Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Turn-Offs

Hey guys, it’s that time of the week again!

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish, and this week’s theme is:

April 25:  Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

This week’s theme seems like it can be interpreted in two ways: as fun and light-hearted or a serious issue. So in true indecisive form, I’m going to include a little of both.

1. Girl hate

I am always here for female friendships and romance. But you know what I’m not here for? Girls mistreating other girls. Just, please no. Characters usually have enough to deal with while trying to defeat their arch-nemesis/save the universe/master some magic powers/figure out their feelings/just be a teenager, without having to verbally K/O other girls too. And women in real life sexism rears its ugly head way too much without women having to combat other women. Let’s just forget girl hate and have a huge girl love-in.

2. Love triangles

I feel like love triangles have become so cliched that we should just put them aside and move on. *side eyes The Hunger Games Twilight and The Selection*
Occasionally they can be fun and unique, but for the most part they’re just predictable, boring, and don’t add anything to the book.

3. Microaggressions

Be it racist, sexist, ableist, or anti-LGBTQIA+, any kind of microagression against a marginalised group is an immediate turn-off for me. I want to read diversely inclusive books, not books that exclude people or make unkind remarks about them just for being part of a minority group.

4. Hundred of guys with only a only a token girl (or two)

This trope frustrates me a lot because the one woman or girl is often fetishised as the object of everyone’s attraction. She’s something different and new and is therefore often treated as though she has no agency or independence. No thanks.

5. “Book one of forty-seven”

Don’t get me wrong, I love a long series. I love Game of Thrones and Harry Potter where you get so much character development that you feel like you really know the characters by the final books. You can live alongside them as they’re growing and changing and feel intensely connected to them in ways you might not have been able to if the series were just one book. But when a series is so long that I know it’s going to take me half a decade to finish, it can be a bit of a daunting task.

5. Next generation characters

This definitely isn’t an instant turn-off for me. I’ve read some series, like the Mortal Engines, where the characters grew old and the later books were about their children and they worked really well. But if I become used to thinking of a character as a certain age – often teenage or twenties – and then a new series comes out about their children I have to re-formulate how I conceptualise them. And that can be surprisingly difficult *cough* Harry Potter epilogue *cough*. Sometimes we get so used to characters being ‘our own age’ that we don’t want them to grow old. We want them to be ageless and timeless in ways we can’t. And sometimes, their children or the next generation don’t live up to their predecessors. So, for me, that’s one of the main reasons I’m wary of next-gen books.

6. Insta-love

You probably knew this one was coming, no surprise there. I’m not a fan of the insta-love trope, I just find it overused and unbelievable. I know it can be hard to strike a balance between slow-burn and insta-love but I would prefer authors to err on the side of the former, rather than the latter.

7. The male MC is a bad-boy douche-bro but the girl likes him anyway

I just don’t understand this trope. He’s mean and arrogant, treats others badly, and yet the girl still likes him?! How? Why? In real life relationships, this basically never happens. Women quickly realise that the person they’re interested in or dating isn’t the person they’d thought/hoped.

8. When the blurb doesn’t match the plot 

It’s such a shame when this happens, because I use the blurb to see if the plot intrigues me when I don’t know much about the book. If I’m interested, I’ll pick it up, but if the story is then totally different to what’s on the back it feels as though I signed up for one story and got a different one. Almost like going into a store and buying bananas only to realise the cashier put apples in your bag. I love both and will happily eat the apples, but I wanted bananas.

9. Slurs

Slurs in books (no matter what the type) make me really uncomfortable. If the slur is there as part of a social commentary on the flaws in the way our society treats marginalised groups and the character using the slur is immediately challenged then I feel slightly less uncomfortable. But if the slur goes unchallenged, it makes me consider DNFing the book.

10. Poor cover designs

Sometimes designers and publishing companies get the cover spot on. Sadly, other times they get it completely wrong, and as much as I don’t want to let a cover impair my judgement, if it’s poorly designed I’m less likely to want it on my shelf.

So that’s it for this week’s TTT! What are some of your bookish turn-offs? Are there any on this list that you agree/disagree with? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, Kate

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30 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Turn-Offs

  1. Ooh, interesting theme for TTT!
    Yikes, those covers are soooooo nasty. I can’t help but hope they’re satirical, or something?
    Out of curiosity, did you read The Wangs Vs The World? I’m really interested to read it, but don’t know much beyond the synopsis!

    1. Haha I know, they’re dire aren’t they! (I looked for the worst ones I could find to illustrate my point.) And yes I have read The Wangs Vs The World! I enjoyed it, but it was billed as a hysterical family drama on the blurb, and sadly I just didn’t find it as funny as it was made out to be. I have a full review of it if you want to check it out. https://coffeeinonehandbookintheother.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/book-review-the-wangs-vs-the-world-by-jade-chang/

  2. What on earth is that Accidental Hero cover!? That is ghastly!
    I cannot agree more with your picks. Love triangles are the bane of my existence. Why are they still a thing in books! Can’t I just have a series where the couple actually communicate and work through their issues instead of running off with another character?

  3. UGH I hate it when the MC is clearly a jerk but the romantic interest likes him anyways… it’s even worse when she makes it her mission to “fix” him in some way, as though he’s some sort of machine that just needs a few new parts.
    Great list! 🙂

    1. RIGHT?! The whole female-character-will-save-his-tortures-soul trope is another one I could easily have added to this list. Sometimes if two characters grow and develop together and both end up as better people it’s not so bad, but most of the time it’s only one character doing the saving/changing of the other character. And it’s always the woman/girl trying to save the guy/man! Just another reason we need more LGBTQIA+ stories! 🙂

      1. Oh they do…I’ve seen HAND DRAWN ONES!! Who looks at their book and thinks, “Man, this is gorgeous!!” Who, I ask you, who???
        Bc seriously if they looked at their covers like we do, maybe they would get the need to have a cover designer. Just maybe!

          1. That’s exactly what they end up looking like…because you’d think if someone was drawing their own cover, it’d be awesome, right? NOPE. Ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame. 🙄🤦‍♀️

    1. Ahaha whoops, sorry! I hope you have dreams about beautiful covers instead! Yeah, most of the time love triangles just don’t add anything to the story and only serve to create petty drama. Sigh. Thanks for dropping by Lenna! (And I love your blog name by the way!)

  4. Great list. I am with you on all of these. I didn’t know that Everything Everything has insta-love. I juts got it last week. And yes, those unending series and you have to start after after the 20th book has been published urgh.. I love today’s topic.

    1. Thanks Diana! Yeah, unfortunately it does, but for some people that doesn’t detract from the story at all. Just for me it was a little unbelievable. (Hopefully you’ll still enjoy it!) Yeah, long series can be a bit off-putting, but if they have great reviews and an exciting premise then I’ll still consider reading them (just might take me about 5 years!). Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  5. I totally agree with you about the jerk guy and the girl who’s totally head over heels for him. I can understand if his character development reveals him to be kinder and they slowly fall in love…but when she (or he) is attracted to him and wants to be with him and he’s just a jerk….NOPE. And it’s just not interesting!

  6. I loved this theme for this weeks TTT post and I definitely agree with everything you featured as well Kate. Pretty much all of these are things that would turn me off books too; I HATE girl hate in books, we really need to see more strong female friendships instead of having girl hate, and I’m definitely not a fan of microaggressions either. I actually took Carve the Mark off my to-read list because of all the controversy surrounding it. Also poor cover designs can have the opposite effect amazing cover designs do. I won’t pick up a book if I’m not a fan of the cover.
    Great picks for this week! 😀

    1. Thanks Beth! Yeah, girl hate just needs to leave forever. I actually did the same with Carve the Mark because I’m don’t want to support books that are hurting a lot of marginalised people in the community. Totally agree with covers sometimes putting you off – I really want to start reading Queen of the Tearling but I just find the UK covers so off-putting that I’m waiting for a cover change!

      1. That’s all right. Here’s hoping soon we can replace girl hate with strong friendships, and yeah I felt the same about Carve the Mark, not worth it in my opinion.
        Well given the rate covers seem to chance in the bookish community I doubt you’ll have to wait too long for that to happen! 🙂

  7. Number 4 ALLLLLLL the way. I’d been so excited to watch the Maze Runner for ages, and then when I saw there was literally only one girl in it it just really ruined the entire series for me.

    What’s the deal with microaggressions in the Roth book, just out of interest? I hadn’t even realised she’d written anything other than the Divergent series

  8. Ok sooooo…. re: the microaggression’s in Carve the Mark I went out and did a bit of research to try and work out where these criticisms have come from. I’m not sure if you have looked into it, or what sources you looked at, but I just had a really interesting read of Veronica Roth’s response to the criticism of racism (http://theartofnotwriting.tumblr.com/post/157313294397/question-what-do-you-say-to-allegations-of-racism) and also this persons response which pretty much summed up how I felt about Roth’s response (https://youtu.be/gXUWX0iE6wg)

    1. Yeah, I read Roth’s post when she first published and read/watched a lot of responses to it on Twitter/Goodreads/Youtube. I have massive respect for Francina Simone and really like her videos. I think she discusses all the issues with the book and the post really well in that video, but I do think that it was the tone Roth used in her post that upset a lot of people, almost as much as the content. It seemed pretty unapologetic, and I think that’s what bothered so many people. If she had apologised for unintentionally hurting people I imagine it would have mitigated some of the backlash against her.

      1. mm… I guess. I just think that she actually doesn’t have anything to apologise for, pretty much along the line of the argument that Francina Simone discussed in her video. I felt that her post actually did a good job of contextualising the book and explaining the concerns that people were raising in a sensitive but firm manner. I agree with Francina that, in this case, rather than it being about misrepresentation and microaggressions, I would argue that it’s a case of misinterpretation. As both Roth and Francina point out people read something, and interpreted it to be about X group of people but that was never supposed to be the case. She’s clarified which groups she’s referring to in her post, and so… I don’t actually understand what she would be apologising for?

        The only thing that I think she might maybe have benefited from apologising for is the stuff about scarification. But even then she explained her reasoning behind it, acknowledged she made an error on her part, and then stating exactly what she will do to fix it in future books. As much as I think her writing style sucks in the Divergence series, I actually think that her response showed quite a lot of maturity on her part.

        Also, this is my own observation, but it seems like (from what I’ve read and watched so far) a lot of the criticism has been coming from people who aren’t affected by this issue – white people, and white people who didn’t read the book but heard through the grapevine about it being problematic. And yet a lot of these people are people who go on to write positive reviews about authors, such as Rainbow Rowell for instance, that ARE actually super problematic and yet this is never acknowledged by either the author or the fan base…

        I just think it’s incredibly complex issue that has been massively oversimplified in a scenario which might have started with a small contingent of people but which rapidly snowballed into a bit of a witch hunt, often by people it doesn’t affect. Which I know from experience is definitely something that also constantly happens with the trans community and cis people getting on high horses about issues that they’ve either misunderstood/or spoken over trans people to talk about why they don’t like something.

        1. Yeah, I totally see where you’re coming from. The only problem is that author’s can’t always control how their readers are going to interpret their work, so some readers saw their own culture of cultures close to theirs being represented poorly (the black-skinned aggressor vs white savour trope was an issue for a lot of people), rather than the ones that Roth might have intended. So irrespective of her intention she still hurt and/or alienated marginalised people, and for a lot of these people, who have this happen to them far too often in all kinds of media, a small apology from one author would go at least some way towards showing them they’re valued and not disregarded. It like if one person accidentally physically hurt another, they’d still apologise even if it was a complete accident, so why is emotional hurt that different?

          And I do agree that a lot of white and non-marginalised people have been speaking out about it, when they should be trying to promote the voices of poc speaking out about it, since they’re the people who have been hurt. I think it’s because people want to ally with those who were upset and stand up for their friends, but I think it’s important to promote the voices of those who were directly hurt rather than your own if you’re not marginalised. It’s definitely important to try and augment the voices of others without stepping outside of your lane. You’re certainly right that it’s a complex issue, and a lot of people did attack the author rather than approaching her in a more moderate manner that might have made her listen more closely, but after everything that’s happened I just don’t think I’ll be picking up this book.

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