The Bad, the Worst, and the Most Disappointing

babyAround this time of year, I start mentally preparing for AAR’s annual poll. I take stock of what I’ve read, what I should squeeze in before the deadline (I am always, always, reading up until the very last minute), and who my personal front runners are. I also start thinking about which books were truly awful. What shudder-inducing, god-awful travesty deserves my vote for worst?

Usually, I have an obvious answer. In fact, I usually know while I’m reading it. It’s that moment of discovery when you realize that nothing you read for the rest of the year could possibly be worse than what you are holding in your hands. These are the books that are so terrible that they cross the realm into funny. Not “so bad they’re good” per se; more like so bad they’re laughable. You may pay while reading it, but the review is bound to be hilarious.

Lately, though, I just haven’t read that many F books. My most recent review was written in March of 2009. I’ve read a few Ds, but most books I read fall in the B and C range. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe books are getting better in general. Or perhaps I’ve been reviewing for so long that just as it’s hard to truly knock my socks off, it’s hard to really horrify me too. When you’ve read The Great Baby Caper by Eugenia Riley (and I’m pretty sure I’m one of maybe six people in America who did), you know just how low the bar can go. Mediocre books start looking brilliant by comparison.

Continue reading

AAR Annual Poll Panic Time

WomanHeadacheI had a mild panic attack this week while looking at my calendar for January. There, marked in red, on January 18th, were the words “First day AAR Annual Poll.” Yikes! How could this be? In one month, voting will start. While this is exciting for me as one of AAR’s pollsters, it struck terror for me as a romance reader.

I have voted in every one of AAR’s Annual Polls, and am usually one of the first to vote. Most years, I have used used elaborate record-keeping devices to keep track of my reading, solely to help with my Annual Poll ballot. All that has changed this year.  As we announced earlier, this year the Annual Poll will begin on Monday, January 18, but will last only two weeks, until Sunday, January 31. This leaves almost no time for catch-up reading during the polling period, meaning I really need to have done all of my major 2009 reading by January 18….and there’s my problem.

Continue reading