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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Favorite Least Favorite Books of 2017

At this time of the year it seems like everyone is making lists of the best books of the year, but we thought it would be interesting to talk a little about books that were our least favorite. Most readers end up with a few books each year that they really didn't like. Sometimes it's because they thought, based on description of the book, it was a different kind of book. Other times, the book just did not stand up to expectations.  Here are our favorite least favorites of the year.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
My expectations for Swing Time were very high for several reasons. I find Zadie Smith very interesting whenever I see her articles and her interviews with other authors, and this book made the prestigious Man Booker Long List which I read each year. I also read critics' reviews of this book and saw several comparisons to the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante which I loved. The novel, however, was forgettable, the plot unconvincing and the characters hard to connect with. On a positive note, Zadie Smith can write very beautiful sentences and the narrator did a wonderful job on the audio book.


The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis 
This has a 3.9 rating on Goodreads, so I’m likely in the minority by rating this book 1 star. This book contains many dark and depressing themes/situations that were just too much for me at the time. Also many scenes in the book were excessively predictable or unbelievable.

Cruel is the Night by Karo Hämäläinen
I thought this book sounded intriguing, but it just didn't end up working for me. It is about a dinner party with four guest and only one leaves alive. It ended up being a very bizarre story. Maybe some of it was translation issues.

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz As this is a Newbery honor book, I realize I am in the minority when I say that this book was just okay. Author Adam Gidwitz did his research well and it clearly shows on the pages, but I felt like some of the themes were too violent and mature for the targeted middle school audience. I personally had a hard time getting into the story; however, those who enjoy medieval France history may find it interesting.

Megan J.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler I am usually a sucker for the classic move-to-New York, self-discovery novel, and Danler's story of a young woman diving in to the world of upscale restaurants seemed like a perfect pick for me. In the end, however, I found the protagonist's complete dismissal of her past and family both hard to believe and somewhat pretentious. She abandons all connections to her past from the first sentence and embraces a life that, to me, doesn't actually seem all that fun or rewarding.


Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery 
Let me first say this book is not bad at all. However, 2017 was a year of reading self-help books--and I loved everyone I read. So sorry Ms. Anne but the competition was thick this year.

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