I left one thing out of last week’s What I’m Into post. I’ve been working more hours on my part-time job, which means more hours sitting at my computer. And that means I’ve had more time to listen to podcasts.
My three favorites are The Popcast (pop culture with Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden), Sorta Awesome (all things awesome with Megan Tietz), and What Should I Read Next (books and more books with Anne Bogel, aka Modern Mrs. Darcy). As I listened to Anne talk to Leigh Kramer about books, Anne said something that stuck with me.
In reference to a book about vampires, Anne said that some books say, to her, “Move along. This one is not for you.”
I told you a few weeks ago that I’ve finally decided to stop reading books I don’t like, to put down the boring books, the annoying novels, the redundant reads. And I meant it! I have been closing books and walking away like crazy lately!
I chuckled when I listened to Anne and Leigh talk about their feelings about vampire books (and so many other things), because I have similarly strong feelings about zombie stories. I just DON’T DO zombies. Even a hint of zombie-like creatures screams to me, “Move along! This book is NOT FOR YOU!”
Anyway. I kept thinking about this idea, this list of buttons that books push to the point that we close their covers and put them in the garage sale box or the library shelf. I thought about it as I tried to read one more chapter of a book I’d bought on sale. It was only a dollar or two, but I did pay something for it. So I kept thinking I should give it another try.
Even though it was kind of boring.
And badly written.
And it was about angels. Who cussed a lot.
But that wasn’t even what made me put that book down for good. Apparently swearing angels isn’t the thing that tells me to move along. But a world — fantastical and fictional as a world can be — that includes angels AND fairies? Nope. Can’t do it.
What? THAT’S the tipping point for me? THAT’S my line in the sand? I guess so. I can imagine a world with angels. And I can imagine one with fairies. But both? Nope. Can’t do it. I have to move along.
So, let’s talk today. This is basically the opposite of my post about books that say, “Shut up and take my money!” Tell me about your hot buttons, your can’t-do-it topics or genres, the things that say to you, in Anne’s words, “Move along. This is not for you!”
I can’t read a novel or memoir dealing with mental illness (or see a movie about it). It’s something we’ve faced in our family, and it’s just not a subject I find “entertaining” on any level. So, I won’t be reading Still Alice, and I couldn’t sit through Awakenings as a result I stayed completely away from A Beautiful Mind.
Oh, that makes sense, Lyli. There are things from my own family that I don’t care to see imitated in fiction.
Thanks for this post Mary! I have finally learned that I can indeed put down a book if I am bored or it just doesn’t work for me, or worse it triggers me in some way. What a relief that has been too! I actually started doing that out of “necessity” of having too many books I wanted to read and no time for books that aren’t worth my while. I admit it is still difficult if I have made it half way in already. But, just like movies, I have learned to walk away if it is not good for me. =)
Yes! Walking away from books is one way we protect our minds and hearts, for sure!
Mary! It’s always a treat to be mentioned on a list with Anne and the Sorta Awesome team. Plus, if a book with fairies AND angels doesn’t lead to the apocalypse, then the author is doing it wrong.
Well, it may have led to the apocalypse. I’m not sure, because I didn’t finish it. Fingers crossed The Chosen One (or whatever the special snowflake main character was called) saved us all.
I also struggled with putting down books I didn’t care for. I even felt guilty for “not finishing what I started”. But, what shuts the book or stops the movie for me… children being portrayed as evil, or children being in extreme (detailed and vivid) peril that didn’t have a happy ending. Since I had kids, I just can’t stomach it. There’s enough reality to make my stomach turn regarding the unjust treatment of children. I don’t need it also in my recreational activities.
I’m with you. Child abuse is one thing I just can’t stomach reading about or watching!
I LOVE to read. In my younger years of reading I only remember starting and not finishing one book (The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks). More recently, having become a parent, having infinitely less free time than I used to, and such a large “want to read” list, I have given myself permission to stop books whenever I deem necessary. I don’t really have any specific buttons that turn me off from a book. I read mostly non-fiction so my fiction get one chapter (sometimes two) to catch my interest or I move on. It feels like I’m extending grace to myself. I love it!
I like that – saying no to what isn’t best for us IS giving ourselves grace!
Yes! There is so much freedom in putting down a book that doesn’t whisper sweet nothings into your ear.
I’ve noticed that if a book employs some kind of crude event in the first chapter or two, I’m done. I have plenty of favorite books that involve violence or foul language or very inappropriate sexual situations, but when it’s done right away (and especially when it’s written with crude/crass language) it just doesn’t sit well with me. It feels cheap, and it causes me to immediately disengage.
Those are things that ruin it for me, too. Sex or violence that’s too graphic before I’ve bought into the characters or the story does not work for me!