I read over 500 books last year from various genres including many children’s picture books. With so many books consumed, it’s impossible that all of them would be my cup of tea.
This post is dedicated to my least favorite reads from 2019.
#10: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
This book just about finished me for television celebrity memoirs. I’ve read Tina Fey’s, Amy Poehler’s, and Mindy Kaling’s among others, and I found them all vapid and pointless. Husband and wife Mullally and Offerman’s book looked promising when I picked it up at the library. It was written almost like a play, where Nick and Megan go back and forth simultaneously recounting how they met and how they became famous. All that was fine and cute, but there were numerous chapters dedicated to their opinions on various topics. By the time I was done, I felt drained, annoyed, and quickly deleted all remaining celebrity memoirs on my to-read list.
You may like this if you like celebrity memoirs, or Offerman and/or Mullally
#9: On the Road by Jack Kerouac
This classic is a rambling semi-autobiographical tale of a young man wandering across the US and the experiences he has while doing it. I gave up halfway through and refused to finish it. The characters were all self-absorbed, womanizing men who seemed more interested in pleasure than purpose and relationship. Maybe they had a change of heart as the story went, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.
You may like this if you enjoy travel memoirs.
#8: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
How this book came to be known as one of the great love stories of literature, I will never know. It’s dark, the characters are, by and large, tortured and self-centered, and the love story by no means lovely. To me, the book had more to say about choosing forgiveness over seeking revenge. It was beautifully written, but the abusive way people “loved” one another in this book was revolting to me.
You may like this if you enjoy classic literature or brooding lovers
#7: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
I tried so many times to get through this tome that the librarians started teasing me for taking it out every other month. In a way it’s fascinating. It’s a novel about Johnny who found a trunk filled with papers in the apartment of a deceased man. As Johnny sorts through the papers he discovers it’s a manuscript about a documentary film of a strange house and its inhabitants. This book is touted as horror, but I didn’t find it very scary, creepy maybe. Granted, I never finished, but it felt like it was more metaphorical about life and relationships. The reason I gave up is that it’s compiled very haphazardly. This was an artistic choice. It is full of footnoted footnotes, appendices, and multiple narrators and storylines happening simultaneously. I needed two bookmarks to keep my place. It’s fascinating, but I got frustrated by the rambling nature of some of the footnotes and the irksome, whinging voice of Johnny.
You may like this if you like word puzzles, inventive reads, and creative storytelling
#6: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I feel like I stand alone here because this book was super popular. It won the Goodreads Choice Award in the Mystery and Thriller Catagory. I thought the writing was forced and clunky. The characters moved through the scenes like dolls. I could almost see Michaelides manipulating their movements and conversations. People talked a lot about the big reveal at the end, but it felt anticlimactic to me. In my opinion, this didn’t live up to the hype.
You may like this if you love thrillers or unreliable narrators.
#5: French Milk by Lucy Knisley
I’ve been a fan of Knisley ever since I read Relish. I read many of her books last year, but this one felt like it was written by a completely different author. That could be because it’s her first published work and it’s inevitable that one matures in one’s art with practice and experience. It had no underlying purpose or storyline and failed to teach me anything about traveling in France. I was disappointed.
You may like this if you like graphic nonfiction or travel memoirs.
#4: The Gospel of Pilate by Paul E. Creasy
I was excited by the premise of this book. An Athiest archeologist finds an ancient manuscript on a dig site that turns out to be the Pontious Pilate’s account of Christ’s crucifixion. The storyline rotates between modern-day and Pilate’s point of view. It was very Dan Brown. Two things about it threw me off. One: the interactions between the characters felt forced and fake. For example, a conversation between a husband and wife about their wedding day doesn’t usually sound like one of them wasn’t present at the time. It was clearly being retold that way for the reader’s benefit. This turns the characters into plastic toys. (Note: This is the same problem I had with The Silent Patient.) And two: the crazy outcome of the plot and how it felt the author was trying to explain away the wildness of the events.
You may like this if you liked The Da Vinci Code or historical fiction.
#3: The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All: Stories by Laird Barron
This is a book of horror short stories I bought for one of my college classes. We never ended up reading it for class, so I tried it last year. The writing is as gorgeous as the cover art. I also loved how the short stories were all interconnected by thin strands of commonality, like a spider’s web. The reason I disliked it so much was that the plots of the stories were so grotesque that I became too uncomfortable with them to finish the book. I do enjoy horror stories, but these were too much for me.
You may like this if you’re really into horror stories or short fiction collections.
#2: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
This book reminded me of all the reasons why I stopped watching chick flicks. The plots are thin and so are the chances that any of the characters involved have the ability to build a lasting relationship. There were humorous moments, but mostly I just wrinkled my nose at the improbable pointlessness of it all. Clearly not my cup of tea.
You may like this if you like chick flicks or romantic comedies.
#1: Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
I. Hated. This. Book.
His wry dissection of the American diet was so cruelly sarcastic that I felt like he wanted to make me hate being an American. His humor back talked all over itself so much that I found myself arguing with the book instead of laughing. Every time I see his face now I audibly groan. Never, ever again.
You may like this if you like Jim Gaffigan’s sense of humor.
I’ve given my honest, personal reason for disliking these books. I know there are many reasons why people love these stories. If you read or loved any of these books, leave a comment to let others know what you thought and why they may like it. Tastes differ so greatly. I mean, that’s pretty self-evident from this list here. Pretty much all of them are well-rated or bestsellers.