Monday, February 19, 2018

Ten Types of Books I'm No Longer Interested In Reading

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

So I'm thinking that this week's topic, "Books I've Decided I'm No Longer Interested In Reading," is referring to individual books — like, "These books were on my TBR list and I've decided to take them off the list." But seeing as I am very stubborn and determined to get through the books on my original TBR list, this didn't seem applicable. So instead I came up with some general types of books that I used to be interested in reading and have decided I'm not anymore.

1. Books with low ratings
Gone are the days when I'd pick up a book based on a recommendation without first checking what the wisdom of the Goodreads crowd says. Having exported and analyzed all my reading data, I know that while there are plenty of books Goodreads has loved that I have not, there is almost never a book that Goodreads hated that I love. It's just not worth my time when there are so many good books out there. (Anything below 3.7 is questionable; anything below 3.5 is a no-go.)

2. Books written partly in Spanish
This really goes for books with large portions in a language other than English or French, but I seem to see the most recommendations for books with Spanish passages or dialogue. I know no Spanish, and so this just means I end up missing big chunks of the book. This was the case for the highly recommended The Borderlands/La Frontera, which has whole sections in Spanish, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I read on an airplane and therefore did not have access to my Kindle's Translate function for all the Spanish dialogue. There are certainly plenty of readers out there for these books, but I do not have to be one of them.

3. Entire series (if I don't like the first one)
Occasionally I feel out of the loop because I haven't read, say, the whole Divergent series, but I just did not like the first book enough to care what happened next. If this means the validity of my opinion on the first book is lessened because I don't have the whole picture, so be it.

4. High fantasy
I don't read a ton of SF/F generally, but some of the more contemporary books look interesting despite their fantastical elements. I've tried and tried, though, to read some of the classic high fantasy, and there's just nothing that comes close to my beloved Belgariad and Malloreon series.

5. Humor books (that aren't memoirs)
I used to be a big Dave Barry fan — it's one of the things my husband and I first had in common — but as I got older and more progressive, too much stuff just rubbed me the wrong way. This also goes for books like Lamb, which I know people adore but which I just found too icky in too many places. It appears that I much prefer to seek out humor as part of memoirs like Let's Pretend This Never Happened, where the humor is at no one's expense but the author's own.

6. John Green's recommendations
I love John Green as a person, and I've enjoyed most of his books, so I used to seek out the books he recommended, until finally I determined that I disliked most of them. Apparently I like what he writes but not what he reads.

7. John Steinbeck's books
Steinbeck shows up on so many "Books You Should Read" lists that by this point I've read six of his works: Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, Travels with Charley, and The Red Pony. I haven't hated any of them, but I also haven't liked any of them enough to want to recommend to other people. I think it's time to admit that I'm not a Steinbeck fan.

8. Short story collections
I've tried a number of short story collections, and I have yet to find one that I genuinely enjoy. There are a few individual short stories that I've liked but none that I've truly loved. I think there's something inherent to the format — the lack of deep character development, world building, or plot complexity — that doesn't mesh well with my tastes.

9. Tony Morrison's books
Like Steinbeck, I've read a number of Morrison's works: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Sula. They're the type of books that I can appreciate in sort of an intellectual, academic way, but in which I struggle with getting immersed as a reader of the story. I've heard Jazz and A Mercy both recommended recently, but I thought, you know, maybe it's time to admit that her books just aren't for me.

10. Traditional Christian books
When I was in high school, I ate up books like Lover of My Soul, The Case for Christ, and Passion and Purity, but then mainstream Christian media got more and more politicized and I also learned more about the problems with things like purity culture. Only recently have I found alternatives, like the work of Nadia Bolz-Weber and Rachel Held Evans, where I feel able to be challenged in my faith again without being repulsed by the nonsense some of the big-name Christian authors spout.

Which types of books no longer make it onto your TBR list?

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