Top Ten Tuesday: Book Deal Breakers

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about words or topics that make you NOT want to pick up a book. I like this topic because it’s as important to know what you don’t like as what you like! Here are my deal breakers, although I’m willing to make exceptions if I hear enough good things about a book from people I trust.

1. Horror or graphic violence. I honestly don’t understand what’s appealing about this.

2. Erotica. Especially the 50 Shades variety.

3. Animal cruelty. I had to read Crime and Punishment in my senior year of high school, and I still get upset if I think about the scene when the horse is whipped. It traumatized me so much that I don’t remember anything else about the book.

4. Cheating. Do NOT show me one or more main characters who are unrepentantly cheating on their significant others and expect me to root for their Epic Love.

5. Pre-Renaissance history, or a fantasy world that evokes it. I’m just not very interested in more ancient time periods, though I like Biblical fiction when it’s done well.

6. Love triangles that aren’t organic to the plot. I’ve enjoyed plenty of books with formulaic love triangles (prime example: the entire Sunfire series – I loved it as a teenager and would totally read them all again). But nowadays I’m not interested if I can tell it’s purely a plot device to sell books. I mean, today’s teen girls probably think something is wrong with them if they’re NOT the focal point of a love triangle.

7. Free verse or poetry. I’m eh about it unless it’s really great.

8. Romances with supernatural or mythological beings. Like most people who responded to this prompt, I’ve enjoyed it in small doses but am officially burned out. I think the only untapped market left is centaurs. 

9. Intense depravity with no redemption or hope. IMHO, this constitutes a lot of modern Serious Literature and is a big reason why I read so much YA.

10. Boring cover. I know this is really superficial of me, but it’s true. How many stock photos of faceless girls in gauzy dresses are out there? Can we please try some new things?

Feel free to chime in with your own book deal breakers!

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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11 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Book Deal Breakers

  1. lillylilac says:

    Good list, I also hate cheating, erotica and love triangles. I usually hate poetry expect when it’s written by Ellen Hopkins because when it’s by her it doesn’t feel like poetry. I also get not wanting to read a book because a cover is boring although my favorite series of all time has a boring cover so I don’t write off a book because of that but it definitely lowers my interest.

  2. Erin Perry says:

    I’m now going to write a novel about a centaur love triangle… maybe I’ll make one of the main characters a faun who feels he can’t compete with the centaurs, but ultimately wins the girl.

    I’m with you on a lot of those, including the cover. 9/10 thats why I won’t read a book.

  3. Love triangles drive me nuts! Poetry is also not my thing either.
    It always makes me sad when an awesome book gets a bad cover. I love the Gone series by Michael Grant, but they have horrible covers.

    http://wp.me/pzUn5-1Ba

  4. Jessica says:

    I pretty much agree with your entire list except 10. While I like a good cover, I won’t turn a book away for a lame cover unless that’s the only thing I know about it (and usually I’m choosing a book based on the author, story or a recommendation).

    I’m a little narrow-minded about what I read, only because I am typically reading books (as opposed to websites, blogs, etc.) solely for fun escape and not to learn or think really hard about anything. :P So I’m turned off to like war-related books, for instance. And lots of Christian nonfiction, these days. And if I know there’s going to be a lot of death/suffering, even with a hopeful result, I usually avoid it.

    Oh and while I’m rambling on, I also tend to avoid overly romancy books. I do enjoy stories with relationships/love, but some cross a line and become really boring and stupid. Obviously Harlequin is in this category, but even “normal” books fall into this trap. I need other stuff to be happening besides passionate romance.

    I’m sure there’s a lot more, but I’ll stop here. :)

  5. Milissa says:

    This was fun to read…thanks for posting.

    I think the book cover thing is true for a lot of people. It’s so cliche, but a cover will totally make you pick up or NOT pick up a book. Ha.

    In no particular order…

    I don’t like books set in the past (where language is changed to make it a “period piece.”) I do not like it when an author uses phonetic spelling to accentuate accents…it’s so annoying to me. (I could not get through The Help.) I am creeped out by love stories with humans and non-humans…I could not get into Twilight at all…too creeped out by the highlights of the plot to even attempt to read it. I also have a tough time with some religious books…mainly because I don’t understand religion. I can appreciate a story with religion in it…I’ve read some religious books I liked…but if the story depends too much on me understanding/believing in/or agreeing with certain social rules or cultural practices of religion, then it will be lost on me. Any sort of cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

    I wish I could read poetry. I heart music and I think of music as poetry set to melody, rhythm, and harmony. However, I cannot read poetry because I do not get the cadence of it. I wonder if I could get an audio poetry book? I wonder if that would help me?

    Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this…but I read the 50 Shades trilogy. (It was given to me by a friend and I was trying to understand the craze.) The erotica stuff was weird…but (for me) the story had much bigger problems. Grey’s behavior was disturbing. I kept waiting for the relationship to turn abusive because he clearly exhibited big. red. flags. (even discounting the sex stuff.) Afterwards, I discussed this with friends that also read the books. The problem was: they all loved the trilogy…so they kept telling me “to ignore those parts.” Weird.

    • No shame, I have several friends who have read 50 Shades to see what all the fuss is about. They all said pretty much the same thing… that even aside from all the other stuff, the writing was awful. :)

  6. S Price says:

    I don’t have so much what I’d call “deal breakers” as much as I have “been there done that”. I had the Harlequin romance phase, the smut phase, the books you have to read for school phase, vampire books phase, etc. Right now, I’m in the “too many unread books on the shelves” phase. ;)

    • Did I ever tell you about my Danielle Steel phase? :) When I was in high school I read her entire body of work up to that point. What was I thinking? A couple of them were decent though. I specifically remember Zoya (about the Romanovs) and Message From Nam as standing out from the others.

  7. sarah says:

    I’m pretty sure I agree with every single one of these. Especially the fifth and eighth.

    I’m not interested in epic fantasy, or supernatural stories, at all.

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