Another Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s prompt is the flip side of last week’s: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Not Want To Read A Book.
1. It is a literal brick. I don’t have much time to read, so I’m hesitant to start a huge book unless it sounds incredible, in case I lose momentum and it takes six months to finish… or never gets finished. Sorry, A Game of Thrones.
2. Pet death. Or pet books period, to be honest. I know the pain of losing a pet from experience – as well as the joys and idiosyncrasies of living with animals – so I don’t care to read books that are solely about other people’s pets.
3. Love triangles. Knowing nothing else about a book, I won’t pick it up if the love triangle is advertised in the summary or comprises the main plot.
4. Child characters written by authors who clearly don’t spend much time with kids. There’s a broad range of what’s considered normal development for children at any given age, but guides for age-appropriate development are available on the internet for when you have a pressing question, like “would my two-year-old character be able to debate the state of today’s economy with adults?” The average two-year-old is just figuring out how to string together two- to three-word sentences, and has no concept of the value of money, so probably not.
5. (Classic) with a Supernatural Twist! It’s hard to pull off without feeling like the story has been stretched too thin between conflicting genres, so these are usually an automatic pass.
6. The author has acted like an asshole in public. People make mistakes. People say cringe-worthy things sometimes without thinking. People have bad moods and bad days. Authors being people, I would hold them to the same standards I would use for anyone else. However, if an author uses their work as a platform to act like a douche-canoe on the regular, or advocates for something that conflicts with my morals, that will definitely colour my relationship with their work and my decision to read their books going forward.
7. Authors writing about issues that don’t affect them or cultures they aren’t part of. Disclaimer: I absolutely believe that it’s possible to write outside of your experience with good intentions, empathy, and solid research. However, when approaching a book written by someone who is obviously writing beyond their own experience, especially on a contentious issue, especially when it’s an issue I don’t know much about, I think it’s important to step back and ask questions. What biases does the author bring to the narrative? Why did they choose this to write about? Has this author done enough research to do it justice? Is their book spreading harmful stereotypes? Are there books written by someone more qualified to share their own experiences that I could read instead? Do I know enough about the topic to be able to tell the difference?
8. Autobiographies of the young and famous. I’m picky about autobiographies in general and actors/musicians/famous personalities are at the bottom of that list.
9. Glorified war and military. It took a long time to realize that I don’t universally hate fiction and nonfiction based on war. What I actually hate is how war and nationalism are glorified in fiction and the end-justifies-the-means mentality as applied to war and human suffering.
10. Angels. Guardian angels, good versus evil, heaven versus hell, or anything that turns morality into a binary. Terrifying otherworldly wheel-of-wings-and-eyes biblical angels are cool though.