Read This NOT That!

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Read This NOT That!

Overrated books with a much better alternative

Ever read a book that people made such a big deal over only to be disappointed? Maybe you loved the genre or the story, but the delivery just wasn't good enough. Check out these popular (perhaps overrated) books with a better alternative.

Eat, Pray, Love vs. Wild
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is about a woman who spends a year traveling to Italy, India, and Indonesia and in each country she discovers an inner peace that helps her get over her divorce and brings her a new love interest. In Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a young woman travels the Pacific Crest Trail and battles her demons during her long journey. Both are heartening stories of women coming to terms with the choices they made. However, if you are looking for something a little more raw, Wild is the way to go.

The Hunger Games vs. Battle Royale
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is set in a dystopian world where once a year, one teen from each of the 12 districts is chosen to participate in The Hunger Games, an event where teens fight to the death and only one can emerge the victor. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami is set in the Greater East Asia, and every year a class of 13-year-olds, kids who grew up together, are kidnapped and taken to a secret location where they are forced to kill each other until only one remains. They receive no training and no warning. In an instant, they must learn to kill. Both stories sound similar, but if you don't have the stomach for gory details, then Battle Royale is not for you.

Outlander vs. The Time Traveler's Wife
Imagine! You are a nurse in 1940s Great Britain and suddenly you're brought back in time to 1700s Scotland with only your knowledge of history to survive on. What do you do? On top of that, a love interest has emerged, but what about your husband from your present? Or...imagine you are a born with a gene that causes to time travel involuntarily. Unable to change your past or stay in the present with the love of your life, you must find some way to connect with her. But how? Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is an adventure novel filled with sword fights, torture, and...oh, yeah, time-travel. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger gets to the heart of romance and will leave you in tears. 

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk vs. One More Thing
Are you ready for some modern day fables for the adult mind? If you are a David Sedaris fan, then you are going to love reading about anal parasites, bigoted pigeons, and a squirrel on a date with a chipmunk, just to name a few in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary. B.J. Novak, from The Office, brings you the kind of stories that involve dates with War Lords, the ultimate break-up revenge, and a comedy roast of Nelson Mandela in One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.  

Bedwetter vs. Not That Kind of Girl
Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman chronicles her life as a young child to now on the embarrassingly hilarious events in her life that made her HER! From bedwetting to screening messages of her father's thick New Hampshire accent. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham is the daring autobiography of Dunham's experience with sex, love, and being a grown-up. Some will make you chuckle and some will make your jaw drop to the floor. It's not easy telling your life story, but I think the book that you favor may depend on your age: a biography of one's life being told by someone in their 40s versus someone in their 20s. However, both books will leave you with a stronger or newfound respect for both entertainers.

Read This AND That!

The Westing Game and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
If you enjoyed The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin as a kid, then you are going to love Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. And vice versa. Full of interesting and quirky characters, a mystery that will keep you guessing, and laugh-out-loud and endearing moments, these two novels will leave you with a smile on your face. 

Which ones do you consider overrated? Do you have any better suggestions? Leave your response on the DC Public Library's Goodreads page. Also be sure to listen to DC Public Library's very own staff discuss the books listed in the podcasts.