If You Like….

I am thrilled to announce the first of a series of guest “If You Like” posts! Our first guest star is Christine, who has provided us with a list of “Books read based on Internet/TV/media peer pressure”.

Without further ado, here’s Christine’s list of “Everyone else is reading this so you HAVE to!”

1. Twilight series – Stephenie Meyer – teenage girl falls in love with vampire

Full disclosure: I liked the first one. It appealed to the teenager in me who wants to be swept away by love. So I kept reading. And regretted it. Badly. The second one bored me to tears and reinforced Bella’s extreme level of stupidity (jumping off a cliff to hear his voice? Really?), but I thought, “everyone loves this series, I should keep reading.” The third one annoyed me. To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember why. Perhaps I’m trying to block out the memory of it all, but it annoyed me. I thought, “maybe it gets better, because the first one really wasn’t bad.” Then the fourth one just made me angry because it was so ridiculous, even ridiculous for a book about vampires and werewolves. Poorly written, absurd plot lines, irritating characters. Bella, be your own woman! Seriously! You are a horrifically bad role model! In the end, wanted the time back that I spent reading this awful series.

2. A Discovery of Witches– Deborah Harkness – witch doesn’t want to be a witch but finds herself dragged into it anyway

A lot of the books I read come from recommendations people post on Weekly Reading Round-Up. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Witches and vampires aren’t really my thing (see above), but I thought I’d give this one a try. I got it from the library… and it sat on the floor until the due date, so I returned it. But then more people were talking about it on WRR, so I took it out again. This time, I got around to opening the book (just a few days before it was due back at the library) and LOVED it. Yes, there are witches and vampires and daemons, but the plot and writing are so amazing. It’s a story about characters who happen to be of other species that’s in a way, albeit very oddly, realistic. They’re very much like us humans, just with special powers. Every time I recommend this book to someone, they give me a strange look, but I insist they try it. No one has come back and said it was awful.

3. Gone Girl– Gillian Flynn – wife goes missing, husband suspected, did he do it?

This was one I put the library hold list and forgot about until I got the email saying it was ready for me. Huge accolades, lots of buzz… but I’m not sure how I feel about it. The story itself is captivating, a definite page turner. The author is brilliant, but I was really bothered by the level of crazy going on in the plot. It was really disturbing so I honestly can’t say whether or not I loved the book or hated it (or maybe love to hate it?).

4. 11/22/63– Stephen King – time-traveling English teacher tries to stop Kennedy assassination

I don’t like to buy books based on best seller lists. I find that I really don’t like a lot of those books (and even Snooki has made those lists). I’m also not a huge fan of the Oprah Book Club – I’ve hated every book I read that was Oprah recommended, but that’s a whole other story. I needed to tell my friend what I wanted for my birthday, so I combed through the Amazon best seller list and found 11/22/63. I was a little wary because I usually don’t like the King creepy gore books, but the summary and reviews seemed to indicate there was none of that, so I took the leap and she got it for me. Loved it. It’s a big book – something like 900 pages, but such a fast read, engrossing story, and you really want the main character to succeed (not just at the Kennedy thing, but in life generally) because he’s so sympathetic. I honestly did not want this book to stop. One of the best I’ve ever read. And no typical King creepiness.

What have you read because the Internet said you HAD to?

So many thanks to Christine for this list! I have to admit, I also read #1 and #2 for that exact same reason, and, yes, #3 is on my To Read List. For me, I would add:

— Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton, which I picked up due to all the buzz and loved;

— Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Breathing Room, because my little sister and others expressed loud disbelief that I had never read an SEP before– and launched me into an SEP reading binge;

— Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, which I started, wasn’t quite able to get into, and mean to take another crack at.

What are your peer pressure reads?


  1. Meredith A on September 16, 2013 at 10:18 am

    50 Shades of Grey: I read the first page. I put the book down. I quirked a brow and thought (or exclaimed very loudly and with great animation): “THIS is what people have been raving about?” And then I promptly went back to my beloved Pink Carnation series.

    Twilight: See above, but with Vampires.

    The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn: I adore this series. I adore this series at least twice a year, in fact. This is one of the only times that following the masses has worked out brilliantly. Now if only I hadn’t followed the masses in wearing the questionable 80’s revival fashion trends. *Shiver*

    • Tessa on September 16, 2013 at 10:46 am


      Yes, to everything you said.

      I did read (most) of 50 shades, but only because I swore to myself that it wouldn’t defeat me. And also because I am a librarian and I need to know about what people are reading.

      The first Twilight was fine. The second was less fine. The third I literally threw across the room when Bella said something incredibly stupid and that was the end of that.

      But the Bridgertons are phenomenal. I loved every last one of them, which is rare for me in a series. I am guessing you also read the Smythe-Smith companions? If not, then you should as they are equally delightful.

      • Meredith A on September 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        Tessa – I LOVE the Smythe-Smith books. Aaaand pretty much everything else Julia Quinn has written. Good on you for getting through 50 Shades! That is dedication to one’s job! 😀

  2. Marianne S on September 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

    A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES…love, love, love together with SHADOW OF NIGHT.

    GONE GIRL…haven’t been able to get into it.

    OUTLANDER (entire series)…so glad I listened to recommendations.

    FIFTY SHADES…no thanks!

    KITE RUNNER…and the second book were fantastic.

    I’ve recommended the Pink Carnation series to many.

  3. Stephanie on September 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Game of Thrones. With the success of the show (which I haven’t seen) and recommendations from friends/family, I finally gave it a try. A year later I’m still at 75% finished (and have been for three months). Will probably finish the first, and not read the rest.

    Yes I read Twilight. No, I’m not enamored or dazzled or whatever.

    Gone GIrl is on my TBR list.

    Discovery of Witches rocks!

    I would also add The Hunger Games, which I think are very good as well (third isn’t my favorite, but oh well).

    Southern Vampire Diaries series was also okay, but I’m not sure they live up to the hype (and I don’t care for True Blood at all).

  4. Gina on September 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Game of Thrones here, too, and I’ve only made it halfway through the 1st one since April. I think it’s the depressing nature of it – there’s no indication things get any better, so I have little motivation to keep reading. Anyone with an opinion on these – should I continue?

    • Betty S. on September 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      I haven’t read them, but my sister, husband , and son have finished them all and were started on this journey by my 21 year old nephew. They have had great conversations about the series, but it’s too long for me to give that much commitment with a limited reading time. I will probably just watch the DVD’s.

  5. Jessica S. on September 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I’m too stubborn to bow to peer pressure for books. I have NOT read Twilight, or 50 Shades of Grey. I waited on Harry Potter until 6 of the books were already out, and I only started reading them because ABCFamily was constantly showing the movies and we’d see a scene or two and I finally had to just read the darn things. LOVED Harry Potter, but I am confident I would not love Twilight.

    Not to say I don’t take recommendations, I do, and I intend to read Gone Girl, because my aunt thought I’d like it. I like the recommendations I get here.

    I read one Kate Morton book…I think the one Lauren mentioned…because another one of hers was getting a lot of attention. I loved the one I read and I need to get the rest of hers from the library soon…

  6. Alice on September 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    1. “The Hunger Games” because EVERYONE and their dog plus 2 cats was reading it. Hated the first one but read the second to see what happened. It seemed like a repeat of the first. Passed on the third one.
    2. “The Help.” This got so much buzz and totally lived up to the hype. Loved it.
    3. “The Night Circus.” So different from anything else I have read but it worked. Great book.
    4. Anything by Sarah Addison Allen. I saw her listed and talked about on so many blogs and everyone was right. Her books are incredible.
    5. “The Tenth Gift.” Everyone always talks about and recommends this book and I can’t figure out why. It’s so disturbing and dark.

    • Gina on September 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      It’s so nice to hear that people are talking about Sarah Addison Allen! I love her to death, but I apparently don’t frequent the same blogs as you, because I never see her mentioned.

  7. NikkiB on September 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Well, I must say that I usually ignore most books on the bestseller list… until they are made into movies and if the trailer looks good, I read it. But I am such a sucker for YA books, that I have read a lot of them before they were popular.

    1. I did read the Twilight series BEFORE they made the movies- I cant stand the movies, but the books I liked. Why? Because they are about so much more than vampires and romance. They are about morality and loyalty and love, and I could go on… but needless to say, they are so much more than the movies and all the hype. And as a side note, liked Twilight and so I read The Host, which I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED.

    2. The Hunger Games- read the first b/c someone recommended it to me BEFORE rumors of a movie, and I loved them, so I read the rest of the series… you should too.

    3. The Book Thief- its been on my list forever, and now they are making the movie… so I read it and it was amazing! I felt like I was a better person after reading it.

    4. Refuse to read 50 Shades- not my cup of tea. Refuse to read Game of Thrones because the show was upsetting enough.

    5. Read A Discovery of Witches and loved it- I actually own a copy, which must mean its good, since I am very picky about my books (I do have the entire pink carnation series, OF COURSE)

    6. Read Divergent b/c they are making the movie and really enjoyed it. Read the sequel and I am cursing the author for making me wait until OCTOBER to read the final book. I might die of anticipation before then…

    7. I could go on, but considering I am work and shouldn’t really be typing this anyway… this will be enough for now 🙂

  8. Lauren R. on September 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Hunger Games, Outlander, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kushiel’s Dart, everything by Karen Marie Moning, Rhys Bowen, Gone Girl, steampunk, every YA novel ever. Actually, a lot of my reading choices the last few years have been heavily Internet hype influenced. Those up there are the ones I loved. Internet book culture has also introduced me to Romance novels and eliminated all shame I feel in reading and enjoying them.

    I admit it, I read Fifty Shades because of the hype, and a coworker recommendation. Fifty Shades can be summarized in 14 words: She blushes. She flushes. She says, “Oh my!” And then they get it on.

  9. Lara on September 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I discover authors and books by what I call “trolling the aisles of bookstores looking for love in all the right places”. But in terms of recommendations…Here we go.

    50 Shades – I tried. Sort of. I got to page 200 of book 1 and knew I wasn’t going to finish it when I read “Christian Gray has a sad side”. I woke up my husband because I was laughing so hard. Though I applaud any author who manages to validate women’s right to read sexually explicit material sans shame – even if it was done accidentally.

    Harry Potter – It started when I read an article about this author who was bringing reading back to supercool status amongst children…Loved them all. Still mourning the end of the series.

    Anything by Kristen Ashley – Found her on Amazon. She has hundreds if not thousands of reviews so I thought I’d give her a try. Love her sense of fun – reminds me of the 80’s.

    Pink Carnation series – The cover of the first book reeled me – it’s just so beautiful! My favourite couple so far is Miles and Henrietta – my husband is very much a “Miles” (so I swoon every time I reread the book!).

    Foucault’s Pendulum (Umberto Eco). Loved it but there were parts that I couldn’t understand because they were in German, Latin, etc, with no translations provided. So who knows if I really understood the book….

    The Secret History (Donna Tartt). A big deal when I was doing my masters. Really liked the academic feel.

    Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini). Still conflicted because there were scenes I didn’t expect. Though the writing is superb.

    DeNiro’s Game (Rawi Hage). Surreal in its portrayal of the Lebanese civil war during the 80’s.

    The Life of Pi (Yann Martel). Seriously poetic.

    I’ve been on a romance kick for the last few years. The AAR website has provided great discoveries like Elizabeth Hoyt, Loretta Chase, Miranda Neville, Courtney Milan….Accurate and informative (their F reviews are generally hilarious).

  10. Betty S. on September 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    1. I read the Twilight series before the movies and agree with NikkiB – they were quick reads and I needed to keep up with the young girls I teach.

    2. I made it through all of the 50 Shades even though it is not my type of book, but I wanted to see what made Christian Grey tick, and why Anastasia kept going back to him – very interesting revelations in later books.

    3. Loved The Help and the movie.

    4. I have some of Kate Morton’s and need to get around to them.

    5. I read Water for Elephants because of the hype and loved it – recommended it to several friends who also liked it – it is better than the movie.

    6. I would add anything by Nicholas Sparks, which I try to read before I see the movies. I did not like Message in a Bottle because I thought the dialogue of his female character wasn’t realistic, but I have liked all of the others I have read, especially Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John, The Last Song, The Notebook, Safe Haven, The Lucky One. However, I don’t think the movies do his books justice and am always upset with the actors cast.

  11. Ducky on September 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Books that were recommended to me: THE LYMOND CHRONICLES by Dorothy Dunnett and ASOIAF by George R R Martin – both very challenging series but I am glad I read LYMOND and I would be glad about reading ASOIAF if I had a lot of confidence left that Martin will ever finish the series.

    Books that the Internet pushed me to read: Kristen Ashley. I am glad about that – her books are fun and very addictive. 50 Shades: couldn’t even finish the first one, they are just not for me.

    I also discovered the Pink Carnation books and Julia Quinn thanks to Internet blogs – am very glad about that.

  12. Jessica C on September 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Mine are much the same as already listed here –

    1) Game of Thrones – started just before the TV series came out. Love the books, but I can understand that the complex story and dark tone could be offputting.

    2) Hunger Games – like the books, though parts of the 3rd book annoyed me (how many times does Katniss need to be knocked out?!)

    3) Harry Potter – got in to the series just before book 5 came out.

    4) Twilight – started just before the last book came out. Finished the series, thought some of the basic ideas were vaguely interesting but poorly executed. Book Four was laughable and icky at the same time.

    5) The Kingkiller Chronicles – enjoyable fantasy story with rich world-building. Now desperately waiting for book 3 to come out.

    6) Wolf Hall. A lot of my friends were talking about it, so I got a copy. Amazing. Now I need to get my hands on a copy of Bring Up the Bodies, which came out recently.

    I really want to read Divergent, but I’m going to wait until the book 3 comes out, so I can marathon-read them.

    Apart from these few, most of my ‘obligation’ reads tend to be ‘classics’ that ‘everyone should read’ – Tolstoy, George Eliot, the Brontes, Les Miserables, etc etc

  13. jeffrey on September 17, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I have never followed the dictates of popular media on what I must read. Instead, I come here and receive advice and suggestions from well-informed discriminating readers on what is worth opening up. Where else would I discover “Georgette who?” I wouldn’t touch 50 Shades of Grey with an 11 foot pole, have not read any of the Twilight offerings, and have never read any of Harry Potter. The Game of Thrones? What’s that? Hunger Games, nada.

    What do I want to read, based on your suggestions? Discovery of Witches, Nine Coaches Waiting, and….I cannot remember what drew me to The Pink Carnation series but thank God something did! There, I hope you are all feeling better about yourselves because you deserve it.

  14. Sue G on September 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Everyone at work has read Gone GIrl and 50 Shades. I started Gone GIrl and returned it to the library. It read like a bad episode of NCIS, 50 Shades was not for me. I read about 50% and passed it along to a friend who was dying to read it.

    My daughter and I read the Harry Potter series together when she was younger. We read it out loud and enjoyed each book.

    My daughter has read the Twilight books and enjoys them. I am not interested in them at all.

    I love Julia Quinn. Each Monday, she recommends an author. I have read and enjoyed books by authors Eloisa James, Shana Galen, Stephanie Laurens and Lauren WIllig due to her posts.

  15. Catie on September 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    The Help! Outstanding. Absolutely lived up to the hype and continues to do so.

  16. Leila on February 21, 2014 at 3:35 am

    The Guernesy Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. I admit that I put off reading this book simply because everyone else was reading it and I tend to hate books like that. But I finally picked it up for a dollar at half price books and fell in love. It’s an easy read and a pleasant one. The writing is not perfect or brilliant or extremely clever but the characters are so likable and memorable. And what really shines is the sheer love of books and how much books can mean to people and can bring people together. And Guernesy itself shines as well–after reading it, I have desperately been trying to find a way to get to the channel islands by any means possible.

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