What’s the second most popular activity on the internet after watching videos of baby animals? Hating on things you didn’t like! Fun? Maybe for some. Mostly I am saddened when I didn’t like something; as it’s another drop in the Well of Disappointment that feeds my day to day existence. But! That doesn’t stop me from talking about it- some of my favorite blog posts are about books I didn’t like, and that’s OK! It was fun and cathartic and I have no personal vendetta’s against the people who created them. That’s when things get dark. Don’t do that people- I know we’ve had the Dark Side marketed to us like crazy, but it’s still bad. Can you imagine if Jedi were real and came to earth and saw us selling toys to our children that are replicas of Sith Lords? That shit’s crazy. They kill people for nefarious reasons- why are we encouraging our youth to idolize them?
But this blog isn’t about the selling of fake darkly death cults in mass quantities by mega corporations; this blog is about books and writing and me rambling at you while you back away slowly without ever letting me out of your sight!
Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by That Artsy Reader Girl
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: After a hundred pages this story was still making me furious with it’s inconsistent dialogue and boring characters. Not even the promise of a clockwork octopus could keep me interested. I just didn’t care; not to mention I was that far in and I didn’t understand where the story was going or why two of the main characters were even there. My main problem is that I bought this book new, thus helping add to the hype. Except there shouldn’t have been hype. This story was bad.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: What’s so great about Gatsby? I guess his determination? I mean, it’s just a bunch of rich people ruining lives and getting hurt and really the only thing I was interested in was whether or not the narrator had a crush on Gatsby. Maybe that would have been a better way to end it? Gatsby gives up on his infatuation with Daisy (easily one of the worst names) and gets together with Nick(?) and they go yachting or something and drink cocktails. I’m here for this.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by MacKenzie Lee: Woooow this book though. You know when you’re doing something and the entire time you have a headache? That is this experience in book format. Want to read about someone making horrible choices and having to face almost no ramifications? Or maybe a story where the main character is selfish and ignorant and hypocritical and the supporting cast is there to contrast that but have no actual agency of their own? This is the book for you! You can read my full review here, where I thought I would open a can of worms but instead it was one of those surprise party snake things with confetti but I still had a heart attack after because even I was taken aback by the length of my rage and disappointment.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory McGuire: Depression, frustration, and confusion are the three things I took away from this book. Granted, the confusion might have been a side effect of the paragraphs I was skipping by the end of the book because I just didn’t care. I’m not good at caring about assholes, is the thing, and you’ll notice a recurring theme in this list of disliked books- some or all of the mains are assholes. Elphaba is almost sympathetic, but I never felt like I had a true grasp on her goals. And her main problem is she has green skin? In a world full of flying monkeys, munchkins, talking animals and people with blue diamonds on their flesh, maybe that shouldn’t be a huge deal. But it is? It didn’t help that the title made me feel like I was going to be reading a Terry Pratchett type story, and then I read a George Orwell type… thing, instead. Keep your dystopia out of my Oz, thank you very much.
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly: More unlikable characters! Yay! Amberlough started out so promising, but what I wanted and what I go were two very different things. Exhibit A- What I Wanted: A sexy, glamorous romp through a glittering city with lots of smooth talking, smooth jazz, and smart, attractive characters who are rogueish but have a severe honorable streak. Exhibit B- What I Got: An bunch of assholes(!) running around Nazi Occupied Paris but calling it Amberlough. Suicide! Betrayal! Emotional and physical abuse! Characters I had absolutely no sympathy for and nothing to look forward to because the situation just got darker and darker and there was no joy in this book.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata and Translated by Ginny Tapley Takamori: I mean, maybe Japanese literature is just not for me? I know story structure is different and lot of them seem to end on down notes, which is decidedly not what I am into. But this book… people said it was funny? Maybe I missed it, maybe it’s better if you’re Japanese? Maybe it’s a story about a woman on the autistic spectrum who has no real friends or allies meeting a man who is absolutely a scumbag. Maybe if said scumbag hadn’t reminded me of someone I actually know I would have seen some humor in it. But it was just a sad, strange little story about a woman who stops working at a convenience story and doesn’t care about the facial hair she grows in. Yeah, not for me.
Lumberjanes- Beware the Kitten Holy by Noel Stevenson: I wanted to like this so much more than I did. Noel Stevenson seems like a rad human, and the idea behind it was fun. I guess I just wanted it to be a bit more mature and dialogue heavy. Instead it ran like an after school Nickelodeon cartoon and it’s OK if that’s your thing, but it’s not for me. I need a little more depth for a story to hold my attention. This was like a puddle of rainbows, great for splashing, but not so great when you want to dive. This might be the only entry without any assholes in it! And speaking of assholes…
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan: A jerk and another jerk fall for each other which makes bunch of bigger jerks angry and EVERYTHING IS HELL AND SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR HAPPINESS BECAUSE BRIAN VAUGHAN DOESN’T WANT YOU TO HAVE IT. I would have liked these comics more, even with all the pointless nudity and weirdness for the sake of weirdness. Except that everyone’s a jerk and no one wants anyone else to be happy, or if they do you better believe they’ll be dead before the issue is complete. Sorry, Saga, but I’m sad enough in the real world, I don’t need to be sad every time I pick up a new chapter. Lying Cat was the only good person in this story, and I’ll just go ahead and assume it dies because it made me happy and Saga is where happiness goes to die.
Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey: Nothing like the promise of a selfish main character to really get a book started. I picked this up because I heard it had lgbtq representation in a time with the fantasy genre (and literature in general) was even more lacking in that sort of content then it is today. But man did I not like the lead, Vanyel. Selfish and oblivious do not even begin to cover how annoyed I was with the character. The world itself never became more then a vague watercolor of characters and places that were somehow over described and not described enough. And the use of terms of endearment was enough to make me ill. Use names! Stop calling everyone sweetling and dear heart over and over and over. Then there’s the Companions, who are really just sentient horses but for those girls you knew in grade school that were way too into horses and played bad online RPGs where they were sentient horses too! Give me Neopets and leave me alone. Also write a fantasy lead who is gay but doesn’t have a life full of tragedy and pain- why is that so hard? I know we’re leaving that era behind, but damn, why is it so hard to leave that trope behind?
Only nine! That’s not bad for the hundreds of books I’ve read over the years! Of course there are other disappointments out there, but I felt like these were the most popular out of the group.
I’m terribly hungry everyone, I think it’s time for waffles!