Bookishness, Getting to know me

TTT: Turn-offs

Today for Top Ten Tuesday we discuss words or topics that will keep you from picking up a book (the opposite of this topic). I may be too sensitive, but I don’t like labeling a book (or a kind of book) as “bad” anymore. I’ll just say that something REALLY isn’t for me. I do not really buy many books, so this is really more a matter of whether I’ll take the time of day to read it. Most of these are not topics that I actually AVOID, I’m just cautious. I don’t think that – apart from #9 – there are any topics I actually avoid.

1. Angels, Fallen Angels, etc.

I am wary of picking these up. The first time I heard of the Nephilim I was intrigued and thought what a cool story that would make, and some really good (and really bad) books have been written about them. I feel that to a large extent the topic is being sucked dry and that little innovation is occurring with it. It’s all rather repetitive.

Case in Point: Fallen by Lauren Kate – I just did not like this book. I found it melodramatic and poorly written, but many people I know (including The Boy!) love it. So mmh.

Exception: Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. Oh wow. I love the fact that you can’t clearly tell the good guys from the bad guys.

2. Religion

I have become very wary of religion-themed books. I guess I have become tired of feeling like an author is trying to force their opinion down my throat. When I feel like discussing religion, I guess it won’t be with a book.

Case in Point: I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris – this book was all the rage in my circle of friends when we were in high school, and it intrigued me. But it was so full of self-righteousness.

Exception: The Shack by Paul Young – a lot of people had problems with this book, and yes, it was primarily a work of fiction, but I enjoyed its musings.

3. Books about travel

You may find this surprising, considering  my love of traveling. The thing is, good travelogues/travel books are incredibly hard to find! If I find a book that sounds wonderful, I will probably read the first few pages to see if I like the writing style (I find this to be a massive problem in travel writing – understandably, I think it is a difficult genre) and then I might pick it up. But I am incredibly cautious.

Case in Point: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – people either love it or hate it. I loved what she did, but I disliked the writing. Sigh.

Exception: Books on this list. I still want to try Steinbeck.

4. Biographies/Memoirs

Also surprising, because I have some very fond memories of discovering the genre. Recently I feel like many of these books are a bit too full of themselves, an opportunity to brag or wallow in misfortune.

Case in Point: Chernobyl Strawberries by Vesna Goldsworthy – I am still confused by this book. As one reviewer put it, “this book is one long stream of consciousness”.

Half-half: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I learned a lot about Jobs, The Boy (who is a lot like him) and the world of business in general by reading this book. But every moment reading it was a struggle.

Exception: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Not a happy book, but still one of my favourites.

5. Wealthy gossipy kids/societies

Oh wow, guys, these just infuriate me. And probably awaken the jealousy monster, just a little.

Case in Point: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shephard

Exception: The Manny by Holly Peterson – there was a little more humanity to this one, somehow.

6. Vampires, Witches, Werewolves

I have nothing really against these, except that I again feel that it has become a little overdone. ‘sall.

Case in Point: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Exception (maybe): The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – I know it’s a little ironic. I kind of like the first three books in the series, though.

7. Japanese

Don’t chastise me for this… I guess it is mostly a translation issue. I just have not had a good experience as I have found the writing to be rather circumstantial. I love the culture, though.

Case in Point: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – the review says it all. I also tried to read Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, but it was waaaay too gruesome for me.

Exception: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng – he is not Japanese, but the country and culture feature a lot in the novel. I want to give Japanese authors a better chance though – any suggestions? I’m thinking Banana Yoshimoto.

8. Horror

I like a good scare, but usually in the sense of a thriller. People think that’s weird, because horrors are at least usually pretty unreal, while a thriller could be happening in your backyard. I don’t know why, but I cannot read horrors.

Case in Point: R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books had me sleeping with my nightlight on as a child – and I didn’t enjoy that thrill!

Exception: I don’t think there is one. Is Dracula considered a true horror? Because I enjoyed that.

9. Romance

I don’t really have anything against books with romance in them, but knowing that romance lies central to the plot of a book will give me second thoughts. If I like the reviews and the gut feeling I get, I’ll read it. For example, I did not regret reading Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park!

10. Dinosaurs or Dragons

I just don’t have the fascination with them that other people have (not even when I was a kid). I thought Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park was alright, but it didn’t make me tick or anything.

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14 thoughts on “TTT: Turn-offs”

  1. Love the way you organized this. Yes, there are exceptions. Nice.

    And I agree with your categories. Except Japanese. Japanese? Beautiful writing. Clever. Mysterious. No, this is a category that I seek out rather than avoid. Wish I could recommend something that would convert you.

    Here’s my Top Ten list.

  2. I’m not keen on memoir/biographies either. There are some good ones, and some that are thought provoking, but a lot seem to be very self indulgent. Especially the ones written by young celebrities.
    And as far as dragons go… well, I feel like I should probably rec some good books about dragons. I hope you don’t mind. If you like Sci-Fi then you may enjoy Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders of Pern series (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61975.Dragonflight?ac=1). It’s not my cup of tea, but I’m told that it’s a good dragon series. On the more fantasy side you may like The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/150739.Dealing_with_Dragons?ac=1). This has to be my favourite series with dragons as characters in it.

  3. I’m tired of reading about rich gossipy kids since that’s all I’ve read when I was little.
    Religion books and biographies aren’t really my thing either sadly.
    Great list! (:

    My TTT

  4. I agree with so many of these, although I do love a good biography (although, not so much autobiographies).
    And I agree totally with you on “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” My husband read it and swore by it and the sequel all about courtship and such. I agree, a lot of self-righteousness and a big lack of realism. There are a few tiny gems, but most of it is pretty tough to get through.

      1. The Diary of Anne Frank is an obvious one. I really liked the Paul Farmer story in “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” The story of Elisbeth Kubler Ross is fascinating too.

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