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A Reader of Fictions: Top Ten Topics That Scare Me Off Picking Up a Book

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Topics That Scare Me Off Picking Up a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
For the most part, I think of myself as a really open-minded reader. I read children's books, middle grade, YA, and adult. I read most genres, and I do both print and audio formats. There's a lot that interests me, but certain subjects make me want to steer clear.

1. Infidelity - I loathe infidelity stories, largely because they're usually romanticized. If someone cheats, I want them to suffer for it, preferably dying alone. Okay, well, I wouldn't usually go that far, but they shouldn't get to end up happily with the person on whom they cheated - and, no, both of them cheating doesn't mean they're right for each other. If a blurb hints at infidelity, I'm unlikely to go out of my way to procure the book.

2.Mermaids and Furies - Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not completely opposed to mermaid or fury stories. However, I've been bitten more than once by my lack of caution in selecting them. For whatever reason, mermaids seem to bring out the worst in gender dynamics, and I honestly don't know what happened to the furies.

3. Drug Addictions - Though I've been really getting into the darker contemporaries, I still struggle to be interested in books about substance abuse. Part of me really wants to try Ellen Hopkins, but the subject matter makes me nervous. Drugs never held any appeal for me, so diving into someone's stream of consciousness thoughts as they get high doesn't rank high on my list of things to do. I suspect this fear stems back to my college course on counterculture, where I was made to read books like Naked Lunch and On the Road, which are just not my thing.

4. Divorce - In this case, I'm referring to the perspective of being one of the people in the divorce. Part of my reticence here is that it tends to come hand in hand with infidelity. On top of that, divorce is so far away from my own life experiences that I can't really relate to it, and only the most mind-blowing book will do anything for me. Old people (yes, I know young people can get divorced, but married people always seem older than me somehow) fighting don't interest me.

5. Mysteries - Being loath to pick up mysteries does eliminate a broad swath of books. I'm not saying I won't read them, but I don't like that to be the main element of a story. Exceptions to the mysteries scaring me away rule are serial killer stories, which I find it hard to resist.

6. Romance - Wait! Hold on! Let me explain myself. I love having romance in my books, BUT the caveat is that I don't want it to be the center of the blurb if the book is genre fiction. If it's a contemporary or historical romance, and the blurb is all about the hot boy, cool; if it's science fiction or paranormal or dystopian, and the blurb is all about the hot boy, that book and I will likely have problems.

7. Graceling meets X-Men meets Pride and Prejudice - I've gotten REALLY sick of this marketing campaign. "You mean this book is all my favorite things rolled up in some bacon with a side of mashed potatoes? Where do I sign up?" That's what I used to say, but now I say "It's a trap!"

8. Adult Romance Author Writing Teen - Again, this isn't something I avoid a hundred percent of the time, but, if I know going in, I won't read these unless I've heard a lot of praise from reviewers I trust. Too often, the YA offerings are sci fi or fantasy settings with a lot of promise, but then the world doesn't get built and cheesy romance ensues. I'm not saying romance authors aren't talented, but such things are not my style.

9. Pregnancy - True story. I picked up How to Love by Katie Catugno at BEA and, when I got back, read through the blurb. That's when I found out it was about teenage pregnancy, at which point I tried to get rid of it, and failed, though I could have tried harder. Basically, I will try to push through this fear, just like the heroine will have to push through her contractions.

10. Babies - The only thing worse for me than pregnancy? An actual baby, with the crying and the pooping and the lack of reasoning capabilities. I refused to read In the After, because one of the characters is called Baby and I was afraid she was a baby, but am planning to read it again, because she's apparently a kid. This is how far my fear goes.

There you have it. I am a person of many fears and many gifs. Also, I made the mistake of looking for gifs about babies; you do not know my horror.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have a difficulties reading books about infidelity when I'm supposed to be cheering for the adulterers. I can't. I disapprove of their cheating. I don't find it romantic. I couldn't get into Water for Elephants because of this.

The THIS BOOK + THIS BOOK marketing isn't my favorite either. I had an editorial internship, and my job involved describing manuscripts this way to supervisors. One problem: If the manuscript was actually original, and not two books smashed together, this was difficult.

And, in general, I don't ENJOY thinking of books as mash-ups of other books. Either they are mash-ups, which means the books are rip-offs of others' works, or they aren't mash-ups, so I don't even get the type of story I was expecting after reading the marketing blurb.

July 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger GillyB said...

"Basically, I will try to push through this fear, just like the heroine will have to push through her contractions."

HAHAHAHAHAHA and yes, that book doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I ALSO have addiction on my list.

I have been burned MANY a time by adult romance writers writing YA. Don't just GO THERE because it's popular, authors. Some people AREN'T meant to write YA.

July 23, 2013 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger fakesteph said...

I'm not a huge fan of infidelity either and for exactly that reason. I don't think it is okay to cheat. I would be okay with a book about infidelity if the book didn't constantly whisper "it's okay to cheat if you're in love" and "it's okay to cheat if the person you're cheating on isn't a good person". Just no. And babies... hahahaha, I love babies. But I haven't read any books about them, so who knows. (Also, I read a book as a kid that was literally called Baby Island. It was about two girls taking care of a bunch of babies after being shipwrecked. I bet you'd hate it!)

July 23, 2013 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I hate, hate, hate, hate infidelity storylines. The worst are when you don't see them coming and they just APPEAR. I'm like NO I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS

July 23, 2013 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Bonnie R said...

I also hate reading about infidelity. That's just one book topic that leaves me feeling.. yucky. I could actually agree with you regarding the mermaids, but only because I have yet to find a well-written one. I also feel this way a lot with angel books. Or Christian Fiction.

July 23, 2013 at 12:50 AM  
Blogger Liz Hannah said...

How To Love is about pregnancy? Should have read that blurb a bit more closely then...I'm with you on pregnancy and babies. Just doesn't do anything for me, at all.

July 23, 2013 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader said...

You and I were clearly on the same wavelength this week - Infidelity, mermaids, and pregnancy all made my list this week as well! You definitely touched on one of the largest problem I've experienced regarding stories about mermaids, in particular. Why must they always be sexist and/or misogynistic? Is it a requirement for the genre?

July 23, 2013 at 1:21 AM  
Blogger Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews said...

Bahahahaha, the last two. I honestly don't think I've read a book about teen pregnancy. I've read a book where a teen gets pregnant, but that's later on, after she's dealt with running away, being addicted to heroin, recovering from said addiction, and getting out of jail. So... yeah. Anyway.

I think the only thing worse than pregnancy (which is GROSS when you think about it) is the birthing part. I think children are pretty bad on the scale of Gross Things to Avoid, but birthing? Second place, easily.

July 23, 2013 at 2:21 AM  
Blogger Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews said...

Amending my earlier statement: Bumped and Thumped were about teen pregnancy and were actually really, really great. So, there's that.

July 23, 2013 at 2:23 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I don't know if you'd like Ellen Hopkins, but I can tell you her writing is absolutely nothing like Naked Lunch. I read the first few pages of that book and...ick.

July 23, 2013 at 4:27 AM  
Blogger Ula (Blog of Erised) said...

Babies? Hell naw! :X Today I am learning a lot about genres and topic that would never cross my mind. Ugh.
And yes to excusable infidelity! What even? No excuse, to the pyre!


July 23, 2013 at 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about the whole Mermaid thing myself. I have September Girls but I'm very wary to read it.

My TTT List

July 23, 2013 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I can't either. The only exception to that is in historical fiction about a documented affair. In that case, it bothers me less, both because marriage wasn't voluntary back in the day and because it HAPPENED. Of course, those also don't tend to end well. :-p

While I use that sometimes in my book reviews, it's to help people figure out if they might like it, but as a general marketing scheme, it's not really good for the books really. Unless it were something like "The Maze Runner if it had world building" or "Twilight without the scary relationship dynamics." Haha.

I don't think mashups are by their nature unoriginal, but certainly some of them are.

July 23, 2013 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes. *glares at Sophie Jordan and Gena Showalter* Both ideas could have been AWESOME and then they did THAT. *harrumphs*

July 23, 2013 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ew. I would not pick up a book called Baby Island, you're right. *shudders*

July 23, 2013 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ugh. I requested the sophomore novel of an author whose debut I loved, and it ended up being endless infidelity from beginning to end. WHYYYYYYY.

July 23, 2013 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That's why I'm skeptical of mermaids. I've read some bad ones and heard about even worse ones. O_O CHRISTIAN FICTION, I MEANT TO PUT THAT ON MY LIST. SIIIIIIGH.

July 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yup. Sigh. Why not put a baby bump on the cover so I know? :(

July 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, that's awesome. I really don't know why that's the case with mermaids either. Even the ones from the scary mold that's more accurate to folklore are generally weak in front of men. WHYYYY.

July 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I don't really think it is, but drugs make me think of Fear and Loathing and things of that ilk.

July 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, exactly. They go to the special hell!

July 23, 2013 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Good luck with that. O_O

July 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Katie M. Stout said...

Teen pregnancy is on my list, as well. There just seem to be no more ways to talk about this, and I'm over it. OVER IT!

Also, I didn't mention furies, but you're so right! I haven't liked a single book about the furies that I've tried reading. I don't know why they turn out boring, but they always do...

July 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I am not big on infidelity either. I just think that cheating is wrong, end of story. I have actually enjoyed one or two books that have cheating in the storyline, but it's not often, and it really makes it hard for me to like a character if they are a cheater. No matter what, it's never okay to me.

Teen pregnancy is an iffy one for me too. I just think that there is only so much you can do with that type of storyline and make it a good one. Great picks!!

July 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yeah, the step in between pregnant and baby I choose not to think about at all. I think I remember you telling me about that book. O_O I don't know if I could.

Also, Bumped was awesome. I haven't read Thumped yet, though.

July 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Ems said...

I'm with you on infidelity. I didn't think to include it on my list, but yeah. I have a hard time with mermaid stories too, as I haven't found any that really stand out to me.

And a big, fat YES to adult romance author writing teen! Poison Princess was one of the worst books I've ever read, and I actually enjoyed a couple of her adult books. Yeesh.

Love the gifs you chose!

My Top Ten

July 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recent anger towards mash-ups may be inspired by reading The Testing, which really just looked as if it had taken the beginning of Divergent and the actual games from The Hunger Games and fused them together. Ta-da! New dystopian. o.O

July 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Becky LeJeune said...

How many fury books have you come across? I was actually just wondering about them the other day and while I do know of at least one (that I can't recall the title of), I've never read any at all.

I'm not big on drug addiction books at all either. Just ew.

July 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Cheating and divorce are at the top of my list. Lived through that and burned the tshirt. I agree that it is mostly romanticized and it is not pleasant in any way, shape or form. Think it is funny that you're that way about babies...though they are quite loud and gooey at times ;-)

July 23, 2013 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Angie F said...

Pregnancy and babies are no-nos for me, too. I have absolutely no interest in these things in real life, and frankly, both terrify me. I doubt I'd enjoy them in fiction. I think the only pregnancy book I've read was Me, Him, Them, and It and it was terrible...

Chick Lit endings annoy the crap out of me when they involve marriage, pregnancy, or baby. :-/

July 23, 2013 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I don't like books about infidelity either. Or pregnancy-because a lot of times it seems to be a way to either angst or bring a couple together-yuck to both. Also I have been pregnant twice and know that it is not all consuming and really not that interesting. It's basically life as you get a little fatter every month.

I have no problems with a book with babies if they are already born, so long as it is not a way to bring two people together. Again-blech. They tend NOT to do that to a couple. Not that they are bad for relationships, but they aren't going to work miracles in relationships that weren't going well to begin with.

And yes to what you said about romance. I love romance novels, and I know where to find them when I want them. If I'm reading a mystery (which I do like), sci-fi, high fantasy, etc. it better NOT be the main point of the story.

July 23, 2013 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Shelver506 said...

YES. No cheating/adultery. Nope nope nope nope. And no addictions. And no pregnancies. I think this goes back in part to my credo that characters should keep it in their pants and out of my books, because I JUST DON'T CARE. *swats characters with a broom* Git!

July 23, 2013 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I love some of the ones that you chose and wish I had thought of them. And you are cracking me up about In the After. Baby is a kid but she is still in A LOT of the book so you might have problems. But you might not too because I really liked it a lot and you know how much I hate kids. But...adultery, mermaids (and KELPIES), and addictions are all ones I wish I had chose. Also include books in verse which is another reason why I have not read Ellen Hopkins.

July 24, 2013 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Pretty much the same things for me, Christina :) I don't know about YA, but in romances an unwanted pregnancy and a baby bringing two people together was always a turn off for me. Also furies and mermaids are not my thing unless it's urban fantasy where they would totally kick ass :)

July 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Debby said...

Yes yes yes for SO MUCH of this. Pregnancy = no no. Babies, I haven't experience but I can imagine, no. Infidelity = HELL no. No no no. And romance-centric novels can go die. Genre fiction is okay, but not elsewhere. And those pitches of __ meets __ UGH. I am with you on that. Super suspicious. Awesome list :)

July 27, 2013 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Judith said...

Infidelity is a DEFINITE NO for me, and for the exact reason you mentioned: authors usually make it sound like a GOOD thing. Well, guess what: it's not.

I also like what you said about romance, because SO MANY books I've read lately are much more focused on the romance than the dystopia/sci fi/fantasy aspect. I often feel like romance is just thrown in there and then takes over the plot that COULD have been awesome. So annoying.

And I kind of want that one marketing strategy to die. Not every dystopia needs to be The Hunger Games meets something else. And if everyone could stop comparing books to Twilight that'd be great. If I Stay by Gayle Forman is about as far from Twilight as possible. Get your facts straight.

July 29, 2013 at 5:18 AM  

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