Books That Should Stay in the Crapper - the Worst of Cannonball Read V
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Books That Should Stay in the Crapper - the Worst of Cannonball Read V

By Mswas Sawsm | Book Reviews | December 27, 2013 | Comments ()


Think Hank read anything worse than Leaves of Grass that year? Participants in Cannonball Read V know what’s crap, and they want to warn you away. Check out their opinions below with links to reviews scathing and bitchy, then find out which books we do recommend in our list of our best books of the year.

Not Prince Hamlet
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
City of God by E.L. Doctorow

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Consequences by Aleatha Romig Note: this book is SO horrible I hate to give it any publicity by linking to it
Macrieve by Kresley Cole
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (seriously this is terrible - never ever read this book. It will take at least a year off your life.)

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan

Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Reached by Ally Condie
Sever by Lauren DeStefano
(Please note that all three "worst" books JUST SO HAPPEN to be the third installments in YA trilogies. Dear publishers: STOP MAKING TRILOGIES. )

The Daughters of Mars: A Novel by Thomas Keneally. It simply did not meet expectations. It should have been better given the writer and subject matter.
The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley. A fascinating story made tedious.

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Lost by Ron Vitale

The Mama
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren. This book was ridiculous. In every single scene, he ripped her underwear. Every. Single. Time. What the hell is that about?
Forever Black by Sandi Lynn. Never mind the eleventy billion things wrong with this book, including the fact that it’s Fifty Shades fanfic, she started a sentence with "30". Not the number written out, but the actual numbers 3 and 0. Sigh.
Crash by Nicole Williams. Because on the surface, it’s a nice, normal, if overly dramatic YA romance novel, but underneath, it’s about a very controlling relationship, and it scares the hell out of me that young girls could read this and think what’s being depicted in the book is normal and okay.

The Elite by Kiera Cass. How did this book even get published?
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Wasn’t the worst book in terms of mechanics, but because it was billed as the next JK Rowling, fell completely short. Author too young, book not edited properly. Haven’t written my review yet.
City of Bones (and its sequels City of Ashes and City of Glass) by Cassandra Clare. Second review probably the best. [Pajibans, narfna recommends her review of the second in this series, but I must disagree and INSIST you visit her review of the first book. You won’t regret it. —mswas]

Sleep With Me by Joanna Briscoe
The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant
Now is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer

Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Devil’s Labyrinth by John Saul
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Dan Gets a Minivan by Dan Zevin
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

The Expats by Chris Pavone
It Happened in Italy by Elizabeth Bettina or Crossing the Borders of Time by Leslie Maitland - two horrible non fiction books focused on World War II and the Holocaust that unfortunately focus on the wrong people - in one case the book’s author, in the other case a self involved teenager and her love interest.
The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

Who Could that Be at this Hour by Lemony Snicket
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
2030 by Albert Brooks

Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost by Ron Vitale [SO BAD]
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Manifesta by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

Even Stevens
The only book I read this year that I truly hated was This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz.
Close behind: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
The one most firmly in the "meh" category is A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

The Silent Wife by SA Harrison
Tigers In Red Weather by Liza Klaussman
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice
The Awakenedby Jason Tesar

Lady Cordelia
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Penelope by Rebecca Harrington
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (and Other Useful Guides) by The Oatmeal aka Matthew Inman

Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Captain Tuttle
Swamplandia by Karen Russell - ugh. I can’t even.
A Dream of Death by Harrison Drake - Kindle freebie that may not have even been worth what I didn’t pay for it.
Colin Firth: The Man Who Would Be King by Sandro Monetti - a fluff bio of a man who deserves much better.

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
Water Witch by Carol Goodman

Travis Jarrod Smith
You Suck/Bite Me* by Christopher Moore
The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom

The Phantom of Manhattan by Fredrick Forsyth
Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation by Elissa Stein

The Body Project by Joan Jacobs Brumberg 
Unmasking Kelsey by Kay Hooper

Mrs Smith
Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own by Mika Brzezinski
The Jackal’s Share by Christopher Morgan Jones
Testimony by Anita Shreve

Shucks Mahoney
Dorothy Parker in her Own Words by Barry Day
Flappers by Judith Mackrell 
The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit by Mark Seal

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler
Hollywood Confessions by Gemma Halliday
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

50 Shades Darker by EL James
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Wings of Fire by Charles Todd
But really the worst thing ever was 50 Shades anything. Seriously.

Just One Look by Harlan Coben
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Bees in the Mist by Erick Setiawan

(You, too, can be just like these fine folk in 2014. Sign up for Cannonball Read SIX!!)

'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised | The 10 Worst Tweets of 2013

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • kinoumenthe

    Imprescriptible Rights of the Reader :

    The right not to read.
    The right to skip pages.
    The right to not finish a book.
    The right to read a book again.
    The right to read whatever you want.
    The right to contract Bovarysm (textually transmissible disease).
    The right to read wherever you like.
    The right to cherry-pick.
    The right to read out loud.
    The right to read silently.

    (Daniel Pennac, Reads Like a Novel)

    I think the right to not finish a book is most important, especially if you don't like it. You don't have to count it as "read", but sometimes, a few pages is enough to know if you are going to enjoy it or not. Sometimes it's not enough and you pass a great opportunity, but in the grand scheme of things, I guess it's better to read something you want to, than trudge through something you don't enjoy just for the sake of having read it…

  • NoDice

    I think all this does is prove how subjective a things like this are. Just read the fucking books and make up your own damn mind.

  • sassyfrassy

    The one book I read this year that literally made me so angry I threw the book, was Gone Girl. I hated that book so much. I told my friend who recommended it to me that I'd have a very hard time forgiving her for that one.

  • bonnie

    I hated Gone Girl so hard. Most of my friends couldn't stop raving about it, and I still don't understand why.

  • Idle Primate

    My biggest disappointment-and that is way too mild a word-this year was Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue. He is one of my very favorite authors and I couldn't even finish it. It was just a meandery jumbled mess. He worst thing was even at a very basic level it was really poorly written. It was shocking. Chabon is one of the great wordsmiths of our time. My best guess is he was really stoned writing it and he has enough stature that publishers just release whatever he gives them

  • Travis_J_Smith

    I can happily say I've managed to avoid all but a couple of these. But to the user with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on his/her list, I demand an explanation! No, but seriously, why so negative towards it?

  • Semilitterate

    A few thoughts

    I tried to read "Swamplandia.---About 20 pages was enough

    Harlan Coben has only written one book----about 15 times.

    There are some fairly well known/regarded authors on this list---just goes to show that a "brand name" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

    "Flow: the Cultural History of Menstruation"--------Seriously?

  • $78742978

    No opinion of Shining Girls, but I think people might be interested in what happened to the author's friend that made her write it:


  • llp

    That is awful. I don't understand how people can treat each other so poorly.

  • $78742978

    I'm so sad people didn't like Geek Love. It's one of my favorites. Am I just a sicko?

  • Idle Primate

    One of my faves

  • sassyfrassy

    I also have much love for Geek Love - although I know it's not for everyone - it's one of my favorites. I also like to re-read every couple of years.

  • Vangie13

    Geek Love is also a favorite of mine. I re-read it every few years.

  • The Mama

    Somehow I missed narfa's review of the Cassandra Clare book. Ron and Ginny??? What the???

  • Whoever put Neil Gaiman on their 'Worst Of' list better mentally prepare themselves for some Pajiba death threats.

  • llp

    Well, I put another of his on my 2013 favourite list, so maybe that balances it out?

  • We'll see. Hell hath no fury like an Internet whose darling has been scorned. ;)

  • llp

    If you don't hear from me in the next 24 hours, tell my family I love them.

  • llp

    I feel a little bad about Black Orchid. I am not sure it was crap, but I didn't enjoy it very much, which I was surprised by. I suspect other people, with a bigger love of traditional comic characters/tropes, might enjoy it more.

  • $78742978

    As a lover of all comics, I feel like Black Orchid is hella not traditional. Neil Gaiman kind of made his name in comics by taking old traditional properties that had fallen by the wayside and doing his own spin on it. Same goes for Sandman and Elementals (I very much did not like the latter). I can see how a person wouldn't like it, though. I love it, mostly because of the art. I'd be interested to see what you think of Signal to Noise or Mr. Punch.

  • llp

    No, I didn't mean that the book was traditional, I meant that I cannot appreciate bringing in iconic/traditional (?) characters like Swamp Thing or Lex Luthor. I don't know much about them, but it felt awkward to me. The whole thing felt a bit forced. I did like the art, but it was probably my least favourite Gaiman book, along with his Marvel 1602. I love Sandman with all my black heart, but I don't think I have read Elementals or the other two you mentioned. I will search them out for 2014.

  • Idle Primate

    Elemntals was strangely bland and empty feeling. I'd really like to read Mr. Punch

  • llp

    I got Chew for Christmas - they are next on my list. Speaking of graphic novels...

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I averaged a little over 2 books a month, so I've taken the plunge and signed up for a half CBR in 2014. My two least favorite books were unfortunately the last two I read - The Queen's Cup by GA Henty (and older, free book that was my inaugural read on a Kindle) and A Most Wanted Man by John LeCarre which irked me in half a dozen ways.

    Two of my favorite books, btw, I'll mention because they are by lesser known authors - Away by Amy Bloom and the amazing Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine.

  • narfna

    I forgot about Reached and Requiem! One of those should probably have bumped The Bone Season off my list.

  • Just finished bone season and UGH. I think it WAS actually terrible even if you ignore the "next jk" thing. So much unnecessary terminology ex. They're guns so no need to call them "irons" or earth is earth not "meatspace". The romance was creepy and sort of bolted on. I feel badly for the author - so young and the book felt rushed and overhyped so she's taking a lot of heat probably a bit unfairly. Given time and more aggressive editing this world had potential to grow into something interesting. As is however I can't imagine a long line of people eagerly awaiting 8 more books in this series.

  • Ugh, Reached. What a horrible ending to a series that started off with such potential.

  • Scootsa1000

    That's what infuriates me about these trilogies. They all (well, most) start off so well.
    And then the second book comes along and we say, well, that wasn't as great, but still.
    And we give the series the benefit of the doubt because of the strength of the first book.
    And then I'm disappointed by the third book every single time.
    Hello Divergent, I'm talking to you.

  • Even Stevens

    If Reached was worse than the other 2, then that's saying something because those books were already watered-down drivel

  • Oh yeah. The first one started off good, the second one seemed to go nowhere, but the third one? Totally seemed to be about a completely different story involving a plague. Plus, Ky, Xander, and Cassie all narrate, and they're so blandly characterized that it's damn near impossible to tell who's talking at times. Horrible, horrible ending to the trilogy.

  • jM

    I had a good run this year of books I knew would appeal to me, old favorites, and solid recommendations. Which made Allegiant stand out like a sore thumb. Such a mess.

  • Berry

    I disliked Less Than Zero as well. It's so empty and airless.

  • badkittyuno

    It was my third attempt to read Bret Easton Ellis. I liked American Psycho (as well as you can "like" something like that"--it certainly left an impression). But Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction were both just wastes of space.

  • llp

    Exactly - American Psycho was striking, at least. I don't think I have read anything by Bret Easton Ellis in at least 15 years, but all his novels feel brittle to me.

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