I REACHED THE FINAL DAY. I won a badge! LOOK:
I still have to write today’s post. Let me just tear my eyes away from my victory.
I just wrote about some of my least favorite genres, but today I have the chance to go into more detail.
Generally, I do not read:
History. Doesn’t. Interest. Me.
This horrifies my friends, especially Staci, who minored in history.
“But history is IMPORTANT!” she once said. “If you don’t learn from the past, you’ll make the same mistakes in the FUTURE.”
Sure. Valid advice.
But telling me, “This really happened!” doesn’t compel me to synthesize information.
I need a reason to make time for this story.
Otherwise, one might as well hand me a list of facts.
I avoid this genre less than I let on.
I appreciate diverse perspectives in historical fiction, leading me to seek out minority voices.
Likewise, some historical periods actively appeal to me.
But for every novel about the AIDS crisis, dozens of 900-page, small-fonted medieval reimaginings clog up the shelves.
Iain Glen’s claim that Game of Thrones represents history killed my interest in the series.
Hard Science Fiction
I wrote part of my thesis on the difference between hard and soft sci-fi.
Soft sci-fi, one of my favorite genres, involves new worlds, adventure, and intricate “what if?” scenarios.
Hard sci-fi, such as Star Trek, emphasizes realism, technology, and scientific principles.
As I will reiterate later, I care MUCH more about how characters react to the world than the world itself.
Unless the author supplied quirky humor, romance, and a dash of adventure, I stay away from clinical examinations of space warfare or totalitarianism.
The desire for “realism” irks me. It’s science FICTION. I’m an imaginative human being – I can get on board with the plot without you explaining BIOLOGY for six chapters!
In conclusion, I hated The Martian and will never read Ender’s Game.
Again, I dislike this genre’s focus on world building.
Sure, SOME world building is necessary – characters don’t act in a vacuum.
But that doesn’t justify spending 200 pages setting up the world at the beginning of a 600+ page book. Emulate Philip Pullman and INTEGRATE THOSE DETAILS EARLY ON.
Also, it’s MAGIC. I don’t need to know how it works!!! Plausibility is overrated!
Sex scenes, in general, don’t do much for me; I see multiple sex scenes (even well-written ones) as a distraction.
As a celibate, erotic scenes leave me more uncomfortable than aroused.
It bugs me when characters halt the plot to have sex for an entire chapter. CAN’T YOU FIGHT WEREWOLVES INSTEAD?
Because of this, I don’t read a lot of pure romance – I prefer an additional plot thread with my love story. The werewolf boom of the late 2000s was, book-wise, a good time for me.
This has become less true since I spent an entire month binge-reading spiritual tomes.
Within the genre, though, certain types of spiritual books bore me.
I don’t see the point of theology without a practical element. Why should I care what heaven is like? How does that affect my daily life?
I hate apologetics even more. I don’t need Tim Keller and Lee Strobel arguing why the Bible is true. Faith is largely transrational – you can’t logic people into it.
This genre carries more options than I’ve previously implied. As a teenager, I read a ton of Christian YA contemporary and fantasy. While those were (then) two of my favorite genres, most of the books I read featured subpar writing with moralistic undertones.
“BUT IT’S CLEAN,” parents argue. “IT OFFERS OUR KIDS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE BAD THEOLOGY AND CONFUSING MORALS OF SECULAR LITERATURE.”
I don’t think kids should be kept in a bubble.
I also don’t think the theology in Christian books, where perfectionism and the Prosperity Gospel find a home, is all that great.
And, again, it’s just NOT GOOD. (Especially Christian romance. GET OUT.) Why is exposing children to BAD ENTERTAINMENT preferable to works made by someone with a different worldview?
I can’t remember the names and I fear they were published by Focus on the Family, but I read two excellent Christian series in middle school: one involved fantastical retellings of Bible stories set in an alternate universe; the other offered intense mysteries.
But those series won’t make up for the Christy Miller books I devoured as a young teen. Thanks for warping my views on dating and femininity, ya trainwrecks.
Inspirational True Stories
As a culture, we overuse the word “miracle.”
It’s a nice word, sure. I hear it every Easter.
But must EVERY book based on a true story be labled “miraculous”?
When I hear that word, I go on the defensive. I clutch my wallet. I sniff around for hints of bullshit.
Perhaps this cynicism has diminished my capacity for wonder.
I still suspect “true stories” of lying.
If this was really a miracle, why are you trying so hard to sell it?
Read the above entry.
Dystopian Young Adult
I ODed on this genre in the 2000s. For my own health and safety, I must decline.