I’m not really one for surprises, but occasionally it’s nice to be surprised by a book that you’re pretty sure you won’t like. This usually happens to me when the characters, writing style and story transcend the elements of the book that don’t appeal to me. A few examples:
When Donna Tartt published her first novel, The Secret History, in 1992 I was smitten. For me, she had written the perfect book—one that appealed to me on every level—the setting (college in New England), the characters (intellectuals with a dark side), the plot (taught psychological drama), and exquisite language that made me read slowly to savor every word.