Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we liked all the books that we read? Unfortunately, that is not the case. A book will end up being disappointing sooner or later, either because it was not what we had expected or it didn’t live up to its initial promise. In 2018, I rated three books with 2 stars and didn’t finish other two. For the first time, I’m also mentioning the books that I didn’t read until the end on my most disappointing books of the year, since that is a genuine sign of lack of enjoyment.
The narrator of Panorama is a writer from Slovenia who travelled around Europe and spoke with immigrants from various countries of origin. Sadly, it is unnecessarily confusing, and I found it almost impossible to retain information. The characters are forgettable and the writing style excruciating.
This book by the Portuguese writer Agustina Bessa-Luís revolves around Quina, whose characteristics are enumerated by the narrator but never truly shown in practice. The characters are not well developed and the writing style feels forced. To make things worse, nothing particularly remarkable happens plot-wise.
I’m reluctant to call this book by Georgi Gospodinov a novel. It’s more a compilation of snippets from the narrator’s past, the life of his family and Bulgarian history, which are supposed to be connected with the myth of the Minotaur. Overall, I felt that I was reading a rambling text about a myriad of themes, which were seldom interesting.
O Paraíso das Damas (The Ladies’ Paradise) by Émile Zola
This is a French classic about the rise of a modern department store in the late 19th century in Paris, where Denise Baudu wanted to work. The descriptions of the store and the fabrics are too repetitive and tedious. As nothing interesting was happening, I decided to put the book down for good not even midway through.
Freedom and Death by Nikos Kazantzakis
The other book that I didn’t finish last year is about the conflict between Turks and Greeks on the island of Crete. The relationship between captain Michales and Nury Bey had potential to be interesting, but the characters never felt fleshed out, in spite of a couple of great interactions. It was also being extremely boring following around many secondary characters who had no proper personalities nor a specific purpose.
Which were your most disappointing reads in 2018? Tell me in the comments!