Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #14

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic: Top 10 Book Turn-Offs (i.e. things that will make me put a book down). Oddly enough, due to my status as YA book critic, I actually don't put books down all that often, because I feel it my duty to my Readers to finish a book and then warn them about it. Nevertheless, there are a lot of turn-offs; things that if I were not a book critic would make me put the book down, and things that since I am a book critic, make me take off a few strawberries.

  1. Explicit sexual content. There is never a time when graphic sexuality is necessary. Authors can convey such things without being explicit, and sometimes such things are just plain not necessary.
  2. Excessive profanity. I find the f-word and g--damn very offensive, and like sexual content, it is never necessary. I have heard the excuse that sometimes profanity is needed because it is realistic to a certain character. Alright, fine; but that doesn't mean you have to put the actual words in. Readers are smart; they will know that certain personality types will use bad language. So let the Reader insert as many f-words and g--damns as they like, but don't put it in. Stumbling over lots of language like that is like an electric shock to me. I'll be enjoying the story, totally immersed, and then BANG! The profanity jolts me out of it.
  3. Terminal illness. Life is depressing enough. I don't want to read about a person who is dying of cancer or leukemia or AIDS. Smallpox and tuberculosis are the few terminal illnesses I will read about, because they are usually in a historical setting. You won't find a smallpox or tuberculosis story that is inspirational.
  4. Modern vampires. Classic vampires, ones that take after Count Dracula, I can do in small doses (or should I say small sips). But modern ones - vampires that have none of the classic traits and weaknesses, that are sparkly, and portrayed as good - will turn me from a book very quickly.
  5. Unnecessary homosexuality. Sometimes there are characters who are simply gay. I realize that. But what I hate is when I feel like an Author has thrown in a gay character simply to make a statement about gays. If their being gay benefits the plot somehow, fine - I'll swallow that. But if it's just in there for the sake of being in there, that makes me irritated.
  6. Excessively pious eco-mentalism. Save the trees! Down with genetically engineered foods and medicines! Stop the evil corporations! Global warming is at hand! If we just all get along, there won't be any more wars. These are probably some of the most irritating plot points ever to exist, and I hate them. Because once these themes are introduced, the entire story falls into a big massive puddle of preaching.
  7. Misunderstood aliens. Okay, if aliens are going to invade, they need to be evil. No one likes an alien invasion story where the aliens have just been misunderstood; where there has been a line of miscommunication.
  8. Shower scenes. Showers are private things, where there should be no viewing public. This rule should also be applied to fiction, especially if the shower scene is a group of youths, because it then leads to horribly annoying fart jokes and innuendos.
  9. Excessive focus on lack of hygiene. Especially in romance stories. Because as soon as you mention the years' worth of dirt caking someone's hair and face and nails; their grotty teeth and soiled clothing - as soon as you mention that, when a kissing scene comes up, that is all the Reader is going to be able to think about. How much plaque build-up does that person have on their teeth? How reeky is their skin and armpits? Yeah, that totally saps are romance out of the scene.
  10. Detailed kissing. I do not want to read about someone else's tongue slithering into another person's mouth, and tasting their teeth and other spit and breath particles therein. I do not want to read about sore lips or strings of saliva or what one's mouth tastes like. These sort of descriptions have forever put me off of romantic inclinations for life, thank you very much. 


  1. I think you got just about all of my pet peeves. The only additions I can think of are: insta-love, love triangles and excessive romance (i.e., the romance is the plot).

    As the world's most interesting man would say, "I don't always put a book down, but when I do, it is for one or more of the above reasons." ;)

    1. It was hard narrowing it down to only 10, because insta-love and love triangles are definitely up there for me as well. I may eventually do a guest post about good romance vs. bad romance (and if you like, I would love you to be one of the guest posters!).

      Haha; so true. :)

    2. Not a bad idea for a post or series of posts. Good vs. bad romance, alternate history, fantasy, female protagonists, etc.

      I'd be happy to guest post if you'd like me to. You know by now I am never short on opinions; getting me to shut up is the problem.

    3. I have a ton of ideas for guest posts; I just never seem to get around to actually doing them. I think, with this new blog, is once I have everything set up (i.e. all of my reviews transferred), I'm going to have a guest post once a month - or every other, maybe. As a regular feature.

      My friends always seem to have that problem. ;) Guess that's why I'm friends with 'em! :)

    4. Transferring reviews? For some reason, I thought Blogspot had an easy import/export option. Maybe that was Wordpress.

      At least it was easy enough with Booklikes (minus making spoilers fully visible and unmarked). Not that Goodreads has touched my reviews yet (and not that I expect they will), but it's still nice to have the shelf/content backup.

      The regular guest post feature sounds cool. What sorts of ideas did you have in mind?

    5. They might and I just haven't found it. But that's all right, because this is giving me an opportunity to go through and reformat them all in to a cleaner, nicer style - and catch any typos I missed the first time through.

      Oh, things like what sort of clues Readers look for to give away twists, how to predict the end of a love triangle, what makes a good protagonist, cliches to avoid in alien invasion stories - things like that. I also want to do a post about the rugged love interest versus the angelic love interest, 'cause you notice in a lot of books now, you have the "bad boy" who's scruffy and moody and usually wears dark-colored or beat-up clothes (the rugged love interest), and then the cleaner cut, more dependable, classier, sometimes rich guy (angelic love interest). Not every rugged love interest or angelic one will have ALL of those traits, but there will be definite ones that can tell you which category he falls in to. :)

  2. Yep, these are definitely the things I hate most as well. You know, I never thought about shower scenes before and honestly can't remember reading any (apart from in a time travel book where is was hilarious) but I really don't understand the necessity of them unless something happens :P

    1. I actually haven't encountered a whole lot of shower scenes in fiction, either (mostly in movies); ENDER'S GAME is what inspired that particular turn-off.


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