No one ever talks about the great disappointments when they do retrospectives, but the following three books were my least favourite books this year. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad, only that I didn’t enjoy them.

Mash It Up! by Ivo St-Leo

I was eager to read Mash It Up because I know little to nothing about the dancehall music culture, and this book promised to be a fly-on-the-wall telling of the rise and fall of a dancehall DJ. Ivo St-Leo himself was once a dancehall DJ (Deejay Riddim Lion), so this book promised to be informative if nothing else. Unfortunately, the novel is a slow, dull, tedious read. So many pages are spent describing the mechanics of dancehall deejaying that one starts to wonder whether this is actually a howto guide to dancehall deejaying. It has all the tension and suspense of an appliance user manual. In fact, I believe that the manual for my new self-cleaning oven is more exciting. All in all, not my cup of tea.

At Least The Rye by Corry Deslauriers

So much praise was heaped on At Least The Rye that it’s a real shame that it did not live up to the hype. At Least The Rye was described as a whirlwind love story taking place in a 24hour period, but even though the novel only spans 150 pages, the pacing is so slow that one feels that it goes on for at least 600. On top of it all, the story of Dom and Dimitri, two guys who meet at a mutual friend’s photography exhibit can hardly be called a love story. It is more the story of two strangers who hate each other, but who are so bored that they sleep with each other regardless. Dom, from New York, and Dimitri, from Montreal, meet at a friend’s photography exhibit in Toronto. Dom laments that he can’t find a decent corned beef sandwich anywhere in Toronto, and Dimitri laments that he can’t find a decent smoked meat. The two inexplicably argue about which hot meat sandwich has the most merit, and it is established that they thoroughly hate each other. In any normal universe, their story should end there. But Corry Deslauriers manages to contrive enough improbable scenarios to keep these two annoying characters together for the duration of the novel. A thoroughly pointless read.

Picks by H.L. Day

H.L. Day is the bestselling author of incredibly imaginative novels. Snickerdoodle is one of my favourite books of all time. But Picks was so over-the-top, so fussy, and so persnickety that it took me three months to complete. Not even the most strident H.L Day fan should read this book.

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