Recommending Books I Hate – A September Reading Wrap-up

[Insert obligatory preamble about what a terrible book blogger I am. Let’s also go ahead and acknowledge that calling this a book blog is both a generous description and wildly pretentious.]

Now with that out of the way, on to the mini reviews! Let’s start with my least favorite reads in September:

The Dog Who Dared to DreamThe Dog Who Dared to Dream by Sun-mi Hwang
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While on vacation, I picked this book up at the airport in Bali for really no good reason. I had at least 12 books and 7 graphic novels on my Kindle to peruse during my ungodly long flight back to the U.S. (17+ hours forcryin’outloud). But, I’d heard lots of great things about Hwang’s first book The Hen Who Dream She Could Fly – often referred to as the Korean Charlotte’s Web so I figured, why not? In The Dog Who Dared to Dream, I was expecting a somber, perhaps even heartwarming fable about a dog’s loyal spirit à la Hachiko and the connections humans make with animals. Instead, it’s a 169 pages of melodramatic puppy-napping, animal cruelty, and a one-dimensional caretaker – whom the animals dub “Grandpa Screecher” because of his penchant for screaming at them.

After finishing the book on the plane, I dropped it on the tray table with a slap and then proceeded to complain to my husband about this pointless and bizarre little novella. Our flight attendant, stopped by my seat to eagerly ask, “Would you recommend the book? I noticed the cover while you were reading it and I love dogs!” And since I have no spine or conviction, I said, “Umm, yes, I think you’ll like it!”

Octavio's JourneyOctavio’s Journey by Miguel Bonnefoy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is one of those Bookstagram recommendations that pulled me in with its gorgeous, colorful cover. It’s painfully short at 96 pages and reads more like the synopsis for what might have been an epic, multi-generational tale about literacy, ambition, and guilt. I’m going to admit that I didn’t “get” a lot of it – which is probably a result of my own ignorance of the culture and history of Venezuela. This didn’t pack a huge punch for me

The OneThe One by John Marrs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick, imaginative, fun and twisty. This is a book that’s perfect for sparking conversation with friends at a dinner party (if I hosted or went to any). What would you do if a DNA test could match you with your soul mate? But, this book also seems to suffer from having a large cast of characters with occasionally confusing and contrived details. From chapter to chapter, I’d have to spend a few moments recalling what I had learned: is this the one with the serial killer for a boyfriend or is this the one who gets pregnant by her dead almost-boyfriend? 

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)The Gunslinger by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I saw the movie “The Dark Tower” in the theater because Idris Elba. Duh. The movie is utter trash but then so am I – and I loved every minute of it. Especially when 6’3″ Idris is slowly, comically diving in absurd gun battle sequences as if he’s conducting the entire scene underwater. And Matthew McConaughey is attempting a new world record in the 100 layers of foundation challenge.

So, I decided to pick up the book even though we all know that movie adaptations rarely represent the books well. I had two stark realizations while reading the first book in The Dark Tower series: 1) I’ve never read a Stephen King book and I may have chosen the best or worst one to start with and 2) Stephen King was on a helluva lot of drugs when he penned this and you can definitely tell (See also: chapters on Tull)

It’s hard for me to gauge whether I even liked this first installment in the series. It was way too abstract to enjoy as a good vs. evil construct (Is that even what it is?) but also too ridiculously bizarre for me to just give up on.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A depressed, grumpy, alcoholic bookseller grieving the loss of his wife discovers a baby abandoned in his bookstore. This premise doesn’t sound like it could be a cute, cozy read but it’s actually quite endearing even with it’s tidy, heart-string-pulling ending.  This didn’t warm my cold, dead heart as much as I thought it would but it was the perfect reprieve from some of the other weirder things I was reading earlier in the month.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the MaxLumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s not a lot to dislike about the Lumberjanes series so far – it’s an instant mood booster. The art is fluid and fun, the characters are unique and charming, and it’s irreverent, comedic timing is 100. Sure, it might be a little juvenile for a 30-something year old woman to indulge in. That’s why I like to read it alone, where no one can catch me grinning stupidly while I imagine myself in every panel, fighting off evil alongside the all-girl troop.

That’s it for September! At this rate, I’ll see you sometime in mid-November? Find me on social so we can talk shop, swap books and share recs white-down-pointing-backhand-index_1f447


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