Sigh. What I wouldn’t give to be reading on the beach right now!
Last month I got into an interesting Twitter exchange with Grace and a few other peeps when I tweeted my confusion regarding people who post book reviews that are overwhelmingly positive towards everything they read. I don’t get it because for me, it’s pretty rare to come across a book I LOVE, and basically I like a lot of what I read but I also come across a lot of duds (some of which I finish and some of which I set aside). I always feel kind of mean giving bad reviews (and like, really? I’ve never written a book, I’m not Michiko Kakutani, who am I to criticize?). But I am a reader with a valid opinion, and I don’t want to recommend anything to anyone that I think is bad. Grace mentioned that when she dislikes a book, she just doesn’t mention it on the blog because she doesn’t want to be negative – which had never occurred to me as something to do or that others did, oddly. I totally respect that because it’s the kind thing to do, but to me I think it’s valuable to hear what the duds are (in the opinion of a blogger whose taste I respect).
Where do you guys stand? Do you like to hear about the duds or do you think it’s mean and unnecessary to give bad reviews? I’m curious, let me know in the comments!
Anyway here’s what I’ve read recently…some great, some not so great!
The Light We Lost: This book is about a couple who gets into an intense relationship in college, then breaks up due to various life circumstances, but sort of retain feelings for each other over the years as life continues taking them in different directions. Hmm. Maybe I’m a heartless b*tch but I didn’t like this that much. It was just okay and I felt like it was trying toooo hard to be a tearjerker but without much depth. I didn’t feel the emotions at all. I liked One Day (similar premise) a lot better.
The Snowman: Ooh, so good, about a detective going after a serial killer on the loose in Oslo. This is actually the latest installment in the Harry Hole detective series, written by Jo Nesbo and translated from Norwegian. I picked it up because I saw that a movie version was coming out with Michael Fassbender (my man!) and I figured it had to be good if he was in it (he makes good cinematic choices). I really liked it – I liked the main character, the story was compelling and a major page turner that kept you guessing. I thought I had it figured out a few times and was totally wrong. Fair warning: it’s really scary and kind of gory.
The Bat: Harry Hole installment #1. I decided to go back and start from the beginning which was massively kind of stupid, because the seventh book obviously gave away a lot of what came before. But I enjoyed it anyway – I just find these books to be such page turners. They’re well-written, the mysteries are multi-layered with lots of red herrings, and they’re kind of dark and different from other thrillers I’ve been reading in recent years.
Watch Me Disappear: Another one that was SO good! My sister loved it too and she’s a very tough crowd. It’s about a single dad whose wife has gone missing and is presumed dead. His daughter Olive starts having visions indicating that her mother may still be alive, while Jonathan simultaneously starts to discover some things that make him think his wife may not have been who they thought she was. That description doesn’t make it sound very good, but I swear, it’s so good. Very compelling, wonderful writing…just really, really enjoyable.
The Futures: Eek. So forgettable. I’m sorry if that’s mean but I feel like I just have to be honest! It’s about a couple in NYC during the financial crisis. None of the characters were particularly interesting and neither was the plot.
The Handmaid’s Tale: A re-read. I read it back in the day but definitely appreciate it more now that I’m older and more tuned in to current events. Obviously I’m obsessed with the show so I thought it was worth it to go back to the book. It’s a classic.
What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments!
I get so afraid to post about books that I like because I worry that other people won’t like them 😂 … especially if I LOVED one!
Hah, that’s funny! I never even thought of that….if I love a book and recommend it in good faith, I feel I’ve done all I can!
Here’s what I read recently and my opinion:
“The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware. I really liked this. I liked the way the story unfolded. Sort of a slow thriller.
“Saints for All Occasions” by J. Courtney Sullivan – I loved this. This is probably my favorite book of 2017.
“No One Can Pronounce my Name” – The story has a few flaws, but the characters are really likable.
“We Were the Lucky Ones” – This is fiction, but based on a true story. It’s a very good read and very timely with today’s hate rhetoric.
“The Glass Castle” – OK, but can the author really remember all those things and dialogue in detail?? The movie was not good.
“The Dry” – just OK. Not my favorite thriller.
Thank you so much for all of these great recs! I like Ruth Ware and am looking forward to her new one. I also have Saints for All Occasions sitting on my shelf and now I’m SO excited to pick it up!
Good post! I’d much rather hear an opinion than not – that’s why everyone looks at the reviews on Amazon or reads the critic reviews that they like so they can choose books, tough to do based on awards given to the book or covers. Ha. Esp. covers.
I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See and it’s amazing! Another one you liked. Loved Watch Me Disappear – one of the much better thriller type books.
Yes, All the Light We Cannot See was a beautiful book!
I was obsessed with One Day which is why I still have not picked up The Light We Lost. I was super worried it would not live up to those standards. Thanks for the honest reviews!
Eek. I mean, people definitely liked it! It has lots of good reviews…just did NOT work for me. I LOVED One Day, probably need to read it again.
Nah I want to read about the duds. It’s not mean, it’s honest. You tell us about all of the books you have read, which ones you liked or didn’t. It’s a reason I like your blog. What’s the point of reviews if they’re all going to be good, right? Another book-reading-blogger I like who gives honest book reviews is lattelisa.blogspot.com.
Thank you! I’m glad to hear that. I want to hear the duds from other people, so I’m glad others feel the same way and appreciate the honest reviews. It’s hard to know also if you share the same taste as someone else if you don’t know about the things they like AND dislike!
I like to hear about the duds! When I do my monthly book reviews, I write about all the books I finished, including the ones I did and didn’t like. I think there’s definitely a way to do a negative review without being cruel. Also, if someone whose taste I trust didn’t like a book, I definitely want to know, because I might bump the book down my TBR or borrow it from the library, rather than buy it.
I recently finished The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe. I thought it was pretty good, and since it sounds like you like Nordic Noir type thrillers, you might like this one too!
I’m glad we’re on the same page! I want to know about people’s likes and dislikes as well…glad to know that others feel the same. Definitely going to check out The Ice Beneath Her, thanks!
I always appreciate your book reviews. Have found so many great reads thanks to you, and I pass along your recommendations to my three sisters. Thank you for the time you put into these posts!