hi everyone!! today I thought I’d do something different and discuss some things that I hate reading about. I’ll give some examples of books that have incorporated some of these themes/topics, but, to keep things interesting, I also thought I’d include some exceptions whenever possible–that is, books that I’ve read that included those themes/topics that i hate, but that I still loved despite that fact.
Example: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Exception: Tender by Belinda McKeon
I just hate reading about any kind of art: music, painting, dancing, singing, whatever it is. Every time an author tries to describe a piece of art my brain shuts down. I can never imagine what that piece of art is supposed to look like or sound like or feel like. And ultimately I think that’s why I find it so difficult to read about art; I have a hard time really wrapping my head around it when it’s verbally described as opposed to experienced in person. In Little Fires Everywhere (which is a novel I didn’t like that much anyway), there are a lot of descriptions of little artistic objects that one of the characters crafts, and I just never had any idea what they looked like when they were described lol. They might as well have been blobs for all I knew.
Tender by Belinda McKeon incorporates a lot of descriptions of photography, since one of the characters is a photographer, but McKeon’s writing is so beautiful that I never really minded. With photography, too, it’s just a bit easier to visualize what the author is describing because more often than not, a photo will have a person, object, setting, etc. to ground the reader. So maybe that’s why I ultimately got along with the artistic aspects of Tender.
#2: Whiny Privileged People Doing Whiny Privileged People Things
Examples: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
Exception: White Ivy by Susie Yang
I feel like it should go without saying that it’s not fun to read about completely oblivious privileged people whining about dumb things and ignoring their immense privilege, but apparently it doesn’t, so here I am. The foremost example of this is definitely The Dutch House. I did not like that book, namely because its protagonist was SUPREMELY IRRITATING. The protagonist’s father dies and leaves him a huge fortune, but he can only use it for his education. The protagonist’s sister then convinces him that to take revenge on his father or stepmother or something (I don’t really remember), he should go to medical school since it’s the most expensive. The protagonist doesn’t really wanna do it, but he does it anyway, and the whole time he’s like but i don wanna go to medical school ! 😦 i wish i could use my dad’s big bags of money for something else 😦 but i can’t 😦 like ???? am I supposed to sympathize with him ??? I feel like some books would not exist if their characters took approximately 1 second to think about the immense privilege that they have.
White Ivy by Susie Yang is an exception to this theme, but not really. Choosing it as an exception is kind of cheating because it’s a book about whiny privileged people that actively unpacks and discusses that privilege and the kind of strange world that it wraps people in. Unlike The Dutch House, it’s not just a book with privileged characters, but one that’s also about privilege itself.
#3: Marriage/Marriage Problems
Examples: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane, Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Exception: Fault Lines by Emily Itami
I really don’t like books that focus on marriage, especially affairs and nuclear families. I feel like I’ve read one too many books about failing marriages and disaster marriages and affairs and I’m just fully burnt out on that particular theme. My feeling towards these themes basically boil down to the same thing: I don’t care. I’m just not invested in that kind of conflict. I’m not married myself, and it’s not really something I find relatable in any way, shape, or form. I would never dismiss a book because it’s not “relatable,” but marriage is just one thing that I find so painfully unrelatable to me.
On the surface, Fault Lines by Emily Itami seems like the kind of book I would not get along with, to say the least. It has literally all the things I just mentioned: a failing marriage, an affair, a nuclear family. But I don’t know, something about it just worked for me. It certainly has its dramatic moments, but on the whole I found it a really earnest and grounded book. The main character’s narrative voice drew me in, and I loved the Tokyo setting of this. It’s been one of my fav reads of the year.
Examples: Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
Exception: none, as of yet
I absolutely loathe books about taxidermy. Every time I’ve read a book about it the taxidermy always ends up being used as a very on-the-nose metaphor for the character who engages in it. In Mostly Dead Things the main character feels very emotionally repressed and does taxidermy. She feels dead inside and she does work with dead things ! do you get it ???? Like, yes, I get it, I didn’t need the tired and very obvious metaphor thank you very much. In The Doll Factory taxidermy is basically a shorthand for evil: the evil villainous very bad character does taxidermy because he is evil and when things are dead that is bad ! Alright.
Other random things I don’t like reading about that I don’t have any examples for:
- Cults: I don’t know why, but I have zero interest in any kind of content about cults.
- Sports: I’ve never had an iota of interest in sports, and I don’t think reading about them would be very interesting or enjoyable.
- Math: I hate when books try to make math poetic. It all goes over my head.
I hope you enjoyed this lol. It’s not really a post that I thought I would do, but I found myself thinking about all these things that I don’t like reading about, and started making a list, and next thing I knew this post was basically writing itself. Please let me know what things you don’t like reading about, and if there are any books that are exceptions when it comes to those things!
Also I would absolutely love it if you wanted to do this on your own blogs!!! please feel free to take this idea and run with it (tag me so i can see your posts as well)!! 😊