Way back in April, we counted down the Top Ten Topics that will make me want to immediately pick up a book, and now, it seems it is time for the opposite. Therefore, without further ado, here are the Top Ten most cringe-inducing, gut-clenching, and teeth-grindingly painful of those things that keep me far, far away from certain bookshelves at the library!
1. Drugs/ Drug Abuse
I was raised from a young age to stay far, far away from anything that has the potential to alter your brain chemistry and was not prescribed to you by a doctor, and I honestly think that has translated into my reading habits.
2. Motherhood/ Pregnancy
Even when I am a mom, I doubt I'm going to want to read about someone else's postpartum problems, which, from my experience with the genre, tend to come in the form of supremely terrible timing for some of life's worst issues, like cheating husbands, anxiety and depression, and a general inability to meet the needs of their growing family. Honestly, guys, don't moms already have it tough enough?
3. Spies, Hackers, Master Thieves, and Secret Agents (especially in YA)
I have just been disappointed time and time again by too many Gallagher Girls and even, yes, James Bond himself. I'll stick to the silver screen versions of jaw-clocking stud muffins in tuxes descending from the ceiling on microfiber cables, thank you very much (and especially that cutie Daniel Craig); you can keep your printed prep-girls in miniskirts and government equipment, and hormonally-vulnerable-yet-mentally-incomparable computer hackers, to yourself.
4. Chick-Lit "Hits"
The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite movies, and yet, I will never read the book(s). It just won't happen. Same for the 50 Shades of Grey series, or pretty much any novel they talk about on The View.
5. Anything That Professes to Be the Next Anything (i.e., "next Hunger Games," "next Harry Potter," "next Twilight.")
Speaking of the publishing hysteria induced by the now-oft-copied 50 Shades, I am fifty shades and twenty-one flavors of done, done, DONE, with anything that cannot stand on it's own story, and relies on the crutch of comparison to previously existing publishing triumphs to even make a case for the discerning consumer's approval. Boo and hiss.
6. Fairies/ Werewolves/ Shape-shifters/ and ESPECIALLY Vampires (Post-19th Century).
Anyone who has been around for the insanity that gripped YA shelves in the past decade or so understands. Dracula may have given me nightmares for years on end, but at least he never divided the female population of my freshman class into warring factions of fan girls. (Curse you, Edward and Jacob!)
7. Authors Who Just Don't Understand How to Be... People
A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey. How to Be Famous, by Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag (and yes, this is a real book). Honestly, if this hullabaloo about Orson Scott Card had been brought to my attention before I read the novel back in Fall 2008, I would probably have chosen to abstain from one of my favorite works of science fiction ever. But why should I pay into the pocket of a liar, a lunatic, or an all-around loser?
*Also, apparently Emily Giffin is not quite that nice, either.
Just not what I'm interested in. Basically, the only sports I understand or enjoy are baseball, soccer, and football, and I'm only ever down to watch a baseball game (preferably, with pretzels, Cracker Jack, and a Diet Coke). I don't care what goes on in the dugout, just the action on the field, and the party in the parking lot.
Mysteries? Yes. Murder mysteries? Even better. Overly-suspenseful slashers with a body count higher than the reading grade level, populated exclusively with easily-recognizable stock characters and overused story structures, for the sake of moving the plot along so quickly you might get whiplash? Pass.
10. Romance Novels (That Are Not Redeemable As Social Commentary).
Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, and Gone with the Wind, all have inherent cultural value, that reflect important aspects of the worlds, communities, and social stratospheres within such epic love stories flourished. But I'm guessing that the brick-shaped, bodice-ripping wads of sticky prose and steamy scenes sold in the supermarket checkout lines reflect a much different kind of sense and sensibilitiy, and involve worlds that I'm not too keen on exploring.
What sort of things make you keep away from certain books? Do you think there are any exceptions to your rules (or mine)? What's on your list?