Top Ten Instant Turn-offs

To counter last week’s bookish turn-ons! Once again, I talked about some of these last year in a Sunday Coffee post. Plus, anyone who’s been following me for awhile will know these already. But here goes – things that will immediately make me put down a book, or never pick it up in the first place:

  1. Drugs. I have a drug phobia.
  2. Vomiting. Ditto.
  3. Alcoholics and/or culture surrounding major alcohol usage, mostly because this often leads to vomiting (see #2 above).
  4. Vigilante justice. No. Just no.
  5. Glorification of criminal life in any way. I can read books where groups band together to commit criminal acts to undo a repressive government, or when people are forced to be criminals in order to live. But glorification of crime? Nope.
  6. Talking animals. There’s got to be a super-compelling reason for those animals to be talking if I’m going to read that book.
  7. Torture. Nope. Not under any circumstances can I handle torture.
  8. Excessive medical or other gore. I’m too squeamish for that, and I don’t find focus on all the gory details to be particularly useful for any book, frankly.
  9. Books that target/attack any particular group. Describing the villain by her disgusting fat rolls? Nope. Sexualizing Muslim women because of their “repressed” traditions? Nope. Narrator deciding a character is probably gay because of the way he dances? Hell. No. (All three of those are from actual books I’ve come across in my years of blogging.)
  10. Unrealistic swimmers. Yes, this is weird, but as a one-time competitive swimmer, it bugs me when authors don’t do their research. No, a kid cannot jump into a pool for the first time ever and nearly break the world record on his first swim. (Also from a book I’ve read, this one forced-to-read in middle school.)

As a runner-up, I have an auto-turn-off in audio narrators, too. I really, really hate it when narrators use highly stereotyped accents for characters. This is an insta-switch-to-print pet peeve.

PS – Can anyone guess any of the books I’ve referenced above?


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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14 Responses to Top Ten Instant Turn-offs

  1. Ceri says:

    Haha, your last one made me laugh because it reminded me of one of my pet peeves when it comes to films and tv. I hate seeing someone playing a violin in the background because they’ve clearly never picked up a violin in their life and it just grates on me. (I played violin for 9 years.)

    I seriously need to know what books you’re referencing in number 9 though so I can stay the hell away from them. My god.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amanda says:

      That’s exactly it. I can always tell in tv/film when someone actually knows how to swim well also, just like my sister always gets frustrated by anyone faking their way through ballet on TV.
      Books referenced in #9, in order: Divergent, The Bookseller of Kabul, and Austenland. In #10 – A Separate Peace.


      • Karen K. says:

        I think I’ve read Austenland but can’t remember exactly what you’re referring to in #9. I didn’t like it enough to read it again but I actually liked the movie adaptation with Keri Russell, but it was hopefully significantly different than the book.\

        And I also hate #10, doesn’t matter if it’s playing a musical instrument, a sport, cooking, whatever. It’s usually some sort of skill which requires years of practice. That’s so Mary Sue and I hate it.


      • Amanda says:

        I don’t even remember which guy she was talking about. He was one of the actors. It’s toward the end and she says that now that she seems him dancing, she thinks he might just be gay. It’s what turned the book from not-good to offensive for me. But I didn’t like it to begin with, so there’s that.


  2. Ooh talking animals, that’s a great one! I’m not into that either but didn’t even think of it until I saw your list. I can’t guess the books you’re referencing but now I really want to know!

    My TTT


  3. Jillian says:

    There’s got to be a super-compelling reason for those animals to be talking if I’m going to read that book.

    This made me laugh. 🙂


  4. RR Gilmore says:

    1) I have no idea but I’m really curious what some of these titles are.

    2) Have you ever read Watership Down? There’s some taking rabbits I can get behind.


    • Amanda says:

      1) See my response to Ceri above.
      2) I haven’t. I know I should, but I’m worried the talking animals will put me off. They shouldn’t, but I’m just worried. I don’t want to dislike such a well-beloved book. I’m sure one day I’ll sit down with it.


      • Karen K. says:

        Do you mean talking to humans or communicating amongst themselves? In Watership Down they’re just communicating to each other. No human/animal interaction involved.


      • Amanda says:

        Generally talking to each other is better, but there still has to be a compelling reason.


  5. Kristen M. says:

    Glorification of criminals doesn’t work for me either. I really dislike characters who are just evil/cruel/whatever for fun or profit.


    • Amanda says:

      It reminds me a lot of older movies where smoking is glorified, and how that’s changed in recent decades. I just can’t get past the messages sent out by glorifying crime for the sake of crime (or for the sake of sticking-it-to-the-man, which is a trope I could gladly never see again!!).


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