You ever get on one of those jags where it seems like every book you pick up is just...Ugh?
Yeah? I'm on one of those.
And I find myself more annoyed than usual because the books in question are from such-and-such best seller list and/or so-and-so's book club list and so you'd think, "Hey, this should be a pretty decent read. Or, at the very least, mildly entertaining. Surely most of the country and/or this vaguely bookish celebrity wouldn't put their name behind complete and utter crap."
Only, you'd quickly discover just how wrong you are as you cannot help but notice that the story or the protagonist or the villain or, perhaps even more often, the story AND the protagonist AND the villain are all just so very stupid (like, how do you tie your own shoes? stupid) or cliche or unrealistic (or dumb AND cliche AND unrealistic), that suddenly, you find yourself wanting to rip your own hair out rather than read even one sentence more.
So yeah. I'm on one of those streaks. I've actually managed to accidentally select two separate novels where the "perfect" woman with the "perfect" husband and the "perfect" life is actually being abused (in often painfully unrealistic and clearly un-researched ways--I mean, is it really so much to ask that you at least familiarize yourself with how domestic abuse usually plays out--how victims find themselves entrapped--because, newsflash would be novelists who just happen to be reading this post, it usually isn't like a switch being flipped on the wedding night from kind, loving partner to sadistic control freak who only wants to hurt). *insert eye roll*
And if all that weren't enough, the third novel I started today, only to end up putting back down in disgust, involved a couple that barely had two working brain cells between themselves, who suddenly happened upon a cool 2 million in cash and prizes in the middle of the ocean with no other witnesses present, but who then proceed to muck it all up in the dumbest ways possible. Like seriously. They could have walked away with 2 million, no strings attached. Easily--if they'd just had half a brain.
I put it down when I realized I was actually rooting for the "bad" guys and hoping that they'd kill these two idiots and put us all out of our misery. At least then, you could argue the story had something of a moral: Don't be a dumb ass.
*sighs* If I sound frustrated, it's only BECAUSE I AM. I feel like it has been entirely too long since I actually read something good. I almost expect this when I'm trolling through fanfiction.net or AO3. There, you're more likely than not to find something someone literally typed up that very same afternoon (guilty!) or to find someone with the vocabulary of a poorly read 16 year old (because they're actually only 12).
But the people writing these published novels are (supposed to be) backed by editors and proofreaders who can tell them the hard truths about how a good idea does not necessarily a good story make without hours and hours and hours of hard work editing and refining and improving, etc.
And while there's still a chance that some of these stories might have gotten there at some point... They weren't there yet.
Not by a long shot.
And I think that that may be my biggest frustration of all--opportunity squandered.