Bottom Five Books of 2018

31 Dec

After having fun picking out my top five books, I liked the idea of picking out my bottom five as well. These are ones I don’t recommend based on my experience, and I’ll explain why that was as best I can.

#5: The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Like my Top Five, this list also features a lot of Book Club selections. This was one we universally did not appreciate. There was some allegory in the story, I’m sure, but none of us got it. We ended up confused and unsure about what we were supposed to think. There were elements to the book that were fun, but most of them were creepy and confusing. I think this book was over-edited to the point where only those who read earlier drafts understood what happened in the final one.

#4: The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Unpopular opinion here, but I really disliked this one. A lot of my book club felt the same but obviously, there were some who felt another way with this one winning the Man Booker Prize. There were funny parts to be sure, but on the whole, the satire was too much for me and I couldn’t let myself enjoy the story as a whole.

#3: The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl

I don’t think many of you are surprised to see this one here. It rambled and was very confusing and it took me months to finish it because I kept finding excuses to focus on something else. When something struggles that much to keep my attention, I know there’s a real issue.

#2: Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

I’d almost forgotten about this one before I went back through my books to get this post together. It’s my only One Star read this year. However, the fact that I forgot about it is why it’s not #1. Again, this one rambled without a real semblance of heading to a point. I felt that I could have skipped the entire story and moved to the third in the series without issue. I was really disappointed after liking the first book so much, though maybe I don’t want to reread it now.

#1: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

This was the biggest struggle I had all year. It had a good message and a lot to say, but it felt too dated to me. If I’d read it in the context of a book with historical significance, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. Maybe I would have recognized that it was there to teach something once and that the lesson had been heard. But I read it for a book club meeting and tried my darndest to finish it before the meeting without success. This book reflected the age in which it was written and with myself being born 30 years after that age, it didn’t speak to me at all.

Well, there you have it. It felt right to do the bottom after praising the top. Everything else fell somewhere in the middle. Not a bad place to be.

Until next time, write on.

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2 Responses to “Bottom Five Books of 2018”

  1. cellenbogen December 31, 2018 at 10:28 AM #

    I absolutely agree with you about THE SELLOUT. Overrated and unfunny. I read The Feminine Mystique this year, too. I guess I decided going in that it was going to be dated, and so I read it more as a historical document than any kind of current commentary. I read it more because I thought I should than anything else.


    • Sam December 31, 2018 at 1:19 PM #

      I read it because my book club picked it. I’m the youngest in my club by about 30 years. I kissed the meeting so I wonder if I have a very different opinion than the rest. Happy reading!


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