TOP TEN TUESDAY: Things that Make Me NOT Read a Book

This was actually yesterday’s link, so I’m a day behind – but better late than never! And this week’s Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish is a great topic: What ten things make me NOT read a book?

This is going to require some thought, because a lot of the time the decision to pick up a book, to buy it – even to read it once it’s bought – happens based on instinct or a whim. But there are some things that immediately turn me off. Some of them are good reasons not to read a book, others are a good reminder to me that I need to be more open minded. But I’m going to be honest with you here, so try not to judge me too harshly!

1. Cover.

Yes, I judge books by their covers. I know you’re not supposed to, I know authors don’t always even get to pick their covers – but I can’t shake that snap judgement that happens if I see a bad cover. To me, books are not only the receptacles for stories, they’re also objects to be appreciated in their own right. I’ve purchased books I know I’ll never read because their bindings or covers were so appealing I couldn’t NOT take them home with me. Likewise I’m sure I’ve missed out on some great writing because I couldn’t get past a cover that just made me go “NOPE.” Sometimes I’ll go for a book if I’ve heard great things about it, regardless of the cover – so it’s not like there’s some sort of hard and fast rule. I just mean when I’m browsing in a book store and looking at rows of books I’ve never heard a single thing about, that’s when this cover thing really comes into play. So there it is, for better or worse: I judge books by their covers.

2. If I don’t like the main character.

This is particularly true of books written in the first person. If I can’t feel a connection to the character, chances are I won’t make it far in the book.

3. If it’s super slow to get started.

I have trouble sticking it out if a book doesn’t grab me within the first few chapters. I generally try to get to 100 pages, but if it’s not good by then, life’s too short to force it.

4. A genre I can’t get into (like Sci Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Harlequin Romance)

I try to branch out into different genres, but these ones rarely draw me in. Particularly if the fantasy has time travel (the inconsistencies drive me CRAZY), the horror has creepy creatures living in the closet and if the romance has a Fabio-looking guy on the front. *Shudder*

5.Doesn’t live up to expectations

It is possible to over-hype a book. I prefer people to under-sell, but say enough to get me interested so that when I actually read it it can BLOW MY MIND. Even if you loved it, build it up too much and you’re setting me up for disappointment.

6. Complex/Dialectic language

I don’t mind working to get into the rhythm of a bygone era (Dickens, Austen) but reading books written in an impenetrable dialect is just way too much work. A Clockwork Orange, anyone?

7. Too heavy

While I think it’s important to read about the whole gamut of human experience, I don’t want to read a big, long, depressing book that will leave me in need of a prescription for prozac. Again, life’s too short, and there are too many more cheerful (or at least less depressing) books out there

8. Too fluffy or lazy writing

I don’t mind the book equivalent of cotton candy or Kraft dinner from time to time. I discovered while in University that after a particularly gruelling semester, fluff was exactly what I needed. During my last year I polished off the Shopaholic series, the Sookie Stackhouse books and the entire Twilight saga. My brain may have rotted a bit, but it was a welcome break. However, just because a book is light and fun, that’s no excuse for lazy writing. Don’t employ the same phrases and descriptions over and over again. Don’t get lazy with descriptions or leave bits of the plot  unresolved. Fifty Shades of Grey was a perfect example.

9. Condescending tone or whining

You might be a brilliant author, you might have tons of experience or a great education. But if you write down to me or take a whiny tone, I will take offense, and I will hate you. This is why I never managed to make it through Chuck Klosterman.

10. Poor cover blurb

You have to make us want to read the book! I know writing the blurb isn’t easy. You have to give just enough info to create intrigue without giving anything away. And you have to sum up a few hundred pages in a few paragraphs. But if it’s not done well, you’re losing me right there. Eleanor & Park is an example of this – amazing book; terrible blurb.

I’m sure I have lots more, but that’s it for now! What about you guys? What makes you throw down a book and snort in disgust? Head on over and link up! //<![CDATA[ var sc_project=10144299; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="82f610c9"; var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://secure." : "http://www."); document.write("”); //]]>

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