Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype, 7/31/18

I remember seeing most of these books *everywhere* on social media when they were first released. There’s a marketing stat that says a person has to see something at least 5-7 times before they will respond to an offer. I’m a visual person so seeing a beautiful or unusual cover over and over also doesn’t hurt. In this case, these books were talked about so much and were on so many lists of favorite, must-read books, that when I finally read them, I was pleasantly surprised!

It’s no surprise that 5/10 have already been made into movies! In no particular order:

  1. The Woman In the Window, A. J. Finn (2018). Besides a great cover, a plug by Gillian Flynn and the Hitchcock vibes, there was a lot of talk about the author of this book, his pseudonym, his background in publishing, etc. Even before the book published, movie rights had been sold! I read this book in one sitting and really enjoyed the main character.
  2. How to Walk Away, Katherine Center (2018). This is the author’s 6th novel, she’s done a Ted Talk and she writes strong female characters who have to overcome BIG challenges. Sounds wonderful right? And yet she’s never been on my radar until this book. Another great cover and a hopeful and sweet story makes the genre “up-lit” my new favorite.
  3. Dark Matter, Blake Crouch (2016). Are you happy with your life? That’s the question the author asks in Dark Matter, a sci-fi/thriller/love story. Blake Crouch is also known for his Wayward Pines trilogy which has a cult following both for the books and the tv series. This was not my usual genre but I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace and the fact I didn’t have to really understand quantum physics to enjoy the book.
  4. The Light Between Oceans , M. L. Stedman (2012). 🍿 I can’t remember if this book was hyped or not, but this was another DEBUT novel that made all the bestseller lists. An isolated lighthouse, an unexpected boat crash and an ethical dilemma made this a favorite of mine.
  5. Room, Emma Donohue (2010). 🍿 I picked up the book after the movie came out (which won all kinds of awards including nominations in screenwriting for the author!) I probably won’t see the movie (starring actress Brie Larson) given the queasy subject matter but the book was incredibly well done, told from the POV of unreliable narrator, 5 year old Jack who has been locked up his entire life in a 10×10 garden shed with his kidnapped mother. It’s even been adapted for the stage!
  6. Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes (2015). Super talented and super successful Shonda Rhimes wrote a wonderful book detailing “How To Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person” and how her social anxiety, among other things, was causing her to say no to some incredible opportunities. So, she chronicles what happened when she said “Yes” for a whole year. Given how popular her TV shows are, it’s not surprising her biography was well received and deservedly so! It was nice to read about someone who overcame their fears and started trying new things.
  7. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (2009). 🍿 I read The Help after at least ten friends posted about it, even my non-reader friends had heard of it! The movie version, released in 2011 which banked $125 million worldwide has only boosted book sales and is now translated into 42 languages! (I do hope to see the movie eventually, since I’ve heard good things!)
  8. Big, Little Lies, Liane Moriarty (2014). 🍿 This Australian novelist has written six books but BLL and her previous work, The Husband’s Secret,(my personal favorite) has made her an international bestseller. Just last year HBO made a miniseries based off the book and together with the a-list actors, it’s been a HUGE hit. I did see the series and thought it was really well done. Can’t wait to see how they handle a second season.
  9. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah (2015). Another uber talented author who has written many fantastic books including this years The Great Alone (which the movie rights were preemptively purchased by TriStar Pictures!) The Nightingale won the Goodreads Best Historical Fiction Award, Amazon Best Book of the Year, Library Journal’s Best of the Year and many, many more awards. The movie version comes out August 10, 2018. I loved this World War II story and cried buckets.
  10. The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls (2005). 🍿 Published in 2005, this instant classic has remained on the NYTimes bestseller list for at least 421 weeks and has sold over 2.7 million copies! This was a beautifully written story and I remember feeling pretty grateful for my semi-dysfunctional family.  In 2017 the movie version was released, also starring actress Brie Larson, which I would like to see someday.

So? What’s on your list? What books have you loved DESPITE all the hype?! Tell me!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


  1. I’ve seen Dark Matter a couple of times today. I’ve gone back and forth about picking that one up. The concept sounds really interesting though. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it despite it not being your genre. It’s not mine either.

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  2. I haven’t read any of these books but I have Dark Matter on my shelf which has been sitting for years! I guess it’s time to pick it up! Love your choices!

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  3. I’ve read a few on your list – and completely agree! The Help – the book, the audiobook and the movie – loved all of them! Also really liked The Woman In the Window, Big Little Lies (love the tv series) and The Glass Castle.

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  4. I still have to watch ‘Oceans,’ and someday I still want to read “The Help.” I started it before seeing the movie, but then the release date came and though I wasn’t done with the big, I went and saw it. Such a sweet story. 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

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  5. I’ve read all of these except Year of Yes which I just put on hold at my library. However, I am one of the few people (in the entire world?!?!?) who didn’t like The Nightingale. I couldn’t get through it. However, I should mention that my husband is Jewish and my daughter is named Rachel so it was hitting a little close to home for me.

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