I am guilty of judging books by their covers. If I see a book cover or dust jacket that’s visually appealing, I read the jacket copy.
Sometimes I find something amazing. But there are certain plot conventions—cliches, really—that make me put the book back on the shelf no matter how pretty the cover is.
- Zombies/Zombie apocalypse. No. Just no. No zombies, nothing like zombies, no.
- Man who is trying to solve the murder of/find his missing wife and/or child. Woe is you, I get it, but I don’t care. This is an instant deal-breaker for me.
- Divorced woman going through midlife crises. Maybe I’ll love these books when I get to middle age and have my own midlife crisis. But for now they all seem whiny to me (Eat, Pray, Love is a perfect example of everything I dislike about this genre, whether it’s a memoir or a novel).
- Girl/boy who can’t be with girl/boy for some convoluted, silly reason, especially when the boy is obnoxiously overprotective of the girl. (Which is basically half of every YA book ever, right now.)
- Books where the main character is amazingly good at everything and basically has super-human abilities, but isn’t a superhero (like many contemporary spy/thriller books). If I want to read about superheros (and, yeah, I do), I’ll pick up the latest Batman trade.
What types of plots and characters do you fend off with a ten-foot pole?