1. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders
    I'd already read a couple of his collections before this one (I think Tenth and In Persuasion Nation at this point), but this was the one I was most excited about. Blurbs I'd seen about it indicated it would be my favorite, favorite authors praised it, and I loved his other stuff. Expectations were HIGH and still exceeded. It's definitely my favorite (I've read them all now), and I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
  2. My dog Chloe
    She is my first and only dog, and I got her in fourth grade after a couple of years of begging. I made a PowerPoint presentation that covered why I needed a dog, how badly I needed a dog, how I would help take care of a dog, how I was responsible enough and mature enough and READY FOR A DOG, GODDAMNIT MOM & DAD. So the expectations were obviously sky high, but she exceeds them every single day. She's more than I knew a pet could be.
  3. Here by Richard McGuire
    My boyfriend hyped this up to me like you wouldn't believe. I strongly trust his taste, so I hitched myself onto the hype train and dove in expecting the most. It was so much more than the most. It might even be my single favorite reading experience. I read it in one sitting on my boyfriend's porch. It was a rainy day (my favorite), and I was surrounded by friends all quietly working away on different things (editing film, reading, homework). I cried ~5 times; it was magical.
  4. Father John Misty in concert
    I had too much fun at the concert to take any pics, so here's my concert t the day after. I Love You, Honeybear was all I could listen to for months and months. It also played a lot while my boyfriend and I fell in love. We made plans to go see FJM in concert together, and my expectations were disgusting. I set myself up to be disappointed, but the show was perfect. He was incredible live. He played all of Honeybear, a ton of Fear Fun, talked about his favorite books, danced, was hilarious, etc.
  5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    hehe so happy I get to sneak another picture of sweet Chloe into the list! I don't have to explain the hype surrounding Infinite Jest; you all know. I enjoyed it even more than I expected to, however, which was such a fun surprise. I also set very high expectations for rereading it. I tried to wait as long as I could, but I didn't even make it two years. I finished the rereading a couple of months ago, and that somehow exceeded my expectations as well!
  6. My Struggle Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard
    I adored the first one ~so~so~so~ much. I got so excited for the rest of the series. I love long reading experiences. I expected the whole world out of the second one, and it somehow still delivered.
  7. Rewatching Gilmore Girls years later
    The show was so closely tied with my childhood, growing up, warm memories, and after school snacks. I was nervous about watching it again; it was so magical in my memory. All of the warmth was still there, and I got even more out of it watching it now.
  8. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
    Before I read this book, the only thing I had read by Eggers was the foreword to Infinite Jest. But I ADORE that foreword; I've read it dozens of times. That, coupled with the fact that so many readers I trust had wholeheartedly recommended this book, set my expectations ablaze. They were thoroughly exceeded. What a book.
  9. Seeing George Saunders speak / Meeting George Saunders
    My boyfriend (again, great taste) told me to check him out and that he was coming to speak at our school. I read dozens of Saunders short stories in the two months leading up to this - all of Tenth, Persuasion, CivilWarLand, and some of Pastoralia. My boyfriend and I spent hours together reading the stories, discussing them, and falling in love (with Saunders and each other). The hype was obviously absurd, but he was wonderful. Kind, warm, intelligent, funny, insightful, brilliant, human.