Top Ten Tuesday: I can’t believe I read that!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there’s a new top 10 theme — check out the host blog for a list of upcoming topics.

This week’s topic is Books I Can’t Believe I Read

I could go a lot of ways with this topic — books so bad that I can’t believe I read them; books so huge… books so out-of-the-norm-for-me…

… so, I decided to do a little bit of everything:

First, books that I’m impressed with myself for reading; as in, “these books are big and daunting — I can’t believe I read them!”

1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville: I read this book last year, via Serial Reader, and I really enjoyed it!

2. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: Years ago, I was settling into a new home in a new town, didn’t have a job yet, and had just seen a stage production of Les Misérables… so I figured, why not? Let’s read the book!

3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: Call me crazy, but at some point during my senior year of high school I decided it would be fun to read Anna Karenina. Yes. For fun.


Then there those books that are so awful or cringe-worthy that I can’t believe I spent my precious time and brain cells on them:

4. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond: This is a pretty recent read for me. I expected a thriller; I didn’t expect the near-torture-porn levels of sadism.

5. The Fifty Shades books by E. L. James: I admit it — I read them all, in the course of one intense weekend when I absolutely had nothing else to do. Why did I keep going? It was just too hard to look away, even when I knew I should.

6. The Twilight series: Okay, I completely loved these books at the time, don’t get me wrong. It’s only in retrospect that I question my devotion to the books and how I could have gotten so caught up in them. I mean, I really was into these books! But over time, the glory fades, and little things like nonsensical plot developments make me wonder how I ever got through four of these books.

Next, books outside my usual reading zone — topics and genres that I normally wouldn’t voluntarily read:

7. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis: I read a football book! I am one of the least sporty people you’ll meet, and I don’t give a fig about football or other spectator sports. I read The Blind Side after hearing a discussion about it on the radio, back before the movie was made. I thought the book was fantastic, and I was completely engrossed from start to finish. But really, I still can’t believe I read a football book!

8. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow: I enjoy history, but I rarely sit down and read history books start to finish, expecially not 800+ page history books! But in this case… HAMILTON! I started listening to the soundtrack of the Broadway musical, and then I got tickets, and before going to see the show, I just had to know more. I ended up really enjoying the book — but I can’t believe I made it all the way through!

9. Vietnam by Stanley Karnow: Years ago, I got caught up in watching the TV series China Beach, and I decided I didn’t really now enough about the Vietnam War. So I read this BIG, detailed book, and learned a ton. Fascinating… but I still can’t believe I read it.

And finally, one truly nostalgic pick:

10. The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss: My first romance novel! I read this at about age 13, and found it so wicked (and amazing)! Luckily, no one in my family ever monitored what I was reading or made any attempt to censor me… still, I blush to think what my grandmother would have thought! This one is definitely a “I can’t believe I read this at that age and got away with it!” book.


Have you read any of my “can’t believe” books? Have any great picks of your own?

Please share your thoughts and share your links!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!




14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: I can’t believe I read that!

  1. Great list, Lisa! I salute you for getting through Les Mis and Moby Dick, they’re so huge I don’t know if I’ll ever tackle them. I know what you mean with the Twilight books – I’m not ashamed that I read and enjoyed them when I did because, as a teenage girl, I was the target audience and ultimately I think we have Twilight to thank for how much YA fiction has taken off, but looking back I do wonder how I got so caught up in them.

    • I read Moby Dick last year in daily installments, which made it pretty fun and bite-sized. We share thoughts on Twilight — I think it did a lot for YA reading (and I was not a teen when I read them, but devoured them anyway!)

  2. Wow, not bad! I never would have made it through ‘Anna Karenina’ 😀 Just not for me!

    I did read the Fifty Shades & Twilight as well – I was just too curious. But in both cases I didn’t like them and never continued.

    • Great self-control — not finishing 50 Shades and Twilight! I loved Twilight at the time, but with Fifty Shades, I knew it was awful and yet somehow decided to read all three anyway. 🙂

  3. I too read all the fifty shades books (even the one in christen’s pov, although I saw she released the second book in his pov which leads me to believe she’ll do the third too and that she has no other real writing talents, that was kinda harsh but why can’t she put this trilogy to sleep? ) All that to say I won’t be reading those books. I read them because I wanted to know what the fuss was about and then I just had to see how it ended.

    • Ha, basically the same for me — I knew the books were terrible, but I still had to read them! You’re braver (?) than I am, though. Definitely not reading the Christian POV books!

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