Thursday, April 5, 2012

Discussion: Books You Shy Away From

I'm gonna be completely honest with you guys and admit that there are certain types of books that I will probably never pick up. And it's not because I dislike the genre, but it usually has more to do with the topic these books discuss.
You see, in my line of work (for those who don't know it, I'm about to be a doctor) there's a lot of good things happening. I mean, babies get born, people are cured or we're able to help them in some way that makes their life better.
The other side is much less pleasant and a day at the hospital can consist of me telling a patient that he or she has cancer and there's nothing we can do about it. Or actually helping someone be as comfortable as possible in their last few hours/days.

I wouldn't trade what I do for anything in the world, but I have noticed that since starting my internships, I have started to avoid certain topics. When I'm at home, reading, I just want to relax and get lost in the story and not be confronted with how harsh reality can be sometimes. And maybe this will change in the future, but right now I need magic, romance and nothing that comes too close to that reality that I see in the hospital every day.

So while I know that there are some amazingly beautiful books out there dealing with cancer, death, suicide, war, drug abuse, eating disorders, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, I will probably not read them anytime soon. These are the topics I shy away from. For example, I know that everyone and their great aunt is raving about John Green's The Fault in Our Stars but after I read the summary I couldn't bring myself to jump on the bandwagon.
I used to love books dealing with these types of stuff and I used to read SO many of them. But right now, everything in me flinches away from it.

Also, I cannot bring myself to read anything that has to do with World War II. I am not even entirely sure why, but it might have to do with the fact that my grandmother lived through this war and it just hits a little too close to home. Because Germany is right next door (seriously, I live about 20 minutes from the border) and it all happened here as well.

I also know that it's crazy that I don't read contemporary or historical novels dealing with war, because hello, in those fantasy novels I love so much they're at war a LOT. I know this, but when it's swords their fighting with it doesn't seem so real. This is also why historical fiction dealing with war where they still fought on horseback with swords works.

So what about you? Are there topics you can't bring yourself to read about? Books you would recommend that would convince me I need to abandon this fear?


  1. I tend to avoid really depressing novels, even if they aren't contemporary. I have Fever by Lauren DeStefano sat on my shelf but can't read it because I've heard it's really depressing and depressing books tend to stick with me for ages.

    I avoid historical books if they're set in the past century, though I make exceptions to this. I love historicals that are pre-Victorian though.

    I also have to be in the mood to read high fantasy. I love the genre but I just don't respect it as much unless I'm in my high fantasy mood.

  2. I totally did a post about this about a week ago - I'm the same way! Life experiences definitely prevent me from reading books about military relationships and those stories that center around school shootings/tragedies.

    I can't stand that these things affect me so much but it's unavoidable. Books like Something LIke Normal and Hate List will forever be untouchables to me.

    I am very thankful that there is so much literary creativity in the world because I can avoid these books and not have want for good reading. : ) Great topic!

  3. No! There's nothing wrong with shying away from certain topics. Nothing wrong at all! Book reading is, and should be an experience to cherish, to get lost in another world and forget our realities for a while. Why should it be uncomfortable then?

    There's a time for everything. Maybe you'll pick up those books later, or maybe not at all. Doesn't matter until you're happy :) That's what I believe.! I don't read romance, but (seriously!) not because I've got some bad experience or something, just because I feel it's too mushy and not related with what I want, at all! So, I stay away from them! I don't read books that have too much of negativity, or about family issues, abuse and the like. I kind of get a bad feeling from it, so I just read what makes me feel good! :)

    Loved your post... made me think so much!

  4. Great post! I have my own similar book aversions. I don't tend to read a lot of contemporary novels (especially YA contemps) because they all seem to err on the "edgy" side. And while I'm sure there are several well written novels on sensitive topics like eating disorders, suicide, self-harm, and the like, I just can't seem to get on board and read them.

    And to be honest, I don't really even know why I'm not a fan of them. I don't understand why I seem to have no problems reading books with elements of rape or genocide in them if it's culturally based (a la Lisa See's and Khaled Hosseini's books), but I just can't deal if it's in books stemming from a North American/Western backdrop.

    Weird, yeah? The more I write here, the more I think this is something I need to reflect on.

    But yes, as I said earlier, great post! Lots to think about now :).

  5. Issue books.
    I usually stay clear from Issue books, I find that I rarely like how said issues are handled, though I've read a handful and for the most part they have been good, but I really don't like the sad stuff in general - though from time to time I do crave a tear-jerker to help me let go of the stress and cry a bit, I dont like bleak stuff.

    I aslo don't like reading stuff about 'latin' people 'cause I'm latin and authors very rarely get it right and they think that throwing in a large family and a Dios Mio every once in a while makes it latin.

    I'm sure there is more but i can't think of it right now. :P but yeah, I have themes I won't touch with a 10-feet pole.

    Great post, Daisy! It has given me lots to think about :)

  6. Great topic Daisy! Yes, there are some books I shy away from. I tend to not read about the Holocaust because it's depressing & there SO MANY of them. Actually, I've been staying away from depressing books in general, like that new John Green book. I read sad books when I'm sad anyways, because I can relate and they might give me a good cry. But for the most part life is good and I'm happy, which makes me stay away from sad books because I'm not able to relate to them as much, and I don't want to get bummed out.

    I liked what you said about wars fought with swords too. Since war these days is fought with guns and bombs, swords don't seem as... serious? real? I don't know what the word I want is.

    Anyways, great topic and you're not alone.

  7. Interesting. The only book I've encountered thus far that I won't read is 50 Shades of Grey - and only because I'm uncomfortable with the idea of BDSM.