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!

top 5 tuesday: Top Buzzwords

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

AUGUST 8th – Top 5 buzzwords that make me want to read a book

This is a great topic, and it was difficult to narrow it down… Each of these sets includes both books that I’ve read and books on my TBR.


I don’t know how or why this began, exactly, but I love Irish lit.  Seeing the word ‘Irish’ attached to a book summary or an author’s bio has been enough for me to buy a book or click request on Netgalley, without really knowing anything else about it.  Irish lit tends to be atmospheric, a bit bleak and dreary and depressing, and often grapples with religious themes, all of which I find fascinating,

(Have already read: The Glorious Heresies, The Wonder.)


Because I have to admit, I get tired of reading books about straight white men.  I’m all about reading diversity, and think it’s important to support books with LGBT+ protagonists – so if I see a book shelved as LGBT+ on goodreads, I am automatically more inclined to look into it.  Bonus points if no one dies.

(Have already read: More Happy Than Not, Maurice, The Price of Salt, Fun Home.)

Evocative & Atmospheric

Grouping these two buzzwords together because they’re quite similar.  I love books with immersive settings, so if a book promises a strong atmosphere, my interest is definitely piqued – especially if the atmosphere is bolstered by the prose itself.  I don’t care for ‘purple prose,’ i.e., prose that tries to be elaborate for the sake of being elaborate and the whole attempt comes across as rather amateur, but I do love when writing comes off as both authentic and lyrical.  Bright Air Black is a fantastic example.

(Have already read: all of these.)


This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  I consider myself a feminist (hopefully of the intersectional variety), so I love narratives that explore the struggles unique to women, and which ultimately advocate equality across all genders, races, classes, etc.  If a book’s description calls it feminist, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, it’s probably going on the TBR.

(Have already read: Venus in Fur, The Awakening, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Bell Jar.)


It’s probably no coincidence that most of my all-time favorite books are 500+ page monsters.

(Have already read: all of these.)

Which buzzwords always grab you?  And what do you think of my choices?  Comment and let me know!

top 5 tuesday: Book Worlds I Want to Live In

This month’s Top 5 Wednesday prompts aren’t really up my alley, so I’m going to temporarily jump ship and do a couple from Top 5 Tuesday, hosted by Bionic Book Worm. We’re starting out with a sort of difficult one, because I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but let’s see what I can come up with!

AUGUST 1ST – Top 5 book worlds I want to live in

3Harry Potter.  I mean, this is almost too obvious to even mention, but I have to say it anyway.  There is no fictional universe that I have ever wanted to be a part of more than the Harry Potter world.  Touring the Leavesden Studio in London was one of the most magical experiences of my life.  (Tragically, I was always too practical to be ‘waiting for my Hogwarts letter.’  I knew it was fictional.  Kid me wasn’t much of an idealist.)

11388429When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen.  I had some problems with this book, but one thing is for sure: I loved the atmosphere.  This is a vaguely Victorian paranormal fantasy with a moody, evocative, sultry vibe, and it was awesome.  I mean, granted, I’d much rather be rich in this universe than poor, but that’s true of most places, isn’t it?


9361589The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I read this book almost two years ago, and I still can’t decide what I thought of it.  Sometimes I think it’s gorgeous and compelling and beautiful, and sometimes I think it’s underdeveloped and overrated.  But again, there is absolutely no arguing that the atmosphere in this novel is stunning.  I don’t even like ‘circus stories,’ usually, but damn did I ever want to dive straight into these pages and visit the Night Circus.

51yqc21t3nl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault.  This is usually my answer to the ‘which historical period would you visit’ question.  What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and see Alexander the Great in action.  He’s a historical figure who’s practically become mythologized, so you can’t help but to be curious about what the real person was like.


30319086If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio.  I can’t help it, I love the aesthetic of elite academia.  I would love so much to attend Dellecher Classical Conservatory, Rio’s fictional school of higher education, where students study theatre, Shakespeare, dance, art, etc…  I can’t remember if classical languages is a department at Dellecher, but if it is, that’s definitely what I would do.  Continuing my studies of Latin in a vaguely pretentious environment like that is the aesthetic dream.

Which fictional universes do you want to be a part of?  Comment and let me know!