As you probably already know, I’m an avid reader, but even with my own diverse taste in reading material, I find there are certain genres I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole – not for a million pounds! The thing is, the books that turn me off seem to be some of the biggest sellers at the moment and have been for several very frustrating years now.
No, I’m not going to complain about sci-fi or fantasy or even romance (all of whom seem to get avoided by swathes of readers for one reason or another, mostly down to perception of the genres) – it’s two very specific types of books that send me storming away from the book shelves as fast as my size fives* can carry me.
The first section of books that I avoid like the plague are the swathes of child abuse stories that seem to be taking over entire areas in every book shop I visit. I don’t even have to get close enough to see the title to know what they’re about, because they all have identical covers – a pale background, a small child (often tearful) and a title that looks like it’s been handwritten. A few months back I was in an airport book shop and counted no less than twenty identi-kit child abuse stories without even having to look very hard. I’m sure there were more, as those were just the ones that were face-on to me, rather than with their spines to the edge of the shelf. I swear I have the deepest sympathy for anyone who has gone through a troubled or abusive childhood, but there seem to be hundreds of cases hitting the best-seller lists at the moment and I can’t help thinking that theremay be some of them (just some) who maybe didn’t have such a terrible childhood at all, but are jumping on the bandwagon and cashing in on this growing genre.
The second set of books I cannot stand are all the “I’m a celebrity and here’s my life story” autobiographies by the people who were also-rans on Big Brother (and other reality TV programmes). These people are NOT celebrities – they are just wannabes who are desperately clinging to the limelight in an attempt to put off the inevitable return to their jobs slinging burgers at McDonalds or sweeping up hair at their local crappy salon. Not only that, but they’re all in their early-to-mid twenties – they haven’t lived enough to have interesting stories to tell! All they manage to come out with is how being “famous” has caused them to go into rehab six times due to the pressures forcing them into drink and drug problems. Oh, boo-hoo! All I can say to these people is “Grow up, get a life and SHUT UP!”
The books of both these types follow the same formulae every time and it amazes me that they’re getting away with flooding the market with utter trash. I know everyone has different tastes (it’d be a boring world if we all liked the same things), but it seems like these books are taking over the stores and I’d love to just be able to browse the bookshelves and find something actually worth reading, instead of having to wade through shelf after shelf of drivel before getting to the tiny section that houses the rest of the books…
* I’m actually a four-and-a-half, but I can never get shoes in that size, so I always end up with the next size up.