Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

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

 This weeks theme is books that I almost put down but didn't. Whenever I start a book I always feel duty bound to finish it - many books sit half read for months until I decide that they have to be finished and I dedicate an afternoon to read them. A fair few of the books on this list are ones that I had to read for school/college/university - there's nothing like being forced to read a book to put you off it.

1) North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
This had to be top of my list. I ADORE the BBC adaptation of it, and Mr Thornton easily rivals Mr Darcy for the title of my favourite fictional gentleman. But I just couldn't get into the book. I was going through my online library records yesterday (as you do...) and I realised that I had it out of the library for a year before I finally finished it. A YEAR. But I'm so glad I persevered. It was a long time ago but I remember around halfway through the story started to get going a bit. But nothing will ever beat the scene at the train station in the TV adaptation...

2) Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Another set text, this time from second year of uni. I took a module on The Novel From Austen to Hardy, and this was one of only a couple of books that I managed to plough through. I've always preferred the Brontë sisters to Jane Austen - I guess I just prefer novels with a bit of a dark side - but I decided to stick with it. Half of the characters irritated me and I found Fanny Price to be a pretty uninspiring heroine, but again I'm glad that I finished it.

3) Dracula - Bram Stoker
Third year of uni brought a Gothic Literature module, which I took purely on the prospect of studying The Hound of the Baskervilles. Determined as I was to be a good student for my final year I got Dracula out of the library and gave it a go. I knew from the start that it wasn't going to be my taste, but as I persevered I found myself drawn in to the story, and I've never seen any of the films so I had no idea how it was going to end. I'd never read it again but it was worth the effort.

4) Sherlock Holmes and the Angel of the Opera - Sam Siciliano
Sherlock Holmes meets the Phantom of the Opera. Sounds amazing right? That's what I thought too.. Admittedly it does get marginally better towards the end, and I was interested to see how the story would pan out, but it was definitely my love for the original characters that kept me reading. (My review)

5) Park Lane - Frances Osbourne
Billed as a sort of London based Downton Abbey, it turned out to be nothing of the sort. Intertwining the stories of a bored London socialite turned suffragette and her maid, the narrative style was just weird. The story itself was interesting enough so I kept reading, but the ending was a bit of a let-down too. (My review)

6) A Hollywood Ending - Robyn Sisman
This was a novel of two halves for me, hated the first half and loved the second. If rom-com style books are your thing then it's worth persevering. (My review)

7) One Day - David Nicholls
I picked this up to see what all the hype was about, and I just didn't get it. I found myself getting annoyed at both of the main characters to the point where I wanted to shout at them. And I'm still cross about the ending. Finished it more to be able to say that I'd read it than anything else. (My review)

8) Melting the Snow on Hester Street - Daisy Waugh
Another slow starter. Set in 1920s Hollywood I had high expectations for a glamorous read, but the plot was completely different to what I expected from the blurb. From around chapter 12 it suddenly began to get interesting, so I'm glad I stuck with it. But it was riddled with errors to the point where I'm not sure whether the twist at the end was intentional (if so you'd have to have been paying attention to spot it) or an oversight by the editors. (My review)

That's all I can think of for now, if I think of any more I'll add them in later!

What's on your lists this week?


  1. One Day is one of my favorite books! But, I admit that I did get a little frustrated with the main characters at times. And, kudos to you for finishing Mansfield Park. I was supposed to read that for a Jane Austen class I took, but I fell behind in my reading:( Great list!

    1. Books can't appeal to everyone, and I totally get why so many people love One Day. A lot of classic books got left unread in my English classes because I fell behind, some of them take so long to read it's impossible to keep up! Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. I adored One Day - although I agree that the ending was a bit tough to take. I know what you mean about North & South (and I loved the train station scene too!) but I just love it so much ... I would definitely pick Thornton over Darcy. I read Dracula on the train between Geneva and Milan on my year abroad so I kind of picture sunny vineyards when I think of it, it was rather odd and like you I wouldn't reread it but I was glad to kind of know what people were talking about. Not my favourite. I'm a bit of an Austen fan and the more I read about her, the more I understand Mansfield Park, I first read it when I was twelve and I liked it because it had so little apparent emotion (I was kind of anti-romance at that age) but compared to the others, I haven't returned to it in years. I think it has a lot of political subtext that we don't get now but all the same ... Fanny Price just doesn't endear herself to the reader. This list has got me thinking ... thank you!

    1. I know a lot of people who loved One Day, I guess it was just so different to what I was expecting that I didn't enjoy it. I love how books can take you back to a specific time/place when you think of them (totally jealous of your year abroad too!)

  3. I've never read anything on your list but I've always been pondering about Dracula since it's a classic.and this seems to be the first time I came across Mansfield Park, maybe I'll go check that out..

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

    1. Neither of those books were what I was expecting, but that's usually a good thing I guess. Both are definitely worth a read, just be prepared to persevere with them! :)

  4. Great picks. I am not a fan of most of the books I was forced to read in school and college, there were a few exceptions. I've only read Dracula and One Day and I wasn't really a fan of either. One Day dragged so much, it was so hard to get through. The ending infuriated me and I found both characters really irritating too.

    1. I'm glad someone agrees with me! Yeah it's difficult to enjoy books you're made to read - I actually read more now that I've finished my English degree.. being forced to read made me keep putting it off I think haha :)

  5. I have tunnel vision for that Park Lane cover. I'm tempted to check it out for myself.

    1. It was the cover that drew me to Park Lane in the first place, it's gorgeous! It's worth a read, it just takes some time to get used to the narrative. The author is primarily a non-fiction writer and it shows - although this also means that the historical detail is fascinating!


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