As the title suggests, this is going to be a super cheery post. So, I’ve read (at current count) 114 books in 2015 (though let’s really try and make it to 115, because that’s a nicer landmark number.) Of those 115, the vast majority were randomly chosen from either my erratically curated Kindle library, or from Scribd. It was inevitable some of them would be bad, that’s just the law of probability. (Probably. Actually, Statistics was the math class I got the highest grade in, and also the one I remember the least.)
Now, these aren’t my least favorite books of 2015, or my lowest rated (although most are present on both of those lists), but these are the ones that I had high expectations for, only to have those expectations punched in the face. If I were a mother, these would be my middle children. Again, I blame the law of probability. She’s a fickle bitch (probably.)
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. This was my first read of 2015, and I had incredibly high expectations for it. First of all, the cover is gorgeous. Second, as you probably gathered from my last post, I love miniature things. Take anything in the world and it will become infinitely cuter when made miniscule. (Well. You know. Almost anything. *Waggles eyebrows*) So I naturally thought this book, with all of its inevitable descriptions of tiny things, would be mind candy for me. It also received incredible reviews when it came out, and was hyped to the hype kingdom and back. Alas, this book just did not do it for me. For one, I found the main character inescapably, unfathomably dull. Picture it: It’s the 1680s in Amsterdam. Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to be the wife of a rich older merchant. She doesn’t like it, she’s lonely, she misses home. He gives her a dollhouse (sorry– miniatures cabinet) of the home. Then weird things start happening in the dollhouse that may or may not then be mirrored in real life. See? It could be good. But. It’s just. It’s not. My Goodreads review, written right after reading, for my then- and now- feelings:
I was very disappointed. It seemed like it started as a good and genuinely interesting story, then after being garbled over and over through pedantic reaffirmations and circulatory reasoning structures the central turning and plot points of the main and secondary arcs were lost in mercurial turns of phrase, mixed metaphors, and the lack of emotional attachment.
See what I did there? That was what reading this book was like, my brain just screaming SHUT UP ALREADY.
The results were this: an unsatisfying book that plods to the finish with a determined but bored spirit. Bluh out of Meh
2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Speaking of amazing reviews… This is one of those books that EVERYONE seemed to love. It was compared to The Fault in Our Stars, (which should have been my first hint, as I’m not really a fan of… teenager romance death books, I think is the genre name we’ve decided on?) It got loads of coverage on Booktube and book blogs. It won the 2015 Goodreads Choice award for Best Young Adult Fiction book, for John Green’s sake. And yet. Oh honey, and yet. This book tries to discuss mental illness in an informative, touching way but for it ends up just making two characters who are basically mental illness, personified, with some quirks added on top for… I guess you could call it flavor? You can see a longer review here, but hint: It was disappointing.
3. Men Explain Things to Me by Jessica Solnit
This was the year I started reading more published feminist essays and it was, on the whole, a really good experience. But this one… well. You know the post title by now. I really liked the first essay, which if I’m not mistaken is the where the book’s title comes from. It was a funny and biting, informative, and interesting essay on mansplaining and the general culture of men feeling and acting like their opinions and ideas are more worthy of taking up headspace than women’s opinions. Very good. Bravo. The rest of the book, though, felt like filler. It’s strange: On my Goodreads, I gave it 2 stars, but then my review is nothing but praise. I think it was one of those that was interesting and thoughtful, but didn’t quite meet the (admittedly very high) expectations I placed on it. And looking back from a distance, I can’t remember much about it. (Some guy want to explain it to me?)
There you have it, my Top 3 Disappointing Reads of 2015. It’s getting SO close to the end of the year, and I haven’t caught up on all the 2015 posts I wanted to write, so there will surely be a #TBT week sometime in January, but tomorrow is the most exciting post– that’s right, I’m giving away 1 million dollars… and a new car!
Wait, couldn’t read my own handwriting for a second– it actually says it’s my Top Books of 2015. Yeah. Still exciting right? No? Ok then. But maybe yes?