.
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
This one may be a surprise but Chamber of Secrets was always my second least favourite book of the series, my least favourite being Order of the Phoenix, and I used to skim through it very quickly when I was re-reading the series. Despite disliking it in the past I read it a few months ago and I really enjoyed it this time. I don’t know what changed, apart from the fact that I read it properly and didn’t skim it, but I’ve grown to like this book more than I used to. So now I’m only left with one Harry Potter book that I don’t like. I don’t think that I’ll ever enjoy Order of the Phoenix though. Mainly because Sirius dies.
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
I really didn’t like this book at all when I first read it about 5 years ago. It just didn’t seem like a realistic scenario to me and I couldn’t imagine our world becoming like the world Huxley depicts. A few years on from that I’ve realised that a) it could happen and b) realism doesn’t really matter when you’re reading a dystopian book. So, with this in mind I re-read Brave New World this month and it completely altered my opinion on the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to review it (in September when I’m back to blogging properly) and recommend it.
4. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
All of my fellow Shakespearean scholars (or anyone who enjoys Shakespeare at all) will be gasping in horror that I ever hated Hamlet. But I did. And now I don’t. As much. Firstly, I hated Hamlet because I thought that it was overrated, which I still believe, but since then I’ve watched several different performances of Hamlet online and I can see the appeal. It’s an amazing story with complex characters (even if Hamlet seems like a whiny teenager at times) which deals with difficult issues such as suicide and betrayal. I do enjoy Hamlet more now than I used to but it’s not my favourite Shakespeare play. I also disagree with critics who claim that Hamlet was the start of human consciousness because I’m 100% certain that people questioned their purpose in life way before 1599.
5. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
I didn’t like this play because just I didn’t understand it. At all. Oscar Wilde’s social criticism and incredible wit totally escaped me at the tender age of 15 but I re-read it at both college and uni and studying it in detail really helped me to understand it. Oscar Wilde was witty and scathing, he ripped apart the upper classes of English society with a well positioned exclamation of ‘A handbag?’, and he mercilessly mocked his own audience. I think that it’s a wonderful play and I’d love to see it live one day. I’d even recommend watching the 2002 film version which has a wonderful cast including Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Judi Dench and Reese Witherspoon.
I found this short book incredibly difficult to read at first. I had to put it down several times because it was a chore to read. I hated the style of prose that Hemingway used, I hated the plot, or lack of, and I just didn’t enjoy it. I have re-read it since then and really enjoyed it.
Hemingway is almost like Marmite in my opinion, you either love his writing style or you hate it, and I started off hating it because it was too simple but now I really enjoy it and I love having to read between the lines to find the message.
7. The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy
I truly hated this poetry collection. I thought that it was vulgar and badly written with little point to it except Duffy saying ‘let’s complain about men’. I still don’t like it, per say, because Carol Ann Duffy just isn’t for me. I’m not a fan of her poetry but I can appreciate what she’s trying to do. However, this collection is a wonderful piece of feminist literature and I do enjoy the poems ‘Delilah’, ‘The Kray Sisters’ and ‘Pygmalion’s Bride’.
I wonder if this book is still on the GCSE syllabus. If it is then I feel sorry for today’s students.
8. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
I wrote a post about this book a while ago which basically explains what I find fascinating about this book.
However, to begin with I truly didn’t like it. It felt like a middle-class writer romanticising the working class of the North, which is is, and I balked at that being a girl from a working class background in the North. After researching this book and its author I now really enjoy the book. It’s a tad long and the ending is silly but Gaskell tried to highlight the plight of the working class and I think that it’s a fantastic book.
9. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I didn’t enjoy this book because of its odd mixture between fiction and non-fiction. I didn’t like that Krakauer just filled in the bits he didn’t know about Christopher McCandless’ life with his own interpretations and theories. I do enjoy it now because it fills me with wonder, it makes me want to go out and live my life, and it’s a very emotional story which never fails to bring a tear to my eye. It’s an inspiring book in my opinion and I’d love to explore more of nature and experience life how Christopher McCandless experienced it.
10. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
I first read Udolpho, completely, earlier this year and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars in my review but before reading it completely I had read extracts. I hated those extracts because they were just pure description which I found incredibly boring. This meant that I had an opinion about the book before I’d even read it and I was so sure that I was going to hate the whole book as much as I hated the extracts. I didn’t. It’s true that the description is heavy handed but it’s also very beautiful. I liked the characters too even if the book was far too long.
Just because I can I’m going to mention a few books that I used to love/enjoy but I now hate….
- A Game of Thrones et al. by George R. R. Martin
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green