Every Tuesday I participate in a Top Ten Tuesday meme, selecting ten examples of whatever bookish (or non-bookish) topic out there.For this week’s Top Ten, inspired by Broke and Bookish, Top Ten Reasons to Not Buy a Book.1. Insta-love. Meet Sue. Meet Bob. Strangers in the first chapter, they find they cannot live without each other by second chapter. Does anyone know people like them in real life? No. I thought so. However, authors and publishers believe these cliche needs to continue, especially in young adult fiction. Give the trope a rest. Trust me.No.2. Books over 400 pages. Time’s precious. Between raising two boys, sharing moments with my husband, working, and breathing, I prefer to use my time wisely. When I read, I don’t want to feel as if I’m trogging along. I want a good plot, great characters, and special dialogue within 400 pages. No more, but maybe less.
3. Overused pop cultural references/slang I get it. You want to appear hip. You want readers to know you’re connected, but guess what? Sometimes, you try too hard. You become that person. You know, the writer that researchs pop culture online and shoves every bit in. But, here’s the thing. Those references must match the people and setting. Imagine reading a piece and being pulled out of the story when a suburban mother uses a term straight out of Oakland, CA. Nope. Uh-uh. Check your sources. 4. Love triangles Meet Bob. Meet Sue. Meet Dave. She likes them both, and for three hundred pages and so, we’ll read about them both CONSTANTLY, which may cost the book a proper plot, dialogue, and characterization. If we’re really lucky, we’ll get the same triangle throughout the series (See Twilight). I’ve never seen one in real life because that’s not the drama for which I yearn.Sure. Just keep them out of the books I read.5.Societal isms (e.g. racism, sexism) played for drama without any lesson or resolution attached. Real life is hard, and in my body, it gets harder by isms, particularly racism and sexism. So, if you’re going to use them, make sure you illustrate a point to be made as these topics are serious business and they often bring pain to your reader, particularly if they’re not used responsibility (For example, the racist/sexist isn’t knocked down a peg or two).My lemonade cup is full, people.6. Fantasy (Genre). I have a conundrum. I like Fantasy as a movie genre, but I dislike the same genre as books. Make sense? I figured not. Listen. Reading requires time, patience, and energy. I prefer using those aspects for realistic fiction. Sue me. Also, a lot of Fantasy stories use rather iffy tropes and problematic representation. I’d rather not.7. Surplus of Negative to Indifferent Reviews On Goodreads, I only read books rated 3.60 and up. Yes, some books below that are good and deserve recognition. Besides, some books are rated low for insidious reasons (e.g. Author, Subject) and that’s not cool. However, there are times when I overlook a rating and read the book anyway. So, I’m flexible. But, if a book has way too many negative reviews and it’s not because of it’s author or “triggering” topics, I’ll pass. Time’s precious.8. “The Chosen One” Who’s choosing these special people to save the world, and why do they all look alike? Brunette (blond), light eyes, strong fighting ability, female (occasionally male), a teenager (young adult), straight, and white. Nope. Uh-uh. Too much of a landmine. World figures tell you this trope is highly unlikely.9. Lack of Research Toward Marginalized Groups. Relying on stereotypes to say you wrote diverse characters is a cop-out. Chances are, the “Sassy black friend” doesn’t exist nor does the “Sassy Gay Friend”. Forget about using the “Passionate and Sexy Latino” or the “Emasculated Asian Male.” We want diverse representation in books and to do so, writers must write responsibly, which means putting the work forth. Research until your fingers bleed. Okay, let’s not be so dramatic. But, seriously, you have to invest and get to know your characters. We’re all human (How sad I still have to write that phrase!). Show the many facets we embody.Listen to Rhianna. She knows.10. Male Protagonists. I’m not sexist. But, I find myself not able to connect with most male protagonists because I feel the stories tend to be the same. Usually, I require a special male character to grab my attention. So, while I will read stories centered around them (See Simon and the Homo Sapien Agenda), he better be damn special and his story has to be different from the gluttonous amounts available.*Honorable MentionMovie/TV Tie-In Covers. They make books look cheesy and dated. Besides, if the movie or t.v. show’s bad, the book’s forever linked. Leave the covers alone. So, there you have my Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks, Broke and Bookish!Happy Reading!