Most of the times, I end up finding new favourite books by chance. I pick up a book without expectations, I start reading, and usually by the time I finish the first chapter I know if it’s going to be a new favourite. Just as sometimes I know, from the first page, when something is missing for me. But the moment something clicks in my brain and I know, that‘s the feeling I’m looking for when I read.
Sometimes, though, expectations get in the way. A favourite author has a new book coming out, or I read the synopsis and it sounds like the perfect story for me. Or I see hundreds of positive reviews and I get carried away by the hype. I get the book, I look at it, hold it in my hands… and put it down. What if it’s not good? What if it doesn’t work for me? What if it’s a disappointment?
I don’t think I’m alone in this, but what gives me pause when I think about reading a possible new favourite is usually the idea of seeing all my expectations crumble. I don’t give five stars very easily. So I put away those books in favour of ones I don’t have high expectations for. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, sometimes I’m left a bit underwhelmed. It is what it is.
But since I read mostly for personal enjoyment, I want to get better at this. So here is a list of 5 books (out of I don’t even know how many) that I think have the potential to be 5 stars read for me:
Erin Morgenstern – The Starless Sea
I loved the author’s first book (The Night Circus) even though I had a few issues with the ending. An ancient book telling the childhood of the protagonist, doors that hide stories for those brave enough to look for them, labyrinths and secrets and magic. I get goosebumps just by reading the synopsis.
Meg Wolitzer – Sleepwalking
A story about three college students fascinated by poetry and death, each one of them obsessed with one particular writer. I don’t know anything else, and I don’t want to. This smells of dark academia from miles away.
Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
A centuries old magic duel spanning some 700 hundred pages. I don’t care for an action-packed plot if I can follow great characters, and that’s exactly what I expect from this. The length is what’s stopping me from picking it up, but I have read longer books and survived.
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
Yes, I admit it, I never read the book. I know how the story goes, but there’s something about that Gothic atmosphere than never fails to get to me.
Also, after a brick like the previous title, I feel I need something shorter on this list to even out the scales.
Stuart Turton – The Devil and the Dark Water
A supernatural murder mystery set on a ship in the middle of nowhere. I loved The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and have high expectations for this author’s second book. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed.
So here you have it, this are the first five books in what I think will be a series on this blog – assuming that I will read these ones in a timely fashion. I wanted to include more than just fantasy on the list, but rereading it I realise that four of these books have at least some supernatural element, so I might have failed in that regard. Oh well.
I’ll be back to update you – and the list – whenever I’m done with this first batch.
Is there anything you think I should prioritise, or take off the list entirely? What was your last 5 star read?
Stay safe, and happy reading!