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May 30, 2023

top ten things that make me pass a book by
posted by soe 1:14 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesdays at That Artsy Reader Girl follows up our must-read quirks by asking about the Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book. Here are ten of my literary turn-offs:

  1. A description of “thriller.” Almost always too dark and intense for me.
  2. Overly flowery language. Particularly irksome in audiobooks, because apparently I’ve trained my eyes just to skip over lengthy lists of adjectives in print.
  3. Repetitive phrasing. Again, an audiobook peeve. My parents love the Spenser books by Robert Parker, who never met a conversation where it was not necessary to include “he said,” and “she said,” after every line of dialogue, but it drives me to distraction. Did he need them to hit a word count for each book?
  4. Solving the mystery in the first chapter. If I can figure it out in your first ten pages, there’s no point to my reading the other 250.
  5. Books set during war. We know beloved characters aren’t making it to the end of the story, and that’s already real life. I don’t want that in my books.
  6. Unlikeable main characters. Again, I have to interact with people I don’t like off the page. Why would I want to give them any of my reading time?
  7. Ambiguous endings. If reviews talk about twists or offer up comparisons to “The Lady or the Tiger,” I’m out. I want a positive, conclusive end to my books. (Exceptions will be made for the middle book of a planned trilogy, since tradition dictates those will end in an unsatisfactory way.)
  8. Publisher branding. When Rudi and I visited Paris, we walked into the bookshop around the corner from our hotel only to be greeted by an entire store filled with white spines, because they were all put out by the same publishing house. I felt too overwhelmed even to try to pick something out and immediately turned around and left. (I had more luck in a general bookshop later on).
  9. Books featuring animals as main (or vital secondary) characters. Like war novels, 99% of these are not going to end happily.
  10. Books by authors I’ve deemed insipid. I will never read another Nicholas Sparks or Mary Higgins Clark novel again.

How about you? What makes you immediately close a book?

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