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Book Dealbreakers

May 17, 2011

Stealing this train of thought from the highly excellent blog Forever YA

What’s your YA deal breaker? Or, for that matter, what’s your book deal breaker?

Here are a few things that will make me exceedingly reluctant to read a book:

Apocalypse, particularly the disease or environmental kind. I find them disproportionally scary as hell, and not fun. I am wary of The Hunger Games for this reason.

Social frivolity being central to the plot. I’m in, if it’s set in the 19th century.  But if it’s Gossip Girl style modern-rich girls and boys partying away, I need something like the supernatural or a mystery added to the social intrigue.

Unbridled Chick Lit. Woman/girl pines for man/boy, bemoans singleness, looks for husband. Give me something else in the plot- foodie lit, a good mystery, an interesting career. Give me a topic so that it’s not just straight romance!

Talking animals. Sorry, Mercedes Lackey. Can’t take the companion Horse things. Sorry, Philip Pullman. Daemons are a no. I realize I’m missing out on whole swaths of wonderful fantasy writing. Aslan is a notable exception. Talking Christ-figure lions are okay. Overtly characterized pet animals also make me skeptical. So I might read Lillian Jackson Braun if there were nothing else in the house.

Super-experimental language. Novels written in poems! Entirely experimental language. I”m good for a handful of made up words in scifi… but if the oddities of language are incomprehensible and front and center… Let’s just say, I know I should probably read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man at some point. I might?

Hateful Characters: Too much misanthropy makes me grumpy. Give me at least one character who’s moderately sympathetic… I’m not interested in a book full of characters hating each other and betraying each other at every turn, or making each other and themselves miserable.

Beyond that— I’m pretty likely to give anything else a shot, on a case-by-case basis.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. charles a. permalink
    May 18, 2011 12:45 pm

    most definite exception to the apocalypse dealbreaker: world war z.

    one of my favorite books; a quick read, massively awesome in terms of quick but deep character creation and as an awesome study of human behavior.

    • May 19, 2011 7:08 am

      Massively awesome it may be but I’m afraid of the ensuing nightmares. Seriously. I can have nightmares about the zombie apocalypse all by myself! Don’t need to feed ’em!

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