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2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: I'm Not Reading THAT!

Last week's TTT was all about the things that make us want to take a second look at a book. Today's prompt explores the flip side, asking what elements cause us to shy away from certain volumes. I always try to keep my TTT lists positive, but I have to say that this list was actually much easier to make than the last one. I guess I know what I don't like more than what I do?? For whatever reason, this list came together rapidly, without me having to think much about it at all.

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Check out her awesome blog for great reading recommendations and all the deets on this fun meme.

Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

1. Covers featuring scantily-clad people—This is probably my #1 turn-off when it comes to books. I don't read much romance at all and I especially don't want to read the kind that's signaled by people wearing next to nothing on their covers. Same goes with erotic poses or suggestive images of any type. I'm a big prude, so these types of books are just not my thing at all. 

2. Books described as "spicy," "sexy," etc.—I guess this is pretty much the same thing as #1. Again, not for me. If I'm going to read romance, I prefer the sweet, closed-door kind.

3. True crime—I discovered Ann Rule in high school when I attended a writing conference where she was speaking. Her true crime books engrossed and fascinated me, violent and disturbing as they often were. At some point in my young adulthood, the genre as a whole just got to be too much for me. While I can handle books about white collar or non-violent offenses, I won't read true accounts of violent/disturbing crimes. I don't need the nightmares.

4. Low-star ratings/negative reviews—Even though we all know that book reviews/ratings are highly subjective, I still pay attention to them. If a book gets consistently poor reviews/ratings, especially from reviewers I trust, I'm unlikely to waste my time on it.

5. Sports and politics—While I enjoy reading about religion, I have zero interest in the other two members of this taboo trio. Even novels with these themes are generally a turn-off for me.

6. Profanity in a book's title—I'm a person who doesn't swear. Ever. When my kids were younger, they were totally shocked when I lost my temper and used the word "hell" in a sentence that had nothing to do with the Bible. They still bring up that one time I cussed at them because it was so unusual! They were also scandalized when I checked How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey out from the library because it had a bad word in the title. I can handle profanity inside a book (although I'd rather there wasn't any), but if it's in the title, I won't buy it or check it out. Even on my Kindle. I'd never hear the end of it from my family! LOL.

7. High fantasy and hard sci-fi—I do read the occasional fantasy (Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, for example) and sci-fi books. (In fact, I surprised myself recently by enjoying Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, although I did DNF The Martian because all the tedious detail put me to sleep.) In general, though, I shy away from these genres. They're just not what I typically enjoy reading.

8. Short stories—My favorite thing about reading is sinking myself deeply into different worlds and experiences. I love the feeling of being completely carried away by a book. Short stories don't do that for me, so I read them only very rarely.

9. Poetry—While I love verse novels, I avoid poetry. I never seem to get what poems are trying to say. They make me feel dumb, honestly!

10. A previously disliked author—Even my favorite writers sometimes pen stinkers, so I never say never, but, on the whole, I'm unlikely to want to pick up a book by an author whose writing I haven't enjoyed in the past. 

There you are, the top ten things that will make me give a book a wide berth. Are you the same way or completely opposite? What elements of a book turn you off? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments you leave here at BBB.

Happy TTT!


  1. I’m not into sports or spicy books either!

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post.

    1. I don't have anything against sports, I just have little interest in watching or reading about them. And I avoid spicy books all-around. Just not my thing.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

  2. I agree with all of these, Susan!! I could have made this list, LOL. Have a great week.

    1. Great minds think alike! We have similar reading tastes, which is one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  3. Low ratings from others is probably my number one reason not to read a book. Also excessive length (over 400 gets me seriously considering if it's worth it).

    1. Same. I love that platforms like Goodreads and book blogs exist to help us weed out the books that aren't worth reading. Even knowing how subjective reviews are, they're helpful to me. If most people who read a book don't like it or are even just lukewarm about it, I won't waste my time.

      In theory, I don't have a problem with long books. The more pages, the better if it's something I'm enjoying. In reality, I rarely read books that are over 400 pages. Even ones that get great reviews and everyone loves make me pause to decide if I want to take the time or not!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  4. Replies
    1. I've never been wild about it. I don't like having to guess what someone is trying to say. I guess I just prefer more straightforward storytelling.

      Thanks for popping in, Bree!

  5. I love your list and wholeheartedly agree with #1 and #2. I also don't like the enemies to lovers trope. It makes no sense to me. They hate each other for 1/2-3/4 of the book and then suddenly love each other. I rarely buy it.

    1. I actually like the enemy to lovers trope, as long as the characters dislike each other because of a disagreement or a conflict of interest more than out-and-out hating each other's personalities or whatever. I get what you're saying, though, about it not necessarily feeling realistic.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  6. The profanity in book titles I do not get. It would be hard to read a book like that in public.

    1. Publishers must like those kinds of titles for the shock value. I mean, they definitely catch my attention! I'd be way too embarrassed to read something like that in public, though, and I wouldn't want it on my Kindle even. Glad I'm not the only one.

      Thanks for stopping in, Snapdragon!

  7. Those first two for sure.

    1. They're both big turn-offs to me. thanks!

      Thanks for popping by!

  8. I don’t usually swear either and have little tolerance for it in my reading material. I always mention it in content warnings for those who wish to avoid it.

    Lol! I have a list of authors I avoid for various reasons.

    I don’t usually read sci-fi but I loved Project Hail Mary (esp the audio)! I liked it more than Martian for its themes of friendship and sacrifice.

    I also think this list was easier than last week’s! The more I read the pickier I get. Life’s too short to read books we’re not enjoying. Knowing our reading taste leads to a more satisfying reading life. ~Carol @Reading Ladies

    1. I do love having content warnings for books, which is why I include movie-style ratings when I review what I read. I end up reading a fair amount of books with profanity, but I prefer having a heads-up. That way, I can decide if I'm up for it or not. I'll tolerate it for authors I really like.

      I really was surprised by how much I liked PROJECT HAIL MARY. My eyes glazed over when Weir got too math-y or science-y, but overall, it's a very enjoyable book. And, I agree, it has some sweet, very appealing themes.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carol!

  9. I really struggle with short stories as well. I'll pick these up occasionally if they're by a writer I know I love, but in general, short stories don't grab me and/or I feel like they go over my head!

    1. Right? They're either too artsy fartsy or there's just not enough there for me to really feel part of the story. Occasionally, I come across a short story I like, but it's rare. Usually, I avoid them like the plague!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

  10. I enjoyed your list. I agree with many of them. #10. I usually avoid authors whose books I haven't liked previously.

    1. Yeah, it's hard for me to want to pick up another book by an author I didn't care for previously. Occasionally, I do if the premise sounds really good, and am pleasantly surprised. Most of the time, though? If I don't care for the author, I don't care for the author! LOL.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Bonnie!

  11. I never got into true crime but the one time I did read such a book (Helter Skelter), it scared me so badly that I was put off the whole genre for good. Ha!

    1. I inhale thrillers without much of a problem because that's fiction. It's not real. Real person committing horrible acts for real is just too disturbing for me. I'm interested in the psychology behind people who commit crimes and the methods the pollice use to investigate them, but not enough to read these kinds of books anymore. Too frightening.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

  12. I agree with so many of these! I wish I had put them on mine. I also agree that it was easier to put things that I didn't like! One thing that surprised me was the swear word thing. We don't swear often (I won't go so far as to ssay never!) and it made me feel like taking a star off of the book because the swearing was unecessary!

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

    1. Yeah, I don't take stars off for excessive swearing (since it doesn't bother other people), but I do mention it in my reviews. I like to have a heads-up about things like that and I figure there are others out there who want one, too.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Emily!

  13. I'm not a true crime fan either. It just doesn't interest/bores me.

    1. There are aspects of it that I'm definitely interested in (forensics, the psychology of killers, etc.), but I just can't stomach the genre anymore. Too disturbing.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

  14. Low ratings and sport themed books are a no for me also. Happy reading!

    1. I've just never been a sports person, so even a novel that's centered around a sports theme is a turn-off for me. Seems I'm not the only one!

      Thanks for popping in, The Bookworm!

  15. #1 and #2 kind of go together, so that makes sense. I was laughing that your kids still pulled the one time you swore out.

    1. They're lucky I walked away before I said a lot worse. They deserved it, the little stinkers! LOL.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  16. I'm also not much for sports, politics, books that had bad reviews by trusted bloggers, or short stories!

  17. Great list! It can be really good to know what you don't like reading, nearly as important as knowing what you do like! :) I don't like reading about sports or politics in my books, either. And I only like religion in fiction when it's not preaching at me. So I'm more hesitant about the taboo trio than you are. ;-)

  18. I'm definitely not a spicy book reader. I read a book not that long ago that was a bit more open door than I prefer and I felt a bit like I needed to avert my eyes! I watch true crime but for some reason don't read it. It somehow gets into my head a bit more if I read it.

  19. I'm with you on about half of these, but that's what makes our community so interesting - I've seen a couple of people talk about how fantasy is a hard no for them, and that's my favorite genre. Imagine how boring our blogs would be if we all liked exactly the same things?

  20. Low ratings is a great one! I am swayed by that all the time. Great list!

  21. Oh, I'm with you on true crime. I'm not sure I've ever read one, actually. Once in a while I'll watch a true-crime documentary with my folks, but that's as much as I can muster. :P

  22. I don't like reading anything political either. And I don't really enjoy short stories or poetry...although I keep trying both for some reason. And I'm with you on low star ratings and a previously disliked author! Fun TTT list, Susan. :D

  23. I don't read true crime either, i don't like contemporary thriller, i don't like when they feel like something you saw in the news

  24. I usually steer clear of true crime, as well. Too much reality for me. :)

  25. Such book covers would definitely make it to my list. Happy reading!

  26. Interesting list, Susan.
    I agree with many of your no-nos, even though I sometimes have different reasons. "Scantily-clad people" to me means boring, chick-lit, not interesting, same with "spicy" and "sexy", there isn't enough story in the book and they all are similar. They often describe clothes or shoes in half of the book. I don't read many crime stories anyway, true or fiction. Low star ratings, I din't really go with that, unless someone with a similar taste tells me they didn't like it. Sports is not for me, though politics, yes, I do like to be informed. And then fantasy, sci-fi, short stories and poetry, I don't enjoy them, either. A previously disliked author, I will probably not touch them again, they had their chance and blew it.


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