Seven so-so books I read in 2016

Usually, at the end of the year, blogger types write a lot of list posts, talking about the books and articles and moments and cookies we really loved. The ones that really mattered to us (at least for a few minutes). For the last couple of years, I’ve had a bit of fun with these lists, sharing both the books I enjoyed as well as those I felt were less praiseworthy.

Sharing this latter group is a bit of curmudgeonly fun on my part, but is also gives me a chance to think about the books I read critically (but hopefully charitably). You’ll probably see as you read them that many of these books aren’t bad. They’re just kind of okay.

But however way you slice it, here are seven books I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this year:

Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer. This book confirmed for me that I really don’t care for Tozer’s work. His tone is the issue for me, but I also find he misses out on something important in many of his books—that Christianity and our delight in God is not simply a matter of personal piety, but expressed in community.

Passion Cry by Robbie Symons. This book didn’t wow me in part because it needed a much stronger hand editing it, and because I felt it offered part of the solution to spiritual apathy within the church (an emphasis on personal devotion), but like Tozer, could have more strongly emphasized the communal aspect.

How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know by Byron Sharp. This was a work read and had a lot of helpful material in it. It is also painful to read, both in terms of writing style and the duplication of content.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I think what I said about it a few months ago is true: I know Ignatius Reilly is this supposed to be this breathtakingly iconic figure of a misunderstood genius. But he’s not. He’s a giant wiener. Honestly, I think this book is just the worst. Seriously. The worst.

Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall. A book so bad I couldn’t be bothered to finish it. It is gossipy and salacious, and I struggle to see anything of redeeming value in its pages.

The Tales of Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah. I couldn’t even bother finishing this largely because the narration was so dreadful (I downloaded it as an audiobook). The story wasn’t terribly memorable, either.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Finally, there is the tale of Alice and her adventures. I don’t care for Lewis Carroll’s writing. The character of Alice is hardly sympathetic. I’m glad I’m done with it so I don’t have to read it ever again.

…Okay, I think that worked out to three so-so books and two pretty bad books, and two I downright hated. Am I too picky? Am I missing something? Let me know on Twitter, friends.

See what made the cut in years past:

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.