It occurred to me that while I talked up books I loved from 2010, I never mentioned anything about the books that I loathed from last year. Now seems to be as good a time as any so here are my top 5 Worst Reads of 2010.
Why only 5? In the last few years I’ve gotten much better at giving up on bad books. There are far too many good books out there, and I have very little patience for stupidity in fiction or real life.
Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer – Dreadful from start to finish and full of characters that I can only hope are not based on anyone the author actually knows. This is particularly true in regards to Julie, the main character acted like she 12 instead of 30 and was such a repulsive brat.
Everyone in this novel was basically a moron and self-absorbed in the worst ways imaginable. Nothing gets resolved and no one develops as a person. The ending and choices everyone makes made no sense either. 1/2 a star.
BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker – This book was absolutely hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The serial killer was basically a Dan Brown villain with more bible quotes up his sleeve and he required just as much suspension of disbelief. By the end of the book none of the other characters were all that likable either. 1 star.
Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home by Michele Bardsley – I thought this book would amuse me since the idea behind this series is vampires, werewolves and what-have-you raising kids and finding love. Instead it just annoyed me because like so many romance novels everything happened too quickly, far too easily and with too many short sentences. Had this book been more about the actual hazards of being a supernatural parent, I would have read the rest of the series. And I would still love to read a series about supernatural parenting. 2 stars.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris – Usually I love David Sedaris and so I was very eager to read this collection, but the book just left me feeling miserable because every story was more depressing and awful than the last.
I understand that the stories in this collection are satirical but there’s such a mean-spiritedness to both the text and the accompanying pictures that I couldn’t enjoy any of it. The drawings, in fact, only made things worse. My sense of humor just isn’t all that dark. Furthermore, I think baby lambs losing eyes and bleeding to death or rats getting injected with diseases and dying in cages is really gross and tragic. Ditto just about everything else in this book. 2 stars.
It’s interesting and yet unsurprisingly to me that all of these books are mainstream adult fiction by fairly well-known writers.
As you can see, I’m a very character-driven reader. If I’m told the main character is awesome either by the author or through less than subtle hints from other characters without seeing proof of it in the novel, I probably won’t like the book or the characters. This will also happen if the characters are stupidly quirky, artifically clever, walking Wikipedia memorizers, abnormally stupid, incapable of prioritizing, or getting together with one another simply because they can. Most of the time I can forgive a book if something bad happens to a character I like particularly if they’re a minor character, but not if they die and I’m left with no additional characters to really root for.
Should I attempt bad fiction this year, I imagine it will only be for the sake of sharing my indignant or amusing reactions with others.