Reading Books You Don’t Expect to Like

Have you done this? Have you ever started reading a book even though you don't think you're going to like it? And then you do? Let's confess in the comments!

books that surprise you read it forward

I remember reading books that I’ve started reluctantly, usually because they were recommended by a friend so enthusiastically I couldn’t refuse. I know what I like when it comes to books, and I’m super choosy. But I love being surprised.

One of my biggest surprise discoveries came when I was working at the renowned Tattered Cover Book Store. I’d asked my fellow booksellers to help me find something to read that weekend, and the guy who managed the science fiction section recommended Neal Stephenson.

Snow Crash is the most awesome cyberpunk novel ever!” he cheered.

You know that zeal you get when you’re recommending one of your favorite authors? I could feel his excitement practically vibrating off him.

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He was a huge reader, and I trusted his expertise in all things science fiction. But … I wasn’t a big scifi fan. I was finishing my master’s degree in English, and most everything I read was feminist-deconstructionist literary theory. I didn’t even know what cyberpunk was!

But he convinced me, and I brought home a copy of Snow Crash. I opened the first page and … that was it. I was hooked. I stayed up all night reading it. Snow Crash is a clever, fast-paced, provocative look at an almost-could-be-us future, with a wicked-smart narrator who made me laugh. What a surprise! And how cool to discover not only an author I didn’t expect to like, but an entire genre.

You must read Snow Crash! And let me tell you about some more cyberpunk books you might like. Yeah, I know, it’s okay if you don’t usually read science fiction….

Photo Credit: Gayvoronskaya_Yana/

About Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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