Here is a list of the worst books I have read/listened to in 2012.

Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore (audiobook read by Susan Bennett). This latest installment about vampires in San Francisco is mostly a rehash of jokes from the first books in the series that I liked very much. Skip this one, but check out Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, You Suck: A Love Story, and A Dirty Job. All are very funny.

Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity (Abridged) by David Bodanis (audiobook read by Adam Levy). I did not realize that this book was abridged when I picked it up at the library. It is an overview of the history of electricity. The abridged version is about 4 1/2 hours long while the unabridged version is 6 1/2 hours long. Why abridge something so short? It leaves out scientists like Volta and Tesla. Not only does the abridgement skip over these guys out, but it keep referring to their work as if the reader already knows about it. What it did contain was very interesting, but it’s incompleteness just made it frustrating to follow. Skip this one, but check out Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity (Unabridged).

Venus of Dreams by Pamela Sargent (audiobook read by Andi Arndt): I don’t remember much about this book other than it was filled with characters that I did not care about, it took place on Venus, and it was a drudge to get through. If you want to read a better book that takes place on Venus, read The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth. Even though it was written in 1953 and Venus has no relationship to the actual planet other than its name and location, this Venus is a much more interesting place filled with more interesting people, even as flat as they are.

After Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer (audiobook read by Peter Ganim). This is probably the worst book of the year. It is the sequel to the book When Worlds Collide. The plot is boring. The only interesting thing about this book is that it gives you an insight into the sexism, racism, and ethnocentrism of the 1930s. Summary: White English speaking people good, brown, non-English speaking, alien, non-servile people bad. Instead of this book or it’s predecessor, go watch the 1951 movie  Worlds When Collide. It is a science fiction classic that presents the best parts of the novel.

James Madison by Richard Brookheiser (dead tree version from the library). Madison has got to be far more interesting than Brookheiser presents him. He was the president during the War of 1812 when the British captured Washington and burned down the White House for crying out loud. I’ve read a more interesting Madison as a background character in biographies of other founders. Instead of reading this one, find another biography of Madison, and if you enjoy it, let me know.

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