I avoid books which have . . .
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mystical fantasy focus
Update: gory violence and cruelty are also unwanted
Your steer-clear types?
I will read murder mysteries, but they can't be too gory.
Cute funny books with no plot are boring to me, which means I often read depressing books. That's not good either but sometimes you have to choose.
Books where they kill animals. For example, I used to love the Martin Walker series, which starts with Bruno, Chief of Police and has some murders in it, but 4 books into the series, SPOILER! his dog died. I haven't been able to read the rest even though I am sure they are good. Some day I will get back to them.
another victim memoir (I appreciate the need for them to write it, but generally will not read it),
books that have a fascinating historical event or person but also a modern day connection so that I can relate. Nope don't need it!
and see I like cute (tho not too cute) funny books - think Lamb or Filth - because I desperatly need to find something to laugh about! That being said, cute is usually twee. I really will not read anything that is bad for my diabetes.
Explicit non-consensual sex
Beautiful writing (for certain values of "beautiful")
-- using the same description every time a character is mentioned (kinky red hair)
-- spoilers/solutions from previous novels in a series (which I may not have read, and now don't need to)
-- fill... (in how many books do I need to read about a recurring character's obsession with using/seasoning a cast iron frying pan?)
-- bad editing/bad memory... (know your characters... brown eyes in one book, blue in another makes me want to throw the book against the wall)
If the writer doesn't care, why should the reader?
Formulaic construction -- troubled/devilish hero drawn into mystery, has female love interest whose protection drags him into deeper danger/ostracism, un-looked for youthful orphan/urchin sidekick required and obtained, solution of mystery leads to family reconciliation of estranged hero with father/fellow professionals, love interest's trepidations/doubts disappear and relationship sails over smooth waters once again, and finally the sidekick becomes family and sequels result.
Suicidal, drug-addicted, psychotic main characters.
Better stop before I convince myself that there are no more original, well written, books with complex but normal people whose stories intrigue me enough to read them. Why am I feeling so critical today?
Wanton or senseless killing of innocents, including animals
Occult, vampires, etcetera
Agenda-driven (what's wrong with just telling a story without ulterior motives?)
I think that covers it.
- "flowery" writing
- religious - will read about ancient or nature religions a lot, but I detest books which promote any of the three
monotheist religions or churches
- over-hyped books
- romance, much of nowadays' fantasy
Poor Plot twists
Suicide (as a main plot point)
Animal cruelty/cruelty to babies and children
Overtly political undertones.
Authors who make up scenes about real people without any factual proof - Examples The Widow of the South or March
It would be pretty hard to write historical fiction without making up scenes. But what one writes should at least be congruent with what we know about people's characters. Here's one I loathed for that reason: What the Lady Wants http://www.librarything.com/work/14928325/reviews/137078763 I read it for my book club and the author was present; I did not bite my tongue.
With regard to March, though, Brooks wasn't writing about real people. She took Alcott's fictional characters from Little Women, and made them act in ways that Alcott would have blanched at. I didn't hate that book, because at least Brooks writes well. http://www.librarything.com/work/106961/reviews/2110791
It would be pretty hard to write historical fiction without making up scenes. But what one writes should at least be congruent with what we know about people's characters: Maybe accounts somewhat for the popularity of alt-history?
>2 krazy4katz: I agree. I watched it on TV last night and could have done without some parts. I like the story.
About "Overtly political undertones." Wouldn't that add up to political overtones? :)