I’ve been reading so many people’s Top Ten Tuesday posts that I couldn’t resist writing my own. That and this theme was impossible to resist, I’m such a picky reader and often for the pettiest reasons.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the beyond amazing The Broke and Bookish. As I say I’ve been obsessing over this meme for…quite some time and I’m hoping to get to connect with even more amazing book bloggers by getting involved myself.
Without further ado: 10 things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book.
10) Slapdash Cover Images
You know the kind I mean? The ones where they’ve taken a stock image of ‘attractive woman’ and superimposed a background that vaguely resembles one of either a forest, desert, castle or lake depending on the theme of the book. In my publishing house we spend hours obsessing over what cover to choose to best sell a book so boring/predictable/lazy cover design always turns me right off.
9) Bad maps
Some of the greatest fantasy novels I have ever read begin with a map on the inside cover or in the first few pages. I love a good map. I’m talking about the Edge Chronicles, The Inheritance Cycle, Lord of the Rings? But if I open a book and see a map that has clearly been put there just because the author or the publisher said ‘ooh maps sell books lets use a map’ but didn’t get anyone decent in to illustrate it, or think about how it could be useful for the reader…just no. If you’re going to include a map, especially if you’re going to include a map at the beginning of your book please make it serve a purpose and also be amazing? Otherwise I’m not interested.
8) Books that start with sex scenes
I’m no prude (I made it through The Hollow Gods didn’t I?) but I just find it all a bit much when a book starts straight in the middle of a sex scene. This is doubly true for books that start with a non-consensual sex scene. I can understand wanting to shock your readers into getting engaged with your writing but there are better ways to start a story and to set a scene than instantly making me feel like I have to check over my shoulder to see if anyone on the bus could see what I’m reading. By all means write sex scenes but at least give me a short introduction before you spring that on me.
While we’re on that subject
7) Cringe-worthy or pointless sex scenes
While it is possibly the most entertaining thing to read randomly on the internet. If the naughty parts of a book feel like reading really bad fanfiction I probably won’t be that interested in reading it, unless I’m reading it aloud to my friends after a glass (or two) of wine. Another big nono for me is writing sex scenes for the sake of writing sex scenes. I don’t care if your book is fairly tame otherwise, unless that is relevant to the plot or to your character’s development please don’t force me to read your obscure metaphors about ‘questions I didn’t yet know the answer to and yet all of a sudden I did’.
6) Love Triangles
I don’t think we need to get into this one. Please stop making me endure love triangles.
5) Blurbs that make no sense
A back cover blurb is meant to draw in the reader, to pique their interest, I get that. But please give me some indication of what on earth is going to happen, at least let me know what genre I’m reading. I can see how having eight words in a gorgeous font on your back cover may be aesthetically pleasing but it’s not going to make me part with my hard earned money now is it?
4) Books that are ‘down with the kids’
If I see any character in a book use the word ‘LOL’ outloud I will close that book and promptly shove my face in a pillow and scream. I’ll admit I’m in the process of becoming a bit out of touch with the target audience of a lot of the books I read but I have yet to hear ‘LOL’ used in the spoken word without a heavy dose of irony. Children and youths are hard voices to capture but sometimes authors severely overthink it and you’re left with something that feels like your Grandma trying to rap…hilarious but for all the wrong reasons.
I’m in full time employment but living in Oxford means that basically all my money goes to putting a roof over my head. For that reason, £20 pounds for a new hardback book is just a little unreasonable to me. If I think your book is worth the money I’ll probably save up and part with the cash. But some of the best authors I have discovered have been as a result of books I’ve got for free by borrowing them from others or from the library or ones I have bought from charity shops or second hand sales. If I’m questioning if I’m going to like something I’m not going to spend a fortune to find out.
2) Consistent bad reviews
They say all publicity is good publicity, but if I look at a goodreads page for a book and see consistently negative reviews I always think it’s a good indication that I probably won’t enjoy the book. There are always going to be one or two individuals for whom certain books won’t be their cup of tea, but when it’s every other review you begin to suspect that this book isn’t worth your time.
1) If a book is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic…
I could go on. A lot of the time I learn these things from reviews (if you don’t follow a diverse bunch of bloggers then you won’t get to read a whole lot of really good books). My number one reason for instantly not reading a book is if it is truly offensive to members of a particular community. If we continue to support publishers and authors who write things that aren’t inclusive then we will never see change.
Well that was an adventure into my brain wasn’t it? If you made it this far then well done you! Have you also done this meme? Send me the link in the comments or on my twitter (@judithcmoore) I’d love to read it!