July and August were surprisingly full of break ups. What is happening!? Is my taste faltering, did I have a stroke, why don’t I like books anymore?? Or at least that’s how I feel. In truth, my favorite genres have taken a major turn from contemporary and historical fiction to YA and fantasy. I’m still trying to adjust my TBR and library holds to match, but it’s actually pretty hard when I still have so many great contemporary reads on my list…but I’m just not feeling it right now.
Most of my break ups this month were novels that are highly rated and often recommended on BookTube and blogs alike….but they just didn’t work for me. My attempts were via audio, and that might have something to do with it (you’ll see why below), but I suspect switching to print isn’t going to be the magical fix I’m looking for. I say “fix” because, as much as I didn’t like these books, I feel a little shameful about it. They’re SERIOUSLY popular, and I really want to like them….but I just don’t. Or at least right now (I’m hoping). *sigh* The book shame is real today.
First, the Pity Dates:
I.E. Books I desperately wanted to quit, but couldn’t…
Zero K by Don DeLillo
I thought Zero K would be a cool sci-fi story, delving into technological advances in cryogenics and the repercussions of highly questionable biomedical theories. In reality, the novel focuses on our main character, Jeffrey, who is struggling to, not only understand why his father wants to early-term his life in order to freeze himself for the future, but why his parents couldn’t stay together, why did his father leave him? DeLillo’s overall message was completely overshadowed by the family drama and weird cult-like faction he created.
Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt
A riff on The Fable, Undermajordomo was completely underwhelming and over the top. DeWitt tried WAY too hard to make his novel interesting, that he lost sight of his characters. While I initially fed into the playful language and quirky characters, once I reached the pie-slapping scene, I really, really wanted to quit. Was that really necessary? It happens, and then there’s no mention of it again or any repercussions…. so really, what was the point? But then again, you could say the same thing for every ridiculous thing that happens in the book.
And the Break Ups:
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I was so excited when I discovered The Secret History was available to checkout on Overdrive, but then I started listening, and then really listening, to the story, and I just had to end it. For starters, the main character (and narrator) is from California and attending a prestigious New England college, so why the Southern accent? WHY? I really want to blame the audio book, since I never could get past that one point, but everything from the word usage to the actual story seemed over-pretentious. I get that the characters are philosophy students, so a little pretentiousness is to be expected, but it just became insufferable after a couple hours.
The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1) by Brent Weeks
Again, I could easily blame the audio book narrator for this one – the guy is a total surfer dude, but in all honesty, I began reading The Black Prism in PRINT and then switched to audio…surfer dude quality is prevalent in both. Not that I have anything against surfers, but it just doesn’t quite mesh with the high fantasy setting. Maybe one day I’ll revisit the series, the premise is fascinating, but for now, it’s a break up.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)
by Laini Tayler
So I skipped the second book in the series…but I still stand by this break up. Even without a Wiki refresher, the novel is an easy follow-up from the first installment. Unfortunately, I only made it half-way before the breakup. The mythology became overcomplicated and the romance between Karou and Akiva stale and repetitive…. not something you really want to read for 600 plus pages. Still, I wonder whatever became of Eliza, and how her story fit with the rest of the plot…
What books have you disliked lately? Will you read any of them again?