Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten. Last week, I discussed things that make me instantly want to read a book, so this week, it is things that turn me off. Now, while book recs by friends and other online bloggers is common, there are few instances where people are like – don’t read this book! However, you do pick up things in others’ reviews, or from the blurbs that then make me realize that perhaps I this book is not for me. These are some of those things:
Unless I have a galley, I don’t touch books that have been deemed problematic by the book community. Of course, I try to find out why exactly it has been deemed so, and if it contains racism, homophobia, or ableism that goes unaddressed, I will not read it. Plain and simple!
Nothing makes me lose interest faster than seeing the book shelved as non-fiction. Even for biographies – I am rarely ever interested. Perhaps it is just the fact that it grounded in reality rather than an imaginary world.
The single most cringe-worthy descriptor for a male character and the word that makes me run far far away from the book blurb that has it. Granted many don’t come out and say it, but just the image constructed of an alpha male who is overcome by his desire to female character and I go:
A plot that places too much importance on divine providence and stuff – nah, not my thing. Mythology is okay, but as a world construct element but not as a resolution for plot, or to provide ‘inspiration’.
I’m sorry but I am terrible at understanding verse. I see the appeal but personally I do not want to read poetry if I can help it. And if prose books contain songs or poems, I generally skip over those (side-eyes LotR)
If the plot relies on misunderstandings to create tension, I start dropping the stars. I get pissed when a plot problem can be solved simply, so misunderstandings are sort of a big turn off for me.
Adult realistic fiction
All those stories about middle-aged people having mid-life crises and what not, going back to their hometowns and rekindling old flames – please! Keep them away from me. I want to stay in YA bookland forever – they have more variety.
Gratuitous shock value
Books that rely on using sexual assault, torture, murder or death purely for shock value turn me off. Now, this is a tricky one since anybody can explain it away by saying that life is unpredictable yada yada. But fiction is finite, and controllable and if the plot only needs those elements to spur the story, it is not written well.
Historical fiction set after WWII
For some reason, I have no interest in books set in 60s or 70s, or any decade after that basically. Even WW-era novels are something I recently gained an interest in. My favored era for historical fiction is 16th-17th centuries.
This one is a no-brainer. Even the best plot can’t be saved if it is badly written. And by badly written, I mean sentence structure, dialogues used (and misuse of slang), or even just loopholes in general.