Top Ten Tuesday — Words/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up a Book

July 23, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 20


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You NOT Pick Up a Book.  

  1. Horror I don’t read it. Period.  I like to sleep nights.
  2. Zombies.  I might make an exception for Warm Bodies, but generally speaking, I don’t do zombies.  (See Horror.)
  3. Bleak.  I’m not really interested in books described as “bleak.”  There’s enough bleak in the real world; I don’t need it in my pleasure reading.
  4. Apocalypse.  OK, I’ll make an exception for good post-apocalyptic fantasy, but if the book is about the end of the world, count me out.  (Usually.)
  5. Incest.  Sorry, I don’t go there, either.  OK, the hint of it in Luke’s interest in Leia, before he finds out, is bearable.  He drops the infatuation as soon as he finds out, anyway.  And I’ve certainly come across incest in villains or hugely unsympathetic characters, and dealt with it.  But between main characters?  Eww! No thanks.
  6. Mysogyny.  If the main character or the book (or the author) comes across as mysogynist, I will pass.
  7. Racisim.  Ditto.  Secondary characters can be racist or mysogynist, as can the antagonist, but if  characters with whom I’m supposed to identify display these traits, or I get the sense the author is either or both, I’m outta here.
  8. Child abuse.  Physical or sexual, this is one of my triggers.  I can handle it in small doses in a book, particularly in the past, or if the child is rescued from the situation and helped (a la Mercedes Lackey’s Foundation.)  I can’t handle an entire book focused on it, or long, drawn-out descriptions.  (Just to be clear: my aversion doesn’t come from personal experience, just from a sense of horror that anyone would so mistreat a child.)
  9. Love triangle.  I’ll put up with one of these if a) truly necessary to the plot and b) very well written.  If extremely well done, I might even enjoy it. On the other hand, if the author stuck it in because all YA these days has to have a love triangle, or because it was an easy way to throw in some conflict and/or angst, I’ll pass. 
  10. Dialog that begins with “As you know, . . .”  This usually signals an awkward info-dump.  It may not mean the book is badly written, but it’s a warning sign. 

Your turn! What words or phrases will keep you from picking up a book?

20 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday — Words/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up a Book”

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I agree, it’s really overused in YA and NA books. Sometimes it works, but I’m beginning to sigh every time I see it.

      And why is it so often the “two guys interested in one girl and she can’t choose between them” version? (Which is extremely unrealistic anyway, especially if she’s not been the hot-and-popular type before.) Thinking back to my high school years, the most common triangle in real life was “A has a crush on B, but B has a crush on C.”

  1. Daniela

    Love triangles and racism, yeah, I can’t tolerate either. I tried some good books on both of those, but I ended up not finishing either of them.

  2. Feli

    Numbers 5 to 8 speak to me on so many levels. Why would anyone ever enjoy that I honestly don’t know… Great list!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Thank you! Well, I think sometimes people write about horrible things to raise awareness, and there’s certainly a place for that. And sometimes they write about them because they happen, they’re part of human experience, so the characters might well experience something like that. And in some cases, if the author handles it sensitively and with a sense of hope, I can deal with something like child abuse or rape or what have you. But in other cases, even a book that has the intention of raising awareness will prove to be too much for me.

  3. Michelle

    Great list! ‘Bleak’ is definitely not something I want in my reading for pleasure, same with horror as I too like to sleep nights!
    Thanks for stopping by my top ten. 🙂

  4. Kelly

    I’ve never heard of a book described as “bleak” before. The word comes with a negative feeling and I doubt many books will have that.
    I’ve luckily never came across a book that has racism in it before, but it’s an automatic turnoff for me.
    Great list! 😀

    My TTT

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I agree that a publisher would never describe a book as bleak (who would want to read it?!), but I’ve sometimes seen it used by a reviewer. I’ve also come across the word used to describe the world in which a book takes place, or some other facet of the book.

      Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be by to check out your list, too.

  5. Diana Leigh

    “If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey…” stamped on the cover. Or, if the book is labeled as “New Adult.” Those two are like nails on a chalkboard for me.

  6. Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous

    I think I’d have to agree on just about everything…particularly #1, for exactly the same reason! Though it’s not so much the sleeping, it’s the getting-into-bed-in-the-dark that undoes me!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I read in bed sometimes, and keep a bedside light on until I’m in bed anyway, so for me it’s more the inability to sleep once the lights are out — or the bad dreams as I try to process what I’m reading.

      Thanks for stopping by!