End of the Year Roundup - Worst Books of the Year

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End of the Year Roundup - Worst Books of the Year

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dec 5, 2012, 9:22am

We all end up there; plowing through a book just to finish it, regretting those hours even as you read. What are the three worst books you read this year? Why were they terrible? Are there any common denominators? Why did you finish them? Can you come up with three, or any at all? Has your involvement here reduced the number of duds you read?

dec 5, 2012, 10:58am

I had one book that I abandoned so I won't include it as one of the worst since I didn't finish it, and it could have improved. (For the record, it was Sheila R. Lowe's Poison Pen.) I will also not include a Kindle freebie that got the same rating as the ones I'm listing as my top 3, because even though it was bad, I didn't expect much from it.

The following 3 all earned only 1 star from me. However, they can be glad that they didn't earn the 1/2 star that one book earned last year.

1) Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
2) Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
3) Death by the Glass by Nadia Gordon

dec 5, 2012, 12:12pm

I had to disagree with all of the rave reviews of Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. I was really looking forward to this book but, alas, I did not finish it. I could not get past his misuse of the word "gay" to mean wrong or bad.

I also did not enjoy A Discovery of Witches as much as others. What annoyed me in this book was how a character who was given brains and courage but was given protection by a male she probably did not need. It's a feminist thing, I think. I did finish it and gave it 2 stars.

I was offended by the glaring geographical errors in Adrift on St. John by Rebecca M. Hale. At times I had to wonder if she ever had visited St. John.

Three out of over 100 is not bad odds.

dec 5, 2012, 1:40pm

I hated The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Just...couldn't bear it. I know it's been very popular, but I found it pretentious and I hated the ending.

Having read and...well, enjoyed may be the wrong word, given how depressing the book was...but admired Jay Asher's debut book, 13 Reasons Why, I was disappointed by his follow-up The Future of Us. I thought the plot was rather aimless and I didn't really care for the characters. (Of course, I tend to like co-written books less than their authors' individual ventures, unless the book is Good Omens and it is perfect in every way.)

Otherwise, I've read a few books that I wanted to like better than I did -- Son by Lois Lowry, Why We Broke Up, A Confusion of Princes, The House You Pass on the Way -- but I thought they were all good. I guess Death Comes to Pemberley disappointed me most? It lacked charm, and I really don't understand the point of a Pride & Prejudice sequel where Lizzie and Darcy barely interact.

dec 5, 2012, 6:33pm

In reverse order, saving the worst for last:

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland - It's a cute premise, but the book is way to long to sustain it. I'm not sure it's targeted to the right audience, either.

Where Death Delights by Bernard Knight - The description sounds like exactly the sort of book I should like. The author has a working knowledge of his protagonist's field (forensic pathology). Unfortunately, it's written more like the James Herriot books, where the patients who come and go are animals, or the Irish Country Doctor books, where the patients who come and go are residents of a small community in Northern Ireland. Juggling several "patients" (i.e., bodies) in a journal-type narrative just doesn't work in a serious crime novel.

The Heart of Danger by Gerald Seymour - This was my Croatia book for the Endless Europe challenge. I doubt I would ever have read this book had I not been looking for a book set in Croatia. I'm not averse to the occasional thriller. However, I do like there to be a good reason for the danger the characters face. I found it difficult to care about a character who chose to put himself in a life-threatening situation without a good reason.

I'm glad to say that these are not representative of my reading as whole this year. I've had several great to outstanding reads. I'm old enough now for past experience to contribute to better selection of reading material. I know how to avoid the types of books I'd end up hating. The LT reviews, ratings, and challenge threads help, too. The challenge threads are particularly useful for discovering books I might enjoy that are a little different than what I typically read.

dec 8, 2012, 7:24pm

This was easy to pick out. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell was the worst book for me this year. I only made it about half-way through before I abandoned it. And since I had 2 other of her books on the shelf, I tried about 10 pages of another before I purged all of them.

The other 2 that didn't impress me to much were The Maytrees by Annie Dillard and November Ever After by Craig T Greenlee.

dec 27, 2012, 11:47pm

The three lowest rated for me this year were:

1. It Takes A Wizard by Thomas Hart
2. Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
3. Prins Charles känsla by Liv Strömquist

Other than that, I didn't have many duds this year, for which I'm very grateful.

dec 28, 2012, 7:17am

I'm sorry to say I have a new candidate for worst book of the year: Moon Over Water by Debbie Macomber. I read it while I was in Mexico earlier this week because it's set there. Apparently the author has never been there, though, because I've been to some of the places in Mexico that she describes and they're nothing like what's depicted in the book (people riding dilapidated buses with chickens and pigs in the largest city on the Yucatan Peninsula). She also set one of her locations about 75 miles north of Merida, which places it over 50 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. Oh, and the plot was weak, too.

Redigerat: dec 28, 2012, 10:16am

dec 28, 2012, 1:17pm

I finally located this thread again - thought I had starred it when it was first posted.

My three worst reads for 2012 were:

November by David Mamet
A Brief Madness by Karisha Kal'ee'ay
Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

dec 28, 2012, 10:10pm

I had a great reading year, with only three books that qualify, and only one I had to imagine the revenge review I would write in order to finish.

So here they are, from bad to worst:

Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom -- Not terrible, really, just lazy plotting and two-dimensional characters, that was not redeemed by the interesting setting.

The St. Zita Society by Ruth Rendell -- There are authors who should stop writing before their legacy is tarnished by the poor quality of the books written in later life. Rendell is one of those authors. And I knew better than to read this, but read it anyway.

Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman -- the only truly bad book I read this year. Amazingly poor writing and a Very Special Lesson made this book unreadable. And it was an Early Reviewer book, so I had to read it.

dec 28, 2012, 10:24pm

I think the only reading I did that qualifies is the whole The Walking Dead series. At least, the first 92 issues in the first 14 volumes. I started reading them because I like the show and I could borrow them from my uncle. I trudged through them just to see what happens next, until I finished my uncle's collection, then deleted them from my iPad and never went back. Terrible (and not really terrible) people doing terrible things for no other reason than the author has clearly never survived a natural disaster, and has no idea how people behave in them.

dec 30, 2012, 7:17pm

Revenge reviews, I like that!