Types of novels that I do not want to read

  • Books about historic epochs written by people who have not experienced said times, like the very popular “All the light we cannot see.”. Why should I read about how some person of today imagines WWII if there are already tons of good books by people who were alive during that time?
  • Quirky books. Especially about sad topics. Books that tell stories of children that go through the worst kind of abuse and horrible life experience, but have a light, ironic, “fun tone”, in the worst case “fun” footnotes and so on. Books that seem to say: Hey, experiencing horrible things, even as children, is not that bad, hey, see I made a joke about it. Examples are “A heartbreaking work of staggering genius” by Dave Eggers or “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. Where does this entire “watch-young-people-experience-terrible-things-and-still-get-to-smile-about-it”-porn industry come from? Is there some target group that loves reading this? Who?
  • Books where the author is trying to dazzle the reader by his quirky imagination to try to distract them from the lack of substance (see David Mitchell et al.)
  • Books that try to be deep by having random bad or unusual things happen to people, and then showing shallow responses that are supposed to somehow hide something deep happening underneath (or maybe not).
  • Books in which male authors completely fail to empathize with their female protagonists and no editor seems to catch the problem. Like  in “The rise and fall of great powers” by Tom Rachman, where the author fantasizes about his young, female heroine just walking into a random apartment and cuddling with a guy living in the apartment, that she has never met before, just out of pure quirkiness. The percentage of women being able to identify with this behaviour is likely very close to 0%.
  • Any story where the protagonist goes “on a journey to explore his family history/his fathers mysterious past/find his mother”. his is just my personal taste, I realize most people find this topic endlessly fascinating.
  • Crime stories and thrillers. No, I don’t like to read about ways in which a demented murderer mutilates the body of his victim, thanks.
  • Cheesy romance novels, and funny novels about women and their problems with weight loss.
  • Books by old men writing about old protagonists who are fantastically popular with young women. In general books that seem like a written down daydream of power, beauty or popularity. Relatedly, books with protagonists that are described as exceptionally beautiful and/or exceptionally clever.
  • Books where the author compares the character to a living actor, apparently already thinking about the time when the book will be made a movie. Come on.
  • Books with brooding young male protagonists written by brooding young male authors.
  • Harry Potter and anything remotely similar. I hate books with “poor mistunderstood yet somehow superpowery person who can save the world, oh so famous yet so poor”-protagonists that are so normal in YA fiction. It is fine if teenagers want to read this but what is wrong with adults who are still stuck at that stage?
  • Books that use too many metaphors.
  • Books that try to draw you in with a shocking first sentence, like “The day I shot my mother was bright and clear.” Come on!

Book recommendations, anyone? 🙂

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3 Responses to Types of novels that I do not want to read

  1. xykademiqz says:

    I really like Becky Chambers’ “The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” and the sequel “A Closed and Common Orbit.” Great SF with well-developed worlds and characters. I loved Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice” and the rest were still good, just not as mind blowing (“Ancillary Sword” and “Ancillary Mercy” and the newest one, “Provenance”). My long-time favorite “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” (can’t remember the author name). I also really enjoyed “Dark Matter” (it’s not about dark matter at all, the title is beyond stupid) by Blake Crouch. I can’t remember the last time I liked a non-speculative book; most of them bore and annoy me with authorial self-importance [author’s ego and/or love of purple prose (“Look at me! I’m so clever and deep and have a vast vocabulary!”) keeps getting in the way of the narrative]. Maybe “Olive Kitteridge”?

    • zinemin says:

      Thank you! I hate authorial self-importance as well. So distracting. But I also find it annoying when books make it too easy for me and I can read them while being half asleep. Dark Matter was like that for me, although I love reading about parallel worlds. Maybe the protagonist was too simple-minded for me. I really loved Olive Kitteridge and The First Fifteen Lives also sound interesting, I just downloaded a sample.

  2. Pingback: Late Link love for a lazy day | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured)

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