Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Book Turnoffs — the things that will make you avoid, lose interest in, or turn away from a book.
Seems to me we did one a lot like this earlier this year… stuff that will make you not pick up a book. Oh, well, this week we’ll take them from A to Z:
- Adultery or cheating by the main characters. Sorry, I have absolutely no time for this. If it’s in the past, and the character has changed for the better since it happened, I can deal with it. But if the main character cheats and I’m supposed to think that’s all right, forget it.
- Bad grammar/spelling/punctuation/writing/editing. I know, even the best-edited and proofread book can have the occasional typo or mistake. But if the book is riddled with them, I’m outta here.
- BDSM. This will make me close a book immediately.
- Bigotry, racism, and/or chauvinism. If a supposedly sympathetic character displays any of those traits, I’m not going to be happy and will probably put down the book. If the prejudice is clearly the author’s, she or he has definitely lost me. I do, however, make some exceptions for characters whose era or culture predispose them to prejudice or male chauvinism — especially if they learn some tolerance and compassion somewhere along the way.
- Cussing. I can stand the occasional swear word out of a character’s mouth, especially if the situation or the character’s background warrants it. Even the f-bomb, though I’d really rather the author used a euphemism. (British authors are famed for using “effing” instead.) But too much cussing is a definite turn-off.
- Cynicism. A cynical character is OK, but too much cynicism or a cynical author will probably turn me away pretty quickly. The books I read don’t have to be sweetness and light, but they’d better offer at least some hope.
- Graphic violence. This one’s a little tricky, because I read murder mysteries, and I’ve read about some pretty gruesome ways of getting killed. But here’s the thing: you can write about murder or violence without over-focusing on it. If the author dwells on it, or seems to glorify it, that makes me pretty uncomfortable. I’ve even put down a Nora Roberts book I was otherwise enjoying because the descriptions of what the (fictional) serial killer did to his victims got to be too much for me.
- The snooze factor. The author’s got to keep me interested. If I’m bored, I’ll probably put the book down and not come back.
- Teen romances that will last forever. Look, I love romances, and I believe in committed, lasting relationships. I’ve been happily married for over 20 years. But the fact is, very few people end up spending their whole life with the person they were infatuated with in high school. It does happen, but it’s rare, and it takes both worth and (probably) luck. So I’m bothered by the huge number of YA novels that push the idea of finding your soulmate in your teens.
- TSTL syndrome. You know, those books where the heroine is Too Stupid To Live, and is only saved by the hero. Usually repeatedly. I can really do without yelling “you idiot!” at the MC all the time.
- Zombies. No, thank you. I don’t go there. This is the one paranormal trope that totally freaks me out. *shudders* (Why is this one in a list of stuff that will make me stop reading? I mean, you’d think I would know before I started that the book was about zombies. Well, I once read a short story without knowing there were zombies in it, so it can happen. Besides, I needed something for “Z”!)
Now it’s your turn. What things will make you put a book aside?