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Looking through my backlist, this tends to be mainstream fiction books which I bought because I knew a lot of other people had read them, but did not expect to finish with more than just being able to tick the box. In particular, as I look at the two recently read books that seem to me my best answers to this question, they are both books where the title was misleadingly boring, and I didn't know anything about the plot before starting to read.

Most recent (actually only read a couple of weeks ago) is Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, which I imagined would be about gormlessly wistful people on a quest through the decades for, er, shells of some kind, probably the marine variety. But in fact The Shell Seekers turns out to be an oil painting; and although the central character is indeed one of the eponymous seekers, it's a scene from the beginning of her life, and not really one that dominates her; indeed her decisive moment comes when she gets rid of the painting entirely. And the book was generally a much better read thanh I had anticipated.

Last year's find in a similar vein was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, which I vaguely knew was about someone with a blurry gender identity but kind of expected would be set in a gritty American location called Middlesex, or worse still in the English region of northwest London which formerly had the same name. But it was an exuberant tale of immigration and conflict and family drama, which I enjoyed very much as a tale in itself.

So, while the cliche is that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, you can't always judge a book by its title either.

Day 01 - Your favourite series of books (with more than 3 in the series)
Day 02 - A book that you wish more people had read
Day 03 - Your favorite recent book
Day 04 - Your favorite book ever
Day 05 - A book you hate
Day 06 - Your favourite writer
Day 07 - A writer you don't like
Day 08 - Your favourite work in translation
Day 09 - Best scene ever
Day 10 - A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 - A book that disappointed you
Day 12 - An book you’ve read more than twice
Day 13 - Favorite childhood book
Day 14 - Favorite male character
Day 15 - Favorite female character
Day 16 - Your guilty pleasure book
Day 17 - Favorite trilogy or tetralogy
Day 18 - Favorite book cover
Day 19 - Best ensemble of characters in a book
Day 20 - Favorite kiss or love scene
Day 21 - Favorite fictional romantic relationship
Day 22 - Favorite ending/climax
Day 23 - Most annoying character
Day 24 - Best quote
Day 25 - A book you plan on reading
Day 26 - OMG WTF? plot
Day 27 - Favourite non-mainstream writer
Day 28 - First book obsession
Day 29 - Current book obsession
Day 30 - Saddest character death

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
inulro
Sep. 29th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
you can't always judge a book by its title either.

In fact, over the past few years I've begun to favour the theory that the better a book's title, the less good it's going to be - I read Toby Litt's deadkidsongs on the strength of the title and it was awful. Ditto The Bitch Goddess Handbook. There was something more recent with an awesome title that wasn't very good, but my brain is not yet in gear to recall what it was.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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