Ten Topics I Avoid

  1. Tortuous high fantasy politics. Into this genre falls A Song of Ice and Fire, Kameron Hurley’s Mirror Empire and anything by Raymond Feist. I don’t have the patience for 800+ pages of names I can’t pronounce making elliptical alliances and, usually, crushing the lower classes into the dust.
  2. Family sagas. I read far too little literary fiction because I just feel so bored by their blurbs, which make them all sound navel-gazing and tedious.
  3. Modernism. Talking about navel-gazing. The Modernists were quite possibly the least helpful storytellers who have ever existed. Reading Ulysses made me want to scratch my eyes out.
  4. Romance. By which I mean, any book that threatens a heterosexual romance as a central plot point, especially modern ones. The vast majority of heterosexual romances are still set within an unacknowledged heteronormative framework which sees certain things as “normal” when they’re at best applicable only to some of the population and at worst actively unhealthy. I find this boring.
  5. Invisible demons/ghosts with teeth/girls who crawl out of TV screens/supernatural creepy crawlies. I am a wimp. I regularly wake up thinking Slender Man is going to eat me (although lately Donald Trump has also featured in my midnight terror) and I find the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who difficult to deal with. I do not need more fodder to scare myself with.
  6. Women’s fiction. What does this even mean? I tend to class it along with family sagas: it just sounds dull and quotidian to me, and also a bit sexist.
  7. War/military. The Resident Grammarian has about a million history books and a good eighty per cent of them are war books. Politics and war aren’t particularly what interest me about history – how efficient generals were at killing enemy soldiers. I’d much rather read social histories, which for me are a much better indication of what any given historical period felt like to the people in it.
  8. Gardening. Most of the plants under my care die in about three weeks and I have no interest in or energy for doing anything more complex than watering something.
  9. Murder mystery. Especially modern, “gritty” murder mysteries that are all darkness for darkness’ sake. I can get on quite well with a nice Agatha Christie, though.
  10. Religious conspiracy theories. The Da Vinci Code, I am looking at you. Any book promising apocryphal revelations and exciting secrets will always turn out to be a dull and counterfactual retread of old and damaging conspiracy theories. This is a law of the universe.

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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