10 Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Certain Book: Deal Breakers #TopTenTuesday

Deal Breakers

Last Tuesday, I listed my top reasons for instantly wanting to read a certain book. Today is the flip side: 10 Things that make me instantly NOT want to read a certain book: deal breakers. 

Do you have deal breakers?
Do you believe that knowing your reading tastes leads to a more satisfying reading life?

I need to note that there are occasional exceptions to most of the categories in the list that follows.


I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book.

(In no particular order)

1. Excessive Profanity

I’m likely to DNF a book with excessive profanity….especially if it’s religious in nature. If I do finish it because of a compelling plot, I won’t recommend it without content warnings.

2. Steamy/Open Door Romance/Erotica

I prefer sweet romance. I don’t need explicit details.

3. Heavy Handed Author Agendas

Just tell the story and let me draw my own conclusions.

4. Horror/True Crime/Thrillers

No horror or terrifying, nightmare-inducing stories. I’m overwhelmed with crime in the news; I read for escape.

5. Fantasy/Magical Realism

I prefer realistic fiction.

6. Stories About Miserable People Living Miserable Lives

I thrive on hope, reconciliation, and redemption.

7. Authors That Make Me Ugly Cry

Yes to authentic, heartfelt, and poignant stories; no to stories written expressly to make me bawl. 

8. Certain Content

I avoid the following: social media influencers, fluffy chick lit, child abductions or abuse, unlikable characters, unreliable narrators, paranormal, time loops, magical realism, witchcraft, witches, plane crashes, serial killers… 

You may be thinking that I avoid all difficult content, but that’s not true. I read gritty historical fiction, heartfelt memoirs, complicated family dramas, and poignant literary fiction.

9. Heavily Character-Driven

This is complicated. I do not totally avoid character-driven stories, but they need to be compelling in some way. I have set aside many character-driven books. That’s not to say I don’t read them at all. However, I do prefer a bit of plot in my character-driven stories. I love dynamic characters that grow and change in some way.

10. Boring Books

I’m an incorrigible mood reader and I get bored easily. I can usually tell within a few pages if a book will hold my interest. I’m not a fan of slow build ups. Dump me right into the action.


What causes you to instantly NOT want to read a book?
Do we share any preferences?

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  1. I wholeheartedly feel the same about all of these except I love a great magical realism book.

  2. Great list — I do like some of the elements that are deal-breakers for you, but I agree with so many of your points. I also prefer my romance on the sweet side — I really don’t need explicit sex scenes in my fiction.

  3. Thanks for sharing your deal breakers, Carol.
    I’m enjoying reading everyone’s TTT posts, I love how diverse the posts have been.
    Proves how diverse the literary world is 💜

  4. I love this list. I definitely agree with the horror/misery books. I read for relaxation and enjoyment and certainly don’t want to be scared or made miserable.

  5. Hi, Carol – Your #4 is especially true for me. When I was first married, and my husband worked nightshifts, I read (for some unknown reason) ‘Helter Skelter.’ I swear I didn’t sleep for weeks afterward! 🙁

  6. I agree with a lot of this! I prefer “fade to black” and don’t read erotica. Also, too much profanity annoys me. I feel like there are so many words that could be used to express one’s point. Using the same curse word continuously feels like it wants to be edgy, but isn’t. And, yes, there are definitely topics I don’t want to read about. Social media influencers? Nah. I see those in real life all the time, anyway!

  7. Great list, Carol. Obviously, I the same things don’t affect everyone the same say and some of these don’t bother me (I do enjoy a good thriller) but I understand why you would stay away from them. I feel the same about most of them.

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