For various reasons, including time zones, I've never been able to coordinate myself enough to contribute to Beth's SB Day - a weekly celebration of all things reading. But yesterday she asked, "What don't you read?" which is a really interesting question.
For one thing, I can't find it in me to come up with a list. I read all the time, and can barely remember a time when I didn't. If desperate, or wondering about the right sort of thing, I could read almost anything. It doesn't mean I have to like it or even think I'll enjoy it or that it's good, but in the right frame of mind almost anything could be interesting, even if only for five minutes. So it's really hard to come up with something about a book that would put me off if I had absolutely nothing else to read, although in some cases it might have to be the last book in the world. Although the last book in the world? I might put off reading it forever. Just to have something to anticipate.
Oddly, the one thing that does put me off reading something I'd otherwise enjoy or find interesting is obligation. The minute I "have" to read something it becomes a chore, and one that I'll put off for as long as possible. I have struggled through official reading lists of core texts, while devouring the "further reading". I used to dread being set well-loved or interesting-looking books to read for a class, because being forced to read them could suck all the joy out what should have been a pleasure.
Incidentally, this is even true when it's me telling myself that I ought to read a book. In a way it's a lot like the way things are turning out at this blog. I had plans for what I intended to write about for the next couple of days, but find myself completely incapable of doing this now that I've made the fatal error and thought, "I should write about xyz." On the other hand, the right question or a fleeting thought will catch my interest and mushroom into something completely unexpected, like this post.
Just to round things off, here's a list of reasons why I decided not to buy various books recently. The trick here is to realise that they haven't put me off for good, but just for now. Because in the now, when I have lots of choice, I can be really picky.
Massive hype (fear of disappointment).
Hero sounds like a jerk.
Heroine sounds shallow.
Trying too hard to be "wacky".
Second in series and I haven't read the first one.
First one doesn't look as good as the second one.
Really liked another book by this writer, and worried this won't be as good.
Read a lot of this sort of thing lately and doesn't sound different enough.
Also when very young, I refused to ever re-read The Tale of Samuel Whiskers because the scene where the rats rolled Tom Kitten into roly-poly pudding gave me nightmares. I also refused to read Where the Wild Things Are because the picture on the cover scared me. Instead, I used to hide it where I would hopefully never come across it, like the bathroom cupboard behind mysterious, ancient and unused hair-taming equipment. Mind you, I think I'm over this by now.