Our Least Favorite Books - 2023

Published Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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 Paris Apartment
by Lucy Foley

This book was not the thrilling and exciting tale it was marketed as. I didn't find the characters compelling or the plot original. I think the only reason I finished it is that I kept thinking that it had to get better before the end.
- Katherine

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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
by Michael Chabon

I had high hopes for this book as the reviews of it were outstanding. However, the characters were flat, I simply never cared about them or their struggles. In many parts the book just drug on, as if the author was more interested in meeting a word quota then in telling a story. I am sad to say that I was not able to finish this book and was very disappointed with it.
- Jim

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Dune: Messiah
by Frank Herbert

I couldn't get past the stagnant prose and boring ruminations by the characters in static scenes. I actually do not have a problem with the main character of Paul Atreides being shown to be a flawed leader and visionary, but the book was unable to pull me into its world and get excited about the story as it was told.
- Greg G.

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by Prince Harry

I couldn't even finish this one because I got so bored with it. Which really bummed me out, I was really hyped up for it too! But I guess I just didn't like the writing style or even the content.
- Rachel

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Beautiful Bread: Create & Bake Artful Masterpieces
by Theresa Culletto

I know I shouldn’t pick a cookbook as my least favorite book this year, especially since I don’t particularly like to cook! But I was charmed by the beautiful cover of this cookbook, with its sumptuous, golden brown focaccia loaf topped with vivid reds, greens and yellows of artfully arranged veggies . . . so what am I complaining about? Well, come to find out, each page is basically a duplicate of the cover focaccia loaf! Take a basic bread recipe, arrange sliced green pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, and a few seeds and butter, then bake and repeat -- just remember to re-arrange those veggies into a different flower next time. This bread surely tastes great, but it could all fit on one recipe card. Not book-worthy.
- Cary

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The Ashes of London
by Andrew Taylor

This is an historical thriller is set during the time of the Great Fire of London, written by a best-selling author. The book has good reviews. It should have been right up my alley. I can't say why I didn't finish it. The book just never caught traction for me. I am going to blame myself and not the book. I am determined to give it another try in the future.
- Sally

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The Cloisters: A Novel
by Katy Hays

The Cloisters is one of those books I checked out with high hopes. It seemed to have everything going for it: Tarot! Medieval art! Intrigue! Mysterious museums! Alas, the author’s prose fell flat. Katy Hays knows her stuff – she has a Ph.D. in Art History – but The Cloisters didn’t have the effortless, sparkling prose (I’m looking at you, Donna Tartt!) I look for in my novels. Sadly, I lost interest early on, and the book never rekindled my interest. I have read worse, but The Cloisters didn’t do it for me.
- Patrick

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by Margret Rey, H.A. Rey (Illustrator)

This is the story of a dachshund that is cute but boring to me.
- Gwen

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November 9
by Colleen Hoover

The overall concept of the book I really enjoyed, and I guess I liked the twist. What made me dislike it, however, was the ending. Without spoiling anything, I think the main character made the wrong decision in the end. I feel the book would have been fine just on its own without the twist.
- Aubrey

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“You Just Need to Lose Weight” and 19 Other Myths About Fat People
by Aubrey Gordon

This book does deliver on the promise of its title: it provides a list of “conventional wisdom” assertions that further anti-fat bias, countered with information from medical and social research. Unfortunately, the scope of these myths is uneven—some are quite pointed and concrete, while others are rather vague. And as some of these 20 myths are similar to others, while Gordon makes a lot of good points, she has a tendency to belabor them.
- Charlie

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About the Author

Katherine is the Social Media Coordinator and has been working at EPL since 2008. She loves books, especially ones with unique plots and those written so well that she can't put them down.