… and those that disappointed

All in all, I’ve had a marvellous reading year, but there were a few disappointments along the way. Of course a book that was meh or a DNF for me, may be just the ticket for another reader, but I hope I’ve explained in the full posts on these titles what I didn’t like about the books. You are very welcome to disagree!

I’m finally starting to overcome my compulsion to finish every book I read, posting about three DNF titles which I abandoned a way in but merited a mention here.  They were:

  • To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris.
  • The Tower by Alessandro Gallenzi
  • The Brethren by Robert Merle

I found it quite liberating to abandon these books – especially the Ferris which had all the Booker interest…  I won’t be revisiting any of them in the future.

But there are another couple of novels that I read all the way through and posted about which were just about okay…

The main character in Frog Music by Emma Donoghue just wore me out with her fussing and cussing.

Similarly, Johanna in Caitlin Moran’s first novel How to Build a Girl, despite Moran’s insistence that Johanna is not based on her own life, appears too close to be not her. Apparently aimed at older teens, this novel is full of swearing, wanking, sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. You have been warned.

The Mindless Thriller Award

… goes to The Nemesis Program by Scott Mariani.

I was lured into reading this book by the mention of the genius Szerbian scientist Nikola Tesla, who in his later years developed an oscillator that he reckoned could be scaled up to knock buildings down etc.

The sub-Bondian baddie in this thriller has developed such a weapon and ex-SAS soldier turned vicar(!) Ben Hope, in his tenth outing, is the man to stop him.

Just too absurd and too long, and the sense of humour bypass made this a bit of a slog.


Reading Flop of the Year

The biggest disappointment in my reading year however was Seth MacFarlane’s comedy Western A Million Ways to Die in the West – which with passing time I recall as ever more puerile and just full of toilet jokes.

Originally, I had thought to go and see the film – but it absolutely tanked! I’m glad I didn’t get to waste my money. I even managed to resell my copy of the book too, so only ended up a couple of quid out of pocket.

* * * * *

I was in two minds whether to write this post or not, but given that I have written a post about each of the books mentioned, saying what I thought about them thought it fair enough.

Am I being too snarky?
What do you think?
Have you read any of these books?

Tomorrow I’ll be back with some of the best
new to me authors I’ve discovered this year.

0 thoughts on “… and those that disappointed

  1. drharrietd says:

    No not too snarky at all. I like it when people tell us what they didn’t like — after all, anyone can always disagree, as you say. I haven’t read any of these but did read Donaghue’s much praised Room, which didn’t make it for me, so I haven’t tried her again. I still find it hard not to finish things however much I am not liking them (same applies to watching DVDs) but when I do, I agree it is really liberating. Here’s to DNFs!

  2. crimeworm says:

    No not snarky – there are always going to be books that just aren’t for you. And you’ve given good reasons for your decisions not to finish them, or why you dislike them…reading time is precious enough without spending it on something you don’t enjoy! I’m terrible for staying in my comfort zone – crime fiction – so don’t have many DNFs, but I’m going to make an effort to read a bit more widely in 2015. So I may have some this time next year!

  3. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    Definitely not snarky. You need to be honest about books and I would always want to know if you didn’t like a book because that would help me judge how you felt. I don’t often abandon books because I usually try to read what I hope I’ll enjoy – but I *will* do so if I’m not getting on with them and it’s better than forcing yourself to the end. Too many books, too little time to waste on a dull book!

  4. BookerTalk says:

    Moran’s book How to be a Woman was my DNF from a few years ago. I couldn’t get past page 10 it was so pretentiously full of itself. Call me aged if you want but Germaine Greer said just about everything that needed to be said decades ago and said it far more eloquently

      • crimeworm says:

        I like her Times’ columns too, and I always feel incredulous that someone who didn’t get any conventional schooling could get so far – she’s very smart and funny, and she has a way of saying exactly what you’re thinking, except you didn’t know you were thinking it until she said it! If that makes sense at all…But her tv sitcom ALSO seemed to be pretty much about her life, and I think, when it comes to fiction, she struggles to get any more material.

  5. farmlanebooks says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Frog Music or Brethen – both were DNFs for me. I’m quite surprised to see you didn’t get on with Moran’s book – I’ve only heard raving positives about it. I haven’t tried it yet so will be interested to see what I make of it. I haven’t tried any of the other books you mention here, but I’m not tempted to so all is good 🙂 Have a wonderful New Year!

  6. Dark Puss says:

    Great to read negative reviews of books! Thank you for posting them Annabel. Of course you have not been nasty or snarky; I’m always interested in how sensitive fiction weblog writers are about sounding negative. Most of the little book reviewing I do is for the journal “Contemporary Physics” (and is thus about textbooks) and I have absolutely no compunction in telling readers what didn’t work. I know that a novel you love and I don’t is probably much more a reflection of our tastes than of the quality of the writing; but sometimes it is just badly written, or too long, or spoilt by an inappropriate “happy ending” (in a different context let me ask “Disney are you reading this?”).

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