Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Worst of 2011

When I leave the library, I usually have two cloth bags bulging with books.  Some of these will get replaced in the bag after I have read to page three.  Those rejects are not on this list.  But sometimes I am lured along, and later wonder, what was I thinking?  This happened seven times this year.  Here is my personal disappointment list.

The Sentamentalists by Joanna Skinrud I said it all on this blog elsewhere.  This book is blurble. Why did it win the Giller?  The committee must have been stoned.

 Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson.  Awful title but, in a creepy way, apt.. Murder after murder.  Man murders a mother and two children out of the blue.  Husband murders three people at a birthday party. Comes back and terrorizes his family and then kills himself but first kills a policeman.   Jackson, the detective, has a sister murdered and brother who hung himself.  Reggie’s mother drowns. Her teacher friend dies in a car crash that causes a train wreck and kills 15 people.  The original killer commits suicide.  The kidnapped doctor murders her two kidnappers.  The good news?  Not so much.



 Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving.  Unnerving book.  Tells and does not show.  Asides to the reader.  Brackets bits of separate information.  Jumps around in time.  The boy turns into a writer and he throws in writing advice here and there.  Odd way of referring to people: Ketchum is “the woodsman,” the lumber jack is called “the old toilet reader.” The plot baffles. And so on.  Not a book one can sink into, thank heavens.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.  Dull without much of a plot. The characters pine and fade because they are not married and never will be.  Mary Anning, who gets a lot of POV, is not even vivid and sounds just like the other POV people with a few bits of dialect tossed in.  Usually I love Chevalier but not this one.

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer.  Another apt title which could describe the entire book. Swill, upper class swill, the worst kind. A thriller,so called, introduces some very clever bad types out to steal a Van Gogh painting.  The painting is housed in a British estate straight from the 1880’s with a perfect butler and such a stereotypical mistress that one feels she was imported in from the moon. A lot of nonsense about the British (upper class) savoir faire.  I may fro up.

The  Devil of Nanking by Mo Hyder.  A gruesome book, unnecessarily so. It is interesting that this may be the first instance of kettling. The Japanese army kettled thousands of people and moved them forward and shot them, piling the bodies at one end of the kettle. 300,000 people were massacred in this manner. The book however, adds contemporary gruesome tales on to the historical gruesome tales and throws in a few end-of war-starvation tales where people ate people to round out a thoroughly sickening book. The main character seems too bizarre to be real.
Under The Broken Sky by Shandi Mitchell – Hard working prairie farmer loses his land twice and of course kills himself but first he goes to jail and experiences many other hardships.  Drearier than any novel should be.




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