Friday 7 June 2019

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The Kinds of Books I Won't Read

The Kinds of Books I Won't Read

Titles marked with an asterisk (*) were gifted to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Kinds of Books I Won't Read

When it comes to what we read, we all have different tastes. Different genres we like, different writing styles, and so on. And because of those different tastes, there will be certain books we won't read just because they're not our bag, and that's fine. But that's not exactly what I want to talk about today. It's less books I don't fancy, and more books I refuse to read, period. Sometimes the things I have issues with are made clear from the blurb, sometimes I only discover the books feature things I do not want to read by actually starting to read them, so I end up DNF-ing them. Here are some of the things that will stop me from reading a book.

Books Featuring Drug Use

This is something I feel very strongly about, for reasons I won't get into, but I am absolutely against drug use. There have been only two books that I can remember that feature drug use that I have stuck with, and they were Pointe by Brandy Colbert and Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith, and that was because I was reading them specifically for Mental Illness in YA Month, so gritted my teeth and forced myself to carry on. Yes, I loved both books, but I absolutely hated the drug use. It doesn't matter if it's heavy drugs or weed, I am not going there. I can't. They make me so bloody angry, I can't even tell you. I put down Orange Boy by Patrice Lawrence* for this reason. I don't read books about drug addiction - unless the drug addiction is brought about by an addiction to prescription drugs as a result of injury, etc. Yes, I know addiction is a mental illness, but I can't. I cannot read books about people who voluntarily put that crap into their bodies. So those books get skipped or DNF'd.

White Authored Cultural Appropriation

I will not read books by white authors in which their fantasy's worldbuilding or aspects of it are inspired by countries and cultures not their own. This is a recent thing, because I most definitely have read such books before (I'm looking at you, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton* and Cinder by Marissa Meyer*), when I was less educated. People may have a different opinion to me on this, and may say that as long as research and sensitivity readers are used, what's the problem? The problem is things still slip through and the book becomes problematic, and also that the white author has taken a seat at the table that should have gone to an #OwnVoices author. I'm just done now. I've seen too many people hurt by these books, so I can't support them. I will not read The Hand, the Eye, and the Heart by Zoƫ Marriott, Soundless by Richelle Mead*, and The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera*. I've spoken more about this in my blog post White Authors, Stop Writing Cultural Appropriation.

Problematic Books in General

This sounds pretty obvious, but some people seem to think they need to read a book to decide for themselves. When the various controversies come up within the YA community about problematic books, they immediately get added to my "will never read" shelf on Goodreads, with notes for myself on why it's problematic, in case I forget. I cannot support problematic books. I'm just not going there. I am not one of those people who needs to read a book myself to see what the problem is. I listen to and trust those who have been offended or hurt.

Over to you graphic

What kinds of books do you refuse to read or DNF? Are there any topics or themes that you just steer clear of? What are your thoughts on people reading problematic books to decide for themselves? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. That's quite thought provoking - I've always thought my decision to dnf a book was based on the individual book, just one I didn't get on with, but now I come to think of it, apart from really poor writing, there are other common factors in the ones I abandon. Ones that glorify degrading or non-consensual sex, ones with too much unnecessary swearing (ie swearing that's not done to define an individual character or situation) and ones written in lingo, jargon or dialect so strong that i find it impossible to follow the story.

  2. I'm generally not fond of books that feature drug use either, especially if it in any way glorifies that drug use (like featuring characters who use drugs to make them seem "cool"). I might be okay with a story about someone who is fighting addiction if it's done well, though.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction