The Random Writings of Rachel: Types of Books I Can't Stand Reading

Types of Books I Can't Stand Reading

2016 has been a great year for getting back to reading. I've always been the kind of person whose idea of bliss is to hide away in some corner with a snack and a book, but what usually curbs my reading appetite is the desire to not spend money. These days, we happen to have a library in our apartment complex. Isn't that just the most brilliant idea ever? To have your very own library, supplied by various residents of the apartment complex you live in? It's a very relaxed library, too, without strict 'return by' guidelines. I love it.



(I didn't want to bother taking a photo of books for this post, so I went looking for old photos involving books, and stumbled across this terrifying one, from when Angel really wanted to take a picture of me with his cow piƱata.) 

So, I've read 28 books in 2016 thus far, and I thought instead of talking about all the books I've read (how predictable!), I'd instead talk about all the sorts of books I don't like. I'm limiting this list to genres I've actually tried more than once. I'm sure there are other sorts of books I'm not a fan of, but I've never even bothered reading one, so I can't give much of a reason why.

Christian Romantic Novels

Yes, I'm looking at you, Love Inspired and Karen Kingsbury. I don't know why, but this particular genre of fiction tends to have the most formulaic and flattest and downright boring-est love stories of all time--with occasional twists of tragedy that you don't even care about because the heroine and hero have annoyed you so much. I've heard that women shouldn't read too many Christian romantic novels because they'll give you unrealistic ideas of romance and relationships and men. I also think they shouldn't be read, but for a completely different reason--because you'll get too annoyed at the silliness, stilted dialogue, and random Bible verses shoehorned in. There are probably outliers in this genre that are actually good. But none come to mind at the moment.

Gory/Supernatural/Spooky Novels

Gratuitous blood or vampires or, in general, stories designed to help you NOT get a good night's sleep--not my thing. I enjoy detective fiction, but more the classic Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot type where the story is more about personalities and psychology and mystery, and not so much about death and spooky things.

Dystopian Novels

Yeah, I had to read all the classic dystopian novels when I was still in school, but mostly these are too depressing to actually enjoy reading, even if they do contain interesting themes and insights about human nature. I haven't read much, if any, modern dystopias, just because they don't sound like a lot of fun. I watched The Hunger Games and had nightmares for months because the concept it's based on is so deeply horrifying, so yeah, I'm not reading the books.

Ultra-Complicated/Super-Serious Fantasy or Sci-Fi

I actually do like a good number of fantasy novels, or, generally, novels set in other worlds or outer space. But I tend to like the lighter-hearted type that don't take themselves too seriously and don't require the memorization of countless names and rules and regulations to understand what in the world is going on. I do enjoy Tolkien's Middle Earth, of course, and I think he tells incredible stories, but even in those it's easy to get bogged down in the details.

YA/Teens Romance

Occasionally fun to read, but mostly, such a book just makes me feel like yelling at everybody. You are 16. Don't waste your time, energy, or emotions on any boy. I don't care who he is, you're not married to him, so it's not worth it! Just have fun and be a kid! Adult responsibilities are coming all too soon!! Yeah, basically I have no patience whatsoever for teenage relationships. Come back when you have a financial budget plan for your future and then we'll talk. Other than that, stop stressing and have a fun life. I actually like quite a few YA/Teens books and will often read them to have books to recommend to the teens in my life, but when romance is a major factor/plot point in the book, I probably won't like it, because it turns me into an old grandma who thinks these love-struck teenagers are just making fools of themselves.

Non-Fiction Sports History 

There are probably other non-fiction genres I don't like (self-help, I'm looking at you...), but this one sprung to mind so I'll write about it. I was the nerd who read every word of every assigned reading and textbook in college. I had to take a sports history class in my senior year and the book I had to read about the history of cricket in India was so dry even I could hardly get through it. The book about football clubs in Europe wasn't much better. I did like the class, and the professor, just not those books.

Modern Rom-Coms by British Authors

There's just something about the modern British sense of humor...it doesn't meld very well with mine. Whatever they write that is supposed to be funny I typically don't think is funny. Culture does have a big influence on humor/comedy.

And maybe I just hate romance in general. But for some reason I like to think that I don't hate romance, and so I'll keep on trying books even if 'love' plays a role. I do love real-life love stories. I'll ask anybody "So tell me how you two met?" I'll re-tell funny love stories that I read in biographies to anyone who'll listen. That counts, right?

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What are some popular genres that you just don't enjoy? Are there any books you could recommend in these genres that might make me change my mind or allow that there are a few outstanding specimens?

31 comments:

  1. Hmm... I like some of the genres you hate. I like a good romance, but you're right, Christan romances are silly and predictable. Mainstream bodice rippers are the same. It's almost like the authors use a formula when writing them. I don't like horror or anything to do with criminals or court rooms. I like fun sci-fi too, but if it gets too technical, I'm out. I couldn't make it through Dune, for instance. I love sci-fi romances with a little humor to them.

    By the way... why the hate for teenage romances? Weren't you just a teenager when you met Angel?? Hee Hee.

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    1. True--I tend to ignore that tiny fact when I go all grandmotherly on these teenage heroines. But I like to think that I was way more sensible than the average teen romance protagonist and I did know how to balance a budget and I didn't play games and pine away for months wondering if he liked me or whatever. My teenage relationship was actually fun and didn't cause drama, stress, and emotional turmoil. I don't mind teenagers being mature and finding the love of their life at a young age or even getting married...what I can't stand is how silly they generally act in these novels. If relationships are stressing you out and making you miserable, it's probably not worth it, kids! Come on, you're 17 years old!! There I go in grandma mode again...

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  2. I'm not a big fan of romance books, but what I do enjoy (or at least I did--I have not been reading fiction lately) is a good book with a romance in it. The difference is often that the romance story tends to be more formulaic and predictable but a novel that has real characters who do things that are truly romantic (like sacrificing for the other or something) and has a story besides the romance, are good.

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    1. I think that what you mentioned really does make all the difference! Romance vs. a good story that has romance in it.

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    2. I have to agree here too. A good story that includes a romance that isn't the sum and substance of the whole book is, well...more realistic. :-)

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  3. Oh and I like the idea of the library, too! And it'd be a great way to get rid of old books, as well.

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  4. I actually agree with every type of genre you listed - I don't like any of those! I'm more into biographies or mysteries.

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  5. I can definitely agree with you on the Christian Romances..I tried reading a couple a few years back and they always seemed so predictable. I often felt the same way about the Amish Romance novels too...Have a blessed week, Rachel!

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  6. I love British rom-com books. The American alternatives are worse, in my opinion (Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner?).
    But as for the rest of your list, I completely agree.
    The Hunger Games was intriguing and original and I like 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World (the books of yesteryear). But after The Hunger Games, there were too many people (can we call them authors?) trying to jump on that train.

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  7. Lol! Love this post! I do like dystopian stories but I feel like they're overdone lately. Everyone is doing it!

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  8. YA novels are my break from real reading and Dystopian Novels are interesting to me. Never read a Christian romance novel, so will have to try one of those out and see if I agree (thinking I will lol)!

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  9. I am SO with you on the Karen Kingsbury thing. I feel like, as a Christian, I'm supposed to think her books are just the best thing ever, but I really, really don't. Also, I've always hated dystopian novels- hello, Lord of the Flies- but I'm currently reading The Hunger Games for the first time- in preparation to teach it to a bunch of 9th graders next year- and I'm so hooked.

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  10. I'd have to agree with you on most of these. I do, however, enjoy British Rom-com novels. I'm not English, but I still find them funny and cute.

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  11. I agree with almost all of this. I have a read a few really good Christian romance novels, but overall you are spot on. I can't stand anything sci-fi, YA, or scary. I won't go near them. Rather, I've been reigniting my love for the classics lately.

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  12. I don't get the british humor either! I can definitely get sucked into some YA romances but I do tend to get a bit irritated by them.

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  13. I'm with you on gore/spooky. But man I used to love Christian romance! I don't read it often now bc I agree it's super cheesy. But have you read Francine Rivers? I love her!

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  14. I love your post, I don't care for most of the types of books you listed. I am in a book club that meets once a month and it amazes me how many ppl in the club will re-read books. There have only been a couple in my life I was willing to re-read.

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  15. I really love Nicholas Sparks' novels and Sophie Kinsella ones as well, even though they're so predictable and sappy. I think I like novels where I know the end because unlike in life, we cannot predict every single move or know how our book ends.

    And I absolutely loved Harry Potter even though that was far from the real world as it can get, wizards and werewolves and trolls, oh my!

    liz @ j for joiner

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  16. I am trying to read more books this year as well. And I don't like these genres either! I do read an occasional christian book with some romance, but I do NOT like reading a book with much romance at all. I don't want to read a book that JUST has romance. No way.
    I read a lot of non-fiction by Christian authors... I read a lot of informational books too (at least I try to!).

    Rebekah Joy
    www.moreradiance.com

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  17. I can relate to all except the gore.I enjoy a good suspense with gore.I need a book that reads fast and keeps me engaged.My time is precious so if a book doesn't entertain and I can't get through it in a weekend I probably won't read it.The exception is something educational and it must be reader friendly and hopefully have some humor!

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  18. Girl yes !I hate gore or supernatural stuff

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  19. Wow! I love fantasy novels, I read a lot of YA (mainly because I need to know what my students are interested in), I love Dystopia. But I agree on Christian romance! And regular romance is just word porn!

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  20. My husband makes fun of me all of the time because I'm such a book snob. Sigh. English grad school exposed me to some amazing stuff, so much of what's popular these days just doesn't do it for me. I love weird, mind-bending books like House of Leaves or The Wasp Factory (totally not what you'd like, but still very, very well-written!)--I'll take those any day over Twilight or any romance book.

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  21. I am so with you on Christian romances. I'm actually not a fan of Christian fiction in general for many of the reasons you listed in the Christian romances section. The funny thing is people always assume that because I'm a Christian and because I'm a writer I must write Christian fiction. I try to write about life the way that I see it, flaws and all.

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  22. hahaha, I'm not a fan of romance novels either (although I do enjoy the occasional chick lit book if it encompasses something other than love), but particularly not Christian romance novels. ._. Also definitely not a fan of history, but historical fiction is a whole 'nother story! I do really like dystopian and supernatural though!

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  23. I laughed at the Christian Romance novels! I honestly can't read them because just looking at them I feel like they're so cheesy. I agree with Sci-Fi! I feel like for me it's too hard to follow what's going on.

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  24. I'm right now slogging my way through a non-fiction about a collegiate rowing team that went to the Germany Olympics in the 30s. And I am having a haaaaaaard time. As evidenced by the fact that our book club discussed it a month ago and I'm still only about 50 pages in. But I will try to finish! I will try.

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  25. I'm right there with you on those Christian Romantic novels...the ones I have read usually come off feeling hokey or just plain lame-sauce! ;)

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  26. Well, I guess I haven't missed out on much! Good to hear!

    I've never read any of these genres except for dystopian (George Orwell's 1984)! For the most part I've spent my life reading non-fiction...history, biographies, and how-to books/textbooks. The fiction I've read has pretty much been fiction with historical or allegorical value, like 1984, Animal Farm, Pilgrim's Progress, The Holy City, or Hinds Feet in High Places. I'm afraid I'm probably the most serious/boring reader in the blogging book club I joined...

    That is awesome that your apartment complex has its own library!

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  27. I'm not a huge fan of romance books, so I imagine Christian romance books would be waaaay too much for me. :D I'll admit, I do enjoy YA books from time to time. I truly enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars; I remember thinking, "Why weren't there boys like this when I went to school," because Augustus was a dreamboat. :)
    XOXO
    www.mrsaokaworkinprogress.com

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  28. I'm with you on ALL of these (although I loved the Hunger Games- it made me very sad though!) x

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