9 July 2018

My Best and Worst Reads — first half of 2018

Every book blogger and booktuber seems to be doing a half-year recap, which I think is a brilliant idea instead of waiting until late December/early January to cover an entire year of reading.

Without further ado, here are my most memorable reads of January-June 2018... for better and for worse.

Let's start with my bitterest bookish disappointments:

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The storyline had so much potential! Alas, lacklustre characters and the author's tedious tendency to tell and not show completely ruined it for me. (You can read my full review here if you wish.)

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
After hearing someone on YouTube enthuse about this novel, I thought it would rekindle my love for crime fiction... I couldn't have chosen worse! I can't stand the overdone "complex, moody and difficult" main protagonist thing any more than I can a stereotypical "drunk & divorced" cop. The paedophilia didn't help either.

I also need to mention a few of the books I couldn't even finish:

- The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill
A book set in Montreal from an author praised by some of my favourite booktubers — this sounded very promising. I regret to say that writing that everything "looks like" something else or that it "is as if" something else multiple ones in every single paragraph doesn't equate "style." Also, the endless, meaningless dialogues made me want to tear the pages out. 

- The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
I have no clue how anyone could read this for pleasure. I found it completely unengaging and boring.

- Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
I'm a fan of the early Temperance Brennan novels, which went absurdly formulaic around the sixth or seventh in the series... This being a stand-alone book, I thought I'd give it a go. NOPE. I had to stop reading when the main character started moving between hotel rooms in various disguises à la Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...

Fortunately, the positive vastly surpassed the negative; here are my loveliest literary surprises of the year thus far, with links to my full reviews on this blog. I heartily recommend each and every one of these novels.

The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Fingersmith and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Sal by Mick Kitson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Le Labyrinthe des esprits de Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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