5 Star Read Predictions: Update & Round 3

A full YEAR AGO I posted round 2 of my 5 star read predictions, so I’ll forgive you if you don’t remember me making this post, but basically: the idea is to choose five books that you imagine you’ll rate 5 stars, and after you’ve read them you come back and let everyone know how you did.  Clearly it took me a while to read these five books, but we got there in the end:

How to be Both by Ali Smith ★★★★☆ | review
A Natural by Ross Raisin ★★★★☆ | review
The Quiet American by Graham Greene ★★★★☆ | review
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★★ | review
I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin ★★☆☆☆ | review

Technically only 1/5, so… not my best work, but I did solidly enjoy 4/5 of these books.  How to be Both was a brilliant introduction to Ali Smith for me that was held back from its well-earned 5 stars only because of a nagging pedestrian complaint about the (intentionally) weird portrayal of Renaissance Italy that irritated me too much as someone with a degree in Italian studies, but anyway, make no mistake, this book is genius; A Natural was a kind of mixed bag that I ultimately really appreciated, and The Quiet American was a ridiculously good modern classic about love and war.  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is just as good as everyone says, thankfully, since I only added that one to my 5-star predictions due to word of mouth praise, as the summary hadn’t really appealed to me.  Sadly I’ll Be Right There was a bit of a dud for me, taking a subject that could have easily been poignant and muting its impact with dull storytelling.

So, the reason I’m doing this challenge again, despite how long it took last time, is that I have been having a ridiculously uninspired reading year.  And I’m not even stingy with my 5 stars – I know some people reserve those for life-changing books, but I tend to give out 5 stars quite liberally, so the fact that I’ve barely given anything (fictional) 5 stars all year is a little disheartening.  So, I need to really hone in on books that I’m sure I’m going to love.




Country by Michael Hughes: An Iliad retelling set in Northern Ireland????  I mean…. if I don’t love this book I won’t even know who I am anymore.

The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor: I just LOVE the summary of this one: “The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920s Ireland, but the threat of arson leads nine-year-old Lucy’s parents to leave Ireland for England, her mother’s home. Lucy cannot bear the thought of leaving Lahardane, their country house with its beautiful land and nearby beach, and a dog she has befriended. On the day before they are due to leave, Lucy runs away, hoping to convince her parents to stay, but instead she sets off a series of tragic misunderstandings that affect all of the inhabitants of Lahardane and the perpetrators of the failed arson attack for the rest of their lives.”  Yes yes yes.

The Door by Magda Szabo: This is a translated modern classic that I think has to do with friendship between two women?  And one is the other’s housekeeper?  Maybe?  I don’t know, but I saw this NYRB edition with an introduction by Ali Smith at my bookstore and I had to grab it.  I just have a gut feeling I’ll like this.

Villette by Charlotte Brontë: Claire said I will probably love this and I trust her.  It was already high on my TBR – I’m a big Jane Eyre fan and Villette seems like it’s going to be somehow less accessible but more interesting?  I’m very excited about this at any rate.

Purge by Sofi Oksanen: Another one that I know very little about – I think it has something to do with sex trafficking, and… female friendship, again?  I’m not sure.  This one is another gut feeling that I feel like I need to pursue.

I’m challenging Hannah, Naty, and Sarah to take part in this challenge, though you are welcome to pass of course, and anyone else who thinks this will be fun.  And if you’re not doing this challenge, let me know in the comments which book you haven’t read yet that you’re convinced will be 5 stars for you!

42 thoughts on “5 Star Read Predictions: Update & Round 3

  1. Villette is one of my favourite books of all time! I so hope you enjoy it. (I like it better than Jane Eyre… it is indeed less accessible but more interesting, IMO)

    I read The Story of Lucy Gault AGES ago, when I was about sixteen, so take this with a pinch of salt, but I remember being disappointed by it after being drawn in by its enticing premise. I didn’t dislike it, as such, but it wouldn’t be a five-star read for me unless my tastes have changed drastically since then.

    I like the idea of this challenge – I might try it myself, though I rarely give five-star ratings, so it’s unlikely to work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m SO excited for Villette! I’ve heard from a lot of smart people that they prefer it to Jane Eyre so I have very high hopes.

      Duly noted! I’ve heard such great things about Trevor and was assured this was a decent place to start with him so we’ll see…

      You should do it anyway tbh! It sounds like I give 5 star ratings more liberally than you do but still, it’s fun to check in on your own tastes like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I STILL haven’t gotten through my picks for the first five star read predictions post I did, so clearly I have some back list reading to do! 😂 These look great though (Country sounds so up your alley) and I hope you find something worth 5 starring soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mean it took me a YEAR to do this so I feel your pain! I find it difficult to stick with a set TBR like this but I’ve still enjoyed this challenge enough to stick with it… Ahhh I hope Country is as good as it sounds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think some of the books on my 5-star predictions list are ones that I know I’ll love but are also a bit denser so I need to have the time and mindset to devote myself to them (Mary Renault, Of Human Bondage). Last year I fell behind in my goodreads reading challenge early thanks to the depression of being laid off and never really caught up so I was hesitant to take on some thicker books. This year after I finish all my novella reading for the Nebulas I should be ahead so maybe I’ll be ready to knock some of these books off my list!


  3. Villette! Do you still want to buddy read it? I haven’t read a single classic all year, but I hope to work in Villette + Pride and Prejudice soon…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice post! It is a pity that you did not like “I’ll Be Right There” more. I am still to read and thought I would do so soon, but now I am not sure. I read and reviewed the author’s “Please Look After Mom”. I liked it, but it was not the most exciting of reads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I really hope you like it better than I did! I’ve heard such great things about all of her books but something about that one really didn’t work for me, I guess I felt like I was deliberately being held at an emotional distance and I found it difficult to get invested.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. WordPress doesn’t tell me anymore when I am tagged! This is a recipe for disastre!
    I love that you actually manage to read the books you predict will be five star reads because, umm, I have done a post like this over 1 1/2 years ago and so far have read one book from that list. I am tempted to just pretend I never wrote that post and just do it again and try to read the books soonish this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It stopped telling me when I was tagged last week too!! But now I’m getting notified again so maybe it’s a glitch that they’re fixing?? I hope so because I follow way too many blogs to be able to check them all every day. Though I always check yours eventually.

      Anyway, yes, do that! The choosing the books is the most fun part of this challenge anyway tbh. I love seeing which books everyone picks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really hope it gets fixed because I so don’t want to miss when people tag me! I changed my settings so that it should send me a mail when I get tagged, maybe that’ll help for now.
        I am really stingy with five stars, so I am really bad at predicting which books will get them – but maybe it would encourage me to actually read the books on my physical TBR for a change?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry the books on your previous list didn’t live up to your expectations. Hopefully this round will be better! Villette was a five-star, unforgettable, and very vivid read for me. You’re so right that it is less accessible than Jane Eyre, but it is deeper and more emotionally impactful. There’s no protagonist quite like Lucy Snowe. And the ending is one that will stick with you. I really hope you’ll love it too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love that most of your 5 predictions are essentially “it’s Irish” or “I don’t know what this is, but I think I’ll like it”. That’s highly relatable.

    The Story of Lucy Gault sounds like a wonderful read, I hope it lives up to your expectations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I MEAN….. you’re right that’s literally how I decide on all of the books I read. Irish or ‘I’ve got a vibe.’

      I really hope it does too, the premise is incredible!


  8. […] Rachel tagged me in this, which is actually quite funny because I got it from her the first time around too. It was quite a long time ago because I wanted to wait until I had read ALL five before doing another one. I still haven’t gotten around to the fifth, but I figure it’s time to do a new round anyway. Anyway, you choose 5 books you think you’ll rate 5 stars and then come back later to see if you were right. […]


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