Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Change Your Mind

It’s Top Ten Tuesday Time! This week’s topic is: Books That I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, it’s complicated, indifference, etc.). Read my list and then click on over to The Broke and the Bookish to read lots more!

I didn’t make it all the way to ten this time, so here are six books that (sooner or later) changed my mind:

1.MiddlemarchI gave up on this classic after I don’t know how many failed attempts (Pro Tip: Probably no more than three.) I found it both daunting and dull. (This is not a slim volume.) Then my friend S gave me a lighter, littler Eliot–Scenes from Clerical Life, for reasons that are probably obvious–and it was a delight. That gave me the push I needed to try Middlemarch again. If you can just get past the first 100 pages (I told you: not a slim volume), you will fall in love.

2. Remains of the Day.  My thirteen-year-old self loved the movie version of this novel so hard in 1993. I eagerly read the novel and was hugely disappointed. It was not nearly as much about a missed romance as the movie was, and the perspective was all Stevens and no Miss Kenton. When I returned to the book a few years later, I could love and appreciate it on its own terms. It’s probably still my favorite Kazuo Ishiguro.

3. The Unconsoled. Speaking of Ishiguro: this book was a slog. Reading it felt like being immersed in someone else’s bad dream. Hundreds of pages of someone else’s bad dream. Only my great love for the author sustained me. I was rewarded–and astounded–by the way it all came together in the end. This was years ago, and I don’t actually remember that astounding ending, but it did change my mind.

Official Score Book, Recreation Park, Series: Oakland vs. Portland [cover]

4. Caps for Sale. Did you read this book as a child? Did you love it? Take my advice: do not read it with your own child, or any child in your care. It is much longer and much duller than you remember.

5. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I remember loving this book as a child, or at least enjoying it. Reading it as an adult is chilling. Steam shovels are obsolete, so let’s have this one dig her own grave (the basement of the new town hall) and then turn her into a furnace. At least Mike Mulligan gets pie delivery from time to time.

6. The Little House on the Prairie series. Don’t get me wrong: I still love this series. I can’t help it. But even as a child I knew that Ma’s casual racism and Pa in black face were not okay. As an adult, it’s even harder to read.

A girl can never have too many admirers!

What about you?

What books have changed your mind–from love to hate, hate to love, or somewhere in between? 



Filed under Book Report

8 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Change Your Mind

  1. I’m hoping to start Middlemarch next month, so I’m really happy you mentioned that it’s worth sticking with. I hope I can get through it!

    My TTT

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Em

    MAGGIE! Middlemarch is my favorite novel of all time. I love Mary Ann Evans!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved Middlemarch, but I agree: Scenes from a Clerical Life is wonderful. Thanks for reminding me about it! Great list, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rochelle! I hadn’t thought about it in years. I bet it’s even more wonderful now that I’m a grizzled veteran of clerical life myself.


  4. Lisa Houlihan

    You are the only other person I know who has even tried, let alone read, let far behind loved The Unconsoled. I love Ishiguro very very hard, and though no two of his novels resemble each other, Unconsoled is even less like the others. Kafka, Lewis Carroll, Kundera, and yes, with many obstacles and chances to say it’s too haaaaaard, but so worth sticking with.

    Also I agree re Caps for Sale. What is even the point?


    • As always, you are SO right and you say it SO well. Now I want to read it again. (the Unconsoled, obviously, not Caps for Sale. I’m crazy but I’m not THAT crazy.)


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