High-rated Books I Didn’t Like

If there are books with a low rating on Goodreads that I liked, there are also high-rated ones that I didn’t enjoy. The last time that I checked, the four books listed on this post had an average rating of more than four stars, but I either didn’t finish them or rated them with two stars. No book can ever please everyone!


Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

This non-fiction book was nothing but disappointing. Although it has an average rating of 4.43 on Goodreads, I couldn’t rate it with more than 2 stars. It’s a collection of testimonies about the nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986, which also strongly affected Belarus. The author interviewed displaced people, soldiers, doctors, scientists and people who returned to a village that had been evacuated. It raises interesting questions, but they’re never fully explored. The statements are not edited, analysed nor contextualised with further information.


The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov

When I decided to read this book, I wasn’t entirely sure about what to expect. I hadn’t heard much about it beforehand. I can now only describe it as a compilation of snippets from the narrator’s past, the life of this family and Bulgarian history, which the author tried to connect with the myth of the Minotaur. I rated it with 2 stars, as it is excessively rambling and mentions a myriad of themes that only rarely are interesting. Many people seem to like it, though, as it has an average rating of 4.09.


Freedom and Death by Nikos Kazantzakis

This novel, which has an average rating of 4.22, focuses on the conflict between Turks and Greeks on the island of Crete. As I was not relishing the reading experience, I ended up not finishing the book. Although there are a couple of great interactions between the characters, they never feel fully fleshed out, which is a shame, because the relationship between Captain Michales and Nuri Bey had the potential to be interesting.


Gabriela, Cravo e Canela (Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon) by Jorge Amado

Set in Ilhéus (Brazil) in 1925, this novel tells the story of Gabriela, who was looking for a job, and Nacib, a Syrian-born who had been living in Brazil since he was four years old. Unfortunately, I couldn’t become invested in the story and ended up not finishing the book. Nothing relevant in terms of plot happens for a long while. I also struggled to keep track of the various secondary characters, who are never fully fleshed out. The writing style didn’t grab my attention either.


Have you read any of these books? Tell me in the comments!


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