Welcome back! If you remember last week’s topic, 5 Bookish Buzzwords that make me want to read a book, this is going to be the exact opposite. In fact, I think this week’s topic is going to be much harder for me to complete. While there are some words that turn me off a book immediately, there are others that I evaluate based on a case-by-base basis. In opposition from last week, I’m not going to be adding images of books for each category, as I feel like that’d be unfair to the authors.
This entire post took me almost two hours to do, because I was racking my brain and searching Google for books I didn’t like and what they had in common. Remember that these are my opinions and it doesn’t make you a better or worse person if you enjoy reading these books.
I am not a fan of romantic subplots. I’ve got nothing against those who love them, but I guess I’m just old and jaded and can’t stand reading about other people’s’ happiness when my own is so far gone. (I’ve had really bad luck in my romantic life in the past few years, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces.) Plus, so many of these focus on the aspect that a woman must have a man in order to be happy. A lot of subplots focus on heterosexual relationships, completely leaving out an entire section of the human race. Plus, we all know that “sensual” is just a cover phrase for “almost erotica but not quite.”
I’m including the word “romp” in with “rollicking” because most of the time I see them being used interchangeably (they’re not). Can we not? Every time a book is described as a “rollicking adventure through [insert some situation here],” it makes me want to throw the book away. Not everything has to be a wild romp through something! Usually, the use of the word “rollicking” means that the novel ends up being disorganized and chaotic. And a romp? Let’s not get started on my feelings about that word.
I’m sure we’ve all read books like this. The second the book arrives on the advanced-copy shelves, people start gushing over how this book is going to become an “instant classic,” and how everybody needs to read them. Honestly, most of those books labelled “instant classic” are instantly forgettable to me. Perhaps this all stems back to me being unimpressed by someone taking an old idea and repackaging it as something new and exciting (like how Hunger Games is just Battle Royale with teenagers), but maybe it also comes from people judging a book within days of its release date that it will go down in the ages as something fantastic. Heck, there are novels that were released decades ago that are considered incredibly obscure today but were billed as “instant classics” when they were first released. To me, things can’t become an instant classic because those two words are at such odds with each other.
This is probably going back to the “jaded” part of me, but I’ve found that books that are usually billed as “lyrical” fall flat. Although the book might be stunningly well-written, not much actually happens in it, and that’s a bad thing. You can have a book that’s written beautifully but is still a very bad book. (You can ask my roommate about that; she’s reading a series that she compares to Twilight, except it’s better-written.) Or it could be that I’m not a fan of poetry. Who knows?
THE NEXT [INSERT SERIES HERE]
This is along the same lines as “instant classic” to me. Things are constantly being billed as “the next Harry Potter,” “the next Hunger Games,” etc., and I just can’t deal with it any more. Not only does it degrade the original series if the new book turns out to be a flop, but it also makes the reader go into the new book with the expectation that it’s going to be similar to the original book/series. If something’s “the next Harry Potter,” I’m thinking it’s going to be about magical adventures in a boarding school. It gives the reader expectations that could very well be dashed the moment they start reading it. If a Harry Potter fan reads something, for example, simply because it’s billed as “the next HP,” and they find it boring and unreadable, they’re likely to not read another book if they see those words written on the cover. Also, why does everything have to be the next Harry Potter? Can’t books stand alone and by themselves for once? You don’t have to compare everything to what’s come before. Let things breathe and figure out where they stand in the world of literature for themselves.
So there you have it, the five words that make me look twice at a book and more-than-likely choose to put them down. How did I become so biased towards these words? I guess I’ve just read so many of each type over the years that I’m not excited by them any more. I tried my hardest not to put things into broad categories, and I think I managed that rather well.
Now, that’s not to say I won’t read any books on this list. On the contrary, there are a few books in each subcategory that I do enjoy reading, but they’re few and far between.
What about you? What words do you see on back covers that make you recoil from the book itself? What do you think of my “Run Away!” words? Let me know!