Most Disappointing Books of 2018

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.

 

Panorama by Dusan Sarotar

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.

 

A Sibila by Agustina Bessa-Luís

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. Continue reading

‘Panorama’ by Dusan Sarotar

My rating: 2 stars

The blurb of Panorama by Dusan Sarotar promises it to be a book that “blurs the lines between fiction and journalism”. Journalistic texts are supposed to be informative and grab the attention of the reader. However, I didn’t detect any of these characteristics in this book. In fact, I found it to be unnecessarily confusing and, thanks to the writing style, almost impossible to retain information. The narrator, a writer from Slovenia, travelled around Europe, where he encountered and spoke to immigrants from various countries. The concept is interesting, but the final result is far from engrossing.

The 45-year-old narrator starts by recalling his travels around Ireland. He describes, occasionally in great detail, what he saw there and remarks on certain historical facts and past events. His guide, Gjini, was an Albanian man who had moved to Ireland many years beforehand. Unfortunately, his thoughts on immigration and on immigrants’ feelings are just thrown in amidst the narrator’s ramblings and, thus, don’t have the impact they deserved. Moreover, a few minutes after finishing a couple of pages, I couldn’t remember anything of what I had just read.

The narrator also went to Belgium and Sarajevo where he met with other people. He had various conversations with them, but they don’t sound genuine, which I blame on the writing style. There are no proper dialogues, despite the narrator reporting on what other people said. In certain occasions, it got to the ridiculous point of having the narrator saying that someone said that another person had said something. I’m specifically using the verb ‘say’, because it’s the only reporting verb used throughout the book, which at times was exasperating. Occasionally, I didn’t even know whether the narrator was reporting on someone else’s thoughts and actions or his own. Continue reading

Book Haul – September / October 2018

We are less than three months away from the end of the year, and I still have quite a few books left to read in order to complete my ‘EU still 28’ reading project. Last month, I realised that I needed to buy some more of the books on my predetermined list. I obviously also took the opportunity to order a couple of other ones in preparation for winter, although I’m not normally a seasonal reader. Every excuse is a good one when it comes to justify buying books, though!

Below are the nine newest additions to my shelves:

 

Tula by Jurgis Kuncinas

Written by the Lithuanian author Jurgis Kuncinas, Tula takes place in a poor neighbourhood in Vilnius. The narrator dwells on the fringes of society and meets other various curious inhabitants of the same area. I don’t know much more about this book, which I believe also involves a love story. Continue reading