Book Turn-Offs: Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Run Away from a Book

Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Run Away From a Book
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) topic is Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to NOT Read A Book.

This topic is the flip side of last week’s Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book. And, I actually prefer this version because the snark can come out!

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Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book

Cheesy Romance…
I love a good love triangle on TV (Hart of Dixie, One Tree Hill…yep, I admit to watching the ridiculous CW network shows) and in movies (Sweet Home Alabama), but I just can’t stomach it in my reading. Something about the cheesy banter. However, I’m not against a good hate/love storyline (The Roanoke Girls, Dead Letters).

Comparisons to Gone Girl and/or The Girl on the Train
Publishers need to just stop this already! It’s completely overdone and regularly slapped on books that don’t remotely resemble the two gigantic Girl books (A Separation is the most recent egregious example).

Magical Realism
I just have trouble buying into stuff like this. And, I’ve skipped some recent hit novels (The Underground Railroad, Exit West) because of it.

Mommy Politics
UGH! I try to run far away from this in my daily life…why would I want it invading my precious, peaceful reading time?! It’s why I can’t abide Liane Moriarty and hated Cutting Teeth (my review).

Overly Formal or Flowery Writing
I wrote a whole post about the kind of writing I adore and it boils down to simple, spare, and hard-hitting. The formal writing is why I couldn’t get onboard with A Gentleman in Moscow (my review).

Endings That Are Too Neatly Tied Up
I like some sort of closure that leaves me satisfied (which can be an open ending that make sense with the story), but I can’t stand when every single tiny thing is answered in the last chapter. The worst offenders are those epilogues that skip forward a decade to tell you where each character ended up ten years later (i.e. The Nest).

I just can’t commit to three, four, or more books about the same story. I recently read the first two books in Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning (my review) series and have no urge to pick up the final book (Mississippi Blood) that just came out. 

Certain Covers
Like the ones you typically find on romance or fantasy books.

“Beautiful” War Novels
I used to love these, but am just kind of burned out. This one may be temporary…we’ll see.

Celebrity Comedian Memoirs
I don’t generally find these as funny as I think I’m supposed to (Bossypants, Yes PleaseDad Is Fat). I think I prefer more subtle, unexpected humor.

What are your biggest book turn-offs?

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  1. Greg wrote:

    Yes the Gone Girl/ Girl on the Train comparisons are sooo overdone! Flowery writing doesn’t usually go over super well with me either. Cheesy romance too (especially the ubiquitous love triangles)- no thanks! 🙂 I like them better in shows too.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  2. Susan wrote:

    Oh I hear you on the endings that are too neatly tied up! And the endless epilogues… I read a novel recently which had not one, but two, epilogues! Stick a fork in it, it’s done already!

    And I hate those formulaic covers too. At least they signal that I won’t enjoy the contents.

    On the other hand, I love magical realism.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh no – 2 epilogues is a huge no dice for me!

      Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  3. Yeah, I can’t do many series, either. If I do, I tend to sprinkle other books in between. I get bored…

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  4. I completely forgot about neat and tidy endings, but intensely dislike them. Unfortunately, you have to read the whole book first! Romance & fantasy covers – for sure! The Gone Girl comparison is another great one.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      So true about having to get through the whole book before finding out if the ending will drive you nuts!

      Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  5. I don’t mind the mommy politics books if they are well done. I kind of get a kick out all that–as long as it isn’t involving me!

    Yes to the Gone Girl comparisons. Enough already!

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  6. Angela wrote:

    If a book’s blurb says the writing is poetic or lyrical, I’m usually going to skip that book. To me, it just means it’s going to be hard to read! I also avoid romance books – they’re so unrealistic and I find myself rolling my eyes way too much.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  7. I don’t like flowery writing either but it always seems to me that everyone else does.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  8. Gabby wrote:

    War novels could just not possibly do any less for me. Fighting and guns and manliness and despair and love of country and yuck.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  9. MarB wrote:

    Great topic (and title)! Totally agree with the Gone Girl comparisons. Most comedians’ books are a hit or miss for me. I did like Bossypants though! I felt like I appreciated her as a writer more after that book.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  10. Allyson wrote:

    Overly flowery writing is such a huge turn off! I don’t need a whole page to describe the way a character’s hair looks in the sunlight. I’ve got a pretty good imagination, thanks :p

    My TTT.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  11. Mommy politics is such a good one! Who needs that drama in real life or a book?

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  12. I tried Underground Railroad back at the beginning of March in both audio and in book format and was not able to finish it either way. I know I’m in the minority but it was just a weird book to me. Exit West was the same way. I am really enjoying following your blog, Sarah. Nice work!

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  13. Virginia wrote:

    I totally agree with all of these, and would add clichés to the list. The last bazillion books I’ve read had someone clambering up a ladder (who clambers? what’s wrong with “climbed”?) You watch now, it’s in every single book.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  14. I think you and I have very similar turn-offs. Mommy politics, flowery writing, and celebrity comedian memoirs are hard limits for me.

    I used to really like series but now with all the review books I have coming in all the time, it just feels like too much of a commitment. Unless it’s a trilogy and I can read them all at once, I’ll usually pass.

    I had never really read much magical realism until last year. I read Underground Railroad and Exit West and they both fell short for me. There’s something about magical realism that consistently makes the characters seem distant for some reason. I experienced that with One Hundred Years of Solitude too, though that was a better book overall. In the future, I think I’ll pass on this type of thing.

    And you’re right–cheesy romance works better on screen than in a book. I’m not a huge fan of it anywhere, but I did like Hart of Dixie.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  15. Naomi wrote:

    I agree with you on all of these, except for the war novels – I still like those if they’re well done. I’m not sure about the Mommy politics – I don’t think I’ve read enough of them to know.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
    • Steven Reads wrote:

      I read “Big Little Lies by Moriarty and although I skimmed some pages, I did enjoy what is typically described as “chick lit.”
      Good story, I thought.

      As for war novels (historical fiction for the most part), I have read many and continue to enjoy them. Most around the WWII period. On that note, my next up is “All The Light We Cannot See” by A. Doerr. I had started this about 18 months ago but thought it was too “fairy-taleish” after a couple of chapters so I put it down. Given all the glowing reviews (see Amazon, etc and my sister-in-law’s love of the story, I am giving it a 2nd chance (will start it this weekend). May I have some feedback on this novel if you’ve read it (no spoilers, please)?

      Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  16. As much as I hate to admit it certain covers are a turn off for me too, I even listed shirtless men on my TTT list. And there are also covers that look like the authors niece did it as a high school project while learning photoshop. Those are a big NO for me.

    My TTT:

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  17. Kay wrote:

    I’m right with you on the series, the comparisons, and the magical realism, especially.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
  18. Lindsay wrote:

    Interesting list! I don’t like overly flowery writing (books described as “poetic” and “lyrical” made my list this week) but I DID love “A Gentleman in Moscow”!

    I’m with you on the “Gone Girl”/”Girl on the Train” thing. I’ve come to realize that those are the only two thrillers I actually LIKE! I usually just disregard comparisons to other books (unless coming from a trusted reviewer) because they’re so often out of left field. Right now I’m reading “The Wanderers,” which I saw somewhere was supposed to be “The Martian” plus “Station Eleven” — two books I loved. I can get “The Martian” a bit, as it’s about three people training for the first manned mission to Mars, but so far I have no idea where the “Station Eleven” is coming from.

    Posted 4.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I loved The Wanderers, but didn’t think it was at all like Station Eleven! That comparison was definitely a stretch.

      And I didn’t even like The Girl on the Train!! But did love Gone Girl and wish some similar novel actually would live up to that comparison.

      Posted 5.3.17 Reply
  19. Andrea wrote:

    Did you end up watching all of Big Little Lies? I’m curious to hear how someone who dislikes her writing felt about the show! I would definitely give Exit West a try, the whole magical door thing is so subtle and the writing is just so beautiful- NOT flowery 😉
    As for me, I’m not into crime novels and usually not memoir, but I am giving them a go on audio.

    Posted 4.27.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’ve watched 3 episodes and am loving it so far! It’s much darker than the book and focuses more on the adults’ hidden issues than the kids and the mommy politics.

      Posted 5.3.17 Reply
  20. carrie wrote:

    my list is almost identical to this. I can NOT do chick-lit at all anymore. It is so cheesy and boring to me 98% of the time. I do, however, love a good series! I love getting to really “know” a character and see them develop over a long period of time!

    Posted 5.2.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      With you on the chick lit….except for unique, snarky versions of it!

      Posted 5.3.17 Reply
  21. Catherine wrote:

    Our twinness is not evident in this list! I like series, WWII, magical realism and ‘formal’ writing. Not flowery, though.

    I’m with you 100% on Gone Girl even though I loved it and Girl on Train, because I did not.

    I’m not interested in anything too feel-good with religious overtones. Really don’t like sappy. Much prefer dark, unlikable characters- especially if they’re rich and live in NYC.

    Posted 5.3.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Our twinness may not be evident in topic, but we both love those dark, unlikable characters!

      Posted 5.6.17 Reply

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