This post is probably the hardest to do. This list is not about my most hated books and if I look back to all the books I read this year, there are so many more with lower ratings that aren't on this list because this one is about all those books I thought I would love, but ultimately that wasn't the case. I always feel the need to do a little disclaimer: the fact that I didn't love these books is no reason for them to be bad and I've seen many amazing reviews popping up for each of them. Two books in this stack - The Power and Autumn - I actually enjoyed reading and I would recommend them but the high expectations I had worked against me and that's why I included in my most disappointed reads of this year. As always, I will say if the premise of the book sounds interesting to you, I'll say give them a go; plenty of readers out there loved these titles. But let's talk the reasons why I included them in this list, shall we?
The Power by Naomi Alderman. Oh, how much potential this book had. The premise goes like this: all of a sudden women realised they have a sort of power inside of them, they can cause pain when they touch others through electricity and the world changes. The power shifts. That alone was reason enough for me to pick it up but then it won the Baileys and I was determined to read it immediately. While I can see why it won said award, I don't think the book itself was the greatest. My feelings towards it are confusing. As I said I believe it's worth the read, it proves that power corrupts everything and everyone; however I think the execution of the story was very poor and I wasn't the biggest fan of the writing style either.
The Clocks in this House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks. I so wanted to love this story. It ticked all the boxes, it is whimsical and dark, very dark but for whatever reason - maybe I wasn't in the right head space to fully appreciate it - the book just didn't work for me. The story is extremely non-sensical, maybe too much in my opinion. This is one that I'll maybe reread one day; it does have so many layers.
Autumn by Ali Smith. My first Ali Smith for now. I was intrigued to pick this up because I deals with Brexit - although there is more to the story than just Brexit - and even though I felt the story to be good I've heard such amazing things about Smith's books that I felt somewhat underwhelmed by the book. I mean, I liked it but I wasn't blown away like everybody else. I want to read Winter though, maybe I enjoyed that one more.
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. This book, my god. So many amazing reviews out there, many authors saying it's a masterpiece and I was there feeling very anxious and extremely uncomfortable reading it thinking "how is this a masterpiece? am I missing something?" I was disgusted by the story and it was very hard to read at times but I also wanted to see how it would end. This is one I kept musing about even weeks after finishing it, shaping my opinion of it slowly. I can say now that picking up a teenage girl as the narrator wasn't the best choice. I don't know about you but having a grown up man writing about a girl, Turtle, who is abused by her father and doing it so from her perspective doesn't suit well with me. It just felt wrong and very disturbing. Also, Turtle's voice felt out of place as well. Some of the scenes felt unrealistic and the ending was also a bit underwhelming. I don't know if I'll be able to explain myself coherently but long story short, the book ended when I wished it could have started or when it felt like the story could go somewhere.
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. I kept seeing this book everywhere and the sound of it - a fictional account of the Borden killings - was right up my alley. In the end, I wasn't massively impressed. Maybe I was expecting a lot from it but the only thing memorable for me was reading about the messed up family dynamic but I wasn't a fan of the way Schmidt handled the mystery.
The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis. Of all the titles in this pile, this one is probably the one that makes me so sad to include here. I truly thought this one would make it to my favourite reads - what a disappointing turn of events. I knew this story would be about an anti-hero and I'm a sucker for those but oh my goodness I hated her with a passion. Ellis tries to make you empathize with her but Anne, the main character, is a vicious, heartless bitch. There is no other way to describe her and I finally realised that if Anne would have been introduced as such from the very beginning I wouldn't have had any problems with the book. If I was supposed to be fascinated by Anne, I wasn't. I was just angry. It is very well-written though and the story is engaging.
Mariana by Monica Dickens. I like coming of age stories but this one was just boring in my opinion and the main character, Mary, an insufferable selfish young girl.
There you have it! My next post will be a more positive one since I'll share my favourite reads of the year. I cannot wait!