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

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the creative folks at the Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday

I do have bugaboos, some that will make me not pick up a book in the first place or dnf it if discovered, and some that will just get under my skin and irritate me.

  1. Killing off or abusing children, women, or (in children’s literature) parents, especially to provide Character Motivation or the focus of the book
  2. Describing abuse particularly of women as romantic; a corollary is the use of the word “ravish” in a positive romantic way
  3. War fiction, especially focusing on the battles more than the people
  4. All the characters are white men (Lord of the Rings is the major exception here.)
  5. Books perpetuating negative stereotypes, especially if they are contemporary and think they’re enlightened.
  6. At this point, the Child Prophesied to Save the World makes me twitchy and has to be handled really well.
  7. Ditto love triangles
  8. Straight-up horror, thriller or lots of violence
  9. Really long books or series, especially if written for adults (oh, Black Wolves!  Oh, Sevenwaters series! How I long to have read you!  How I have put off reading you because of your length!
  10. Insta-love, particularly focused on stereotypically gendered physical characteristics
  11. Poorly researched historical fiction. This isn’t always an automatic dnf, and is something that doesn’t usually show up in blurbs, but things like medieval castles with kitchens filled with servants chopping potatoes (introduced from the New World a few centuries later) and ladies wearing velvet before it was invented make me itchy and pull me right out of the story.

What turns you off?  Bonus points if you can remember something that I’ve complained about here before but forgot to put on my list!

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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10 Responses to Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

  1. I usually won’t read past the word “cripple”.

    And I won’t read past a dog death. If the dog death feels like it was thrown in purely for emotional manipulation, I will heave the book across the room, though if it’s a library book I’ll of course be careful to throw it underhand.


    Miraculous cures of disabilities, and the killing off a marginalized character to provite a Growth Experience for the protagonist, are two things that make me gnash my teeth, but they usually happen too late in the story for me to say they’ve actually kept me away.

    Am with you on the historical errors for sure! Also presentism, and also
    what I call the internet fallacy: the author’s apparent belief that the date of invention or discovery was the date on which a thing became widespread and widely known.
    (I call it that because if it were true, we’d all have been using the internet since the late 1960s.)

    Your #5 describes so many books… that have been so popular… so recently… sigh.

    • Katy K. says:

      Good ideas! I confess I loved Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid, but as I was under the age 10 and introduced to it by a teacher who read it aloud to the class, I hope it can be excused. I don’t go in for it now! I like your calling it the internet fallacy, too.

  2. PS– I mean “provide” not “provite”. When will I learn to prufereed.

  3. I agree with many of these that fall under the heading of “depressing/ terrible stuff happens.” My TTT

    • Katy K. says:

      I often read children’s books to get away from depressing – it’s quite unfortunate that children’s lit is now moving towards overwhelming sadness, too.

  4. All I have to say is yes. I agree. All the things. Happy reading.

    eli @ the (book) supplier
    My TTT

  5. Barb says:

    In a past post you mentioned your dislike of stalker behavior as a acceptable romantic ritual, especially, the often overused device of a man entering a woman’s private space uninvited and watching her while she sleeps. (I’m talking to you, Edward Cullen.) It stuck with me because I agree that it’s super creepy. I really liked A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, but there was that one scene where that happened and it almost ruined the rest of the book for me.

    I also threw The Brethren by John Grisham across the room when I realized that the Supreme Court Justices were all men and the book was published 20 years after Sandra Day O’Connor became a justice.

  6. Akilah says:

    I cannot deal with Chosen One narratives anymore unless I don’t know I’m reading one because it’s not obvious it’s THAT type of story (e.g., The Lunar Chronicles).

    I also hate horror.

  7. Pingback: March and April Diverse Reading | alibrarymama

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