top 5 tuesday: Top Buzzwords to Avoid

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fantastic Bionic Bookworm.  This week’s topic:

AUGUST 15TH – Top 5 buzzwords that make me NOT want to read a book

Last week we did Top 5 Favorite Buzzwords, and this week it’s the opposite – top buzzwords that make me want to avoid a book.  All of the books pictured are ones that I’ve read that I don’t care for.


There is nothing that annoys me more than when a book tries too hard to make me cry. I’m not going to cry, especially when I feel like I’m being manipulated into it.  When I see ‘tearjerker’ I just think ‘melodramatic.’  Hard pass.


Literally the most surefire way to make me stop reading a book’s summary is if the word ‘heartwarming’ appears.  In general, I really can’t stand uplifting, life-affirming books.  If it doesn’t give me depression and/or an existential crisis, I’m not interested.

Magical Realism

Ah, my least favorite genre. Apologies for the unpopular opinion.  And it’s strange that I don’t click with this genre, because I love ‘weird’ books. The Vegetarian by Hang Kang? Weird. Perfume by Patrick Suskind? Weird. Bright Air Black by David Vann? Real weird.  But there is a certain brand of weirdness that just does not appeal to me, and that is magical realism.  I don’t know why, but books about ordinary people who randomly have wings or have roses that grow out of their arms just don’t do it for me.  There have been exceptions, certain magical realism books I’ve enjoyed – but on the whole, I tend to avoid this genre.


I like to think that I have a good sense of humor, but if a book calls itself ‘funny,’ I find that it rarely is. There is one caveat – if a book is described as “darkly comedic,” chances are I will enjoy it. I love dark humor. But laugh out loud, “haha” funny? Not my thing.


I’m learning to equate the word ‘gritty’ with ‘how can I make this sex scene as awkward as possible,’ and after reading such delightful passages as Lauren Groff comparing a guy’s stomach to the tautness of creme brûlée and Jardine Libaire’s protagonist literally thinking that he’s a monkey in the middle of a threesome, I’m done. I’m out. I have suffered all I can suffer.  Sorry, grit-lit, we’re through.

I’ll be curious to hear what your auto-no buzzwords are – comment and let me know!

27 thoughts on “top 5 tuesday: Top Buzzwords to Avoid

  1. Heart-warming and funny are definitely major put-offs for me as well. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I’d much sooner pick up something described as dark and depressing any day of the week…

    I’m kind of with you on magical realism as well. There have definitely been examples I’ve loved and I’m all about weird books, but I like the weirdness to be grounded in some kind of reality or logic and if that’s missing, I struggle to get into it. I think magical realism is better suited to short stories, as we’re generally only getting a small snapshot of a story anyway and don’t have to suspend our disbelief for anywhere near as long.

    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know what it says about me either, but all of my favorite books tend to be horribly depressing. I think this is why I can never really get into YA – I always feel a bit cheated by happy endings. Where is the pain and suffering I signed up for??

      There have definitely been exceptions to my dislike of magical realism (Exit West, some Murakami), but on the whole I’m just so turned off by it. That’s actually such a good point about the genre being better suited to short stories, I can definitely get behind that rationale. I get so frustrated when I’m reading a 300 page book where the magic goes unexplained the entire time, like, what is the point?? I know some people love the genre because it’s more about mood and atmosphere than details – and I love mood and atmosphere as much as the next person, but I guess I also like details a bit too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m totally with you on that. Like I said, I absolutely love weird books but if there’s no hint of an explanation and it just ends up being weird for the sake of weird, it annoys me. Sometimes I feel like magical realism can come off as a little pretentious in this way. After all, if something is so obscure that only the writer has any clue as to what’s going on, what’s the point in publishing it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s exactly it. There’s a certain brand of pretentious lit that I’ll admit I don’t mind at all – that sort of academic pretentiousness of books like The Secret History – but then there’s a different kind of pretentious where the author kind of deliberately withholds information in an effort to seem edgy or intellectual when it’s clear they just don’t have the answers, and that annoys me so much.

        I’m glad you get where I’m coming from. It’s such a well-loved genre that I feel a little crazy sometimes with my strong dislike of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh I don’t like the word gritty either!!! Not at all! I also don’t like the word gripping. Saying that a book is gripping is just a given. If it doesn’t grip me in some way then it didn’t do it’s job as a book so,….. 😂
    Thanks so much for participating again!!! Adding you to the list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am with you on so many of these! Gritty is definitely a peeve of mine, how many “gritty” thrillers can there be?! I also hate it when they bill a book as “the next Harry Potter” or “the next Hunger Games”. Firstly, it puts too much pressure on the book that it is impossible to live up to, and secondly, it is almost certainly NOT like the book it mentions..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my god, I hate that so much. I also cannot handle “for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train” (which have nothing to do with each other to begin with except for the word “Girl” in the title) – I get that publishers want to capitalize on the success of other books, but it’s such lazy marketing, especially at this point when GG/TGOTT have both been out for years. Same with HP/THG. I wouldn’t mind book comparisons as much if they weren’t just using the same books OVER AND OVER.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely! I have also notice that for books that like to piggyback on Gone Girl etc, they end up using the same font and a similar jacket cover for the book which annoys the hell out of me!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg your description of gritty literally made me cringe, lol. That should not be a word incorporated into sex. But I totally agree with you about funny- usually the books I find funniest are books that I don’t expect to be funny, or have a dry sense of humor, or have a few quips here and there in dialogue or whatnot. But when I see something described as “laugh out loud funny” I roll my eyes. It’s pretty much the same tearjerker (please….I cannot with The Fault in Our Stars).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if you’re referring to “monkey” or “creme brulee” but in either case I 100% agree. Normal sex scenes are bad enough to get through without this added nonsense.

      Omg TFIOS is the most manipulative tearjerker ever I hate it so much ugh ugh ugh. Whenever you can feel the author going “alright, you’re going to cry in 3, 2, 1…. NOW” I get so pissed off.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe I’m just heartless but TFIOS didn’t even make me that sad…though tbh I’m not a huge fan of John Green’s style and find it kind of overt and pretentious, like how the main boy (I don’t remember his name lol) kept cigarettes in his pocket but didn’t smoke them. Sometimes I ask myself about YA “but would teenage me have found it profound?” just to be fair, but I know teenage me would have not found it any deeper than I do now, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I read it back when it came out because one of my roommates was really into YA so she’d randomly throw all these books at me to read and I never really liked any of them so I don’t know why she kept doing it, but anyway, I just remember thinking John Green’s writing was pretentious as all hell and the whole ~wrong person dying~ thing was just SO OBVIOUS ugh. Oh my god the unlit cigarette thing. I cannot deal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. Have you read The Perks of Being a Wallflower? Because I found the style of writing to be pretty similar to John Green except worse. But that one I actually did read when I was like 16, and I just DID NOT UNDERSTAND

        Liked by 1 person

      • No I haven’t!!!! I didn’t read YA when I was a teenager so there are SO MANY classic YA books I’m missing out on that I feel like I should read but at the same time don’t really want to read?? (I’m in the same boat with 13 Reasons Why, Speak, etc.)

        But oh my god I cannot deal with that pretentious narrative voice. Like dude you’re 15 believe it or not you don’t have all of life’s answers and your parents may actually know a thing or two. GOD.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well you do NOT need to read Perks of Being a Wallflower because that book is John Green x1000 with more adult themes. And the pretentious voice is so much worse when it’s coming out of a teen boy’s mouth. Like, it was the uncool boy and the really cool girl and he was in love with her and I CANNOT with that trope. And I was excited to read it because lil teenage me was like “hey I’m a wallflower!” and then I read it and I was like…………………not that kind of wallflower.

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh my god CRINGE. I don’t think that was officially on my TBR, but if it was it’s going off. Omg I cannot deal with that trope. It’s so sexist how it’s like, girls need to be more open-minded and discover the ~inner beauty~ of nerd boys… but then you rarely ever see that trope reversed. When it’s the popular guy and the nerd girl, she’s the one who always has to get glammed up to be on his level. Ughhh.

        Oh my god, male authors who took like one philosophy course in college and then write all their books like they’re Nietzsche or some shit drive me insane.

        Liked by 1 person

      • IT’S THE WORST. And I hate how when the girl doesn’t love the guy back he gets super entitled. It makes me roll my eyes for ten years. I cannot stand how easily these kinds of books get published mostly because they’re by a male author.


      • – why everyone loved it and I thought I was missing something and maybe everyone was just cooler than me because they liked it and it was all ~hipster~. But that pretentious voice and style is just…the most grating thing.

        Liked by 1 person

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