I definitely knew I wanted to blog today, but I wasn’t sure what I would write about….enter hours of perusing the blog world….when I finally stumbled on The Broke and the Bookish blog and their fun Top Ten Tuesday post. My reaction was instant. Before I even read their list of Top Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Us NOT Want To Read A Book I jotted down my list.
I couldn’t have found more perfect inspiration for today’s post. This is going to be a fun way for you to get to know more about me, as well as my serious love of reading, strong opinions and all. Perhaps I should preface this list by stating that I typically stay in the Christian/Contemporary Genres because it’s one of the easiest ways to avoid some of the more serious offenders on my list, and I love Jesus so it’s a good fit. But I do like to stray from the norm from time to time and be an equal book-opportunist. I believe that there is power in fiction and that God can be seen in creation, which means I can often find hints of His love and majesty, or find myself pondering how I as a Christian would handle a situation, in even diverse story lines.
I’ve divided my list into three categories and I’m starting with the light and fun, and moving into the more serious as we go along.
My Top Ten List of Books I Leave Alone (aka my pet peeves)
1. Historical/Amish Fiction
Or basically anything with a bonnet or buggy on the cover. I’m judging a book by it’s cover, I know, shame on me, but the truth is it’s a phrase because it’s a thing. I’ve been surprised before, but never when there has been a bonnet or a buggy, I just can’t do Amish fiction, Historical fiction (unless it’s a mix between historical and contemporary, like two stories somehow weave together) or anything remotely resembling the two.
2. Horses & Cowboys/Cowgirls
Dude ranches or Texan novels are 50/50 for me. It used to be pretty cut and dry, horses, hats and boots went right up there with the bonnets and buggies but as of lately I have read a few that swayed me, I can’t remember their names or authors but they weren’t terrible, and the TV show Heartland has also softened me up.
The Writing Style
3. First person narration
Again, this isn’t cut and dry, but first person narration is incredibly tricky. I feel as though a lot of new authors jump right in to this narration because it feels easy, but the truth is, if it’s not constructed with the utmost care it can really alter the perception of the character often making them seem very childish and immature. This is especially tricky when the author ventures over to write a character of the opposite sex making them in-genuine and unrealistic. Another serious risk of leaning on this technique too much as a new author is that the characters voice and authors voice can mesh together and then in subsequent books all of the characters, though technically different by nature, can tend to sound the same.
4. Lack of character development/Or a main character I can’t stand
I like a good fluff piece with the best of them, but if I don’t get enough background information or see enough growth (or need for growth) in a character I’ll get bored easily. Also, give me something more than the standard character archetypes. I’m tired of the Six’s and Kimmy Gibblers’ make your minor/supporting characters unique and interesting (Yes I just switched to TV, and yes I just dated myself with Blossom and Full House references.) If I don’t like someone I don’t spend a lot of time with them, unless I have no choice in the matter, so if I don’t like a character, don’t expect me to spend a lot of time with them and I most certainly do have a choice to keep reading or put the book down.
5. Male characters aren’t god’s, can we stop portraying them as such? Please?
I go into why this bugs me so much and how it affected me personally in this post here. It’s dangerous, me linking to a post that promises several follow up stories, that I haven’t written yet, but maybe that will just motivate me to get my butt in gear. 😉
6. Excessive foul language
I tend to avoid foul language in my life, and in my writing, but I get that sometimes it is called for to make a character or situation believable, and actually I think this is one of the areas that gives Christian fiction a bad name, there isn’t enough reality in them. I’m not calling for all Christian writers to turn around and start swearing up a storm, I’m just saying, sometimes, I think it, or hinting at it, can be effective for authenticity of non christian characters. That said, if I pick up a book and do a quick flip through of the pages and find more than one or two swear words jump off the page at me, I’ll quickly put it back. Sorry, not sorry.
Yes I know it’s a natural part of life, yes I prefer it to take place in a marital bed, but even then, do I really have to read about it? Hint at it, great. Maybe prelude to it. But I mean really? I don’t need to feel like I’m physically in the room with these people, seeing and hearing all the nuances that go into such an intimate moment, I’m not a creeper. Also, and this is a serious question….What woman is always dressed in matching lingerie at all times? I’ll be the first to raise my hand and shout NOT ME! And three times in one night? Or even within the course of an hour? Can we please just step back for a second and romanticize reality instead of setting unrealistic standards for our young people to look to and then question themselves about later after they do find true love and realize there are a lot of ways that love is expressed that don’t happen in the bedroom– or on a beach, or in a field, or in a public restroom–another thing we probably need to be better at clearing up.
Okay stepping off my soap box now. (Look who just spoke about sex publicly without breaking a sweat. Ah the power of a Pseudonym.)
8. Murder Mysteries
I used to, back in the day. But not anymore. I just get too anxious and wound up. A little mystery is good, but straight up murder and mayhem is better left for the cop dramas on TV that I can watch while playing apps on my phone or crafting so I’m not fully invested and all freaked out when I go to sleep at night.
9. Rape or abduction of anyone of any age
I can’t. I just can’t. Never could. Especially can’t now that I’m a mom. –The one exception to this rule is The Face On The Milk Carton By Caroline B. Cooney this was actually the first book I ever sat down and read cover to cover entirely on my own. It’s the book that made me fall in love with reading. I think the reason that it is the exception is because it picks up when she is a teenager and she has had a good life until now, she really has no idea this happened to her when she was younger and while that is still terrible, it’s also very intriguing.
10. Sexual Bondage
I think, after reading 1-9 this goes without saying. But yeah.
Well, that’s everything I don’t like to read. Want to see an example of some authors and books I have loved and currently love? Check out last weeks post here! Okay so what did you think, agree/disagree? Let’s talk! I love analyzing books and talking about this stuff, so if you want to unpack something I said, let’s do it! (in a friendly, non-confrontational way of course!) If you are visiting from The Broke and the Bookish make sure to let me know so I can connect with you! I’m excited to have found this community and look forward to exploring it in greater depth this afternoon and tomorrow.