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Worst Books of 2011

5 Jan

Happy New Year, everybody! Surprisingly I’ve still been getting hits on this blog despite not updating for so long. I had another virus starting on Christmas day but I’m better now. Hopefully no more illnesses for a while! This year I’m gonna try to update my blog more often, but since I’m taking even more classes than last semester, that may be hard to do! But I’ll do my best.

What better way to start the year than with a list of my least favorite books that I read? I read a total of 111 books, which was my goal (in honor of the year 2011). A great deal of them were good, many were mediocre, and some were….bad. This is a list of the bad ones, in alphabetical order (not ranked). Remember, these are only books that I READ last year, not necessarily released that year.

Edited- I updated the list to include a couple books I forgot!

1. April Lady by Georgette Heyer- I’m a Georgette Heyer fan, but really, a few of her books have been duds for me. I read this book shortly after The Convenient Marriage, which was very similar and which I was also not a fan of. Both deal with couples after marriages who still go through issues. The couple both believe that the other doesn’t love them and whacky hijinks ensue. While I didn’t like The Convenient Marriage, at least the first few chapters were promising and there was some basis to the misunderstandings the couples faced. April Lady didn’t even had that. The characters were not charming, but rather nitwits, and it was just annoying overall.

2. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley- This one sounded really interesting and I’d heard it was a classic fantasy. The setup was good, but it ended up being really, really boring. That seemed to be a common theme with fantasies I read this year.

3. Foundling by D.M. Cornish- Another boring fantasy. I don’t know why it was in the young adult section when it seemed clearly meant for younger children. My mind wandered about 1/4 of the way through, and though I finished it, I don’t clearly recall much that happened after that.

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore- Soooo disappointing. Another one of the boring fantasies, but this one was possibly the worst for me because I was expecting the most from it. Such an interesting concept, but such a poor execution. First of all, the writing was terrible! Secondly, the majority of the book was boring traveling scenes with nothing happening. What a shame.

5. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray-  I debated with myself for a while whether to put this book on the list or not. I did find it entertaining, but not historically accurate in any way, in terms of the characters’ personalities and ideals. They really seemed like modern characters in a Victorian setting. I dunno, I think I would have liked it if I were 10 years younger, but as it is, I found it EXTREMELY disappointing.

6. Katherine by Anya Seton- I really liked Seton’s Green Darkness, but this one didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t crazy about the characters in that one either, but I really couldn’t stand them in this book.

7. The Naming by Alison Croggon- Good God, was this boring. All descriptions of the landscapes as the characters traveled. Snore….

8. Novellas by Elizabeth Gaskell- I couldn’t pick just one. I decided to read the novellas that the Cranford miniseries were based on- Mr. Harrison’s Confessions, My  Lady Ludlow, and The Moorland Cottage. All were dull as dishwater and I liked how they were done on the show better.

9. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkelez- Okay, I knew going into this that it was chick lit and I’m not into that genre at all. But most of the reviews I read acknowledged this and said they liked it anyway. I didn’t fall into that category. It was so cliched, cheesy, and stupid!

10. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett- I wanted to try some American hard-boiled mysteries as a change to my usual cozies. I didn’t like it at all! Maybe his other works are better?

Runners-Up- These were books that were disappointing but still not bad in general.

Incarceron/Sapphique by Catherine Fisher- What an inventive concept. A seemingly fantasy world that’s really a dystopian future with a living prison? But it ended up being disappointing. Nothing was ever explained!

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson- Based on just the first two books- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire. I’ve yet to read the third. The stories were interesting, but Stieg Larsson’s writing left a lot to be desired. Maybe something was lost in translation, but I doubt that’s the whole story. He seemed to feel the need to describe every single thing the characters did, whether or not it was relevant to the plot.

The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers- Just like with April Lady, this was a dud by an author I’m fond of. I love the Peter Wimsey series and all the various characters. But it was the characters in this that ruined it for me. The six murder suspects were practically interchangeable. It made no difference to me which was the murderer, because none stood out from the others in any way.

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey– A Victorian supernatural murder mystery. This book I think was meant more for the tween set. Like A Great and Terrible Beauty, the historical inaccuracies in this drove me insane! Actually I think in terms of characterization, it was fine, but simple things like the peerage and titles were constantly wrong wrong wrong! Every one in this book seemed to be an earl. Some of the titles seemed right, and then we get an earl named Lord Jasper. Yes, his first name. And the younger brother of an earl named Sir Wentworth….his last name. WTF???? All of this could have been easily fixed. The story could have appealed to me more if I was in middle school.

Best and Worst Movies/TV Shows of 2010

1 Jan

I didn’t see nearly as many shows or movies this year as I read books. I rarely watch movies in theaters. I did watch quite a few period dramas, which take up a good part of the list, but most of them were pretty old. I’m going to limit this list to movies that were actually released in 2010. Some of them were technically from 2009, but didn’t come out on DVD until 2010, so I’m going to count those as well.

Best:

1. Bright Star I’ve already posted about how beautiful and understated this movie was. No one I know (outside of the internet) has even heard of it. Such a shame.

2. Downton Abbey– I ignored this while it was airing and finally gave in out of curiosity and was so pleasantly surprised!

3. Emma– This miniseries wasn’t perfect, but it still became my favorite Emma adaptation.

4. Going Postal– It was hilarious. I loved the characters and the whole Discworld universe. The books are still on my TBR list.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1– My favorite Harry Potter movie! I hope Pt. 2 is even better.

6. Iron Man 2– I really only have two negative things to say about this: A. It wasn’t as good as the first one (but that was hard to top). B. Replacement of Terrence Howard.

7. Sherlock- I just discovered this modern-day Sherlock Holmes a few days ago and watched all three (90 minute) episodes in one night. Is it really going to be a whole year until the second season?

8. Sherlock Holmes– I was expecting this movie to just be goofy and silly after the trailer but it was actually really good.

9. Toy Story 3– It wasn’t the best in the series, but it was still really good. I didn’t quite cry, but I almost did!

10. The Young Victoria– It wasn’t exactly a historically accurate movie but it was still a nice romance with nice costumes.

Worst:

1. Hot Tub Time Machine– My cousin watched the DVD with me. She loved it but I thought it was just a stupid, forgettable comedy.

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief– Talk about a disappointment! I liked the Percy Jackson book series but it was quite obvious the filmmakers didn’t care about the source material. It was an okay movie on its own, nothing special. But aside from Percy, they butchered the book characters.

3. Return to Cranford– It was…okay. Hopefully this is the end of the whole Cranford saga. I liked the first series, but it seemed like they were running out of ideas for this. Mary was barely in it and instead new characters were shoved down our throats. Who is this Bell family that have supposedly lived in Cranford forever and yet were never seen or even mentioned in the first series? Why are we supposed to care about them? It had some nice moments, but was weak overall.

4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse– No, I did not pay to see this. Why do I keep watching these horrible movies? I am not a Twilight fan. I guess I’m just a masochist.

5. Upstairs Downstairs– It was just trying to cram in too many storylines into too little time. A disappointment.

I’m really happy I couldn’t find more movies to put in the worst list. There were some other old ones that I wasn’t fond of and/or stopped watching because I couldn’t get into them, but I didn’t want to put them all in here. I hope there are some good films and shows in store for this year!

My Gaskell Ratings

20 May

Here’s another author!

Mary Barton- I found Mary to be an idiot and I think the idea was done better in North and South. 7/10

Cranford

Book- Funny and heartbreaking. Characters die left and right. Really a series of vignettes. 7/10

2007– Well done how they combined the novel and some short stories to flesh it out. Contains many surprises as to the characters’ fates, many of which were changed from the book! 9/10

2009- The sequel. Much of the cast did not return. Borrowed from more short stories- running out of ideas? Not as good as first. 8/10

Ruth– Deeply moving story which surprisingly contains only one death. 9/10

North and South

Book- Contains shades of P&P. Good story but heroine can be annoying. 8/10

2004- Good but overrated! Did not like DDA as Margaret and HATED the beating scene in the beginning. 8/10

Sylvia’s Lovers- Well, it was different. Totally unlikable characters, miserable plot…6/10

Wives and Daughters

Book- Truly an everyday story! All the characters, their personalities and emotions, felt so real and current, despite the book’s age! Molly Gibson is adorable. 9/10

1999= You can tell Andrew Davies really respected this work as it was not really sexed up! 9/10