Reading Lists

What I failed to completely read in 2017

Better late then never! Alright, I’ll be honest- I forgot to post this. It’s OK, it still holds truth!

What a year, what a year. Half given to intense bouts of depression and anxiety, I did however manage to wade through a total of twenty four books. Here’s a look back at the ones I just could not finish, which is saying a lot, considering the last time I didn’t finish a narrative was Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice, all the way back in 2002. And while none of these ended with me screaming in frustration and throwing the book at the wall like that did, they were still… not necessarily enjoyable. Also, spoilers.

Gangterland by Tod Goldberg: A sick kid and a wife waiting at home was not enough to lend sympathy to the character of Saul. Why should I care that he messed up and sold some drugs to the feds? I don’t even like him. He seems like a reasonably intelligent person, so why is he working for the mafia? I was given intrigue but no reason to care, in fact, he gave me a few reasons not to. If the main character isn’t worried about his own death, then why should I be? Does he even like his wife, let alone love her? He’s supposed to be professional, but he casually does coke on the job. That doesn’t sound professional to me, that sounds like making poor choices and not caring about the consequences. I was almost curious about what happens to change his apathy, but not enough to overcome my own.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: I have started this book twice, but haven’t managed to continue passed the first few chapters. It’s not that it’s not well written, and the characters are fine, it’s just… I haven’t picked up a point to the story as of yet, other then maybe Locke is a compulsive thief with little to no self control? Is that a point? While it’s not necessarily something I’d hold against a protagonist, but I just don’t know what anyone is doing yet, and so it’s been hard for me to want to go back, as there is no promise shining like a distant beacon further into the narrative. I will no doubt continue to try however, because it wasn’t bad or off-putting, just not… attention grabbing, I suppose.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen: A women who used to self-harm in high school returns home “temporarily” and spends time with people who treated her badly. Another, younger girl looses her mother and moves to live with a grandpa she doesn’t know. They only seem slightly bothered by this. There are also some men who are incredibly pretentious and somewhat creepy. They are supposed to be love interests. The author uses the phrase “holy grail of foodstuffs” unironically. She literally used “those halcyon days” in a sentence, and no one told her it was a bad idea. One of the main characters goes running off into the woods barefoot in the middle of the night with no thought of shoes. Wall paper changes patterns based on something, emotions- maybe, and no one thinks that it’s strange. In fact all the strange things aren’t considered strange. Except for the family that glows at night. Because… of a curse? What sort of book am I reading? It was like an attempt to channel Alice Hoffman except that none of the characters felt human and none of the places felt real. It was cardboard cuttouts mimicing emotion while running around a Main Street of America movie set. The author actually chose the word “Piney” to name a place, I cannot even.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: Where to begin? Perhaps with the incredibly unbelievable behavior and dialogue of two of the main characters? Is this London at the start of the industrial revolution, or is this a college campus somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States in the early 2000’s? Why did this young man from Japan come to England, bleach his hair (let’s not even get into the historical inaccuracies with that piece of character creation) and make friends with an incredibly abrasive women who steals his clothes? Why do some of the paragraphs not make sense no matter how many times I read them? Why does this supposedly intelligent and well read women not believe women should have the right to vote? Why are the suffragettes meetings so wildly insulting? Why does this same well-read women believe a Japanese name is Italian? Why does the other main character have no sense of obligation to his own life? And I get it, the pocket watch is important! I GET IT! It’s in the title, OK, stop beating me over the head with small, fancy pocket watches. Why? Why? Why? I’ll never know, because I gave this book one hundred pages and stopped.

All in all, I’m glad I gave them a shot, but they weren’t for me. Well, if I’m honest I didn’t think the latter two were just not particularly well written, but Gangsterland’s main problem was that the protagonist gave me nothing to feel, and The Lies of Locke Lamore gave me nothing to look forward to.

In taking a look back at last years post of What I hope to Read in 2017, I realize beside Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear (which I mentioned in passing), I read none of the books listed. I also didn’t read as broadly as I intended, with a few exceptions. Christmas was a little disappointing in terms of the book haul, my husband was the only one who bought me any books, and while two of them are from last years list (Snow Crash and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making), none of them are the ones I actually asked for as gifts. Now, I’m not one to look the gift horse in it’s mouth, as I find horse teeth somewhat disturbing, but I will say that I am going to the book store with my Christmas bonus money and I am getting those books that no one got me. That can be a later post, however.

With 2018 upon us, I set the auspicious goal of reading thirty books. Now, I started my reading challenge in March of last year, so hopefully the extra two months will give me time to surpass 2017’s final number. And hopefully there won’t be any flops this year, but I suppose it’s to be expected when trying new things.



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