A Year of Cranky Reading

2014! What a year! So many things happened. I read so many… terrible books. Okay, not really terrible, but disappointing.

This is a bummer of a Year End List but I have some strong feelings. Besides, like Festivus, New Year is a time to reflect on how my loved ones (authors) disappointed me.

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Here is my list of grievances:

January wasn’t too bad. The reading was decent. February was when the trouble started. Possession nearly put me in a coma and Anjelica’s Story should have been Told At a Much Later date.

I returned from my vacation in tropical lands without having got my Groove Back. I was meh about The Ocean at the End of the Lane. By April, I had forgotten I was even reading The Scapgoat and remembered that The Golem and the Jinni was too long. May told me This House Is Haunted but the ghosts weren’t all that interesting.

What Has Become of You ushered in the season of Disturbed Teen Girls who were either Fevered or Conversioned (yeah, not a word).

Up until this point, my reading problems could be blamed (mostly) on my prickly attitude. Was it the books or me? They left me cold or annoyed me. That would change as the universe trolled me with some legitimately irritating books.

From what I had read in reviews of the following books, I should have enjoyed them. They were well received and sounded like they were up my alley. I couldn’t get past the creepy protagonist doctor in Summer House with Swimming Pool and let an octopus illustrate my feelings on that one. Queen of Tearling, a book touted to have the feminist protagonist heroine we’ve all been waiting for, taught me that all women over forty are gross and our gross faces should hide themselves away in shame. People couldn’t stop talking about The Book of Strange New Things and how great it was. I was less than enamoured with it and couldn’t stop thinking about the things that bugged me about it.

The last two months of the year arrived and it had to get better, right? Some Canadian historical fiction, perhaps? That didn’t pan out as Girl Runner made me want to run away from reading and Bride of New France should have been left at the alter.

Probably the biggest disappointment of all was the book I’d been waiting for all year, the one of which I tried, and failed, to get an advanced copy. The Paying Guest didn’t deliver the unexpected twists and turns I thought it would. I was glad I waited to get it from the library. Sorry Sarah Waters fans. My heart broke a little over that one.

To put the cherry on the cake, The Rosie Effect’s only effect was to cause steam to come out of my ears.

I honestly am not this negative. I usually cheerily proclaim that I am so good at picking out books I know I will like that I only ever read good ones (ha!). Obviously, 2014 was an off year. 17 out of 55 books read this year, not quite half, were books I didn’t love. Some I disliked more than others. It was a weird year. Seeing it all laid out like this makes me sad.

They weren’t awful books, just not for me books…except for The Rosie Effect, that’s not for anyone.

While this is a negative list, it’s been cathartic for me. 2015 will be a better reading year for me. It will! And just so you all won’t think I read nothing I liked this year, my next post will be for all the books I loved in 2014. I did have a few of those.

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31 comments:

  1. Based on a number of 2014 wrap-up posts I've read, it seems 2014 wasn't a great reading year for a number of readers. I certainly wouldn't consider 2014 a great reading year for me. While I read a few standout books, I read too many books I was ambivalent about or hated to make it good reading year.

    Here's hoping 2015 is much better! Happy New Year.

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    1. Boo! I hope 2015 is a better reading year for everyone.

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  2. Sometimes I think the best blog book reports are about books we didn't like! This was brilliant to read. Did you consider quitting any of the bad ones, or did you think they would get better? (And I didn't like Rosie either. I quit after a few pages)

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    1. I did, and I even quit a couple. The ones I kept reading I wanted to see if there would be a pay off at the end or the book didn't annoy me enough to give up completely.

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  3. AMEN. It was a year of cranky reading for me as well. The books just didn't flow like they usually do, and it was much harder for books to impress me. We'll see how 2015 shakes out! Better for both of us, I hope!

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    1. I was super hard to impress this past year! I kept waiting for it to turn around for me.

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  4. I have seen SO many people talk about this lately! I don't know what was in the water but I had the same thing happen with me. There wasn't any single book that I LOOOOOOOOOOOVED. The Sparrow came closest but it still just didn't steal my heart like I was expecting it to. Here's to lots of freaking awesome books in 2015.

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    1. Maybe we'll read ALL the good books this year. :)

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  5. My heart broke a little over The Paying Guests too - such a long wait for a big let-down. Hope 2015's reading will be better - Happy New Year!

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  6. Well, at least 2015 HAS to be better, right? :)

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  7. I think this just proves that even we can't pick the right books for ourselves sometimes. Hopefully next year will be better for you!

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    1. I know! I'm doubting my book recommending powers.

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  8. "the universe trolled me with some legitimately irritating books." LOL

    I wouldn't call this one of my best years in reading, either. I didn't even make it to 100 books!

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    1. Not even close to 100 books. I'm just too busy now for that many.

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  9. Normally, I'll read a year end list and lament not having read any of them. Now it feels like I got off lucky. My picks this year were mostly bad or at best mediocre as well. But the two or three really goods were so good as to still make me look back fondly at the year.

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    1. I'm glad you found a few good ones among the stinkers.

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  10. Ha - this post is hilarious!! I'm sorry your 2014 wasn't so great, but at least this hilarious post came out of it! I also wasn't into the creepy doc in Summer House with Swimming Pool. Never got around to The Paying Guests...the blurb didn't really appeal to me.

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  11. Sometimes I think meh books are even worse than awful books. At least awful books get a fiery response from me. Meh books are just a waste of time.

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    1. True! What can you say about meh books other than meh?

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  12. I love Sarah Waters so I'm sad to hear The Paying Guest was disappointing. It's the worst when you're so excited for a book and then you finally get to read it and it's just not that good.

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    1. My expectations were pretty high. Maybe that was part of the problem.

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  13. I don't know that I was disappointed in more books than usual this year, but I did feel like fewer books blew me away this year than in previous years. I want 2015 to be a reading year with many many five-star reads that get me truly excited -- that's my favorite mode of talking about books.

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    1. Mine too. I want to have nothing but 5 stars and have everyone thinking I'm taking bribes. ;)

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  14. 2011 was like this for me. I can't think of any really great books I read that year. They were just all so blah. And I remember it as being the horrible reading year! I'm glad I'm not the only one who wasn't wowed by The Paying Guests. Sigh. I wanted to like it so much more! I also didn't like The Little Stranger, so hopefully her next book is an improvement?

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  15. I had to laugh at the Possession comment. I really really wanted to enjoy it, and parts of it were quite good. But I stopped reading it with less than 8th of the book to read! I can't make myself pick it up now, so I wasn't having a good time, and I thought it was me, since everyone loves it. Thank you for helping me to feel normal. And I studied English at university, but Possession reminded me of why I never went on for a Masters! lol I have Queen of the Tearling on order at the library, so I will read it but not hold my breath as I'm well over 40 now. Let's hope 2015 is a better reading year for you (and for the rest of us on here). Sometimes a good complain is cleansing!

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  16. It was a blah year for me too. So many books turned out to be meh. Even ones I had looked forward to reading. "California", I'm looking at you. Or so far-fetched and/or downright ridiculous that I wondered why I bothered to finish them ("Until You're Mine" comes to mind). Loved The Martian, Red Rising, and maybe a few more. A few surprises -- Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends in the audiobook format was a very entertaining listen (the audiobook is a must -- he's a fantastic mimic!). By the end of the year I was starting and dropping books after a few chapters at a horrendous rate -- but better that than wasting my time anymore! Hoping 2015 is a better year.

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