Top Ten Tuesday

Posted April 25, 2017 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is complementary to last week’s list, which was about the top ten things that will instantly make me want to read a book. This is about instant turn-offs. This is a little harder for me, actually, because I read so eclectically. Let’s have a go, though…

  1. “The X’s Y” titles. So often it’s stuff like The Mapmaker’s Daughter or The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, and I’m honestly tired of protagonists being defined in terms of other people. I have picked up some of these books and will probably continue to, but it does give me a moment’s pause.
  2. Fabio on the cover. It usually heralds a sort of romance fiction I’m not interested in.
  3. This Will Change Your Life. I don’t like feeling like you’re selling me something. Obviously you are, but if all of these books could change my life, I wouldn’t be the same person day to day. (And in another sense, every book will change your life for the period that you’re reading it, at the very least…)
  4. The new Tolkien. I liked the old one, actually. And the new ones just don’t seem to have J.R.R.’s attention to detail. Same goes for the new anyone, really. I don’t want to read the same books over and over again — or rather, if I do, I’ll go back and read that book.
  5. “Inspired by [x] culture.” Translation: “I took the stuff that interested me and ditched the rest.” This is rarely done well and with attention to detail, although some authors like Guy Gavriel Kay can produce something very satisfying from that starting point.
  6. White saviours. If your cover copy hints that your white character is going to save the poor and downtrodden through their special sympathy and understanding, I’m going to be very sceptical right from the word go.
  7. The real King Arthur revealed! Just stop it with that, please.
  8. The real Robin Hood revealed! That too.
  9. The real Sheriff of Nottingham revealed! Come on…
  10. The real Will Scarlet! Aren’t you reaching at this point?

So yeah, as you can see, I was running out of ideas toward the end of this… Doubtless I’ll think of a dozen more just as soon as this goes live.

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8 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday

  1. Ah, the X’s Y. Yes, this. It dramatically reduces the chance of me picking up a book to find out what it’s about.

    I’m totally with you on “the new X” too. It just frustrates me. I understand how marketing works, and that many readers are looking for something recognisable / safe, but I find it either turns me off (because I’m not that fond of X, or I am, but I don’t want to read an X-a-like) or because I just don’t believe it (debut authors compared to classic authors by publishers who likely know less about the marketplace than their target readership: hyperbole is not your friend).
    imyril recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: total turn-offsMy Profile

    • It’s just so overdone by now, as well as making me frustrated that the title is kind of about someone else.

      Yeah, it’s a shame marketing works that way, but it’s also problematic because they pick the big ones (Tolkien! Rowling! Martin!) so often it loses meaning anyway.

  2. There’s one I missed off from my list…’The New…’. This annoys me so much. I want authors to strive to be good authors who write great books, not a vague pale imitation of an author I love. I think it’s also counterproductive. Lets say you hated The Hunger Games…are you going to be keen to read ‘The New Hunger Games’? No probably not! Or if you love THG like me, you are going to be comparing the two as you read and that is generally going to be bad for the new book.

  3. Several of these would also be on my list (if I went for such lists). In particular the King Arthur gambit. Anything with ‘the real’ or ‘the truth about’ or even ‘revealed!’ is sure to get my sceptical/cynical synapses going.
    Chris Lovegrove recently posted…To savour, and to saveMy Profile

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