Top 10 Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype-My Opinion


This was an intriguing topic! First of all I had to decide–only fiction? Then, how many years back? I decided to start with recent bestsellers—those since 2000. I found the two lists linked below. So, my Top 10 Tuesday is my rating of various books from these two lists.

Top 21 Bestselling Books of the 21st Century

click to see the list

Top 10 Books of the Twentieth Century

click to see the list

I know, I know! One is bestsellers, the other some nebulous personal list!  That’s what I used, ok?

Of those I’ve read, here are my thoughts and ratings:


First the Bad

21 St Century List

The Shack by William P. Young 


Force me to do a corporate compliance meeting–it would be more interesting. I read this supposed “masterpiece” in two hours for,  you guessed it, a retreat! [Hand up if you read it for any other reason]. No interest what-so-ever in seeing the movie.

My Rating

1.2 Stars.

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren


I’ve done the Purpose Driven Life/Purpose Driven Church in THREE churches in 3 states. I’m done. The first time thru it did get me to think about things I was supposed to think about. It even got me to act on some. But each read through became more and more trite. The purpose of this book, I decided after read 3, was to earn money for the publisher and the author–i.e. the exact same purpose as any other book.

My Rating

2.75 stars


Fifty Shades of Gray,  The Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent and Song of Ice and Fire

So completely not my thing I haven’t even opened them. I think I bought Divergent for Kindle to see what the fuss was about, then heard the fuss and just plain knew I’d never get those hours of my life back, so it wasn’t worth it.

The Twentieth Century List


Lolita, Ulysses, Hundred Years of Solitude,  and Lord Of The Rings

No desire at all. I’m fascinated by Nabokov the person but no, I have zero interest in reading Lolita, ditto Hundred and ditto LOTR.


Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


I’ve written about loathing this one before. I just didn’t find it funny in spite of loving British humor. It bored me.

My Rating

2 Stars


The Indifferent

Harry Potter and the Rest of the Gang


Yes these books could have been on the 20th Century list, too. What I am about to say is heretical and can be punished by death in certain mythical countries created by the HP fandom. My torture will soon be happening in fan fiction. After book two I couldn’t stay awake. There I’ve said it. I’m “meh” on Harry. NOT, that I am “meh” on J.K. Rawlings achievement though! Far from it. She is one of the women of the century. I think she has the most amazing imagination. It’s just not the sort of stuff that really appeals to me.

That said I adore Mrs. Weasley. I, too, want to mother Harry.  Of course the phrase Witch-Slap was invented for Delores Umbridge–who else would it be for? And I’d really like to have a ride in the flying car and meet Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge.  But I’m done trying to read the last few tomes. I enjoyed the movies–an extra count of heresy, I’m sure, since I didn’t first read all the books. What’s more, just like admitting I was done with trying to enjoy Dickens, I know this endangers a very, very cool friendship. But, how many times as a Mom have I said “You REAL friends won’t mind.”


The Good

Twenty-First Century List


The Book Their by Markus Zusack


World War II in general and the Nazi atrocities specifically are frequent topics in my reading. This one, to me, did not live up to the hype, but was still a good book.

My Rating

3 Stars


Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

I haven’t read it, but I loved her book, The Namesake. I intend to read Interpreter of Maladies yet. My verdict for The Namesake was 4 stars [I have only given 5 stars a handful of times in my life].


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I also haven’t read this one yet, but I had only praise for his next book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. My verdict was a solid 4 stars.  I still intend to read the Kite Runner.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


I read some YA, but too much of it is dystopian or weird or …. John Green is YA for grown ups to my mind. I’ve loved each book so far, but Fault remains my favorite. I loved the movie, too, and for once in a billion years I even went to the theater to see it one afternoon with a good friend.

My Rating

4 Stars


Twentieth Century List

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


This one, to me, is pretty dated. It’s still regarded as a classic coming of age story or some such, but it’s dated. Did it deserve the hype? In it’s day–yes. Today, probably.  I read it in 1978.

My Rating

4 Stars


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


I loved this book when I read it in 1977. I read all of Fitzgerald in high school and loved every word. It deserved and deserves the hype.

My Rating

4 Stars

1984 By George Orwell


Everyone should read this and Animal Farm in school so they see what can happen.

My Rating

4 Stars

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


This is one of the greatest American novels, but it has now been hyped to death. I don’t understand people suddenly naming their poor daughters’ “Scout” or “Harper” (even though Miss Lee did not use that name]) or naming their sons “Atticus.” Really? I love GWTW but I’d never have named my poor kid Scarlet or Rhett! Though I do think Nabokov–“Nabby” for short–would be a great tom cat’s name!


4 Stars

There you have my list–yes, it was more than 10 titles. Sorry!

Do you enjoy lists like this? Each week Top Ten Tuesday participants compile themed lists of books and post their links at That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog. You can read all the Top Ten Tuesday rules HERE.  Why not join in?

11 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype-My Opinion

  1. 2.75 stars for ones you haven’t read yet? 😦 I’m not into dystopian stuff and I really liked The Hunger Games series. I actually really liked the first Divergent book, too. That one was worth the hype for me. It was the next two that weren’t so hot. GoT felt like a job to read, but the story was fascinating. I think you could watch the TV show instead, though. As for Twilight and 50 Shades, they were definitely guilty pleasure reads for me. I loved the emotions in them. I hope you’ll maybe give one of those books a try some time.


  2. I would agree that The Book Thief didn’t live up to the hype. I read it before I started blogging and realized that everyone loved, but I just didn’t like it at all. :/ We all have our opinions! I like how you decided to tackle this prompt, I agree it was pretty open-ended, haha.


  3. I also have zero interest in 50 shades; Hitchikers Guide, Hunger Games so we are on the same wavelength there. But we will have to agree to disagree on Fitzgerald. I’ve read it three times now and still don’t sense why this is so highly rated.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we’re in heated agreement about nearly all of these (particularly Hitchhiker’s – I just didn’t get this book either…). Gatsby is my reading equivalent of comfort food- I reread it whenever I get in a reading slump.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I ADORED 1984 and was 100% surprised by it. I expected to hate it, just because I had this preconceived notion it was going to be awful. – usually required reading is, you know? Now, I’m a huge Orwell fan. I gobbled up Animal Farm the same week I finished 1984, too. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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