I was doing some blog hopping today and I’ve noticed that plenty o’ folks are putting out lists of their favourite books read in 2016. This is bad for two reason: the first is that my TBR, which I have been demolishing quite a bit, has now risen past its original peak. The second is that, while these posts are tons of fun and give you a lot of insight into differing types of readers, they can start to blend all together after a bit of time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a list of my favourite books from this year scribbled on a piece of college-lined paper beneath my keyboard, which will up later this week. But I didn’t want to start with that. I wanted to get the bad tastes off my tongue and expunge myself of all the terribly disappointing (and occasionally downright appalling) novels from these past 360ish days. Six wonderfully bad titles have made their way to this list (with some help from my dearest friend, GoodReads). Let’s check them out below!
6.) Battlestar Galactica: Six by J.T. Krul & Igor Lima
What’s it about: Graphic novel origin story for Number Six, who’s my favourite character from the 2004 tele serial.
Why did it suck: The storytelling is immensely choppy and told between flashbacks that are incoherent & inconsistent with messy, unorganized illustrations & panel arrangement. The storytelling strips the character of her depth, which is what sets her aside from others like her. Her struggle with her very existence is the foundation for what shapes her into a powerful and influential contribution for the rest of the series. This struggle of existentialism is atrociously depicted by the disjointed babbling that was the writing.
5.) Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies Table – Our Journey Through the Middle East by Ted Dekker
What’s it about: Ted Dekkar and Carl Medearis take a journey into the Middle East where they sit down with numerous political and religious leaders to discuss “loving one’s enemies.”
Why did it suck: Dekker bitches and moans the entire time about how afraid he was of the journey and how much he was against it. This is a fact that he likes to mention in every single chapter. I get it dude, you’re fucking terrified. You can stop being such a child about it now. I never understood why he went. If he was so vehemently against the whole notion, then why get on that bloody plane? Whatever it was, it didn’t bode well for this book, Sir Dekker. Prattling aside, as a person who comes from an Islamic background, I found many things said by Dekker to be quite offensive on varying levels. Whether it was done intentionally, or simply out of uneducated mumbling, it did nothing to help me be more sympathetic to this cause. You can check out my full review for more technical reasons on why this book was a horrible experience.
4.) Freeks by Amanda Hocking
What’s it about: A young girl, named Mara, is part of a travelling circus that’s got folks with supernatural abilities or deformities. They get a lot of offensive treatment no matter where they go. When they arrive in the city of Caudry, one of them is murdered, thus engaging a suspenseful (or so we hope) strange mystery.
Why did it suck: It’s painfully boring. There is no atmosphere at all to the point where I read about someone getting their guts slashed and all I felt was apathy. There is a severe lack of tension, or anxiety. The romance is borderline insta-love and extremely lacklustre. Also, tossing an ethnic female protagonist into a book simply for story decoration is an automatic TURN-OFF, and if you’re going to do that, at least get your languages straight. GUJRATI AND HINDI TWO ARE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES!!!! You can read my full rant here.
3.) The Other Side of Gravity by Shelly Crane
What’s it about: Sophelia is a runaway slave who escapes her terrible environment and oppressor as a stowaway on a ship, where she encounters a young man named Maxton. Maxton happens to be a black-market trader, who ends up turning her in for reward money…twice. Plotting occurs and the two end up being romantic interests while being on the run.
Why did it suck: The maceration of an empowering female figure to something as absurd as a “cute boy.” The romance is wholly insta-love and based entirely on physical appearances. It’s an excruciatingly unrealistic and overly-used literary device for authors who are too lazy to put effort into creating a real romance. There is very little to no world-building in this highly, technologically advanced utopian world, which leaves the reader feeling hungry and unsatisfied for the techno mumbo-jumbo. It’s like the author expects you to be aware of all the gadgets that she’s created without much information to go on. There is so much more I hated about this book, which you can read here, but these points are the gist of it all.
2.) The Horror at Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft
NOT GOING TO JUSTIFY THIS WITH A SYNOPSIS, SO HERE’S WHY THIS FUCKING SUCKED (AND ALMOST MADE MY NO. 1 HATED BOOK THIS YEAR): This is one of the most disgustingly racist, bigoted, pieces of shit that I have read all year. The writing is a god-awful catastrophe of “smart” words that are used to veil the grossly offensive discrimination and disrespect that is shown towards people of color, poverty, and varying religious backgrounds. I sincerely hope the rest of Lovecraft’s work isn’t this type of ridiculousness because if it is, then I have no idea how someone like him could be so idolized in the literary world. Unacceptable.
Now, before I get to my #1, I just want to say a few words. Most people who follow my blog already are probably aware that I’m a devoted student of Japanese and Indian history, culture, and literature (especially). Since then, I am passionately against anything that involves cultural appropriation and offensive representation of these cultures and people. While I am advocate for diversity and proper representation, and own voices in general, these two are very near and dear to my heart. With that said, it really should come as no surprise that my number one most disappointing book for 2016 is a book that was released in the 2016 calender year and encapsulates everything that I fight against as a diverse book blogger.
1.) The Geisha with the Green Eyes by India Millar
THIS BOOK IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHAT’S WRONG WITH NON-OWN-VOICES, PoC REPRESENTATION IN LITERATURE TODAY!
NOT GOING TO JUSTIFY THIS WITH A SYNOPSIS, SO HERE’S WHY THIS SUCKED AND HAS THUS FOUND ITS WAY TO MY NUMBER ONE SPOT OF DISAPPOINTING BOOKS FOR 2016!
- A narrative that takes morsels about Japanese history and culture most likely acquired via media outlets and poor Google searches, slams it together with crude and graphic sexual elements to create a fan-fiction telling of Memoirs of a Geisha by A. Golden.
- Implementation of Japanese words without proper context, or definition. When definitions are provided it’s horridly jarring, disrupting what little flow there is to the storytelling. Most words used are also done so incorrectly.
- THERE. IS. NO. PLOT. Just sex, terrible sex at that.
- There is an author’s note in the very beginning that tries at offering the readers some information about Japanese history, such as information about Kabuki theatre, yet there were no acknowledgements to show where these “facts” came from. I’ve taken many classes on Japanese history, & read numerous books about it, as it’s a field I’m making a career out of, & a couple of the “facts” she offered are very incorrect. I’m not an expert, & I won’t claim to be, but when these “facts” were discussed with an actual specialist in the field, it further validated the inaccuracies. If you’re going to represent a culture & history of a certain race of people without the intent for accurate adumbration, then please provide a blatant disclaimer saying so. Don’t say in your Author’s Note that everything is “loosely” based off history then proceed to provide the audience with historical facts that are in truth terribly wrong.
- As far why I believe literature like this is “what is wrong with PoC representation in literature today” is because without the appropriate disclaimers, information, & acknowledgements there are plenty of folks who will pick up a title like this & assume that all the information is correct. An assumption will be made that this type of novel is an embodiment of the people & culture it’s talking about. There are enough misguided illustrations of PoC people in literature today that is leaving the door wide open for ridiculous stereotypes & offensive tropes already. We really don’t need to add to it with this sort of bullshit!
Well, that does it for my top six most disappointing books for the year 2016. What are some of your most unsatisfying and terrible reads for the year? Were you disappointed by an anticipated title? Let me know your thoughts down below.
Until next time, happy reading and happy holidays! 🎄🎄🎄