Thursday, April 27, 2017

Top 10 Things That Will Instantly Make Me NOT Want to Read a Book




I'm a couple of days behind, but as a follow up to a recent Top Ten Tuesday list of triggers that will instant pique my interest in a book, here's the flip side: the top ten things that will make me NOT want to read a book.

1.  Fictional stories about real people. There are so many great biographies, I'd much rather read about the actual lives of famous people, which are usually pretty interesting. And this relates directly to #2.

2. Modern retellings/prequels/sequels, or stories about side characters in classic fiction. Honestly, it's just fan fiction -- authors, make up your own characters! It just seems gimmicky and unimaginative to me. I don't mind nearly as much reading about fictional characters set in historical time periods, like the French Revolution or the 1920s, but it does bother me when authors try to just reshape other people's characters. I'm much more impressed with authors who create their own situations and characters.

3. Chick-lit cutesy covers for classic books. Also, book covers of historical or classic books in which the people depicted on the cover are wearing fashions from the wrong time period. E-books are notorious for this.



4. "The Next (insert trendy book here)." If I wanted to read the next Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, I would probably just read the original (which I actually have). It just seems that authors just want to jump on the bandwagon of whatever was the most recent breakout best-seller, though to be fair, it's quite possible that it's the publishers who are really interested in publishing that type of thing. And I get it, they need to sell books, it just seems like the same thing over and over.

5. Violence against women and children. I had to give up reading thrillers and a lot of crime novels because it just seemed over and over to be gruesome crimes, particularly against women and girls. There's enough of that in real life.

6.  Books with hardly any female characters, or women in subservient roles. It's hard enough for women in real life. I really enjoy nonfiction, especially history, and some of those tend to be male-centric just because obviously, women didn't have opportunities. But some of my favorite nonfiction books have been about famous women.

7. Fictional stories inspired current events, especially tragedies. Relates to #1 -- I really don't want to read a story based on a school shooting or terrorist attack, and if it does have some historical significance, I'd probably read a non-fiction account, like I am Malala or Zeitoun. Basically, anything by Jodi Picoult fits this category.

8. High fantasy. I'll read an occasional fantasy book, but it's nearly always low fantasy. I'm much more interested in fantastic or magical things that happen to people in the real world. I tend to get overwhelmed by all the world-building in high fantasy -- if there's a glossary or huge history that goes with the book, it's usually too much for me (the exception was Game of Thrones, and I did see the TV series first. I did get bogged down by all the back-stories and different characters by the fifth book, though I still like the HBO adaptation which has actually caught up with the written version and continued the story because it's taking so long for George R. R. Martin to finish it).

9. Science fiction/dystopian novels. Dystopian novels are just too depressing, and there's usually too much tech in science fiction. I will make an exception for the occasional time-travel novel, but to me that's really low fantasy/historical -- I don't think I'd read a time-travel novel in which a character was going to the future, though a historical character traveling into our present might be interesting.

10. Supernatural stories. Not really interested in vampires, werewolves, zombies, or ghosts. I almost never read horror -- I went through a Stephen King phase back in middle school and high school and I think I stopped with Cujo. I can't watch horror movies either.

Bloggers, what are your bookish pet peeves? What turns you off a book?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

17 comments:

  1. I agree so much with your #1 that I'll tell you about the picture book I found. It was about WWII in occupied Denmark, and told a story about how Jews were required to wear yellow stars, so the king wore one too, and so did everybody else, awwwww. This sounded completely sketchy to me, I didn't think it could possibly be right, and I found a note in the back saying that this didn't really happen but wouldn't it be great if it did? NO, because the REAL story is BETTER. The Danish gov't refused to make Danish Jews wear stars at all. And then they smuggled most of them out of the country before they could be deported to camps, and the few that did get caught were checked on all the time, so they got treated a lot better. THAT is a much better story, and it's actually TRUE.

    You #2 is spot on as well, but I'll stop now before I rant any more....

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    1. OK, that book description is RIDICULOUS. Let's write a book about WWII that is WRONG. You're absolutely right, the real story is much better.

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  2. Reason #1 is my biggest turn off too. The author is cashing in on someone else's fame and achievements in what would otherwise be a quite run of the mill book. Worst of all is the way in which the author inserts descriptions of what might have happened in private moments that by attaching them to a known name suggests truth where truth cannot be known.

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    1. Yes, it is truly annoying. It's like cashing in!

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  3. I totally agree on the chick-lit covers for re-prints of classics. And your choice of featuring Barbara Pym is spot on. I love the wallpaper designs of the original editions so much, they should have just kept those!

    Along those lines, while it would keep me from reading a book it might make me buy a different edition, I dislike it when publishers re-use portraiture for covers of classic reprints. For example, Penguin and Oxford World Classics have used two different paintings TWICE for editions of Middlemarch AND Jane Eyre. I don’t want my copies of two different books to have the same cover! ; )

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    1. That doesn't bother me, I'd much rather have art from the same period -- as long as they give credit! I've seen gorgeous book covers on websites and without actually buying the book, I have no idea what the artwork is. Virago in particular used really nice art for their classic green paperbacks. I wish they still made those!

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    2. Because I really kind of love old cheap paperback covers that try to make classics look sexy, I have mixed feelings about the chick-lit covers. Maybe my grandchildren will think they're awesome and try to collect them?

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  4. I love all your answers! However, for the classic adaptations, I highly recommend March by Geraldine Brooks, if you haven't read it. Pulitzer winner about Mr. March in Little Women. :)

    Also, I tagged you for a Classics book tag, if you're interested. No pressure at all; I just thought it might be fun if you feel like a tag. As and if. :)

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    1. Oh, the link doesn't work. Here it is: https://tobeginwithireadjaneeyre.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/the-classics-book-tag/

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    2. Thanks, great meme! I don't do too many tags but that's right up my alley.

      I have read March and it was good, but I really thought of it more of as a Civil War story than connected to Little Women (but it had been so many years since I read LW that I've forgotten most of the details! -- time for a reread!)

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    3. Yeah, I though it might be good for classics readers. :) I just reread Little Women! Such a good one for a revisit. x

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  5. #2 is one of my current big ones too. I used to read these types of stories but then started really getting annoyed by that idea of authors not inventing their own worlds/characters so now I'm avoiding all of those books.

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    1. I pretty much avoid them. Basically, I don't want to know what happens after Darcy and Elizabeth get married, or a modern update which will inevitably disappoint me. I think the only one I ever really liked was Wide Sargasso Sea, though I do admit to enjoying Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but it's really mostly P&P with a zombies. It's so ridiculous I can't take it seriously so I thought it was funny. Lost in Austen (the movie, not the book) is also really funny, but it's really not an adaptation. The first Bridget Jones was pretty good, but after that she lost me.

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  6. It's funny what sorts of things turn people off. Most of these don't bother me, especially the high fantasy one. Though I admit - I want my high fantasy to not be all Men Doing Manly Things With Swords While They Fight Monsters. Too many of these books were written in a way that feels totally flat to me. I think that's why I love Sanderson so much. His stuff is set in other worlds, but feels totally relateable.

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  7. Definitely #1. Give me the real thing. It's part of the reason I don't get into historical fiction.

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  8. All of these, except I do like Sci-Fi. My best friend and I were into vampires in middle school, so now I am completely uninterested in that.

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  9. With regards to #6 - one of my favorite books is Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, but there is not one single female character in the entire book. On the same topic, my daughter when she was in pre-school asked why the only "girl" in Winnie the Pooh stories was Kanga. I was a proud mom that day!

    Supernatural and sci-fi don't do much for me either, except, I love time travel stories. Call it wishful thinking!

    I go back and forth on #1 and #2 - I think it ultimately depends on the author, writing/storytelling skills, and if he/she has something new or interesting to add or if borrowing from history or other authors is merely gratuitous.

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