Book Description Kryptonite

What’s Book Description Kryptonite? When something in the description makes me immediately decide the book isn’t for me.

It’s the opposite of “I will read anything that mentions these favorite things.”

I’m sure everyone has their own version of book kryptonite, but for me these are the main ones:

  1. Political thriller (political anything really, but especially thrillers)
  2. Corruption (these generally end up making me feel so discouraged)
  3. Cancer (just for now; I don’t think this will be a permanent thing)
  4. Oprah (her book picks were generally not a good fit for me)
  5. Celebrity (Although I did really enjoy one celebrity memoir, in general I have no interest in reading about Hollywood or sports celebrities.)
  6. 1960’s (my least favorite time period to read about)
  7. Zombies (although I will admit there is a very small part of me that wants to try Pride and Prejudice and Zombies just because … what? This is so completely strange and weird and what on earth did you do to this story?)
  8. Erotica (do I even have to say why?)
  9. Touching (I read “touching story” in a blurb or description, and I think “sappy drivel.” This is one where I can possibly be persuaded otherwise by someone whose opinion I trust.)
  10. And the absolute, no-way-am-I-reading-this:

  11. Young kids being kidnapped or otherwise harmed. (I used to be able to read about it, but right now I immediately substitute *my* kids for the fictional ones and suddenly I can’t focus on the story because MAH BABIES!!)

Do I ever read any books that hit these triggers? Potentially, if a reliable resource convinces me to give it a try, or if it’s by a trusted author. As a rule of thumb however, any of these terms in the description makes me put the book aside and keep looking for my next read.

Do you have any particular words or phrases that immediately make you put the book down, thinking “not for me!”?

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems -

This post was inspired by the #bookwormproblems series run last year by Quirky Bookworm. Read my earlier entries in the series!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Bookworm Problems: Buying Books and Not Reading Them
Two years ago: What Iโ€™m Looking Forward to Reading in 2014


  1. I love this idea! I’m going to need to think on it more. Right away I’d saw WWII. I’m kind of burned out on that era, although I’m so glad I gave All the Light We Cannot See a try. I also don’t read books with shirtless men on the cover. Haha.

    • You would think I would be burned out on WWII, but you would be incorrect. I can’t seem to get enough of it!

      And I already told you that I’m the same about the shirtless men on the cover. No no no!

  2. I tend to stay away from anything along the lines of “(female character)’s life was ordinary and boring, but then a handsome/dark stranger turns up/moves in next door and EVERYTHING changed”
    I just feel like that description typically does not to lead anywhere original for me.

  3. Yep, right there with you on erotica. I often like political thrillers though!

    (Thanks for planning to link up! Ha! How about that for a #bookwormproblem – when you get a post ready, and the host has cancelled the link-up??) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That was a #bookbloggerproblem, and I’m not sure why it didn’t register with me that you were ending it – I’d read the post where you announced it! Brain lapse clearly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. My number 1 would be your number 3, and I think that’s forever. As a matter of fact, I think that should have to be the first word in the description so I don’t even waste time reading that much. I’m also right there with you on all your others, especially number 10. Can we just please stop with those two themes, particularly.

    • It’s been 3 1/2 years for me, and I don’t see #3 changing anytime soon. And I like your thinking – put that in the description right away so I can quickly move along to something else.

      I’ve told all my reading friends that if they hear of me considering a book with a cancer theme that isn’t described, to please let me know not to read it. Spoil the plot, I do not care – just tell me to skip it. And I’ve been warned off of two books that I would otherwise have at least started to read so yay reading friends!

  5. War in general. Vietnam and WWII no matter who tells me I should read it, the answer will be Noppers. Sweeping romance, unless Diana Gabaldon wrote it. If the cover has shirtless men and or heaving bosoms, I’ll pass. Westerns. Horror. I don’t like to be scared.

    • Heaving bosoms – yes. Please do not make me embarrassed to pick up your book, thank you very much.

      I don’t like to be scared either, and I can’t believe I forgot to include horror on my list. It’s a definite “no way” for me.

      I will read about war, especially WWII, and I do plan to read at least one western someday just so I can say I tried the genre. ha!

  6. Never thought of it this way, but must agree that I have my own book kyrptonite. Without thinking too hard, I can list four:
    -female who had never been submissive before suddenly realizes she MUST all of a sudden for this guy
    -former player who NOW must stop because this girl
    -most sports/band stuff
    -any kids in my romance/erotica

    Apparently change for someone else, athleticism, and mini humans are turnoffs, hahaha!

  7. I also don’t do erotica.

    I avoid books described as “edgy” or “pushing the limits” or any variation thereof. Even if it sounds like it could be a good story, I see those descriptions and put the book down. My experience tells me that they’re code for lots of sex, violence, abuse, drugs, a perspective that life is meaningless … generally things I’d rather not fill my brain with.

    I become cautious about books labeled as “dark” anything–some dark stories are phenomenal (I’m thinking Terry Brooks and his Running with the Demon prequels to Shannara), but I tend to absorb the emotions and let the world and emotions of the book influence my real life too much. If a “dark” book sounds good, I’ll often pick it up and then wait until things in my life are going phenomenally well, and I’m all sorts of happy, and then I feel equipped to read it!

    I also recently decided that I should avoid books set in environments that are too familiar to me. For example, you recently reviewed a book about a girl who grew up “running along the rooftops of Embassy Row” … that story sounds interesting, but I can’t quite get past the fact that the security personnel never would have let that happen. (Then again, I have seen enough security lapses that maybe I can suspend my disbelief *just* enough … maybe I’ll give that book another look ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    • I agree with you about “dark” and “edgy” – I really could write a second post listing all the ones I forgot from this list!

      I am trying to remember/figure out what book I reviewed about a girl who grew up “running along the rooftops of Embassy Row” but I am blanking out – it doesn’t sound familiar at all, so now I’m hoping you actually read about it somewhere else, because the alternative is that I’m losing my mind and/or memory. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I found the book–All Fall Down, by Ally Carter, the first book in her Embassy Row YA series. However, I can’t seem to find any mention of it on your or the other book blogs I read, so I’m not sure where I first heard about it! I could have sworn it was here, but apparently I’m imagining things. And the “Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row” description apparently came from Goodreads, on the series description, because it doesn’t seem to appear on any of the individual book descriptions. Since that phrase isn’t mentioned anywhere else that I can find, maybe it’s not a big part of the story … I just fixated on it because embassy security is a big deal to me.


  1. […] week I shared about the words and phrases that are my book description kryptonite: the ones that make me immediately put a book aside as not for me. (I also forgot a few, and was […]

  2. […] book. It’s not one I’d normally read – the kidnapped or missing child is one of my “do not read” triggers – but I trusted Morton (plus it was a book club book), and I am so glad I pushed past my […]

Leave a Comment