Our Least Favorite Books - 2021

Published Thursday, December 30, 2021

At this time of the year it seems like everyone is making lists of the best books of the year, but we thought it would be interesting to talk a little about books that were our least favorite. Most readers end up with a few books each year that they didn't like. Sometimes it's because they thought, based on description of the book, it was a different kind of book. Other times, the book just did not stand up to expectations. Here are our favorite least favorites of the year.

The Lost Apothecary
by Sarah Penner

When I read the description, this book sounded right up my alley. There were, however, too many situations and coincidences that were completely implausible. There was so much potential here that I would probably try another book by the author, but I found the missed opportunity here disappointing.
- Jill

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The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
by Peter Frankopan

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book because it did not follow the European-centered narrative I've come to expect in most works about world history. This is what the author sets out to accomplish and he succeeds for a time. Unfortunately, once I made it to the chapter on the Age of Discovery the book became just another Euro-centric foray entry in the annals of world history. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is a touch disingenuous. Frankopan claims in the title (A New History of the World) and in his foreword that he intends to act against the common Western-centered view of history. Ultimately, he does not. Too bad.
- Patrick

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I See You Everywhere
by Julia Glass

In no way is this a bad book. It is well written and it may be someone's else cup of tea. It's a story of two sisters, told in alternating voices, over a 25 year period. I enjoyed the first half or so, but became less and less interested as the story progressed.

I have read other Julia Glass books, my favorite being, "Two Junes" I had high expectations and this just fell a bit short for me.
- Sally

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How to Read Nature
by Tristan Gooley

I read a little over half of this book. I felt like the author was just saying "you should pay more attention to nature." If you're inclined to pick up this book, you're probably already thinking "y'know, I should pay more attention to nature."
- Mason

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I Want To Be Where The Normal People Are
by Rachel Bloom

I was so very excited for this book when it was announced. Rachel Bloom starred in and was a writer and director for the show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. She is funny, creative, and loves musicals (hence her show had people bursting into song every episode). I think I just had too high expectations. She does read the audiobook version and I have heard that it’s better than reading the book, so I may try that.
- Megan

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Meet Me in Paradise
by Libby Hubscher

Sibling bonding can be difficult, especially when one is a globetrotter and the other has unresolved trauma about travel and a boatload of anxiety about new experiences. So when Marin's sister suggests a getaway for the two of them, she's hesitant, but ultimately decides to push through for the sake of some sister time. Only, her sister never intended to show up for the flight, packed Marin's anxiety meds in the wrong bag that could have prevented a panic attack during the flight, and issues an ultimatum in order to send a new passport (to replace the one she had another friend pickpocket) so that Marin can get home. All because she thinks her big sis needs to "learn how to live" and "get out of her comfort zone" and is dealing with medical issues that somehow justify this scheme, but don't justify just... talking to her sister about what's going on. I have no problems with stories that take a darker turn, or deal with difficult issues, but I struggled to get even halfway through this one because Marin's mental health was treated so flippantly and because her sister's schemes were treated as perfectly reasonable. If the author had chosen to write those all schemes as genuine accidents, I think I could have truly enjoyed this book.
- Kaylee

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A Room of Her Own
by Robyn Lea

I have always believed that we all need space to call our own, so I hoped for wisdom and inspiration from this book. Unfortunately, the author only interviewed wealthy women who lived in Italian villas, or other dashing jet-setters who had enough money to create anything they could ever wish for. Not relatable at all.
- Cary

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by TJ Newman

There was a lot of hype around this book before it came out, with headlines like: “Former flight attendant lands 7-figure deal for 2 novels.” I guess I should have known better. This doesn’t transcend the genre of page-turning thrillers. It’s not very well-written, and I gave up very early on in the book.
- Jacob

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The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Joseph Campbell

I checked out this book for academic purposes. It's not a bad book, it's actually pretty interesting (to me) about archetypes in literature. But it didn't capture my attention quite like the other books that I have read this year.
- Sam

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by Allie Reynolds

This book is a thriller debut for the author. It revolves around a group of friends and a reunion weekend in the French Alps. Things turns deadly when the five friends learn that someone has deliberately stranded them at their remote mountaintop resort during a snowstorm. It’s not a bad read, but it wasn’t my favorite book because as a thriller I found it somewhat predictable.
- Mary

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by Angela Mi Young Hur

Unfortunately, this book did not work for me. I never connected to the characters and the plot was too disjointed for me to really enjoy it. I ended up finishing the book, but thought multiple times about stopping. I really like the concept, but I felt at the end that it didn't accomplish what I thought it set out to do.
- Katherine

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The Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister

This a appealing colorful book but the story of giving away everything that makes you special because others grow jealous is not inspiring to me.
- Gwen

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