Tammy’s Top Ten Words/Topics That Turn Me Off A Book

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I have just returned from an amazing five days at San Diego Comic Con, and I’m suffering a bit of let down. Yes, I’m happy to be back home and overjoyed to see my two dogs (oh, and my son and husband too!), but Comic Con was such a force of nature, an event that’s hard to describe. To be surrounded by 150,000 other people who also love pop culture, comics, TV, movies, books and art in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres is pretty amazing. I will have some Comic Con recap posts coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here are my top ten words or topics in books that make me NOT want to pick up a book:


Anything to do with religion where the author is trying to sell his/her religious beliefs, especially if it has the word “inspirational” or “blessings” in the description.  Let me be clear: I am perfectly fine reading books that use religion in a historical context. I’m actually fascinated by stories in the Bible and how they relate to history. But when authors get preachy and that preachiness translates into trying to sway readers to a particular religion, that’s when I get mad. Characters that preach also fall into this category for me. In fact, if the author’s bio says anything at all about the author being a good Christian, praising Jesus or living their life doing God’s will, or some-such, I’m sorry, but I’m outta there. Chances are their book is going to be preachy. I have read some really good books that have “God” in the title that didn’t preach at all. Here are two examples of stories that did this really well:


Any book with the words “potty,” “flush,” “toilet,” or “crap” in the title, or a picture of any of those things on the cover. Bathroom humor is for kids and immature adults. Not for me. I just don’t think it’s funny at all. Enough said! For example, I will never read Crap Kingdom, no matter how many good reviews it has. Honestly, I don’t even think this book has anything to do with toilets, but the cover turns me off. I did read Royal Flush, but it just wasn’t for me:


Any title, most likely a horror novel, that has anything to do with spiders, ants, centipedes or any other insect-like creature that might take over the world. I refuse to have anything to do with bug related books! I hate ants, I hate spiders, and I’m not gonna waste time reading about them. Period. I didn’t even want to download the cover of The Colony to this blog because I’m afraid I’m going to have nightmares. (Let’s just say I once had an awful experience with ants while I was breast-feeding my daughter…)


Any book with the words “outbreak” or “virus” in the title, or any book with a picture of a person wearing a gas mask on the cover. I’m really terrified of bio-terrorism, and books with covers that blatantly suggest that the story is about airborne viruses that will decimate the population are books I’m going to avoid. Stories like Stephen King’s The Stand, which is about a virus that kills everyone off, are fine, because that’s not actually the focus of the story. (Plus, the cover is cool and doesn’t have a gas mask!). Gas masks just really scare me. They say to me “This gas mask is the only thing between you and death.”


Any militaristic story about war, the armed services or combat, set on land or sea.  I’ve read plenty of fantasy and science fiction books with militaristic elements, and those are ok for me. But try to get me to read a contemporary story about war and soldiers and bombs, and I’m afraid you’ve lost me. I have the utmost respect for the men and women in the armed services, but I just don’t want to read about them. However, I do enjoy stories about past wars, like the Civil War, WWI and WWII, as long as they are character-driven stories that don’t necessarily focus on the war itself (for example, The Book Thief). Here are two examples of books I would never pick up:


Any book that suggests there might be animal cruelty in it. I’m a huge animal lover (and I particularly love dogs) so I’m not going to knowingly read a story with any kind of animal cruelty. Sure, I understand some of the most poignant moments in books are when a special pet dies, but that’s different. I understand the natural order of life and death, but I don’t want to read about bad guys who do bad things to animals. No cover examples for this one, because I just can’t…


Stories about kids with cancer. I know, we’ve all read and cried over and loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I can only take so much of those kinds of books. I suppose these stories are written with certain people in mind that might be comforted by them, or find some grain of greater meaning, and I’m sure the authors who write them write from personal experience on some level. I just want a happier subject matter to read about, personally.


Any book with a football, baseball or a football or baseball player on the cover. I really hate sports!! Sorry people out there who love sports! I get bored stiff with football and baseball and all the rest too. The only sports I enjoy watching are figure skating and diving! So putting sports in fiction for me is a sure-fire way to get me to avoid a book. There are some exceptions to this rule. Here are a couple of books about sports that I really loved. Probably because sports weren’t the main focus of the stories (also notice the lack of balls on the covers!):


Any story about a specific holiday, especially Christmas. I love Christmas, I do! But honestly folks, I don’t want to read about it. There’s something about stories that take place around Christmastime that make me gag. I guess they are all pretty much romances, and I’m not so hot on romances these days. I do love movies that take place over the holidays (The Holiday and Love Actually are two of my faves!) but books with any kind of Christmasy cover get passed over:


Any romance/erotica book with these words: “desire,” “temptation,” or “wedding.” In addition, if the cover has flowers, a beach setting, women’s shoes or martini glasses, I won’t pick it up. I guess I had my fill of contemporary romance back when I was a teen (my mom got me started on Harlequin Romance novels when I was in high school). Any kind of breezy, happily ever after cover goes right over my head:

So, what about you? Do any of these topics send you running for cover? Agree? Disagree? Leave me a link to your top ten in the comments.

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Posted July 23, 2013 by Tammy in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments


20 responses to “Tammy’s Top Ten Words/Topics That Turn Me Off A Book

  1. So with you on insects. Just looking at those covers for a second made me squirm. How could anybody stand to have that on their nightstand? *shivers* I also agree with anything with the words “outbreak” or “virus.” Your toilet or flush word made me laugh. I’ve never given that one any thought. Great list!
    Natflix&Books’ TTT

  2. Many of these turn me off a book as well. Though cancer and Christmas books are OK I guess (not together though!) I have a copy of The Art of Fielding but haven’t read it yet for probably the same reason as you.

  3. First off, I can’t wait to re-live Comic-Con vicariously through your posts. I wish I could’ve been there! Secondly, great picks and I think I have to agree with you on most of them. I am not a huge fan of bugs (spiders more specifically), animal cruetly (just NO), sports (soccer being the exception there) or erotica. However, I don’t really mind the whole bio-terrorism thing (it intrigues me) or war stories if they are within the historical fiction genre.

  4. I’m not a huge fan of preachy religion books either. I have nothing against people with strong religious beliefs but when it gets preachy it’s a bit annoying!

  5. This is a fantastic list, Tammy! With a few notable exceptions, I particularly agree with the contemporary war stories. I think, for me, it’s because we get enough of it on TV and other media and I read to escape the “everyday”. That said, I do like books set in Revolutionary, Civil, and the 2 World Wars, like you said. But, if you want my attention, don’t mess with the history of it (Are you listening Newt Gingrich?).

  6. Pabkins

    We are so similarly minded! I can’t stand reading about modern day warfare either…or bugs – I hate them! And holidays – yeah I tend to stay away from that too. Of course i DO plan to read HogFather by Terry Pratchett haha…I hate reading about religion. Usually I stay far away from even things that are ‘angels and demons’. Sometimes I give in though =) I call those the ‘thumper’ books. Heck I agree with all of your turn offs!

  7. Great list, Tammy! I totally agree with you re: the sports, holiday, and religion books! I don’t like sports, I hate holiday-specific entertainment in ANY fashion, and I really don’t want to be sold a religion in my pleasure reading.

  8. I’ve seen religion on most people’s lists and I absolutely agree. Almost all religion books I’ve read is extremely peachy and that’s a HUGE turnoff. I’ve given up on them now.
    Awesome list! 😀

    My TTT

  9. Amy Butler

    Just read your 10 worst…great writing. Great comments. However, that Jennifer Cruise book you showed ( I think the title is Bet Me) was extremely funny! It was a keeper…and I did! Off to exercise. Love, Mom

    Sent from my iPad