Monday, March 21, 2011

Discussion: Talk to the Hand

…’cause I’m so not reading that book.

We talked about what to say to people when they recommend a book you don’t want to read (I Don’t Want to Read That Book), but how do you determine that a book you’ve never read just isn’t your thing? 

For me, I have a few things that make me automatically say HECK NO! to a book. None of these are hard and fast rules—I’ve more than once been proved horribly wrong by resisting a book on these grounds only to find out later that I love the book. That doesn’t mean I’ve learned not to closed-mindedly employ the DO NOT WANT card, because I do. Frequently.

Here are some features, characters, and plot devices that make me 

Don't be fooled. They're pure evil.
Sure they may be pretty (especially when they sparkle), but they are evil. Yup, you heard me and Evie from Paranormalcy will back me up on this. You don’t trust fairies because they’re VERY VERY BAD! They’re mean and usually have a ten foot long pole shoved up their butts. I also have a hugely difficult time connecting to them with all their aloof superiority. I may have an irrational hatred, but I'm extremely unlikely to read a book about fairies (unless I've read numerous incredible reviews and succumb to peer pressure).

Exceptions to the rule: JULIE KAGAWA! That woman changed my world. Honorable mention goes to Kiersten White who penned the maddening fairy Reth. Despite the fact that he’s a very bad fairy, he has inexplicably captured my interest. 


When I was a teenager I lived and breathed for “issues” books. If the main character had to deal with any of the following I was all over it: Self-mutilation, eating disorders, panic attacks, abusive parents/boyfriend/friend/sibling, alcoholic parent, drug use, terminal illness, teen pregnancy, discrimination, depression/mental illness, suicide, rape, etc. If they make a pamphlet for it, then I probably devoured a book about it.

But now? I’m over it. I just want to read about princesses and stuff. I pretty much don’t want to read about the harsh realities of life anymore. I want to escape into a book that has sparkles and pink and gosh darn it I want a happy ending!  If the story ends on some profound note of “Oh cruel world!” with the main character tragically banging her head against the padded room wall or dying in a puddle of her own vomit or murdering her children then I’m not interested!  

I don’t care how poignant it is.

Exception to the rule: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Erm, is it appropriate to squee with book love over a book about suicide? This book is also one of my favorite examples of dual narration and unconventional narration styles. Honestly, a bunch more too. These can be great books, they're just not what I'm looking for now.


I don’t like it when the author tells me what to think. I’m not against a book with a good message, but I don’t want it to be so in my face that I feel like I’m being lectured. This is especially annoying if I don’t even agree with the author’s conclusions.

Subtlety is your friend. Or, even better, show me a situation and let me come to my own conclusions (Great examples: The Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Julian Game).

Preaching gets a million times worse when the author is not only standing on a pulpit, but they’re talking to me like I’m incapable of getting complex messages so they need to break it down for me and then beat me over the head with their point over and over and over. 

Exception to the rule: 1984 (though I still actually haven't been able to finish it yet), Fahrenheit 451, and a bunch of other good dystopians

Animal Protagonists that Talk

Pantalaimon's cool.
I love animals, but I have a very hard time connecting with a book when the entire cast is made up of anthropomorphic animals. It’s kind of strange given my childhood obsession with Maple Town, Catwings, and my *cough* enduring *cough*  love of Disney movies like The Fox and the Hound, 101 Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp. But something about them in books just bothers me.  I’m totally cool when they’re animals and they don’t talk (White Fang), but I’m lost when they start talking (Watership Down).

Check out Danya's adorably titled post Talk is Cheep for a more in-depth discussion on this pet peeve. 

Exceptions to the rule: When there are human protagonists as well. The daemons in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, Jane Lindskold’s Wolf series, Aslan in the Narnia series, etc.

Phonetic Dialect

I loved Wuthering Heights but every time the character Joseph spoke in his phonetically spelled Yorkshire accent I couldn’t understand squat. Why, oh why do authors do this? Is it just me that has trouble with this? It doesn’t matter what accent it is, I am completely and utterly lost. I have to sit there almost whispering the words to make sense of what the characters are saying. In the very best situations, I can understand what’s being said but my reading is severely slowed.

Good authors know how to convey a character’s mannerisms, dialect, and culture just fine without messing with the spelling of words. Please authors, please write words according to their proper spelling. Please? Otherwise I’m sorry, but I’m not reading your book.  

Exceptions: None yet.

What are features in books that will immediately turn you off?
 Have you been faced with exceptions to your rules?
Do you have any suggestions that fall into my categories that you think I absolutely must read?


  1. These are all things that I can't stand, either. Though I'm giving The Iron King a go on your rec. And I, too, went completely wacko for issues books as a teen (hel-lo Lurlene McDaniel). Now, though, I had to be strapped to a chair before I gave the Downside Ghosts books a try (love them). I wrinkle my nose at the entire Redwall series. I prefer human (humanoid) protagonists. Finally, phonetic dialog drives me abso-friggin-lutely batty.

    An additional one for me is zombies. Can't do 'em. Don't like 'em. I also don't particularly like the "mean girl in the last book is heroine in the next book" thing (think Darcy in Something Blue). Oh, and romance novels where the heroine is pregnant by someone who isn't the hero. I'd go on, but I prefer to leave some space for other people. ;)

  2. wow this is your funniest one YET.

    Hmm, let's see. I don't think I like fairies either, nor do I like to read phonetic dialect so I'm 100% with you.

    And for some reason the basis of Eat, Pray, Love (self-realization, divorced lady going to India and other places to look at their cultures or something) wasn't very enticing to me. I hated when people told me I'd love it. Why would I like reading about that?

    And Island of the Blue Dolphins made me realize I will not read books like that either. I didn't like reading about foreign places where the English is written kinda weird and they teach me words in their 'native tongue'. I don't know how to describe what I mean exactly lol.

    Lastly, I love soft sci-fi but I can't get into hardcore sci-fi with tiny print and places like Planet Klifnorg of the Upzon galaxy. I just made those words up right there.

  3. LOL, love this post!! You dislike talking animals too??? Thank you! I haven't met many people who felt the same way but honestly, there weren't too many books I enjoyed that featured a bunch of animals that acted like people. Like Redwall? All those talking swordfighting mice didn't do much for me. I really disliked Watership Down, although that is partly because it just totally creeped me out, as did the animated movie version. I never really related to the talking animals in Narnia. *whispers* I wasn't even a big fan of Charlotte's Web. *ducks objects being thrown at her head* Somehow I don't mind the talking animal bit at all in movies - I watched Charlotte's Web over and over (loved Templeton!), and I've seen plenty of other animated movies with animals (practically every single Disney movie has a couple animal sidekicks) with no problems at all.

    I think part of my issue with it, though, is actually when the animals talk to the human stretches the bounds of my suspension of disbelief for some reason in ways that most fantasy doesn't. I'm not particularly interested when animals talk to each other, but at least it kind of makes sense. But when they start chatting with humans and the humans understand them...I just can't get behind it. Exceptions to this are when the communication is more subtle and reliant on some kind of magic (for instance, Daine's wild magic in the Immortals series, and Isi's animal-speaking ability in The Goose Girl).

    And that was apparently my rant on talking, I didn't know I felt so strongly about it! Perhaps I should do an entire discussion post just about that and see if I can root out some more readers who feel the same way :D

  4. Oh, and for books with fairies, you might like The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. It's a much older book, but an interesting combination of historical and fantasy.

  5. I'm also not a fairy person (except for Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston which I've already recommended to you) and I hate phonetic dialect. Joseph's dialogue was one of many problems with WH but it was definitely among the top five.

    I don't mind talking animals but I don't think I like when they interact with humans; however I can't really think of any YA I've read that features such interactions. Usually they only have humans.

    Also have to agree with Rubita about zombies-hate!

  6. You always have the best pictures for your posts!

    Fairies used to be one of mine, too, but after Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series I actually became interested enough to get curious about a few other books involving thm. I have Wicked Lovely ready to go on my Kindle any day now, but I really loved Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. The fairies there were...interesting.

    Phonetic dialect can be absolutely ridiculous, but I thought it worked quite well in The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. It did take some time to get used to, though.

  7. Great post Smalls! My rules would be Preaching and Animal Protagonists that Talk too. The exception to the rule would be Grim from The Iron Fey series. He is pretty awesome.

    Also I am not a fan of the whole mean girl/bullying story line and haven't found any that I like.

    I surprised you don't like fairies but I guess they can be a bit hit and miss. I like the Wicked Lovely series but I don't think it is a strong as the Iron Fey series.

  8. OMG! I love the images!! The one of Dawson is so... appropriate!!

    I agree with all your points!! I don't like fairies, and I hate being preached to. I live for fluffy books though I do occasionally read books with heavier subjects, it's mostly because I cucumber to peer pressure (like with Speak).

    The only 'talking' animals books I've liked is The Jungle Book. And I don't like dialects either - each time I read The Secret Garden I struggle with that. :D I like it better when they just say the stuff they mean and the author just says "He/She said such and such in his/her heavy accent", and leaves it at that.


  9. You should read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I've only gotten up to the third book but I love them! It's an adult urban fantasy but it's got some really naughty and BAD/disgusting faeries in it. Haha.

    And I don't really mind the phonetic spelling. I think they give books flavor. If you live in Hawai'i, like I do, you *have* to spell things out as they sound when we speak pidgin (or Hawaiian Creole English as it's properly called >_>). They'll think you're too uppity and too good for us local people. If you want to read/write a story in Hawai'i and have it feel authentic you have to have some form of our language like this.

    LoL. I really don't read issues book either. They're too angsty for me. Not in the mood for that kinda stuff. I don't like preachy books either. I usually get bored and just roll my eyes at them. Haha. I'm sure there have been exceptions but I just can't remember them right now. Heh.

    P.S. Your comment box wouldn't let me log in under my livejournal name. =(. So I had to use my google account.

  10. Phonetic dialogue is also a big turn off for me! Saying that, Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books, but there are other books that I have picked up and dropped for that reason!

    Fairies are also not my thing, but I will give those books a go. However, I won't touch zombie books. They make me feel ill! I don't watch zombie movies either. Zombie free zone!!

  11. LOL I loved this post, and you know what? We have TOTALY different tastes in books. I love fairies (Wicked Lovely series) talking animals (The Familiars - Yay!) and I have only just started reading books about Issues (IMM this week - Get Well Soon). I do agree with you on dialects though and definitely on preaching! I hate so much being preached at about a topic. I have my own opinions and I can't argue with a book!

    Great post. Very enjoyable to read.

  12. Animal protagonists that talk? That KILLLLLS me. Like, I put down "Tarzan of the Apes because of that just the other day. I want to pick it up again later cuz it has great potential...I just didn't have patience at the moment for talking apes. Haha! Great post! :)

  13. *catches breathe*

    Awesome post.

    Its hard to describe what is a No Go that makes me not want to even try a new book, but books with issues in extreme cases just turn me off. Mostly I just KNOW that a book won't satisfy me if something doesn't appeal to me. Cover art, summary on the back, etc. Something like that.

    And Alex (A Girl, Books, Other Things) is totally right. The Dawson image is completely appropriate! XD


  14. What a great post! I love the pictures you chose. Dialect books frustrate me too. You wouldn't like Bloody Jack. I don't have any 100% will-not-do books but I definitely have things I don't prefer. I'm not really into thrillers (like Dan Brown, David Baldacci, etc) but I do love a well-crafted spy novel. Until recently, I never would have read a vampire, fairy, zombie, etc novel but Twilight changed all that.

  15. Yeah, I can't do the books with talking animals for main characters either, I just can't. Sure if there are side animal characters that talk then that's no problem but if its a whole cast of talking animals then no. Unless its a fun family film :P

    I can do very few issue books and ifs its abuse of any kind then I'm not picking it up. I think the only issue books I've read actually have been Thirteen Reason's Why and The Tension of Opposites and those two were really excellent books.

    Zombies, not a fan of them at all. I got some zombie books on my TBR list but I have yet to actually read a full length novel. I've read Carrie Ryan's short story, Hare Moon, in the 13 Deadly Kisses anthology and that story kind of messed with my head so much I had to read the next short story immediately so I would be able to sleep.


  16. Smalls! You crack me up! The pictures you included, especially the one of Dawson, so funny!

    I'm still enjoying issue books, but I do wonder when I'm going to get there... where I've had enough.

    And yes to the dialect. I'm always like what? Come again? Huh? No entiendo!

    Also, these aren't really features, but being the superficial idiot that I am, there are book cover and book titles that I will never read just because I don't like the cover or title.

  17. Thank you for the great post! I kept catching myself saying yeah.. yeah.. I know what you mean.

  18. That picture of Dawson is absolutely hilarious, it made me snort my water when I saw it:) I'm with you on the "issues" books, I don't mind a dark read now and then, but I'm definitely a fan of a nice happy ending where I can close the book smiling and enjoy having been a part of a world that's a nice break from reality:)

  19. Haha, YES! For me, I also stay away from hardcore issues. Say, like Jodi Picolt's books. I have no doubt that she's a great writer, but I reeeally don't want to depress myself.

    Vampires too-- I've only read a few that are good, but really, it's just everywhere, and it just.. annoys me.

    Anything that focuses on "forbidden love". Especially if the protagonists are teens. It drives me up the wall.

    Any YA book that describes the heroine "mysteriously attracted" to the male protagonist. I just roll my eyes when I read that.

    Mmm, I think that's it..

  20. I'd have to agree with you on the preaching thing. It can get annoying when a potentially good book turns into a soapbox sermon.

    Another (recent) pet peeve of mine is the YA paranormal romance stereotype--mysterious supernatural hot boy with issues falls desperately in love with an average, uninteresting high school girl. This one's been done so much lately that I feel like no one will ever be able to make it all that interesting ever again! Yet I find myself STILL succumbing to peer pressure and trying them anyways...

  21. Aw I loved Pantalaimon! I haven't really encountered many talking animals but I think it'd be interesting! (Me being a huge animal lover). I was a little off put by fairies but some books are better than others (Hello Iron King!). And I'm a huge sucker for issues books (in moderation).

    I find the only books I tend to stay away from or are very wary of are historical fictions. This one's not concrete and it depends on lots of little things I can't even explain. Usually they have no fantasy elements in them and the wording is very..old fashioned I guess. It's sort of, eesh, boring to me >_<
    My friend recommended Jane Eyre to me so I do hope to read it (someday), but I'm in no rush.

  22. This is probably one of the funniest (in a good way) posts I have read in a long time. And I can totally agree with you on some of these points (ie. the issues stuff, I also used to be all over those books, nowadays? Give me some underage werewolves and sparkly vampires... But not really, Twilight is so 2009... ;) ).

  23. I totally agree with you about the animals that talk but one exception for me is Plain Kate by Erin Bow. I don't care for dialect either. I have been assigned Huckleberry Finn four times and still haven't read the whole thing. I will add zombies to your list - 'cause "rotting dead" is so not sexy. Even with our little foibles there are more books out there than we can read in a very long lifetime.

  24. I could probably list a few things, but there would always be exceptions. I really don't usually like memoirs, but there are some that I absolutely enjoyed. I try to keep an open mind, and judge each book on its own.

  25. OMG I could not agree more about Wuthering Heights and Joseph -- I'm from the South and I still didn't have a flipping clue what the man was saying. Ugh. I'm also not big on issue books, or "Christian" ones. Not that I'm against religion, it's just not my idea of a pleasure read.

  26. GREAT discussion post! I feel like such a teen, for me, I love grief books :p It's weird but I do. I say no to most paranormal if they have any inkling of stock-characters/plotlines that drive me nuts. I KNOW it's not fair to 'discriminate' so quickly (and I might change my mind if my trusted blogger friends really really love it) but I feel there's not enough time for books you probably won't like when you have the option to read a lot of books you are 90% sure you'll love :p Just my 2 cents, sorry for rambling! Great post Small!

    ps~ I agree, Kagawa faeries are the ONLY faeries I'll read!!

  27. I find I can't get into Steampunk. I have tried several different ones and just can't do it. Love the clothing, the idea, but haven't found a writer I like. I also don't do self help books or religious books. And lastly, I'm not reading anymore books about people that have a mental illness. Apparently all the authors read the same book about mental illness and they use the same character over and over again. I have bipolar disorder and am offended over and over again when I read these novels. Most of the time I don't even finish them when I realize it's the same character and the same story just different names. Formula- Person with mental health issue doesn't take medication gets increasingly worse (don't most diseases get increasingly worse without medication) person with mental health issue unmedicated sees and hears things, brings healthy minor into their world and tries to bring them down with them. Someone comes to the rescue of said minor. Person with mental health issue (almost always a mother) is medicated and everything is fine. Note that last line. Medicated. Key word to mental health if you have mental health issues.
    Sorry to preach but just got asked to review a book on Tales of Schizophrenia. I don't think it's funny.


  28. OH MY GOSH!!! I just had to leave a comment and ask if you've read The Chaos Walking trilogy. Have you??? Because phonetic dialect abounds, but those books are TO DIE FOR!!!! Seriously. Patrick Ness is such a genius writer. Please, please give them a try!!!!!!!! (PS: They fit right in to the YA series challenge :)

  29. Nooooo! Watership Down hate abounds! My heart just spasmed in my chest. *sobs*

    I love that book. I don't really mind animals that talk, unless they're talking to humans. If they're all animals, I can imagine them talking to each other in their animal language, but if they're talking to a human then I want to know how a lion has the appropriate vocal cords and mouth control to speak words that a human can understand. For me that's way more awkward.

    The dialect thing can be iffy. The Outlander books use phonetic spellings for some of the Scottish and at times it's really annoying because I can't do a Scottish accent in my head so when I'm forced to do it because of the spellings it slows me down.

    I also have to be in the right mood for an issue book. I've been putting off 13 Reasons Why because I have some very personal experiences with suicide and I'm not sure how I would handle it. Most issue books are just too dreary anyway.

    For me, it's not fairies. It's mermaids. Just don't interest me.

  30. "I thought they did nice things. Like granting wishes!"
    "Shows what you know, don't it?"
    Hehe. Hoggle had the right idea about fairies, ne?

    I'm amazed that I read all of the main Left Behind series with all the preaching going on. I'm such a sucker for end-of-the-world books because there's no other explanation for it!

    I don't mind animal protagonists who talk. I'm so far behind in the Warriors series at this point though. Watership Down is on my list of books I would like to read at some point.

    I usually avoid YA that sounds like the female protagonist is going to spend a majority of the book ogling over some boy, especially the dark brooding kind that has some kind of shocking secret. I also don't tend to read romances involving the earls, dukes, and ton of London society. Give me my knights and Highlanders!

  31. Hilarious! Great pics too ;)

    I would have to say that of all genres, I cannot STAND historical fiction. The reason being that, as a major history nut and History major as an undergrad, nothing annoys me more than facts being made up and me thinking to myself, "no way that EVER happened like that!" Case in point: all of those freaking Philippa Gregory books that totally BUTCHER Tudor history. I'm NOT saying that they are bad books, they are probably good if you are reading them purely for entertainment-- but I just can't get past fact being turned into fiction, it drives me right up the wall...

  32. You have to read "Redwall" by Brian Jacques - you just must! It will totally change your mind about animals talking. I will also make you very hungry, because apparently small mice and moles make INCREDIBLE food. Yes, this is true. It has everything else too - love, adventure, mystery and tons of comedy!

    Okay, my rant is done. This stems from my life-long love of Brian Jacques. I was the oldest person in attendance at a recent book signing - actually the only older ones were parents who brought their children. *shame (but secretly awesome)

    ANYWAYS - my rant is REALLY done this time. For me? I can't stand YA novels whose opening scene is a quiet girl who doesn't have many friends. GIVE ME FIERCE LEADING LADIES.

    I need to stop drinking mochas this late at night.

  33. This is just a great post! I love all the pictures you have for each section. You also give great reasons for not liking certain types of books.

    For me, well, I guess the biggest thing is Christian Fiction book which totally have an over abundance of "god talk". Can't stand those.

    Also, I don't really like historical fiction books. An exception would be The Help .

    As for animals as the narrators, and I know you are a dog person, an exception would be The Art of Racing in the Rain . Enzo is the narrator and OMG this is an incredible book!!! I however wouldn't recommend you reading this one for a while though, because of the recent loss of your doggie.

  34. Rubita, Oh gosh I devoured Laurlene McDaniel! I was crazy for her books. I could never bring myself to try reading Redwall either. Someone even donated the entire series to the library and I still can’t muster up any interest. Zombies seem to be a popular Do Not Want! subject. I can read about them sometimes, but I’m having a hard time seeing them as romantic interests. They’re rotting corpses! All of the adult book subjects you mentioned are no-go’s for me too.

    Lazy Girl, Thanks! Haha, Eat Pray Love is sooo not for me either. “Self-realization” and “divorce” are two big red flags for me. I think I understand what you mean about the “native tongue” language stuff. I don’t usually like that either. I’m totally with you on sci-fi. You made me spit out my drink laughing with your sci-fi names!

    Danya, Charlotte’s Web was hard for me too. Not just because they’re animals, but because one of the main characters is a spider! I just want to run away shrieking! I didn’t realize there would be so many people like me when it comes to talking animals. This is great :) We’re opposite though with them talking to humans. I’m ok with that and that’s really the only way I can read animals that talk. Though I do agree, there needs to be some reason why. Like in His Dark Materials they can talk to them because the animals are their daemons. I’d love it if you made a post on talking animals. If you do, let me know and I’ll link to your post here.

    Thanks for the Perilous Gard recc. I think I have that one on my TBR, but I didn’t know much about it. Now that you’re recommending it I’ll move it up.

    Bookworm1858, I will give Wondrous Strange a try because you’ve recommended it. Hm, the only YA talking with animals I can think of now is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and the Narnia books. I’m sure there are a ton more I just can’t think of them now. Ack, glad I’m not alone with Joseph! I really had no clue what he was saying half the time! I have a hard time getting behind zombies myself.

    Stephanie, Thanks! Wicked Lovely is actually what really strengthened my anti-fairy feelings. I hope you enjoy it more than I did! I just picked up a copy of the first KMM Fever book so I’ll be giving that a try soon! Interesting sounds…interesting :P I was all excited to read The Knife of Never Letting Go but then I found out it was all phonetic. I bumped it down my TBR, but it’s still hanging on because of all the good reviews I’ve read.

  35. Nic, Thanks! Oh yes, Grim is totally an exception! I love him so much. Julie Kagawa really made me break a lot of my Do Not Want rules. I don’t mind the mean girl books, but they’re so incredibly similar to one another! People knock on Twilight clones, but I think mean girl books are even more unoriginal. I can’t really think of which books turned me off to fairies because really, my hatred is irrational and strong. Wicked Lovely and Need (pixies, but I consider them basically the same) turned me off, but there has to be more than that.

    Alex, Hehe, I was looking for a “sad” picture and I found all these pictures of depressed girls but then BAM Dawson was there in all his bawling glory and I knew I had to use that one. Oh The Jungle Book is another one I enjoyed. Thanks for the reminder! Oh my gosh, I couldn’t finish The Secret Garden! I think I had less than fifty pages left and I just could not bring myself to struggle through those phonetic accents anymore. I ended up hating the characters simply because the way their dialogue was written was so irritating.

    Krystle, Oooh another recc for the Fever series from another blogger I trust! I just received a copy of the first book so I’ll be trying it soon. Thanks for all the info about Hawaiian books. I didn’t know any of that! I’m sorry about my comment box! I checked and it’s still set to allow Open ID, so I’m not sure what went wrong. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.

    Leanna, I’m just glad that Wuthering Heights was mostly written normally (and beautifully, I think). Thankfully Joseph was just a minor character. Wow, zombies are a very popular turn off! I can only think of one zombie book I read and it was a funny book (The Zombie Queen of Newbury High). Zombies both scare me and gross me out, so I’m really picky about zombie books.

    The Slowest Bookworm, LoL! Wicked Lovely: AAaHH NO! The Familiars I haven’t heard of. Get Well Soon: Just the title makes me cringe! :P I love what you said about preaching books. You’re right, it’s especially frustrating to read preaching books because all you can do is sit back and listen to it. You can’t argue or take them up on any of their points! I’m glad you enjoyed this post :)

    Yearning to Read, Hehe Oh no! I have a copy of Tarzan that has been giving me the evil eye because I bought it a year ago and still haven’t read it. Apes are an especially bad animal to talk, for me (I have another irrational dislike of apes and monkeys. And palm trees, but now I’m just making myself sound crazy).

  36. Amateur Voice, Thank you! I also look at covers, summaries, etc. Even titles. I can’t put anything into words for those, but if there’s just that *something* that turns me off or doesn’t grab me then I won’t read the book.

    Alison, Thanks! Oh no! I’ve been wanting to read the Bloody Jack series but, yeah, the dialect. I might try it from the library just to see how much it bothers me because I love the premise so much. I love how Twilight opened the paranormal and YA genres to so many people who hadn’t otherwise considered them. Love or hate Twilight, I appreciate what it did for the genre.

    Sandy, Yup, I’m exactly the same when it comes to animals. I haven’t read The Tension of Opposites but I looooved Thirteen Reason’s Why. Maybe I should look into Tension of Opposites. Thanks! I don’t think I’ve heard of it before and probably would have dismissed it. Haha, I know what you mean about needing to cleanse scary books from your brain before bed! I didn’t know she had written a short story. I tried reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth but I couldn’t finish it.

    Missie, hehehe :) I would love to sit with you and try to make sense of dialect books. I picture a very funny scene :P Oh I’m totally superficial enough to dismiss a book based on its cover or title. What if someone asked me what I’m reading? I don’t like ugly covers either. I’ll admit it, I haven’t read that Claudia Gray series because I think the covers are so ugly. No other reason.

    ChrisS, You’re welcome! I love seeing that I’m not alone :)

    Jenny, Isn’t it? When I saw the picture it was a *SCORE!* moment. Yes, what you describe is exactly what I want. I can definitely appreciate a heavier book, but right now I want what you describe.

    Dazzling Mage, Oh gosh, Jodi Picoult’s NAME is a red flag for me! Her books all seem so incredibly sad. Like you said, I’m sure she’s a great author, but I feel like crying just reading the book jackets. Have you seen my Spotlight List post this past week about alternative vampires? At least Peeps and I am Legend aren’t the typical handsome and broody vampires that are everywhere now. I like some forbidden love, but there really needs to be more to the plot than that. Haha, I’m so with you on your last point. The insta-love “mysterious attraction” is so annoying! I’m always completely bored by that.

  37. Natalie, Oh that’s the worst with preaching when otherwise the book would be good! Yes! Your YA paranormal description is completely on my list and yet…I still keep reading them! They usually have such pretty covers that I just can’t stop myself. And then I feel all dirty and bored and I hate myself, but then I pick up another.

    Laura, If you like fantasy and animals, then I highly recommend Jane Lindskold’s wolf series (starts with Through Wolf’s Eyes). That’s one where I like the animals talking but it also has human protagonists. I love historical fiction! :P Have you seen my spotlight list for historical fiction with magic? They’re all historical fiction/fantasy blends so if you like fantasy you might like them. I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet either :)

    Avery, Thank you! Hehe, yup I’ll take the werewolves and vampires (hold the sparkle, at least on the vampires) any day over issues. Oh wow, I thought 2009 was so long ago, but I just looked up when Twilight came out and it was 2005!! I can’t believe it’s been out that long.

    Kathy Martin, I didn’t know Plain Kate had talking animals. It does still have people though, right? So I might like it then. I took one look at the first page of Huckleberry Finn and put it right back onto the shelf! Ew, I totally agree about the zombies. I can’t wrap my head around the idea of a zombie love interest. I’m morbidly curious about some zombie books (Generation Dead) but I can’t imagine how that would work out.

    Annette, You’re right. I realized while making the list that I have exceptions for almost every one. You’re right about keeping an open mind, but I still haven’t learned that lesson :P

    Casey, Haha, I know, right? Joseph’s parts might as well have been eliminated from the book for all I understood them. I agree about the Christian books. It’s not about the religion at all for me either.

    Audrey, Thanks! Hehe, I feel like such a teen too, but for me it’s just princesses and faraway lands :P Pfft, I know it’s not “fair” or “right” either, but I still totally do it all the time! We have to weed out books somehow.

  38. Heather, Ugh, steampunk is in part II of this post. In theory it sounds good but…eh there’s something about it that I just don’t like. I think it’s because I knew a girl who was really into steampunk (like, really into it. She’ dress up and everything) and I found her so incredibly irritating. Now whenever I see the genre I immediately think of her and my feelings of irritation go onto the books. So silly, I know. I hear you on the mental illness books. A lot of them are so similar, which would just get boring after a while, but a lot are also so inaccurate!

    Katie, Nope! I had it on my TBR and was all excited and then I saw it was written phonetically and it plummeted on my TBR. I still want to read it because it’s gotten such amazing reviews. I promise, I will give them a try :)

    Logan, Aw, when I wrote Watership Down I cringed a little because I thought of you :) I couldn’t even finish it *runs and hides* I like it when they speak to humans, but usually I want some sort of explanation as to how they’re managing it. In Jane Lindskold’s series the main character was raised by animals so she speaks the language animals speak (body language and understanding what their various sounds mean). Ack, phonetic Scottish dialect would drive me nuts! I’m iffy on mermaids. I can’t over think them too much because then I start questioning how all the biology stuff, erm, works, and that just isn’t what I want to be thinking about.

  39. LOL! Love this post :)

    I really make every effort, however feeble, to be openminded for whatever I read. That said, I simply haven't read anywhere near as many books as you have. I think if I had, I would be able to form more conclusive thoughts about what things in books automatically turn me off.

    The only thing I can think of is covers and titles. Again, I try not to be too judge-y, but sometimes my superficiality just comes out and it takes a lot of coaxing to get me to read certain books in which I dislike the cover and/or title.

  40. Haha. I haven't really thought about it. It's not just one thing for me. It all comes together and I just know whether I care or not.

    Great post.

  41. I really like the Iron Fey series. However, I haven't read many faerie books after that. They all seem to have the same characters and theme -- the Summer fey vs the Winter fey and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Personally, I think the faerie stories need to be a more original than Shakespeare. Give us something fresh and new!

    I don't mind issue stories if I can relate. If the book has an issue theme, I definitely want a happy ending. I don't want my reading experience to be depressing. However, I feel these books are important and definitely should be written. They just aren't for me!

    I really don't care for dialect in my stories, either. Right now, I'm reading Madame Tussaud. It has some French words here and there, but for the most part there's no dialect. I know the story is in France through the culture, the dress, the food, the cities, the politics, etc. to know the characters are in France. Plus, it's thoroughly researched!

    I love historical novels. Someone mentioned above that they loathed them because most were not historically accurate. I think creative liberty can be taken here. It's okay to stretch what was said or what was done (whether it's Ancient Egypt or the 1960's) for the sake of entertainment as long as it's not defaming someone's character. If I want to read a factual historical book, then I'll read non-fiction.

    I'm definitely a cover girl. A cover has to covey the story and characters inside. If it doesn't, you've probably lost me as a reader.

    You mentioned zombies and steampunk in the comments. I don't mind these two if they are done right. I love The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

    Lastly, I don't mind theme if it's not preachy. I also get tired of cliched characters like the dowdy, wallflower girl who gets the super hot guy. Or the main protagonist with the goofy, quirky friend. Or the the mean girls hating on the new girl in school. I can go on for days! lol

  42. I will read anything as long as it isn't gay, lebasian or incest books. For me, it is not my read.

  43. LOL, I hate spiders too! Anyway I just did a post about it if you want to check it out :)

    I think for me it actually has more to do with what the setting for the book is than whether or not it's animals or people doing the talking — i.e. fantasy vs. realistic. Although, taking a look at the books, it seems as though I like more with humans talking to animals just because there are human protagonists and so I relate better to them (regardless of whether or not they talk to animals, LOL).

  44. Bookish Hobbit, Hehe, yes Hoggle has the exact right idea! Wow, you must really be a huge sucker for apocalyptic books to put up with all that preaching! I hope you like Watership Down more than I did. I think I’m just too superficial for books like that. I want to swoon, and how can you swoon over a rabbit?? Totally agree with you about the female protagonist ogling. I want to spend the whole book ogling him, but I don’t want her to do it! I don’t mind earls, dukes, etc, but I definitely prefer knights! They’re manlier :)

    Lea, Thanks! Oh, I get that. I love historical fiction, but luckily I don’t know enough of the little details to recognize the inaccuracies. When I do recognize them though I hate it! Sometimes it can be ok if it serves a point and isn’t insulting to reality, but it really drives me nuts when they change the personalities of real people or alter major events. Why not just write regular fiction based in a general historical time period then?

    BookGeek, Really? Hm….you’re like my go-to blogger when it comes to fantasy I should have read but somehow missed so…maybe I’ll try Redwall? If the first book is still in our donation bin then I’ll grab it. You also have me craving mochas now :)

    Gina, Thanks! I agree with you about Christian fiction. I think there are two camps of Christian fiction, and one side I’m ok with and the other I can’t stand. Some of them just have the characters acting according to Christian values, but there’s no or very little actual mention of God or religion. These are fine by me. The other group is a preach-fest and I can’t stand these. They’re boring. Thanks for the book recc, and your sweet consideration :)

    Aylee, Oh yes, I’m even more judgmental when it comes to covers and titles. How can you not be though? Some are just begging to be judged.

    Alexis, I’m very judgy :) In addition to these factors (and others!) I also judge the whole package.

    Julie, I liked the Iron Fey series a lot too. I love how she created the Iron fey to add something newer to the more traditional summer/winter court problems. I feel the same way about issue books. They are important, and a ton really are very good. It’s just not what I want to read now. I’m really interested in that Madame Tussaud book. Michelle Moran is an author I keep meaning to read and then I never do.

    I do like my historical fiction to be as realistic as possible, but some changes are ok with me. It does bother me a lot when major things are changed though, like important events or personalities of important people. I tried reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth but I couldn’t get through it. It actually wasn’t the zombies that bothered me, but the slow beginning. Cliches are definitely irritating! There’s just so many of them over and over and over again lately.

    Savannah, I agree. It’s just not a genre I’m interested in and I often have trouble connecting with the characters.

    Danya, I’ve linked you! I LOVE the title of your post. You really described my scattered thoughts on the issue well. The human characters do give me someone to relate to, whereas the animals I just can’t as well.

  45. Aw, glad you like the title - and thanks very much for the link! :)

  46. Lol...I tried reading Wuthering Heights and just couldn't do it because of that same issue. I kinda get why authors of classics did this where people didn't travel much and hear different accents. But nowadays where so many different accents are in our culture I see this more as the author trying to give me - the reader - a headache then informing. I wish they wouldn't do this anymore :(

    I am also starting to think that fairies aren't for me. I'm going to try and read a few more but other than the Artemis Fowl books, I haven't had any luck with the concept. Last two I read were 2 stars and they weren't even badly written. I just couldn't care about the fairy characters no matter how hard I tried.

    I'm also starting to shy away from the paranormal teenage angst. I think I burnt out on this one and I'm kind of tired of seeing these ones everywhere recommended too.

  47. Danya, I'm a big sucker for puns and word play :) You're welcome!

    Erika, That's a great point about traveling and authors using dialects. I never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense for the time. I didn't realize Artemis Fowl had fairies. I own a few but I haven't read them yet. I'm getting burnt out on the insta love paranormals.

  48. I agree Thirteen Reasons Why definitely is an exception!

    I tend to get turned off by books that might be EXTREMELY inappropriate, or cover very, very mature topics. Those don't interest me as much, although they seem to be getting more popular. I just don't want to have to put the book down because of it being too graphic or inappropriate when I might have been enjoying it otherwise.

  49. Great post! l am still deciding about fairy book, undecided!

  50. As always, you are hilarious! I feel like we are mind-twins, because so many of these are deal-breakers for me too.
    As far as fairies go, I am reading Julie Kagawa's Iron King right now, and I am hating it! It's so similar to Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange, which I liked all right, but probably a little more grotesque.

    Issues & Preaching - These really go hand in hand, I think. I was never one of these kids who wanted to read about "girls who were going through stuff... just like me!" No, no, no, no, no! The whole point of reading a book is to ESCAPE into a world that is better and more fun. Preferably with wizards or perhaps dragons.
    And I do not need to be hit over the head with preachy opinions. I like it when the author trusts the reader enough to draw their own conclusions.

    Animal Protagonists that Talk - I am so ready to say that I can't stand talking animals... but then I can think of at least a half-dozen books that are an exception. Loved Charlotte's Web. Loved the Chesire Cat and all characters inspired by him. The Warriors series by Erin Hunter is actually so bad that it's good. "Imagine! Being beaten by a kittypet!" has got to be one of the funniest lines I've ever heard.

    Phonetic Dialect - Hate this! I think this is the main reason you wouldn't like Redwall. Picture English countryside animals like badgers and voles all talking in Cockney accents. Ugh!
    The only exception I can think of right off the top of my head is that I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett (a rare adult fiction read for me) and I really enjoyed it.

  51. I agree with SO MUCH of this!

    Fairies, yes, me too...though I still haven't read Julie Kagawa despite all the praise I've heard. Just...fairies.

    Issues: Again, yes. Sarah Dessen might very well be an amazing author, but I'd rather not read a book brimming with everyday teen issues. Been there, done that. I read adult books for my "realistic fiction" and "issues" and save the YA books for my fantasy needs!

    Preaching: There was a book I read last year that I thought I'd love, but it was too preachy, so I never connected with it. One of my favorite books that could be seen as "preachy" to some people is Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. It deals with every religion (even deals with Atheism) and looks at a little girl named Faith from all these different angles. It's amazingly pieced together and my second favorite novel by anybody. Ever.

    Animal Protagonists: I'm with you here, too! I was so relieved when I saw Tangled and the animals DIDN'T talk. From the trailer, I really thought they would! Okay, I know, movie, but still. I like the examples you used for when talking animals are all right. I forget what book it was (possibly Shannon Hale or Juliet Marillier?), but one of the characters talked about how if you listened to a chicken, they only cluck about food. I also read something once that talked about how, upon hearing animals talk, they could hear ants working and it gave them a headache. That's the kind of stuff animals would do/say. That's realistic. Anything else...not so much.

    Phonetic Dialect: I wrote a short story once that used dialect for one character. I got a lot of positive feedback on it. I wouldn't have attempted it with more than that, though. There's one book--a very famous book, a classic, even--that uses crazy dialogue from page one and I couldn't get into it. I never finished reading that book. At least I didn't watch the movie in its place!

    Right now, vampires and werewolves also turn me off. Enough already! Most witch/wizard books turn me off as well. It has to be done just right. Not to mention this whole, angsty, love-at-first-sight, death-do-we-part-forever love that teenagers just don't experience. And the black emo covers all over teens. Yeah...

  52. T. B., That’s a big reason why I like reading YA. I’m not really a fan of those topics either. It’s kind of frustrating that those kinds of topics are becoming more acceptable in YA lately.

    Books for Company, Thanks! I’m grudgingly coming around to fairy books, sort of.

    Madigan, Thanks! Aw, I love mind-twins :) Aw, too bad about The Iron King! I actually liked that one, but it wasn’t until the third book that I really loved them. Are you liking Grimalkin at least? I haven’t read Lesley Livingston’s series, but I’m considering it now since I’ve seen it compared to Julie Kagawa’s books so much (or the other way around, I guess).

    LOL, yes! I’m so with you on issues. Give me a fantasy land over reality any day. Please, I get enough reality in real life, I don’t want to read about it, especially when it’s dreary. Oh no, Redwall has phonetic dialect in addition to the animals? Ooh, eeehh, I don’t think I could do both of those at once.

    A Backwards Story, Ha, yeah “Just…fairies” :P I am glad I read those books though, especially now that I’ve read book three, which is where the magic really happened for me. Ugh, I am so with you on Sarah Dessen. I keep seeing her praised everywhere and I think, “Should I just read her?” but then I realize that no, no I don’t actually want to read her books at all. LOL, that’s really funny about the chickens clucking about food, etc. T. H. White wrote something similar in The Sword in the Stone. I’m still cool with vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards, but I am SO done with insta-love. Ugh, so done.

  53. NICE! Blogger ate my response :(

    I know I should read these b/c you like them and you're all, "...fairies" too, but... Well, maybe someday when my TBR is smaller!

    I think I actually had a Sarah Dessen book my jr or sr year of hs, but I'm not totally sure. If I did, I don't even remember what it was about. *blush* I think I got it through this mail book club I was a part of. These days, it's not something I'd pick up b/c I'm done with the HS scene...unless fantasy is involved :)

    I'm so sick of the same supernatural beings showing up everywhere now. That said, if the book is really good, I'll still read it. I'd still like to finish Throat by R.A. Nelson, and this fall, I'll probably read Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. But there has to be something *original* to the story...

    And yes, down with insta-love! With my current WIP, I'm trying very hard to make sure that doesn't happen!

  54. FYI: I read my first Sarah Dessen book this year and I loved it!

  55. Awesome post! I loved it, especially the one about's not that I have any certain type of hate for them, but I haven't read a single fairy book! :/

    I have never been a fan of graphic novels or manga. I just can't do it, I know people that like them but if anyone ever recommended me one I think I would just smile politely and internally be screaming NEEEEVVVEEEEEEERRRRRRR.
    Also something I've never liked is those YA novels that are all romance. I don't know how to explain them but it's the ones with the almost cartoon-like covers and random authors that always have some girl meeting some guy, zero character development and lots of giggling and lovey-dovey eyes.
    Another thing I can't do is really strong religious books. It might be just me but when the main characters start talking about their religion I get turned off.
    But that's just my little rant right there! :D
    Loved your post!

  56. A Backwards Story, Arrgh, how frustrating! I’m sorry blogger ate your response, but I really appreciate you taking the time to rewrite it. I wouldn’t rush to read The Iron Fey. The third book ended in such a way that I’m dying to read the fourth book…which isn’t out yet. So if you’re not feeling the burn to read them yet, then you might as well wait until all the books are published anyway. I can’t remember most of the books I read in high school :P Heck, I need to rely on my lists to remember the books I read this year! I don’t remember, have you read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White? She writes about a whole bunch of paranormals, and a lot of them are completely unique. Even the more normal paranormals (like vampires) are treated in an out of the ordinary manner.

    Madigan, Really? Which one? Was it sad? For some reason I think all of her books are sad. I have no idea why.

    Maggie, Thanks! Of the fairy books I’ve read, I’ve gotta say, hands down, Julie Kagawa and Kiersten White have written my favorite fairy books. I can’t do graphic novels or manga either! I’m so tempted to read the 8th season of Buffy because I loooove Buffy, but….they’re graphic novels. I just can’t bring myself to read them.

    Hehe, I love those YA romance books you describe. I definitely have to be in the mood for them though. I don’t like strong religious books either.

  57. I'm late with this, but I love the post. I never thought of writing about books I absolutely will not read!

    No fey for you? I'll give any book on faeries a go; they're like my go-to snack read. Holly Black's A Modern Faerie Tale series is decent, but Valiant, the second in the series, is top notch. Black seriously needs to write more from Valerie's and Ravus' point of view. Valiant is more of a stand alone, so if you think you can muster some enthusiasm for just one more story about the fae, give it a try. It's a quick read.

    I absolutely will not read issues books. You'd think I'd be all over that since I'm a nurse, but I've avoided them like the plague my entire life. Real life is issue after issue, drama after drama, which is why I'm a total fantasy/horror junkie.

    Romance novels make good kindling, although when I was a tween I devoured all the inappropriate romance I could get my hands on.

    It's a big turn-off for me when characters have strange names. I refused to read Harry Potter when it first became popular because I didn't know how to pronounce Hermione, and Albus Dumbledore was just stupid. How silly do I feel? :D

    Not much into hard core sci-fi and what's happening to alien Gonak on planet Xalatan.


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