This week we are talking about book genres that we hate/really don’t like.
When I am asked what I read, I generally say, “Everything”, but that isn’t completely accurate.
There was a time when I used to say, “Everything but Romance”, and that certainly is not true anymore. (How I got here with romance writers is part of the story.) I still don’t care for bodice-rippers and if it’s too sappy, I’m not wild about that, either.
I read a lot of detective stories, but don’t care for details of gore; the same goes for horror. I will read a well-written horror, but I am going to stop, generally, if it’s gory. I also get turned off quickly when the writers try to ‘turn me on’; i.e., if they are trying to disguise porn as sci-fi, it’s out.
Books of one genre that I will seldom seek out are historical novels. My husband has many. He used them to engage his history students, and I read many of them. It aggravates me when writers take liberties with the lives of historical figures, changing honorable people into cheaters, changing their attitudes and sensibilities, and usually for the worst. If they base it in true events or even as a “What-If”, (and stay within the actualities of the people’s actual personalities), I’m good with it.
The books that I absolutely despise are those which are mislabeled and misleading. The ones that are self-serving and have agendas hidden within the stories. They are common, and are nothing new by any means. I find it happens in quite a few novels, actually in many “classic’ novels, and what bothered me was that the degradation is often found in the ones which were, and perhaps still are, required reading for students.
More often than not, the story is an attack on organized religion and the moral teachings within. Oh, how cruel society is! Oh, how rigid and hateful the ministers/priests/religious leaders always are! Seldom is a ‘holy man’ ever holy. Too often, generalizations and the worst of the clergy and societies expectations are presented as the norm. It isn’t fair to impressionable minds.
The inclusion of casual drug use in books now, (and many movies), encourages kids to accept and use. I don’t like it one bit.
It isn’t just the churches, (and temples), that are undermined, but families. I am thinking of the ridiculously famous “Lake Woebegone”, in which I found little humor, but everyone did an “Emperor’s New Clothes” and decided they would laugh along. It seemed to me like Garson Keillor had bones to pick with his family and church and so used the book,(and subsequent radio show), as an outlet to attack them. I have seen such works written about Jewish families, Hindi families and others. People who dislike their upbringing, yet don’t take into account their particular situations, their own choices, but assail religion, families and society in general.
You see this in autobiographies newly-formed celebrities, (usually written with a writer, ghost or otherwise). They want to blame their parents/manager/exs/record companies/studios for the wrongs they perceive as having been done to them, and ride their fame, (or waning fame), to a few bucks doing it, telling their fans that they are ‘sharing their lives with them’. Uh-huh. If the celebs stick around, their later books are usually more in tune with reality and they often accept their own part in what may have been amiss in their lives.
I was given a book to review a few years ago, and afterward, I gave the woman from the publisher fair warning that the author will not be happy, since my review would not be very favorable. It was supposed to be a Middle-grade book, a humorous look at Public Television. I have a few bones to pick with PBS myself, but the book is a lampoon, which even attacked Cookie Monster. Many of the assaults were aimed at shows and celebrities which the children could not possibly be familiar, having been from long before they were even born. I assume the writer once worked for a pubic station and had a bad experience, but for him to try to get revenge in the guise of a book for kids was cowardice. If he wanted to write an exposé, he just should have done so, and I including that observation in my online review.
So, I suppose what I have said, (in possibly too many words), is that I hate phony books, written to convey the prejudices and agendas of the writer, disguised as a story.
I’m sure you have all experienced these.