Two years ago, I read an anemic twelve books in one year. That’s either a lot or not depending on how much you normally read, but for someone in the publishing industry that is a bookworm of monumental proportions, twelve books was not a lot. In fact, it was almost laughable. So, I set myself a goal: to read 20 books the next year. And last year I almost did and I didn’t feel too terrible about myself that I only read 18 books. That was more than 12, so I claimed the victory. This year, trying to be a reasonable sort of person, I set the goal at 20 books again.
I’d just like to say that Goodreads tells me I’m two books AHEAD of schedule and I only have one book to go for the year. Since I already know I’ll be reading my book club book, I’m sitting pretty. I’m trying not to get too cocky – I know Christmas is coming and all the truffle-making and present-wrapping mayhem will commence shortly thereafter. Okay, it’s not really about how many books I read, necessarily, but the odds are in my favor (see what I did there?) to find more favorite books if I read lots in a year. And that’s the kind of math that I can get behind. The year I read 27 books, for instance, several books rose to the top including one of my very favorites, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. In pursuit of the next amazing read that I can recommend to everyone I know, I continue.
Unfortunately, the law of large numbers doesn’t always prevail. This year, I eagerly turned to the first page of several books only to really be sad as I turned the last page that I took the time to read them. Yes, these four books fell decidedly to the bottom of my read-o-meter*.
1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This book was much acclaimed by YA (young adult) reading enthusiasts, so I borrowed my friend’s copy and read it in an evening. I guess that’s the best thing that can be said of this book: it was a fast read. However, I really disliked the way it was written. The author tried to be poetic at the expense of making the characters relatable and likeable. And the twist ending was not a big enough pay-off at the end. If you’re looking to read something a little different to cleanse your reading palate, this might get the job done. But if you’re looking for a book that makes you fall in love with the characters, this is probably not for you.
2. Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber. Reading this book actually made me physically angry. Why? Because the writing was so simplistic and inane that I felt indignant on behalf of all the authors I’ve read and even worked with who write a better story than this multi-copy selling, New York Times bestselling author. No. No. NO. Never again. (I’m sure she’s a very nice person, though.)
3. The Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. I confess, I really look forward to Sarah Addison Allen’s books! She writes modern stories that have a bit of quirky whimsicality (I just made that word up). They are usually such darling, enjoyable, fluffy reads that I can’t wait to get my hands on them. But this book? This book was terrible. It took every ounce of perseverance I had to keep turning the pages. Boring. That’s the word I’d use to describe it. And the only redeemable character might be the main character, Kate’s, daughter Devin. And that’s a big “might”.
4. Requiem by Lauren Oliver. While this book did not draw my ire as much as Allegiant did last year, I was still sorely disappointed with it. Requiem is the third book in Lauren Oliver’s dystopian YA trilogy following Delirium and Pandemonium. As with the Divergent books, I was a fan of the first two books. Besides the fact that the dystopian genre is getting a little predictable, the stories were read-until-you-drop kind of books. I would like to make a request of all YA trilogy authors to come: please, please only write a trilogy if you can actually cover the story adequately in three books! I just hate reading book three, nervously watching the page count go down when there’s way too much plot left to be resolved. It’s almost like these authors create these grand worlds whose stories are too big and too complex to be discovered in book one, escaped from in book two, and then conquered in book three. Give the plot room to breathe…make the case for a fourth book! Trust me, I am your best friend right now.
There you have it, people. My two cents. Read at your own risk!
*It’s a technical term, don’t concern yourself with it…