Which books pleasantly surprised you? What were you originally expecting before reading it?
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was definitely better then I expected and surprisingly pleasant.
I was expecting a sort-of-boring novel that I could understand why people might think was interesting given the year it was written and how it compared to other books and the time and so forth. It turned out to be excellent.
There have been many, but most recently Plath's The Bell Jar
I was expecting something like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest meets Steppenwolfe meets emo diary.
I would do an awful job explaining what I liked about it right now I haven't slept more than about 3 hours total in the past three days, but it was quite enjoyable. I just thought the ending was a bit too abrupt.
Another recent one was Frankenstein.
For this, I expected something like a shitty sci-fi version of something Poe-like. Turned out to be (i thought) quite good in terms of things like prose/syntax, use of literary allusion and symbolism in developing the themes, etc. Only major gripe was Shelley's repetitive use of particular words/phrases (how many times can people do things "ardently" or "with ardor" in one novel?) and how indistinguishable the different characters' dialogue was.
This. I thought there would be a few beautiful sections, but that I'd have to slog through hundreds of boring pages that were praised for their allusions and experimental nature. It ended but being the best novel I've ever read.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
I was expecting this kind of mundane realistic story about maybe like a multi generational Stoner but it was a lot more imaginative and vibrant
I thought blood meridian was going to be passable literature that just told a brutal but interesting story, but Cormac McCarthy can actually write.