Top Ten (+3) Tuesday: Disappointing Books

This week, Top 10 Tuesdays meme@ The Broke and the Bookish, asks us to list books that disappointed us. These are the books that I picked up with a lot of enthusiasm and eager anticipation but which made me want to scream. And as this is a good way to vent my frustration at the books, I am presenting a list of 13 which I suffered read since I started blogging:

1. The Shudders by Anthony Abbot

Begins with a bang, ends with a whimper.

2. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

A woman wakes up every morning with no recollection of the past. The moment I read this sanctimonious statement on page two of the book, I knew she was going to be a pain:

I ignore the slippers at my feet – after all, fucking the husband is one thing, but I could never wear another woman’s shoes.

3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This book about elitist students indulging in Bachhanal rites simply did not work for me.

4. Trent’s Last Case by E.C. Bentley

It should be sub-titled: How Love makes you lose your Integrity.

5. Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer

I had heard a lot about Heyer’s mysteries but after reading this have grave reservations about reading another one by her.

6. Neither Five Nor Three  by Helen MacInnes

After reading this paean to McCarthyism, have never dared to read anything by Helen MacInnes.

7. The Black Spectacles by J.D. Carr

Perhaps I’d not have been so disappointed with this book had I not read it immediately after the exquisite The Burning Court by the same author. But after reading ”The Shot-Gun Wedding” scene, I wondered whether Carr himself had gone bonkers.

8. Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham

Usually I laugh-off the racist attitudes and racist assumptions present in books but this book really made me grind my teeth.

9. The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais

If you finish a book with the question; what was it all about? you can be sure you have wasted your time.

10. The Story-Teller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

A novel that is too ambitious for its own good.

11. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The ending of the book was so pathetic that it completely destroyed the book for me.

12. The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

The narrator’s mother, whose voice dominates throughout the book, must be one of the most annoying characters ever created.

13. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

More than 650 pages of sheer agony.


Part of A Baker’s Dozen series.

18 thoughts on “Top Ten (+3) Tuesday: Disappointing Books

  1. Must admit, there are some books here that I think are great, especially the John Dickson Carr – I know the car scene with the gun sticks out, but the rest is wonderful! Never read Crais but that was the one I was planning to start with – not too sure now!


  2. So sorry to hear these disappointed you so much, Neeru. I hope you won't give up on Crais; some of his are, in my opinion, excellent.


  3. I liked The Secret History by Donna Tartt better than her prize winner The Goldfinch. I also like Georgette Heyer's mysteries, not because they're good mysteries, but because they're usually a bit of fun. I'm reading The Shadow of the Wind right now and I don't like it nearly as well as the 2 other books in this trilogy.


  4. Sergio, not only you but many people think that these are great books since some of them have been major bestsellers. Many people also think that Black Spectacles is brilliant. I form a very small minority. Crais too has his followers so please go ahead and read it. Lets see whether we agree or disagree on that:)


  5. My sister also enjoyed The Secret History. Perhaps my expectations from it were too high. The Shadow of the Wind seemed great till I reached the end. I am thinking of trying Heyer once again.


  6. Thanks and welcome to the blog.I used to write nice things even about the books that I didn't enjoy till the day I realised that I was being dishonest with myself and doing the same thing that I cursed some reviewers for. One thing that I have learnt over the years is that bestsellers usually turn out to be disappointing:)Would love you to have you visit again.


  7. I've read seven of these books and I agree with inclusion of THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT which is ridiculously overrated. It reminded me of man episode from *any* TV private eye show from the 1980s. It's so run-of-the-mill and not as groundbreaking as everyone claims it is.SECRET HISTORY – another overrated turgid potboiler aspiring to be a literary novel. Nonsensical. Was as if Arthur Machen and John Knowles collaborated on a surefire bestseller.I did not read BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP; I saw the movie. Within the first ten minutes of the film I knew the entire plot and figured out the ending. Nothing really original here. Memento is ten times better as a film that deals with the same loss of memory issue within the context of a mystery plot and it has no misogyny in it.I enjoyed the Carr, Bentley and Zafon books. No real criticisms for any of them. I have no memory of reading THE PRINCE OF TIDES but I know I did. I also saw the movie. Conroy's memoir about teaching in South Carolina (THE WATER IS WIDE), however, is a wonderful book. You ought to read that one. Incentive: it's much, much shorter!


  8. We disagree on some and agree on others, Neer. I loved THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT and once I read that I went out and read all of Robert Crais' books and still love them to this day, still reading him. I am not a fan of Donna Tartt either. But I urge you not to give up on Georgette Heyer's mysteries. Yes, there are a couple of clunkers in the bunch, but most of them are so wonderful. I have a couple on audio and I never tire of listening to them. Though I must admit I am more fond of Heyer's Regency romances, I still recommend most of her mysteries. I too was thrown off by Allingham's racist attitudes. And I didn't finish THE SHADOW OF THE WIND though everyone else – except us – I know, swears by it. But I didn't like it for the weak translation from Spanish into English. Though I was reading it in English, I could tell from the phrasing that the interpreter was not being faithful to the intent of the Spanish language. Just could not get over it.


  9. Like Elgin, I exercised by face muscles reading your pans. Don't think I've read any of these, but have read others by some of the authors. Several by Robert Crais–don't recall the titles or plots, but remember them as suspenseful and swift. Agree with John that The Water is Wide is a fine read. I enjoyed Prince of Tides before I saw the flick (I think)–enjoyed both. Beach Music is the only other of his novels I've read. Liked that one, too. Maybe it helps that I live in Virginia's Tidewater, just up the coast from Conroy country.


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