Books I avoid like the plague

I know I said “I read all”.  And that is mostly true.  But I have found some books that I just cannot read due to issues in my personal life.  I will occasionally violate “Da Rules” for books that have been highly recommended by friends, or after I have read a ton of reviews and can satisfy myself that the component I have issue with is minimized and absolutely crucial to the plot.

In time, maybe some of these rules will relax, and I can read some of these books, but right now this is where it stands:

  1. Avoid war books about Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.  I know people who have fought in these engagements and had horrible PTSD as a result.  I have tried reading books on these wars, and I could not get the image of these people out of my mind, and how they dealt with the horrors that they witnessed.  Especially Vietnam.  My dad, on the other hand, has more of these books in his collection than I do WWII in mine.  I do have a grandfather who fought in WWII, but he did not see any action.  My grandfather who was in Korea and Vietnam was wounded and still had nightmares until his recent death.  He was a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient.  He never spoke of his time in Vietnam, and I’m not sure if I wanted to hear it.  I never want to think of what he had to endure or witness, so I avoid it.  Maybe after more time has elapsed.  Iraq/Afghanistan– close friends of mine were in the initial invasion, at Fallujah and came back different people.  Its my generation fighting this war of dubious necessity, and it pains me to think of an entire generation dealing with PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
  2. Death of children and disappearance of children. This rule wasn’t entirely intact until after my child was born.  I have heard from others that they were the same way as well, and apparently it crosses over to movies/tv too. I guess reading or watching anything happening to children makes you think of it happening to your own.  So I try to avoid it.  See Books that haunt me.
  3. Violence against women/sexual assault.  I’m a survivor.  I try to avoid any books that have any of these elements as a central theme.  Too many issues for me.  I made an exception for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Lovely Bones” because I was hearing so many people talking about them.  “Fifty Shades of Grey” also bordered on this with the BDSM, but I was able to either page forward and skip the details or skim with the knowledge that the participants were two consenting adults participating of their own free will.  This does eliminate most murder mysteries and serial killer books.  But that is just how it is right now and it might change in the future.
  4. I don’t do vampires.  I have read the occasional short novel (The Vampire Club by Scott Nicholson), but I don’t like vampire movies, TV shows etc.  Something about using  looks and charm to lure someone into a trusting relationship and then sucking their blood just freaks me out.  So, no, I did not read Twilight or see the movies.  Nor do I plan on doing so.  And unless it seems really compelling or I receive an iron clad recommendation from a friend that knows me well, I don’t plan on taking this rule off of my list in the near future.

Romance novels used to be on this list, but since I read “Fifty” I have read many others.  I thought they were lacking literary value and actually kind of cheesy.  Granted, they won’t win a Pulitzer, but I enjoy reading about relationships and happy endings.  See my post on romance novels.

What’s up next?  My dad has been reading about WWI, and I would like to read some about that war.  I would like to read some more memoirs (I’ll be posting about the ones I have read shortly).  And zombies.  Lots of zombies.

I usually don’t even look at the best-sellers lists at all, because I usually don’t have a budget for books. The next two books I might actually pay for are “Mercury Rests” by Rob Kroese and “Strangers in the Land — The Zombie Bible” by Stant Litore.  I have been patiently waiting for these books, but they have been released at a time when I have absolutely zero funds in my book budget.

I have so many books stored in my Kindle for these dry spells, I know I can wait it out until I can get what I want.  I love the fact that I can do that.  Yay Kindle!!


Books that haunt me

Its October.  Spooky time.  I don’t do a lot of the horror show.  Other than zombies, I don’t do the rest of the genre.  No vampires, no werewolves, no chainsaws, no hockey masks.  I’ll do an occasional serial killer book or series, but not too much of it.  And I’ll do an occasional ghost story.  But that’s my limit.

I’m talking about a different kind of haunting.  Books that stay with you long after you have turned the last page (or in my case, pressed the button).  Either the character, plot, writing or all three just stay in your brain and resurface now and again to remind you about this book you read at one time.

I have a few of these.  Funny, as I read my first paragraph, these first two are of the ones I seldom do.

The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold — this violated my self imposed rules.  1) murder 2) sexual assault 3) involving a child.  I have those rules in place for a reason, but one night I was staying at my parent’s house and couldn’t sleep and was looking for fresh reading material.  And boy did I find it.  I read the entire book in one night.  And this was before the movie was even in production.  I was literally crying my eyes out in bed as I was turning the pages.  The way it was written from Susie’s point of view, how she tried to communicate with her family, I literally hurt for Susie and her story.  A novel has never made me feel such deep emotion before.  I had become a mother the year before, perhaps that is what it was, but since that time I have held fast to rule #3.  I still want to cry just thinking about it.

The Millennium Trilogy aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson — this one violated the sexual assault and serial killer rule.  But the character of Lisbeth Salander drew me in.  Her fierce independence, the way her mind works, her stubbornness, but she does have a tender side.  The way she sought her own brand of justice to avenge her own sexual assault made up for violating my own “no sexual assault” rule.  I also enjoyed the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael.  I did see the movie, and although I did not like how some changes were made to the plot, I can see why they needed to be made.  And casting Daniel Craig as Mikael definitely helped as well.  And I am now a huge fan of Rooney Mara.  And it helps that she comes from NFL royalty.

Closet Full of Coke: A Diary of a Teenage Drug Queen — Indra Sena — I love my memoirs.  Being that I was born under the Reagan administration, I was not aware of the high flying partying in the 80s.  And just look at the title!!  Who can pass that one up!!  But it wasn’t the descriptions of the partying and the money that haunts me.  It is how alone in the world that this young girl is.  And she feels responsible for her younger sister.  Her parents are a mess and basically put her out to fend for herself, and so she does.  I truly felt for her, even if I wanted to go back in time and smack her around for making stupid choices.  Also what sticks with me is how this could have happened in America.  I guess I’m naive.  There are teenagers in this country that are going through this type of thing right now.  Not everyone was blessed with two parents that wanted them, stayed together to raise them and always had the best interest of their children at heart.  A wake up call for me, really.  Very haunting.

Outbreak — Robin Cook — An oldie but goodie.  This is one of the first “adult” books that I read.  No not “adult” in that sense (see my post on THOSE books here).  This was the first time I read about things like the CDC, virology, epidemiology, all of those types of things.  And I still think about them.  Obviously, since I love my post-apocalypse books so much.  And currently there is a news story on about the current fungal meningitis epidemic.  Haunting.

On that note…Happy Haunting!!  BOO!!

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