The CLUNKERS of 2020

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The CLUNKERS of 2020

Dez 24, 2020, 6:59pm

For the 15th year in a row, here's the place to post your "clunkers" of the year: the books you just couldn't get through, the ones you threw across the room, or the books you finished but really disliked. Go ahead, tell us how you really feel! :-)

Post one or several and tell us why it gets your vote as a clunker.

Worst of 2006

Worst of 2007

Worst of 2008

Worst of 2009

Worst of 2010

Worst of 2011

Worst of 2012

Worst of 2013

Worst of 2014

Worst of 2015

Worst of 2016

Worst of 2017

Worst of 2018

Worst of 2019

Remember, one reader's clunker is another reader's treasure!

Dez 24, 2020, 10:32pm

Through the alimentary canal with gun and camera; a fascinating trip to the interior, by George S. Chappell.

I got this book from a friend's father, who was downsizing his library. Written in 1930, I found it to be tedious not to mention terribly out of date. I couldn't get through more than a few pages without flipping to another chapter to see if the next chapter was more bearable. I gave up halfway through.

Dez 25, 2020, 12:15pm

Man In the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell 2.5/5 stars

I read a great deal of good books this year. This wasn't horrible but it wasn't a favorite of mine.

Dez 25, 2020, 11:33pm

Oh, come on -- there are five days left in 2020! There may be a treasure of awfulness lurking just around the corner!

I do have a couple of nominations, but will let the year run out before I commit to the finalists.

Dez 26, 2020, 8:20am

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize. I read the whole book to see if I could figure out why. Never did. A major yuk for me.

Dez 30, 2020, 1:09pm

Clunkers... oh, my. I had about 50% more DNFs this year than average -- 15 of 'em. And while I couldn't agree more with lamplight's evaluation of The Goldfinch, I read it a couple of years ago, so it doesn't qualify for this year's award.

Hall of Shame for 2020 is led by The Third Hotel, by Laura Van den Berg, which would have been given Airmail Special Delivery across the room had it not been for a F2F book club read (as was The Goldfinch, come to think of it). My review calls it a "surrealistic mish-mosh" and "a total waste of time".

The other two, oddly, are actually by authors I usually enjoy -- Terms of Endearment, by Larry McMurtry, and Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo.

I had enjoyed the movie adaptation of Terms of Endearment, but the character of Aurora in the book was so annoying that I just couldn't finish it.

I did finish Bridge of Sighs, and rather wish I hadn't. It was just too much. Too many words. Too many characters. Too many simmering conflicts. Too much to ask of any reader, even one whose admiration for the author gets crushed to jelly under the weight of this interminable tale.

Looking forward to everyone else's Hall of Shame nominees.

Dez 31, 2020, 10:33am

My worst books of the year were The Notorious Bull Nelson and MacArthur in Asia; the first had an interesting topic but the author just couldn't cultivate the bloody-mindedness needed to get to grips with an admittedly obnoxious individual, whereas the second was just too clunky (perhaps better in the original Japanese).

Maybe not bad per se, but I just found that The Light Brigade and Storm of Locusts didn't live up to the hype for me; as always, your mileage may differ.

Jan 1, 10:36am

>4 LyndaInOregon: I like that you held out a few more days to see if 2020 could bring you some more clunkers! :-)

Jan 1, 10:40am

Unpopular opinion coming...I didn't like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I love this author, but I did not find any entertainment value in this tale.

I also didn't like The Sisters Grimm: A Novel by Menna Van Praag. It was a good story, but the ending was a great big letdown.

Abr 21, 12:15pm

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is bad y'all. I'd gone into the book with such excitement (I loved The Secret History) but it is *mind-numbingly bad*. I hate the main character, and I'm not sure Tartt remembered to put an actual PLOT in the book. It's just stuff that happens to a creepy traumatized kid as he drifts through life wasting time getting high and committing fraud. Two thumbs down, don't waste a year trying to slog through it as I did, hoping against hope that the next page will somehow, miraculously make this book enjoyable to read (spoiler: it doesn't. I'm still freakin' reading it and it REALLY doesn't.)

Editado: Abr 29, 7:53am

On the non-fiction front the clunker of the year would be MacArthur in Asia, as even though it had some information I was not aware of it was, well, just very clunky; maybe it read better in the original Japanese.

On the fiction front there were a number of highly touted books that wound up annoying me, but Storm of Locusts seemed so meh that I'm very reluctant to look at the book Ms. Roanhorse has on the Hugo short list for best novel. Maybe she's now living up to the hype, but some shallow world-building was exposed and her antagonists were cardboard. This is keeping in mind that I rather liked Trail of Lightning. Roanhorse was apparently proud to have gotten a novel out while the iron was hot, but a rush job will always be obvious as a rush job.