So, going through my list of everything I read in 2016, I note there were a lot more misses than hits last year. This, in itself, shouldn’t all that surprising. After all, I’m an admittedly tough reader. What IS surprising is the disproportionate number of misses resulting from my being foolish enough to place my faith in some of the Best of 2016 lists compiled by various major websites and critics. Yes, of course, your mileage may vary – but I’m not talking about recommended or starred books that failed to live up to potential or simply “weren’t my thing”. I’m referring to overwritten, contrived, plodding, clumsily plotted narratives that had no business being on anyone’s “Best Of” list. Books so bad they seriously had me wondering whether the person praising them even bothered to read them.
I take shitty book recommendations personally. I invested time and money on a suggested read, time and money that could have been spent discovering better books. What’s even more infuriating is the traction these critics and websites will continue to give these subpar authors, hooking other unwitting readers with their disingenuous reviews. Look, I get it. Your buddy or former co-worker or friend of friend could use the shout-out. Or the publishing house would REALLY appreciate some good word of mouth. But, next time, do me a favor and just shill these crap titles as part of your average entry. By placing them on a Best Of list, you overplay your hand. And as a result, you end up proving untrustworthy at best; a complete idiot at worst.
As I say: “Fool me once and I’ll never forgive you nor forget it and, someday, I will have my revenge.”