Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Top 15 Disappointments of 2007

On the other end of the spectrum from the list I posted earlier this morning, these are the biggest disappointments of 2007 for me. The list does not include the 15 books I started and could not force myself to finish in 2007 because I don't think it would be fair to include books that I didn't actually read all the way through. But, even excluding those 15, I have a full list of 15 relative stinkers that I read in 2007. Don't ask me why I read every word of these:
1. Fortunate Son - Walter Mosley

2. The Collectors - David Baldacci

3. The Overnight - Ramsey Campbell

4. The Rope Eater - Ben Jones

5. A Disorder Peculiar to the Country - Ken Kalfus

6. Probable Cause - Theresa Schwegal

7. The Plot Against America - Philip Roth

8. Galatea 2.2 - Richard Powers

9. The Dead Guy Interviews - Michael A. Stusser

10. Hooked - Matt Richtel

11. The Afghan - Frederick Forsyth

12. Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

13. Until I Find You - John Irving

14. The Big Clock - Kenneth Fearing

15. Bee Season - Myla Goldberg
As in the previous list, not all of these were first published in 2007 but they were part of my reading for the year.


  1. I loved Bee Season. And Plot Against America was pretty good too I thought. I read it a couple of years ago on a business trip. Maybe it's more fun when you read it on a plane?

  2. I posted a list similar to this the other day, it was my worst 8 reads of the year. Kind of a random number I know. I thought the same thing as you, why did I read every page of those books? I actually haven't read a single book on your list, probably a good thing, eh?

  3. I don't think I made it through even the first interview! That one was truly a waste of trees...

  4. I'm not surprised that you liked those two titles at all, Stefanie. They are both highly respected books and have received great reviews. But for some reason, neither one worked for me at all. Maybe it was just the wrong time for me to pick them up...that happens to me sometimes.

  5. It does make you wonder why we bothered, Matt, but like you said on your blog, I read some of these as promises to publishers or other web sites. The reading became a real job in those cases and I started to resent the time the books stole from my own reading choices. That's when you know you really, really dislike a book.

  6. Jenclair, "Interviews" was a really terrible book. I obligated myself to review it for another site and I pretty much trashed it there. I found the whole approach to be so childish that it could have been written by a literate 12-year old boy overwhelmed by hormones. It stunk.

  7. I read Bee Season for book club a year or so ago. I hated it as well. Everyone in the club loved it and I felt like such a grump. Its nice to know I'm not alone.

  8. Bee Season made my "worst of 2007" list, too. I see merit in the book, but in the end, I didn't like it at all.

  9. I'm glad I'm not the only one who disliked The Plot Against America. I must have read the first fifty pages 5 times and never could finish it!

  10. Debd and Krakovianka, we may be a small club of three but I'll bet there are many others out there who didn't enjoy "Bee Season" much or at all. I thought the plot was worthy but the characters ill-defined and unlikable...including the little girl speller.

  11. Bookgal, I think that "overrated" perfectly describes "The Plot Against America." Roth is living on reputation alone for that one, IMO.

  12. Of all the horrible books published this and every year, I can't believe you would pick the perfectly lovely 'Bee Season' in your Top 15 Worst. You must have been having some terrible days during the reading. It made my Top 10 Best.

  13. I don't particularly remember reading "Bee Season" at a bad time in my year, Mike. I simply found the central family to be entirely unlikable and unsympathetic and the writing to be pretty ordinary. It just didn't work for me. I realize it was a favorite of many more than the number who didn't enjoy it.