Least favorite books of 2016

In the spirit of end-of-the-year wrap-ups and list-making (which I very much enjoy), I decided to share the books that I wish I hadn’t read or spent the time trying to struggle through this year. This is based partly on the book, and partly on my own reaction to it. Sometimes, you just don’t get along with a story, no matter how pretty (IE well-written) it is.

  • Hystopia, David Means. I started off really enjoying this book, but somewhere along the way I just got really tired of it. I could barely finish it.
  • Ruby, Cynthia Bond. The writing in this book was really beautiful. A man in a small town, Ephram, meets the titular character who has been used, abused, and cast out by the residents of a small town, and decides to help her (albeit secretly, since she is the town pariah). This book needs a trigger warning for basically anything you can imagine – rape, pedophilia, violence, torture and murder of children, racism, the list goes on. It’s a lot, and it’s graphic, and frankly gratuitous. I could barely finish it because I was so disgusted, and if that was her point then ok, but this book is not for me.
  • The Association of Small Bombs, Karan Mahajan. I actually DNF’d this book about 50 pages in, so I don’t know if it counts. I’m trying to be better about not finishing a book if it isn’t interesting me, and this one did nothing for me. I know this one is pretty popular (in fact a few of these are… maybe I should rename this “Unpopular Opinions”).
  • Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard. This book is pretty popular, but there were so many similarities to Hunger Games that I couldn’t enjoy it.
  • Sweetland, Michael Crummey. This is another one that had lovely prose, but did nothing for me. This is the problem with rating books – what criteria do we use? When one person says they loved a book, is it because of the plot? The characters? The prose? Was it a slow burn, insta-love, fast-paced, none of the above? I digress.
  • Me Before You, Jojo Moyes. This book made me ugly cry, but I also felt like I was emotionally manipulated, as if the story wasn’t organic but more like the author was thinking, “how could I make this more tragic?” It’s really problematic regarding disability in a way that I’m not going to get into as many others have already done so. Also, rape as character-development tool? No thanks.

It was actually difficult to choose books that I actively disliked this year, which is nice – it was a finite list, unlike my faves, which require at least three blog posts. It’s entirely possible for other people to enjoy some of these, they just weren’t for me.

 

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