Surprise Package

Top Ten Books That Are Surprisingly Readable

Top Ten Tuesday freebie this week, so I’ve chosen ten books that have surprised me with just how easy they were to read, or by how quickly I thundered through them. I always find it interesting which books I find easiest to read, as they’re not necessarily my favourites (although many of them are) and they can sometimes handle some difficult topics. It might have something to do with the author’s writing style, or the context in which I’m reading, or maybe it’s just a mystery. Prompt from the Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China – Huan Hsu

This is the book that suggested this week’s topic, as I’m surprised by how engrossing I’m finding it. Hsu expertly combines memoir, history and observations, and is brilliant at explaining new concepts at precisely the right point in the narrative.

2. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

I burned through this in under two days, even though I tried to ration it as I knew that I’d be sad when it was over. It has the sort of plot which makes you shout ‘What are you doing?!!?’ at the characters, but in a good way.

3. Perdido Street Station – China Miéville

One of the only books that I’ve ever read where I truly had trouble putting it down, even when it horrified me.

4. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

Levin does the creeping horrors so well, The Stepford Wives has the same sense of impending doom that compels you to keep reading.

5. The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury, and Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat – Meg Lukens Noonan

One of the easiest to read non-fiction books that I’ve ever encountered. I never thought the decline of couture could be so interesting.

6. Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

Maybe it’s the ‘choose your own adventure-esque’ style, but I would have happily have read this if it was twice as long.

7. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

I’m going to guess that it was the beautifully evocative descriptions of Iceland that made this book such a joy to read. The plot couldn’t have more of a sense of impending doom if it was called ‘Sense of Impending Doom: The Novel’.

8. A Vision of Fire – Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin

I still don’t understand why this book worked. The plot was trashy and then took a turn for the deeply bizarre, but as soon as I finished it I was on the internet looking up the release date of the sequel (A Dream of IceDecember 8th 2015).

9. The Crimson Petal and the White – Michel Faber

It is over 800 pages long and the story is actually quite straight forward, yet I really didn’t detect any filler, everything seemed necessary somehow. Michel Faber must be magic.

10. A Month By the Sea: Encounters in Gaza – Dervla Murphy

Definitely not a book that I expected to be easy to read. Murphy is also a master at blending observations and history, and does an amazing job of explaining the hugely complicated political and cultural history of the Gaza Strip.

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