Worst Books of 2009

by Mark on January 15, 2010

As a youth I was in the habit of borrowing more library books than I was able to read.    My mom insisted that once I opened a book it must be completely read before I started another.   This rule was not only a good habit, but it really reduced my library fines.    The rule is torturous when you run into a novel that is disappointing and/or terrible.   I segmented the worst ten books into: those with big expectations and huge disappointments; and those I chose, even though they were probably bad.  On behalf of my mom and me: avoid these books and finish what you start.

High Expectations/High Disappointments

The Tales of Beetle The Bard by J.K. Rowling:   I am a huge Harry Potter that carried the seventh novel along the 95 mile West Highland Way hike in Scotland.   Beetle The Bard is extremely boring, lacking the creativity, tension and wonder of the Potter books.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown:  If Tom Hanks plans to make a movie about this one; he must rewrite the ending.    The beginning is exciting and fast-paced, like the Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.    By the middle readers are scratching their heads.    The end is so weak and disappointing that I would have slammed it down had it not been on my Kindle.

The Associate by John Grisham:  A self-centered law student is blackmailed.   He could walk away, but chooses to spy on a firm to protect his reputation.   He wiggles his way out of it and walks away, still a self-centered lawyer.   I actually rooted for the villain.

The Widows of Eastwick: by John Updike:  This sequel to the Witches of East wick is the author’s final book.   This is sorry one as a legacy.    The prose and descriptions are rich and colorful.   Like lyrics need music, this novel needs a plot and a purpose.   Neither is found.

UR by Stephen King:  My favorite 2008 novel was King’s Duma Key.  UR is about receiving a strange pink Kindle full of books written by authors after their deaths.     No haunts, terror, or nightmares – just boredom.

Shame on Me – I Suspected Trash As I Purchased Them

The Quickie and Run For Your Life – both by James Patterson and someone else.    Patterson is leading a trend where he outsources his brand to another writer, and like a factory, delivers best selling junk.  Quickie has a titillating title but beyond the cover the protagonists and antagonists are over-the-top in violence and stupidity.   In Run For Your Life a good serial killer can be interesting.   This guy is not good and the reason that he is killing everyone is weak.   Luckily, his chasers are the like the Keystone Cops with the flu.

Corsair and Spartan Gold – both by Clive Cussler:     I am a huge Dirk Pitt fan and always excited with the annual book.   Cussler watched Patterson print money and decided to outsource his brand to another writer.   Corsair is about a special CIA-like warship that fights the entire Libyan Navy and somehow solves the Middle East problems.     You guessed it:  are we at war with Libya? How can a ship solve problems in the middle of the desert?  In Spartan Gold we meet a couple with the passion of a brother and sister that fights the entire Russian mob with McGuiver-like paper clips and rubber bands.

A Darker Place by Jack Higgins:    In 1975 Higgins wrote The Eagle Has Landed, a near-perfect WWII plot to assassinate Winston Churchill.    For the next decade he delivered some decent thrillers.   Finally, he created a former IRA hit man who begins to work for a secret Great Britain team that fights terrorism.  One or two books with almost identical plots were too much.  A Darker Place is number 17.

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Gina January 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Ha! I haven’t read any of them. And now I won’t. You do your readers a great service. And Dan Brown was tired and tendentious in Angels and Demons and repeated the formula in the DaVinci Code. Didn’t like any of them, but I was a medieval history major in college (despite Rotten Otten…)

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