13 Books I did not enjoy

1. I just saw the preview for the DVD Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts. I love Julia Roberts movies but I did not like this book at ALL and so I am disappointed that Julia is starring in the movie. The book had such great reviews and I was so excited to read it but Elizabeth Gilbert was annoying and got worse as the book went on. I can’t imagine the movie could be changed in any way as to make it more palatable. I think I will have to pass on the experience (which won’t be hard since I don’t go to movies anyway!) The idea behind the story is appealing – change your life and reconnect to the things that are important, but the way this unfolds in Elizabeth Gilberts life sounds self aggrandizing and completely unrelatable to anyone without the kinds of resources she has at her disposal.

2. The Time Traveller’s Wife. Audrey Niffeneger

This really could have been a great book, and I loved the premise of it, however it just fell flat. It felt like the author got tired of writing it so she just stopped. I was right into it almost the whole way through and then all of a sudden everything came to a halt. I thought there were a lot of loose strings left in the abrupt conclusion. Have I mentioned I thought it ended rapidly and unexpectedly? I know a lot of people who just LOVE this book, but I got tired of it at the same time the author did.

3. The Scarpetta Factor. Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell’s books for me have been deteriorating over time, each one worse than the one before. This one seals the deal for me. No more Cornwell.

4. Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. Jenny McCarthy

More than anything I wanted this book to be a good one. One of my sons (we are still waiting on an official diagnosis) we strongly believe falls on the autism spectrum. We also know that every single child is different. Our two boys both have one diagnosis that is identical, but they are as different from one another as two human beings could possibly be. So I KNOW that there isn’t just a one answer that will solve the problems of every autistic child. I can appreciate the struggle of trying to get support for something you KNOW is wrong, and being turned away at very door you know of to go to. My problem with Jenny’s book is that she has a LOT more resources than the “everyday” parent of a child with Autism. She has connections we will never have in a million years. I am extremely happy for her, and I feel her pain as the parent of a special needs child, but I felt she was out of touch with what other parents feel, as if she only got “half” the picture. In addition to that – she is not a great writer and it was a painful read.

If you want to know of a GOOD book on this topic read – The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown. Admittedly the focus is a bit different, but the realities of living with a child with disabilities resonates much more in this book tan in McCarthy’s.

5. The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing it all. Alexandra Penney

This lady is OUT OF TOUCH. First of all she was never a “bag lady”, she was an extremely rich person who had to deal with losing a lot of money. she had more money than I will have in my lifetime and she lost it. A tragedy for sure, but she has NO CONCEPT of how people in America struggle every day just to get by. She had to sell some of her houses. Oh my. I couldn’t muster up sympathy for her if I tried – even though I admit she suffered a great loss.

6. The Magicians. Lev Grossman

I am right in the middle of a kick on fantasy novels. This book was heralded as an adult version of Harry Potter. HA! From beginning to end this book was a failure with one exception – the excursion to the south pole. Literally every page I turned I thought to myself – “if only they had done this instead”. It was by no means a book to get lost in. The vast majority of the story was about self indulgent, lazy, alcohol stupefied wannabes.

7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. David Wroblewski

Maybe because the book was hyped so much I thought it was going to be so much more. I like a book with a decent conclusion. This was not it.

8. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams

I think I am missing something here. “HHGTG” has cult status among science fiction fans. It was a radio show, it has been made into books, comics, computer games… you name it. I read it for the first time in May 2012. I was completely baffled by why this book is so famous. I thought it was boring, not funny at all and I struggled to finish the darn thing. I guess I can say I missed the plot on this one!

9. Why Men Lie.

I tried to read this book because the author is Canadian and I am trying to read 13 books by Canadians in one year. I HATE this book. it was boring and completely uninteresting. I tried to hard to read this book that I basically didn’t get anything else read for almost a MONTH while I tried to slog through this one. I have to say it is one book I did not finish and I finally accepted I would never finish and returned it to the library. I honestly don’t care why men lie, but the book never provided me with any earth shattering information either. Maybe if I had made it to the end it would have been better but I doubt it. I am primarily disappointed that the rest of me reading was affected by this book and that I was not able to count it towards the challenge.

10.The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

I absolutely detested this book. Abel is a teenager caring for his sister after the disappearance of his mother. Anna is a student in his classes who is drawn to him. Abel tells his little sister a fairy tale with characters representing people in real life – a lighthouse keeper who is a teacher, a cat as his missing mother.
I found for a teenager who is caring for his sister and supposedly doing all he can to provide, the fairy tale, which is a KEY part of the story is a dark and disturbing ta…moreI absolutely detested this book. Abel is a teenager caring for his sister after the disappearance of his mother. Anna is a student in his classes who is “mysteriously” drawn to him. Abel tells his little sister a fairy tale with characters representing people in real life – a lighthouse keeper who is a teacher, a cat as his missing mother and so on.
I found for a teenager who is caring for his sister and supposedly doing all he can to provide, the fairy tale, which is a KEY part of the story is a dark and disturbing tale and one that I would never tell a small child.
Much of this book was disturbing to me, including how Abel rapes Anna – yes I said rapes, and how disconnected her parents are from what is happening in their daughters life – especailly as it is an apparent dramatic shift from who she normally is.This is a terrible book!

11. A Prison Diary. Jeffrey Archer

I am a huge fan of Jeffrey Archer and this book was a complete disappointment.
After being sentenced to prison basically Jeffrey wrote notes on eveything that was happening to him. He didnt eat prison food and…. yup thats about it.
This is a terrible book!

12. and 13. Making Toast. Roger Rosenblatt AND Two Kisses for Maddie by Mathew Longelin

I am grouping these two books into one because I was disappointed in them for the exact same reason. They are both autobiographical books and in both storeis the young moms have passed away due to some medical tradgedy. One is told by the father of the deceased and the other by the husband. In BOTH stories the writer seems completely detatched from the story as if holloly recounting details of the events without making any connection to the reader or to the people in the story. I think the potential for these stories is IMMENSE and they both fell completely flat for me.

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The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

 

The Orphan King (Merlin's Immortals, #1)

I wish I would check before I read a “book one” of a series to determine if any other books in the series are published or if I am going to have to wait many years for installment number two to be published. You would think I had learned SOMETHING from J.K Rowling! This is book one (obviously) and Book 2 is not due out for another year or so, by which time I am certain to have forgotten what this book was about or that I was even mildly interested in reading more.
I say “mildly” because I feel in a way as though I was tricked by this book. I believe all books with a religious slant should come with a warning – the way music comes with an “explicit lyric” warning for consumers. Unfortunately there was no such warning on this book and of course I was more than 100 pages in before the whole “why would a loving God allow this to happen” conversation and “preaching” took place.
On one hand I am glad I picked the book up because it turns out the author is a Canadian and I am committed to reviewing  some books by Canadians in the next year, but had I know Brouwer was a well known author of evangelical books I would have passed on this one.
Thomas was raised in a monastery where he was ill treated. His mother (who he was taught never to reveal ans anything but his nursemaid) has taught him to read and write in French and Latin and he has continued to read and learn past her death. Without knowing his full role in fulfilling prophesy and unaware of his allies and enemies he leaves the monastery and begins to follow a path laid out for him by his mother prior to her death.
He is joined in his journey by a pickpocket, a knight and a beautiful deaf and mute girl. One is an ally, one is a spy and Thomas knows nothing about any of them, nor of their role in his life.
All in all the book is a quick read, I finished it in a few hours. People who are less sensitive than I about religion and being preached to may not be offended at all by the religious undertones of the story, but unless you want to wait another year for the second part of this tale I would recommend waiting before picking this book up.

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Annabel by Kathleen Winter

In 1968, into the devastating, spare atmosphere of the remote coastal town of Labrador, Canada, a child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor fully girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret: the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor and midwife, Thomasina. Though Treadway makes the difficult decision to raise the child as a
boy named Wayne, the women continue to quietly nurture the boy’s female side. And as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting society of his father, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as “Annabel,” is never entirely extinguished.

From page one of this book to the very last I absolutely loved every single word. The book is set in Labrador. Wayne’s father Treadway is a trapper who spends months each year away from his family.
I tried to come up with an excerpt from the book that I could share to illustrate how powerful the writing is but it is impossible to chose just one. The entire book is like a poem. It is so vivid and beautiful it was a pleasure to read and be carried away by the author. It is the best book I have read all year. I absolutely LOVE it.

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Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe, by Stuart McLean

Here is yet another example of how I sometimes feel as though I am on a foreign planet, when really, I am just in Canada and reading Canadian books.
I checked this book out of the library and the librarian asked me if I listened to Stuart McLean on the radio. I had NO idea who Stuart McLean was, but I smiled and nodded as I do when I am completely confused.
I took the book home and read it in one sitting and I FELL IN LOVE.
I laughed (out loud for REAL), and I cried, and I decided right then and there I was googling Stuart McLean the very next opportunity I had in front of a computer.

I did it. I googled Stuart McLean. I have learned something today people. Something I am going to share with you here so you don’t have to go out and google him yourself.

A MILLION people listen to his radio show. AS THEY SHOULD – and so should I  – and so should you!!!!!!

This is all from the CBC website which I am siting here so as not to be accused of plagiarism:
Here is all you ever needed to know about Stuart McLean but didn’t (or maybe you did)

Stuart McLean is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humorist, and host of CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe.
Stuart began his broadcasting career making radio documentaries for CBC Radio’s Sunday Morning. In 1979 he won an ACTRA award for Best Radio Documentary for his contribution to the program’s coverage of the  Jonestown massacre.
Following Sunday Morning, Stuart spent seven years as a regular columnist and guest host on CBC’s Morningside. His book, The Morningside World of Stuart McLean, was a Canadian bestseller and a finalist in
the 1990 City of Toronto Book Awards.

Stuart has also written Welcome Home: Travels in Small Town Canada, and edited the collection When We Were Young. Welcome Home was chosen by the Canadian Authors’ Association as the best non-fiction book of 1993.
Stuart’s books Stories from the Vinyl Cafe, Home from the Vinyl Cafe, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged, Vinyl Cafe Diaries, Dave Cooks the Turkey, Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe, Extreme Vinyl Cafe and Vinyl Cafe
Notebooks have all been Canadian bestsellers. Vinyl Cafe Diaries was awarded the Canadian Authors’ Association Jubilee Award in 2004. Stuart is also a three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for Home from the Vinyl Cafe, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged and Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe. New out in the fall of 2012 is another story collection, Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe.

Vinyl Cafe books have also been published in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
In December 2011 Stuart McLean was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto and former director of the broadcast division of the School of Journalism. In 1993 Trent University named him the first Rooke Fellow for Teaching, Writing and Research. He has also been honored by:
Nipissing University (Ed.D.(H.); University of Windsor (LL.D), Trent University  (D.Litt) and Saint Mary’s University (D.C.L.). Stuart served as Honorary Colonel of the 8th Air Maintenance Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton from 2005 to 2008.

Since 1998 Stuart has toured with The Vinyl Cafe to theatres across Canada and the United States, playing towns from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Whitehorse in the Yukon; from Bangor, Maine to Seattle, Washington.
Over one million people listen to The Vinyl Cafe every weekend on CBC Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio and on a growing number of  Public Radio stations in the United States. The program is also broadcast on an
occasional basis on the BBC.

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Cures for Hunger by Deni Bechard

This is the SIXTH book I am reading for this challenge – even though I STILL have not been updated on the book page itself!

 
I just read the book “Cures for Hunger” by Deni Bechard. This is the true story of a young man who grows up in BC and is taken with his siblings by his mom when she leaves his dad and returns to the USA. Deni learns about his dads criminal past as he is growing and becomes captivated with finding out who his dad “really is”. I dont know who was hungry or what the cure for it is either.
 
I absolutely hated this book. It was a pain to get through and I found it tedious and boring. One of the reviewers commented that the book made readers want to explore their own relationships with their parents – I certainly didn’t come up with that through the story. I am glad I read for book for one purpose only and that’s because the author was Canadian and I can cross off another book on my list for this challenge. That’s it – and to be honest it may not even have been worth that!
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Magebane by Lee Arthur Chane

This is the SEVENTH book out of 13 that I need to read for the Canadian Book Challenge.
It was a total accidental addition to the challenge, it was a book I wanted to read and it just HAPPENED to be written by a Canadian! BONUS! Lee Arthur Change was born in the USA but lives in and is married to a Canadian – so I’m counting it baby!

This is Chane’s first book and I wish he had written more already.

In the kingdom of Evrenfel, MageLords rule. MageLords are a powerful magic wielding race who have fled to Evrenfel from an older kingdom where they were under attack. In order to protect themselves in this new world they have created impermeable magic “barriers” for borders.
Like all kingdoms the political system is corrupt. A group exists whose purpose for many years has been to destroy the barriers and take over the leadership of the kingdom. Within the group the motivations for tearing down the barrier are varied and the leaders begin to doubt the commitment of one another. As the day draws near for the final plan to be set in motion this lack of trust deteriorates and pits MageLord against MageLord in a series of events that threats the success of the plan.
In the middle of the treason and plot all off a sudden from over the top of the Barrier arrive two men in a balloon – not powered at all by magic, but by science.
If the plan to remove the Barrier exists – what will the MageLords face?

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Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat

I just finished Book number 8 out of thirteen for the Canadian Book Challenge, Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat.

I actually read this book in high school. The only thing I remember about the book from the last time I read it was that the two boys who were lost got snow blind in their travels and were in physical pain from the glare of the snow as they travelled unprotected in the winter. In my memory this event was a significant portion of the book, but as I re-read it I found this incident was not the most salient event at ALL in the story of Jamie and Awasin.

It was cool to go back and read something I have read such a long time ago. I enjoyed the story thoroughly, even though it was a very quick read and obviously designed for teen readers.

Here is the story synopsis:

Jamie’s parents have died in a car crash leaving him in the care of his trapper uncle, Angus. Angus had supported Jamie’s boarding-school fees for a long time, until the fur trade had declined. Angus could no longer support Jamie’s school. Thus, Jamie left the boarding school to live with his uncle. Jamie made friends with the Cree Tribe’s Chief’s son, Awasin. Angus and the tribe chief load up their skins for trading and head south to a more reputable trader who will not cheat them. Jamie stayed with Awasin for Angus’ canoe could not hold three people and other things. Shortly after the adults departure, some Chipeweyans come to the Crees for help. The Chipeweyans were starving because the deer did not come at its usual time in the year. Awasin’s mother was suspicious that the Chipeweyans may just be looking for a free handout, and so the boys agreed to go with them back to the Chipeweyan’s camp to prove they needed the supplies. Denikazi wants the boys to go with them on the hunt because they have bertter guns. This is how Jamie and Awasin start their journey for the caribou hunt out in the barrens.
Travelling further and further north the men do not encounter any caribou. The group decided to split up and Jamie and Awasin stay with two men while the rest of the men travel further.
While staying with the two young Chipewyan hunters, Jamie decides he wants to take the chance and explore. He tricks Awasin into it and they travel to find the ‘stone house’ that one of the two Chipeweyans had told them about. On the way to the stone house they unexpectedly meet a whirlpool and barely survive, and Jamie is badly injured. Gathering what they can salvage from the water and their broken canoe, they have barely enough to survive. They cannot use the canoe anymore, they are stranded in the barrens.
When the two young Chipeweyans found out that Awasin and Jamie were gone they went on searching for them. Their search is abruptly stopped when they catch a glance of an Eskimo kayak. Fearing the Eskimo they turn back, abandoning their search.
Jamie and Awasin decide to cut across the land and hopefully intercept Denikazi up the other leg of the river. They arrive and set up camp but miss Denekazi and his men travelling through the night with their canoes loaded with Caribou.
Knowing they have no way to reconnect with the Chipeweyans, and no canoe to travel home in, Awasin and Jamie realize their best chance at survival is to set up camp and survive until winter when they can travel south over the frozen ground. The rest of the story is about their survival and their reunion with family when they finally succeed and make it home.

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