Monday, January 12, 2009

Books of 2008

So most people do a Year in Review post. I do a Books of the Year in Review post. This year, I'm going to give you my Ten Best and Worst Books I Read in 2008. I also added a link in the sidebar to my full list of books for 2008 (81 total - oh my god, y'all! I need to get out of the house more!) with a rating system (most of which cleverly stolen from Stephanie). I will be starting one for 2009 as soon as possible, because typing all of those in at once was a bitch! For today, we'll do the Ten Worst. Tomorrow, we'll tackle the Ten Best.

Ten Worst Books I Read in 2008
Caveat: I'm exempting books I read because my husband asked me to and the Twilight series, as I've already discussed it here. And here. Although, I just finished Eclipse, and oh my god, y'all, it just gets worse and worse. *Ahem* moving on to the list.
1. The Bride Stripped Bare - Nikki Gemmell - This was recommended to me by a friend and I hated it. It's about a woman who finds out that her husband is cheating on her with her best friend, so she goes out and finds a lover. Then, she gets back to together with her husband and they have a baby. Every character is despicable (except the baby). They have no redeeming characteristics.
2. Tweak - Nic Sheff - A very disturbing portrait of addiction. I read it and then read his father's memoir, Beautiful Boy, about watching his son descend into addiction. As companion pieces, they are compelling. But the overall picture is pretty appalling.
3. Harvesting the Heart - Jodi Picoult - Boring. Predictable. Unlikeable characters.
4. Under the Banner of Heaven - Jon Krakauer - A tremendously unflattering portrait of the Mormon religion. A history and excoriation of the origins and followers of this faith. (Shockingly enough, the church was outraged when it came out. The version I had was updated with Krakauer's defence of his book. Seems he doesn't realize that he wrote a scathing review of their faith.)
5. Love is a Mix Tape - Rob Sheffield - The story of his first marriage to a woman who died very young. Not to disparage his relationship, but the book is awful. It's completely flat and devoid of emotion.
6. Out - Natsuo Kirino - There is something wrong with the person who wrote this book. I mean, WRONG. I don't usually mind a little twistedness, but this book is creepy. DEEPLY disturbing. I mean, almost gave me nightmares disturbing.
7. Citizen Girl - Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus - This is supposed to be the story of a deeply principled girl who wants to find gainful employment without compromising her morals. Any of her morals. Or performing any work that's "beneath her". Let's all have a good laugh here. That's kind of how I felt at the end of the book. It works hard for its moral outrage, but in the end, it's much ado about nothing.
8. Killing Yourself to Live - Chuck Klosterman - Reporter travels all over the country to the places where rock stars died. Sounds interesting, right? Sadly, it's dead boring. (Get it, "dead" boring? Am amusing only myself.)
9. The Quiet Girl - Peter Hoeg - I agonised over putting this on my Worst list. Because it's beautifully written. Hoeg is Danish, and this book has the Scandinavian flavor that I love. (I'll discuss Scandinavian books on my Best list.) However, this book makes no sense. The story is told in fits and starts and flashbacks and I was never sure if we were in the present or the past of who the main character was talking to. The main character is a circus clown (I think) who hears...well, he hears music in everything and he can hear people's emotions and general state of being. And there are some children, who have similar abilities, who have been kidnapped. And he tries to find them. But frankly, I'm not sure if the children really had abilities or not, or if they were kidnapped or not. The prose is beautiful, but this book is a mess.
10. A Hopeless Romantic - Harriet Evans - Not a horrible book, but terribly predictable. Chick lit romantic comedies are always a little predictable, but this one was extreme.

16 comments:

Fiona Picklebottom said...

I think this may be the only time that I've seen a list of books that contains not a single one I've read. But it looks like in this case that's a GOOD thing.

Pickles and Dimes said...

When I lived in Fargo, Chuck Klosterman used to do entertainment reporting for the paper. He was awful. I couldn't stand his writing: he thought making mean-spirited comments about music or movies meant he was funny. When I saw he had a book out, I thought, "That jerk?!?" Now people fawn all over his stuff. I don't get it.

Tess said...

That "there is something WRONG with the person who wrote this" thing could be the best book review line EVER.

I've had Out on my wishlist forever. Maybe I'll give it a pass.

Shelly said...

Fiona - Yeah, I would definitely NOT recommend these.

Shelly said...

Shauna - YES! He is horrible. The book is terrible. I can't imagine reading a column by him.

Shelly said...

Tess - Um, well, if you like really disturbing murder, dismemberment and VERY deviant sex, you might enjoy it. But I doubt that you would.

Jess said...

Ugh, that description of Citizen Girl makes me want to poke my eyes out. I've worked with people who think certain types of work are beneath them; I'm sure we all have. NOT the type of person I want to read a book about. Ugh.

Alice said...

now THIS is a useful list!! i hate finishing a book, then realizing i've done nothing but waste my time. now there are at least 10 times i won't have to do that :-)

Gina said...

Good - now I know what not to buy next time I am at the book store. there's nothing worse than spending your money on a lousy book.

The Hotfessional said...

I read the Jon Krakauer book - but that's the only one.

Shelly said...

Jess - imagine the most strident feminist, straight out of college, believing she knows all the answers and everyone should be falling at her feet. And her shock and dismay when not only do they not fall at her feet, but they want her to *ugh* stuff envelopes! *shudder*

Shelly said...

Alice - thank you! I hate wasting my time, too.

Shelly said...

Gina - Agreed! Huh, and I did buy most of these. Oh well, I've bought some really good ones, too.

Shelly said...

Hot - I've read two books by Krakauer, Into the Wild and Under the Banner of Heaven. I bought Into Thin Air, and my hubby has read it, but I have not. Krakauer doesn't seem to know what he's doing as an author, does he? He seems to have a totally different perception of his books than regular people.

Shelly Overlook said...

Oooh books! Pretty!!!!

Shelly said...

Shelly - you're the best.