Worst Books of 2019

Thursday 19 December 2019

I was never an overly adventurous reader, as some of you may already know.. But now that I routinely exit my comfort zone I learned that I can find some wonderful books that I otherwise never would have even glanced at. But on the other side of that same coin I've found some books that I wish I could delete from my memory. The following are the five books that I wish I could purge from my reading history.

Legends of the Maya: A Guide to Mayan Mythology by Kezip Macleod

This is a nonfiction book that's exactly what it sounds like. It's a book about Mayan Mythology. Not much else to it.

This was one of my first kindle books. The same day I got a kindle years ago I looked for all the free books I could find and this was one of them (Though now it goes for 2.99). I was excited to finally pick up this book because I forgot about it. However, that excited glow quickly faded as this "book" felt more like a pile of haphazard research notes.

For a better example of how to write a book retelling myths from ancient civilizations, pick up Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. Legends of the Maya read like the transcript of a unprepared student giving a presentation on Mayan mythology. I was 100% disappointed. I understand that we may not know Mayan myths as well as we know Norse but the book could have at least been presented better. Instead it was just a cold mess. This shouldn't be read by anyone.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway is about a school for children who visit other worlds; think Dorothy or the Narnia kids. Nancy has just returned from her adventure and her parents don't know what to do with her so she's sent to a special school. Once there, strange things begin to happen. Is Nancy tied to this? And can she ever get back to the world she misses so much?

I was so disappointed by this book. I was so sure I was going to love it that I put the next two books in the series on hold in my local library. I thought I had found my next favorite series but after reading the first one, I realized I found one of my most hated books of all time.

Seanan McGuire is an awful writer. She wrote a poorly thought out, poorly paced, and poorly plotted mess. The characters were one dimensional, the LGBTQ representation was contrived. And the story's resolution was as lackluster as a rusty nail. This book doesn't deserve the praise it gets and I truly question the taste of anyone who likes it. It's not bad in the same way the next three books in this blog are bad. It's true bad to it's core. It's a bad book and McGuire should be ashamed she ever published such a travesty.

Rumble Fish by S. E. Hinton

Rusty-James is the toughest kid in his school. He loves getting into fights, he loves shooting pool, and he loves getting into trouble. He idolizes his older brother the Motorcycle Boy who was once the toughest gang leader in town, before gangs were mostly dissolved. He wants nothing more to be like his brother, but that could be a dangerous wish.

I read The Outsiders while I was in school, like a lot of us did, at least in America, and it was one of the few required reading books that I actually liked. I even reread The Outsiders years later and still enjoyed it. I even read Tex and enjoyed it too. So when I found a copy of Rumble Fish at a library book sale, I jumped on the chance to own it. When I finally go around to reading it I found the magic of the first two S.E. Hinton books completely missing and instead I read a shallow book with a main character as scattered and unlikeable as Holden Caufield.

The story was boring. The characters were shallow and unrelateable. And this was a far cry from wonderfully woven stories of Hinton's other works. I know this next part is petty, but the names got annoying. The main character was always Rusty-James and his brother was always the Motorcycle Boy. We never learned what his real name was. But on top of that petty complaint, it was a bad story. It was slow, boring, and the characters were highly unlikable.

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty

Smithson "Smithy" Ide is a man whose life is on a dead end road. He's going no where fast. He has a bad job, no love life, he's fat, awkward, and an alcoholic. When his parents are killed in a freak car accident and he finds out his long lost sister is also dead, he sets off on a bike ride across America to go retrieve his sister's body and to find himself again.

I received this book as a gift from a friend years ago who thought I would enjoy it. I didn't read it right away. When I was younger I tended to stick to Sci-Fi or Fantasy and rarely strayed from it.  But now that I'm a mature(ish) adult, I decided to pick it up.

I'm actually glad I waited so long. My friend has since moved away and we lost touch so I don't have to let him know that I hated the book that he enjoyed so much he wanted to gift it to me (alternatively I don't have to lie to him about liking it). I'm still grateful. The gift of a book is a wonderful thing but unfortunately the stagnant story coupled with characters who failed to learn a single thing from the journey came together to make on of the worst books I've ever read. I'd rather marathon read the Twilight series. Smithy was an unlikable character the author felt like fat shaming quite a bit. There were no good characters. They were all horribly flawed and not even in any sort of compelling way.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. He hates everything. He wants more out of life and one day he finds out that magic is real. Not only that but he's been invited to join the only magic school in America. Once there he finds that he's not the best in the class like he used to be and on top of that, but he may not be ready for what's to come.

I wanted to badly to love this. It's sold as an adult Harry Potter and I can see where the comparison comes from but The Magicians lacks any of the magic Harry Potter had. All of the books on this list have one thing in common. Unlikable characters. Queintin Coldwater is one of the worst people I have ever read about outside of nonfiction. I related with Voldermort more. In all honesty, there was only one character who wasn't awful and Alice doesn't even play a big role. The story itself suffered from pacing issues and it had one of those endings that came out of nowhere. It felt like there was more story to tell but Lev Grossman ran out of time and rushed to finish.

Just like Every Heart A Doorway this could have been a great series to get invested in, but bad writing put a stop to that.

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