I really hate to do this on Christmas Day, since it’s supposed to be a time of joy and love. But last week I listed my top 10 reads of 2012, and this week it seems only fair to list my 10 worst reading experiences. Consider it my Christmas gift to you — now you know what books to avoid! 🙂 Here, in no particular order, are 10 books that disappointed me this year:
1. P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley — Being a sucker for anything Austen-related and also a fan of British mysteries, I thought this book would be a slam dunk. Sadly, I was extremely underwhelmed, both by the mystery and the P&P elements. A poor start to 2012, for sure!
2. G.M. Malliet, Death of a Cozy Writer — This is a mystery in the English country house tradition, but it’s so unoriginal that I just found it boring. There are a lot of great books in this genre, but this isn’t one of them.
3. Susan Elia MacNeal, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary — A mystery set during World War II. (I don’t seem to have had much luck with mysteries this year!) I was really interested in the premise of a woman using her mathematical abilities to crack German codes, but I found this book far too scattered to be compelling.
4. María Dueñas, The Time in Between — Again, this book was supposed to be about a Spanish woman who worked for British intelligence during World War II…but that plot didn’t actually begin until about page 400 of 600. It really annoys me when a book’s blurb and cover give a completely erroneous description of what the book is about.
5. Alexandra Potter, You’re (Not) the One — This is another book whose great premise was let down by bad execution. The plot is about a girl who kisses a boy under Venice’s Bridge of Sighs, thus binding him to her as her one true love — but when she meets him again 10 years later, she discovers they’re not truly compatible. It sounded like a really fun chick lit book, but in practice it just…wasn’t.
6. Elizabeth Speller, The Return of Captain John Emmett — Another mystery! This one is set during the aftermath of WWI, which is an interesting time period to me. I think my problem with this book is that it tried to be “literary” but only succeeded in dragging and being dull.
7. Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon — With all due respect to Mr. Hammett, I wasn’t a fan of this classic noir novel. I can’t really put my finger on why; I guess it just wasn’t for me. Loved The Thin Man though!
8. Daphne Du Maurier, Jamaica Inn — This book was just way too soap opera-esque and melodramatic for me. I also found it extremely predictable. A lot of the book focuses on creating a sense of suspense, but the heroine was such a passive person that I didn’t really care whether evil befell her or not!
9. Shane Jones, Light Boxes — I found this novel a bit too experimental. There were many different narrators, a plot that didn’t quite make logical sense, and hardly any character development. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d approached it as loosely releated poetry rather than a cohesive novel.
10. Josephine Tey, The Man in the Queue — Another disappointing mystery! I love the genre, but I definitely seem to have picked a lot of clunkers this year.
I should say that I didn’t think any of these books were awful; they just didn’t appeal to me personally. I chose these 10 books because of my level of disappointment with them, which was based on my expectations. So obviously your mileage may vary.
Lest this post is too Scrooge-y, I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! I’m off to chill with my family and open some presents. 🙂
11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Most disappointing reads of 2012”
I haven’t read any of these, but it sounds like I might want to steer clear of them. Check out my TTT.
Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know
Aww, nice TTT topic! Now I feel bad for Grinching all over the freebie. 🙂
Ha! Your topic made me laugh. I can totally appreciate the sentiment though – sometimes you have great expectations for a book and it doesn’t quite measure up.
Exactly. It’s not that these books were the worst I’ve ever read; they just didn’t match up with my expectations. Sometimes that is totally the book’s fault, though, because the summary on the back doesn’t match the actual plot at all!
Interesting choice of topic. I haven’t read any of these. I probably won’t any time soon, either! My top ten this week is Christmas gift books.
I haven’t read any of these. I do like to know what books people found disappointing though.
Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to cross something off your to-read list!
Looking at the book in retrospect, that’s true re: Duenas’ The Time In Between; things really start picking up in the latter half of the novel only for it to end suddenly.
I’ve been hearing mixed reviews re: Death Comes to Pemberley; I’m still iffy whether to pick it up myself as I’ve experienced hits and misses when it comes to P&P spin-offs (more on the latter than on the former tbh).
Interesting list! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas btw and that Santa brought you some awesome books 😉
I would advise against Death Comes to Pemberley. I LOVE Austen spinoffs if they’re done well, but this one just wasn’t. Of course, if you do read it, I’ll be interested to see your thoughts!
Santa did bring me great books; hope he did the same for you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Funnily enough, I reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley last night. I didn’t really get along with it either. The characters were just too flat. I expected more, especially coming from such an established author as P.D. James.
I agree re: expecting more. I wasn’t impressed with the mystery, which is surprising since she’s such a famous and beloved mystery author! And the Austen characters had NO personality. Very disappointing overall!