At the end of last year, I came up with a list of five books I thought would be five-star reads for me. This was a really interesting project because it was kind of a test of how much I know my own reading tastes AND how much I actually knew about these books. Two of them I chose because a friend who has very similar reading tastes raved about them. One I chose because I had previously read a book by the author and loved it (the other four authors were totally new to me). And the other two I chose because they seemed like they’d be up my alley, they’ve been sitting on my shelves forever, and everyone seems to rave about them.

I did read all five books, so now it’s time to see if my predictions were accurate!

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This book has been sitting on my shelves forever. And I kept putting it off because it is HUGE. The idea of reading a thousand-page historical fiction novel about a cathedral just didn’t sound fun. I honestly regretted putting it on this list because I knew I would have to read it. But it’s a friend’s favorite book, and he convinced me. AND…. I could kick myself for putting off reading this for so long. This book is absolutely amazing. I loved it so much. Now I’m the one who can’t stop raving about it. Easy five stars, definitely one of my favorite books now.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Last year, I read Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci and loved it (I may have developed a little bit of an obsession). I’ve always been a fan of Einstein, so I decided this would be next on my list. Admittedly, it wasn’t as great as the da Vinci biography (which could totally be due to the fact my brain can comprehend art easier than physics), but I still loved it. Five stars for this one.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This is the last book I read from this list. I was honestly a little bit nervous to pick this up because I had such high expectations for it. I also somehow (I think accidentally) managed to get a signed copy from Book Outlet years ago. But that’s besides the point. I genuinely loved this book. I do read quite a bit of WWII fiction (this was my second WWII book this year set in Paris), but this one definitely stood out. Another five-star read.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This is another WWII historical fiction novel, but different because it’s set in Russia. Specifically, it’s set almost entirely in a single hotel in Moscow (obviously). Which could have been kind of boring. But this wasn’t. It was amazing. I loved it so much. Yet another five-star read.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I added this book to my predictions list after hearing so many people talk about it and love it for years. But I guess I am the exception to the rule, because I didn’t love this one. It just wasn’t for me. I had trouble connecting with the story and I just didn’t love it. I actually struggled to rate this and flipped back and and forth between three and four stars. I ended up giving it four stars on Goodreads, but that’s honestly kind of a stretch.


4 out of 5 books were five-star reads. So my predictions were pretty spot-on. I’m still a little bit disappointed in The Shadow of the Wind because I legitimately expected to love it. But overall, I think this was a successful experiment!

This was a fun experience (mostly because I got to read some awesome books), so I’m thinking about going for round two. And I need suggestions: which books do you think I would love? Let me know in the comments!

21 thoughts

  1. I really like these types of posts. It’s so fun to see the expectations vs the reality of books. 4 out of 5 is impressive! Seems like you really know your own tastes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved Pillars as well. Did you know it’s is a series? World without End is also really good. I haven’t read Column of Fire yet simply because I didn’t realize until recently that it was the third book lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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