Brittany Goldfield Rodrigues , The Huffington Post Canada
“I've heard it’s really good,” can be a few of the hardest words for a book nerd to say. It's often code for 'I've been harassed to read a book, but just haven’t gotten to it.'
And why haven’t they gotten to it? There are plenty of reasons, but often, it's because they've reached a point when they've heard so many good things about a book that there’s no way it can reach expectations. That, or they're just really annoyed about being preached to about a book that, quite frankly, isn't their thing.
That’s the problem with hype: it exaggerates how good something actually is, and at a point, being told to do something again and again just gets annoying. Sometimes this can be the curse of a really good book — people don’t believe it can be everything it's purported to be.
But sometimes, it can be. While some books can reach superstar statuses they can't possibly live up to, other times books earn those accolades by just being really fantastic reads.
Here, in our opinion, are 11 of those books:
Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)
Yes, we know. “Everyone says it’s so good.” That’s because it IS so good. “Station Eleven” follows the before and after of an apocalypse, inducing an epidemic. Post apocalyptic fans and non-fan alike will love this book that weaves together plot lines in a way that seems effortless. The incredible characters are heightened by the way that they fit into one another's lives.
The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins)
Initially marketed just to lovers of “Gone Girl,” look around any train/subway, and you'll see dozens of people sporting this book as a clutch. And yes, this book is as good as people say. It’s as thrilling and engaging as “Gone Girl,” complete with equally frustrating characters. But its plot line and mystery could not be more different. “The Girl on the Train” will make you anxious and uncomfortable, and you will love every moment of it.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
“But I've seen the movie” will never be an excuse for not reading a great book. Especially one as short as this. Stephen Chbosky’s novel about Charlie, a boy who writes to his unnamed friend about his innermost thoughts and feelings, is profound and beautiful. Charlie is one of YA fiction’s most iconic, kind-hearted protagonists yet. Pick it up and read in in maximum two sittings. Just because everyone else likes it doesn't mean you shouldn't experience it for yourself.
Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)
Once a book becomes a movie, it automatically rises in star status. When this happens, there are two types of people: the people who will refuse to watch the movie to read the book, or will just watch the movie. In all honesty, read the book. It doesn’t ruin the movie. “Gone Girl’s” half diary format makes the story that much more haunting and suspenseful. Thriller lovers will want to read this, regardless how “mainstream” it is.
The Fault in our Stars (John Green)
Wait. You haven’t read this yet? This young adult book about two cancer patients falling in love is not only heartbreaking, it’s also beautiful. For a book based on these topics, it’s surprisingly funny and optimistic in the way these two characters grow to view life and one another. John Green’s profound one-liners have earned this book its current super-star status, and don't be turned off by its genre — after all, if "The Catcher In The Rye" was released today, it would be marketed as young adult too.
Harry Potter Books 1-7 (Harry Potter)
It’s a mystery why this even has to be on this list. But yes, there are people in this world who haven’t read this series and have no desire to. J.K. Rowling opened up fantasy to a generation of readers with her incredibly developed characters, a villain for the ages, and a world where witches, magicians and creatures live together. The book's vocabulary has crept into common usage (hello, Muggles!) and Hogwarts can never be over-rated. At least give these books a chance.
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada.
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