Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ten Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the opposite of last week's, where we discussed things that'll instantly make us want to read a book. Now we're talking about things that turn us off. Below are 10 things that'll instantly cool my interest in a book:

1. An ugly cover. For instance, Elena Ferrante's series. The covers are so absolutely horrific that I just can't bring myself to muster any interest in the books.

2. I can be into a premise until I read those death knell words: short story. I've never read a short story collection that I've enjoyed anywhere near as much as a novel.

3. Writing that's described in a blurb or review as "poetic" is usually a turnoff for me, as is 4. "lyrical." The irony is that I myself have used those words positively in reviews of my own... but too often they really just mean the writing is going to be pretentious.

5. After finally coming to terms with the fact that YA and I just don't get along most of the time, I avoid it like the plague. I've often been disappointed when I'm really intrigued by a blurb or cover, only to look the book up and discover that it's young adult.

6. If a book catches my interest and then I see it's over 500 pages, I'm a lot less likely to add it to my to-read list. There are some exceptions to the rule, to be sure, but unless it's a book I was already dying to read, I tend to avoid chunksters.

7. Christian fiction. I'm not religious, so I avoid most books advertised with the words like "faith" and "inspirational."

8. Dysfunctional families have turned out to really not be my jam -- at least when the characters are dysfunctional to the point where they're impossible for me to connect with. (See "Dead Letters.")

9. I like paranormal books to a degree (I love Anne Bishop's The Others series!), but I don't really care for stories that feature psychics or characters who can communicate with the dead. I just had a nasty surprise when it turned out that a book I'd been looking forward to, "A Bridge Across the Ocean" by Susan Meissner, featured just that -- and it was never even alluded to in the description. The times I've encountered these types of characters, they've just feel hokey.

10. I do read and enjoy them from time to time, but for the most part I avoid coming-of-age stories. Too much like YA -- I guess I want to leave my teen angst in my past!

Bonus! Some random phrases that've turned me off lately:

"minimalist and unsentimental"
"an engrossing meditation on grief and survival"
"poetic liberties"
"battered idealism and resistant hope"
a triumph of language and allegory"
"ambitious novel about grief and tragedy"
"hallucinatory prose...raw poetic talent...wild, plangent and revealing" (WTF does "plangent" even mean? I shouldn't have to pull up my dictionary app just for the blurb!)


  1. Oh I agree with you completely on ugly covers. They are so hard to want to pick up. Short stories aren't really my jam either. Oh man I have big books on my list too. I will sometimes pick one up but I usually go with audio for them. Great list!

  2. I'm with you on YA! I hadn't thought about "poetic" and "lyrical", but so agree that those descriptors often end up being a real turn off. Love your list of annoying phrases.

  3. I don't really read Christian Fiction either. Sometimes short stories are OK if they are used to compliment some series, but I don't read them much. I do have quite a few anthologies though because I enjoy collecting them in physical form. I don't mind long books but I have to really enjoy them or else I find them dreadful.

  4. The cover you shared is pretty bad. A bad cover can repel me as well. Although I do read Christian fiction now and then, it's usually because I didn't know that is what it was when I first picked it up.

    "A triumph of language and allegory" would turn me off too.

    This is a great list, Lindsay! Thank you for sharing.

  5. I am a Christian and I loathe Christian fiction.

  6. Ooooo so with you on short stories. Unless I LOVE the author, I don't want to read short stories. If I like them, I just want them to be longer! I do love a giant book though...Anna Karenina and War and Peace are loooooooong but they're so good!

  7. It's fun seeing what turns everyone off from a book, everyone is just so different and that is why there are books for everyone! :)

  8. Oooh those phrases are amazingly bad! I actually hate reading book reviews for that reason, but I have to for my job. I love young adult books, but totally agree with you on bad covers, length, religion, and psychics. I love Curtis Sittenfeld but still haven't read Sisterland because it's got some sort of psychic connection going on. Definitely a bit of crossover between your list and mine!

  9. Not so great covers and also long books are two things that put me off picking a book up also.


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