Monday, January 4, 2010

The Worst of 2009

2009 was a great year for books in my life. I admit that I have not yet checked to see just how many pages I greedily consumed over '09, but I promise that it was a lot. With that said, there were some books that I enjoyed far more than others. I'll 'fess up that there were even a couple that I started but couldn't finish. However, I will not be adding those to this list because let's face it: I probably gave up the page before the story got amazing. There's no sense in saying something sucked when I never gave it a 100% chance.
So without further ado, here were the bottom dwellers of 2009. These are the books I finished, but in the end they just didn't do it for me. They are in no particular order.

1. Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger - The cover art was intriguging: a sky-high heel that appears to be of the Christian Louboutin persuasion because of the red sole, highlighted with three rings with diamonds the size of my fist on the heel. Good chick lit, right? What self-appreciating girl doesn't love a good pair of Louboutins and some giant bling? Unfortunately, this book was awful. And boy do I mean awful. The writing was sub-par, though to be honest it's not something totally unexpected from the author who brought us The Devil Wears Prada (which, frankly, ended up being a far more fabulous movie than book). The story of Chasing Harry Winston centers on three very different friends who decide to change their lives, and thus go on a year of man-catching, soul-searching, etc. Naturally, because it's SO original in chick lit, the book mainly takes place in New York City. Who would have ever thought?

2. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler - I really, really wanted to like this book. I mean, how could a book with a title like that not be absolutely stellar? I had heard wonderful things about it from multiple sources, and so when I picked it up early in 2009 I did it with a sense of glee. Unfortunately, it fell rather flat. Part of me wonders if my expectations were too high, but regardless this angst-ridden story of a slightly overweight teenager in the otherwise picture-perfect family (that ended up not being so perfect at all..) whose best friend moved away just didn't do it for me. The best thing about this book was the title, and obviously that just doesn't bode well for any book you can say that about, does it?

3. Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin - I really, really hate that I have to put Emily Giffin on this list. She's a very gifted writer, and the fact that she and I graduated from the same high school (albeit a few years apart) makes me automatically love her. Something Borrowed and Something Blue turned out to be two of my favorite chick lit books ever. I loved how despite not really caring for the main characters, I still was really into the books and enjoyed finding out where things went. But her latest? Not only did I despise the main character, but I despised the situation she put herself in and what she did to everyone around her. I thought the story was forced, and I was not sad to finish this book and whisk it back off to the library.

4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - Okay, okay, I know this one is critically acclaimed. And I know that despite the tediously slow start that resulted in several weeks of force-feeding myself several pages at a time that it did improve to a point where I could breeze along rather easily. But all in all, I can see where you either love this book or hate it. And boy did I hate it. The ending made me want to throw something (and I probably would have thrown the book had it not been a borrowed copy from a co-worker.. and yes, the co-worker was in the "love it" category!). I found the book to be rather ridiculous in many aspects, and I really could not stand that "act one" was so unbelievably boring. I understand there was a lot of background information, but for Heaven's sake it should have been condensed! Needless to say, I do not plan on reading any other Yann Martel titles for fear my eyes will be rotting in their sockets by the time I get to the meat of the story.

5. Baby Proof by Emily Giffin - Ugh, I know, I know! How can I like an author, and yet two of her four books end up on my list of bottom-dwellers? I wish I knew the answer to this as well, but I have faith that she will someday make a comeback back into chick-lit greatness. Regardless, this plot just really had no substance. "This guy is perfect, but he decides he does want a kiddo afterall and I'm still anti-kiddo, so without any reason other than that I immediately divorce him buit still continue to pine because I know I'll never get a better man that what I had!" C'mon, a whole book about this? Gag. I bet you can guess how it ends.

6. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith - Okay everyone, go thank Stephenie Meyer for making vampires a popular literary theme again. The Vampire Diaries series was originally written in the early nineties (Sweet Valley High, anyone?), and with the sudden popularity surge in undead Young Adult literature, these books were rereleased. The only difference is they were released into two volumes instead of the original four by combining two books into one (oh, and another installment was written to add to the series just to generate that something "extra," i.e. cash). Now, first let me preface this by saying I love a good series. It is a rare occasion where I start a series but don't finish it. This was one of those. After reading parts one and two, I just could not stomach picking up the next book. I just didn't care about these characters, their situations, or what would happen to them. All in all I vote LAME. Stephenie Meyer is no literary genius, but at least her vamps were a bit more intriguing. And to think they turned The Vampire Diaries into a TV series... sigh.

7. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - As you will later see from my "Best of 2009" list, I am a complete sucker for historical fiction. It is my favorite genre, and when done well it can be amazing. In addition, my favorite author ever (Lynn Austin) writes Christian historical fiction, which is exactly what this book is. So based on everything I should LOVE it, right? This book is also very highly-rated on Goodreads. However, partway through I actually closed the book and tossed it on the kitchen table as I told my husband that I could NOT finish that book under any circumstances. About 20 minutes later I changed my mind and decided I needed to give it a shot. And while I'm glad I finished, I was even more glad that it was over. I did not care one bit for the story (an 1800's version of the book of Hosea in the Bible), and it was just a bit overly preachy and overly boring. Which was really a shame.
Well, those are the bottom seven finishers, again in no particular order (though you can probably put them into some sort of order based on my descriptions). Sometime soon I'll throw my Best of 2009 up here, so stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the vampire diaries series takes awhile to get into but by book four I was lost to the series and the new book out is really good. You should reconsider and give them another try.