Top 10 Things That Make Me Banish a Book

10:43 PM

Hello all,

I'm getting very close on commissioning a group of elite scientists to start looking for a cure for....


Terrible disease, I tell you.

Crippling, even.

Particularly when you have only 3 major projects left to the space of about two weeks.

Oh....and set apart time for work, eating, sleeping. Not to mention preparing for finals....don't get me started there.

Add into that a very rebellious, very cantankerous muse, who is begging me to write....and when I give it attention, it has the audacity to switch gears.

"Oh...I wanted to write that retelling, didn't I? WELL I LIED. I wanna do....a tag. NO! Scratch that, a BLOG LINKUP!!! Like Mary Kate's linkup!!!"

I hereby apologize for my horrid muse's behavior. I'll humor it for now (because I know that I'll put it through A Deep Cavern of Misery later....*evil smirk*). we go! Another Top Ten Tuesday blog linkup! I really like this one, cause I'm really picky about my books. Like really picky. If you would like to join the blog link-up, please follow the link beneath the picture below.

So...what makes me skip multiple chapters?

1. Sexual Impurity/Smut

I CAN'T STAND SMUT. Adultery, sodomy, and graphic sexual activity are also major turnoffs.

So much so that I will scour reviews to make sure that none of that stuff is in there.

I can't deal with sex in a book. I can't deal with people making out in a book. Physical stuff better stay behind closed doors, in veiled and sacred language, or not go farther than a kiss. It just makes me sick. I have a very vivid imagination, and I can usually guess what happens from the littlest hint.

I'm even uncomfortable reading about divorced-people and single parents romances, simply because of the traditional Catholic Church's teaching on divorce.

Besides, I don't need to be thinking about that kind of stuff!!!! I'm trying to keep myself pure before the Lord God, which is difficult enough as it is right now. I don't need it in the books I read either.

So...unless acts of impurity are condemned in the work, any instance/event that violates the 6th and 9th commandments automatically boots the work off my reading list.

2. Pagan witchcraft/Necromancy

I don't mind the occasional elemental powers, but spells and superstitions don't turn me on. I actually refuse to watch Dr. Strange and read Harry Potter because of that reason.

One that I recently banished was Miranda by Grace Livingston Hill. I liked her other two Marcia Schuyler books and I was excited to see this one come up on Librivox. But I couldn't take the couple chapters with the hypnotist. After those chapters, the rest of the book went downhill from there and I couldn't finish it. Definitely not one of GLH's best works.

3. Graphic violence and death. 

Like I said, I have a very vivid imagination. Seeing blood makes my stomach tighten and I can't stand to see dead bodies either. Like at all. Just no.

4. A historically inaccurate book

Thank heavens I haven't run into a lot of those yet, but as a budding public historian, I can't stand to see something not fit the historical facts. As a matter of fact, I believe that works of fiction can really help in teaching history, if they are done right. I really value writers that take the time to research the time period and fit their story accordingly, down to the language and customs. I can't stand it when they put a 21st century plot or character into Victorian costume. It doesn't work.

5. Evil has no consequences/The Idea behind the story

Yes. I am a very deep reader.

I haven't run into many of these either, but I can't stand to see evil win. It's not how that works. Books teach, even fiction. You'd be totally surprised what fiction books have been the basis for (starting revolutions, legal debates, etc.). What ideas is the writer promoting through their work? What subliminal messages are present?

6. Dystopia

As a melancholic choleric/phlegmatic mixture, stability is very important to me. Murderous totalitarianism, and exploitation of women and children don't sit well with me at all. Actually, a disorganized chaos of a society is enough for me to reject it, lets be honest.

7. Stupid, shallow, and selfish characters

I'm sure that this is a universal thing, but the characters need to have a unique story of their own. Selfishness is one trait that I really can't stand in a character though. Even if the story is well written, I have abandoned books because the protagonist was really selfish and arrogant. I guess it's because I can't tolerate selfishness in real life.

8. Heavily cliched plot line

Like with the characters, each story needs to have its own twist to it. Otherwise, its almost like plagiarizing an essay. It's not worth the paper it's written on.

9. Illogical plot line

Sorry guys, the story has to be believable. Sure, outrageous things can happen, and sometimes happen in a sequence, but it's the exception not the rule. Confused readers are never a good thing.

I've been guilty of having illogical plot lines in my stories and have been (justly) heavily criticized for them. So, I'll share the love. 💖

10. The price of the work

I know. This is really petty.

But I'm a broke college student. I can't afford to spend $20-30 for a book.

Kindle Bookstore is my best friend right now. Because authors will put out works for free for a limited period of time. So I can get a $16 book for free if I catch it at the right time. Sweet!!!

That's it!

As a's a hint for my re-telling: My story is based off of a traditional Irish folk song.

Scribblingly yours,


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  1. My least favorite on this list is the shallow characters. So annoying!!

  2. Tell me about it.....I'll banish a book over characters faster than a plot line, since I know that plot lines are reuseable.

    You know....I just thought of something. Fiction is a married couple between plot and character. If one part fails, the whole thing fails or at least flounders.


  3. Yes. Yes! Everything on this list.
    I don't have as much of a problem with slightly gory deaths and I don't automatically put down a Dystopia, but I haven't read one I like. The first one though? *GAG* Dear authors, I don't need to know that, don't want to know that.
    Just bleh!
    (I like your new blog look)
    -Mary Kate

    1. Thank you, Mary Kate, for allowing me to steal the linkup (with credit of course!). I like this new template too.


  4. I completely agree with you oh my goodness. I hate #1 and #7 with a vengeance. I can sit with illogical story lines if the premise is interesting, although my family puts up with a lot of ranting from me when I read a story like that... XD

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for sharing my post on Google+! :)

    1. You are most welcome Faith! I enjoyed that post very much. :)


  5. Hi, Catherine! I just couldn't help but take issue with some of the items on this list.

    Especially that one near the end where you said, "I can't tolerate selfishness in other people." This us ridiculous, because everyone is inherently selfish. And so I'm POSITIVE that you DO tolerate selfishness in people. If not in family and friends and other people you love, then in yourself!

    Aside from that, in order to be realistic AT ALL, characters MUST be selfish as well!! I'm sure I would not be able to relate to perfect characters in the slightest.

    You also said that you don't like violence or war in books. That's a rather tall order! Most of the best books of our time involve war or bloodshed of some kind. The Bible not being the least among them... Just because a book has violence in it doesn't mean you shouldn't read it. Sometimes things NEED to be a bit disturbing, in order to make as difference, or make people think. Just a thought.

    I haven't read Harry Potter either, but something to keep in mind is that even more popularly praised books likje The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings have magic and wizards and magicians in them.

    Please forgive me if I was not polite. I meant to be!

  6. I appreciate your directness, Kayla Marie. But I think you have misunderstood a lot of what I said.

    Firstly, I didn't say that I disliked magic entirely, just certain kinds - pagan and demonic. I can handle some dark magic, but a lot of it really terrifies me. A lot of the magic in Narnia and LOTR follow Christian rules rather than spring up by their own power.

    Secondly, I didn't say that I didn't like wars. Some of my very favorite books are based in a war and some really great stories come out of wars. But some really brutal and really nasty stories come out of wars too, and those I tend to avoid.

    Violence in and of itself doesn't automatically reject the book either, but it really depends on the amount of detail put out and the emotional consequences.

    I only said I didn't like GRAPHIC (AS IN GORY) violence, EXCESSIVE violence and a LOT of death (everybody dies). A lot of violence really does make me sick, even just hearing about it. Because I can see it. In my head.

    And there are many more books out there than just the ones popular today. I read books for the content; I don't follow popularity trends. In fact, I reject a lot of the books popular today because of the excessive violence that are in them.

    Not everyone is inherently selfish, why would you think that? I know plenty of people that are think more of others than themselves as a rule and they are not goody-two-shoes or doormats by any stretch of the means. Sure, all humans may have selfish moments (I know I've been guilty of them) but when a character is totally selfish and arrogant and really doesn't think of other's thoughts and feelings, I get really angry at them; especially if they are a protagonist. And no, I don't believe that characters need to be selfish in order to be realistic. They just need to be human, and humans come with all different kinds of faults, not just selfishiness.

    Actually, I DON'T tolerate selfishness in people. I know that the world doesn't revolve around one person, and I hate it when other people refuse to help someone or say "that's not my problem" or think that they are better than anyone. Every human needs help every now and then, no matter how much of a jerk they are.

    There is a phrase that a priest once told me "Love the sinner, hate the sin." A fault doesn't make a person. Trust me, I've dealt with many arrogant people in my life, including family. Just because I tolerate the person doesn't mean I tolerate their sin.

    Please understand, I'm coming from a different point of view and from a different experience. What I've listed in this post is my opinion. Nothing more.


    1. I think I offended you and I'm sorry about that. I'm terrible at keeping my mouth shut, so I just HAD to speak up, but I didn't mean to put you down or be aggressive. Please know that!

      As I said, I've never read Harry Potter myself, so I really don't know what I'm talking about. ;) I do know, however, that many people I know love the stories and find them very beautiful and much like Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. Dark magic is always put down and it is all done in a very light and easy and childlike fashion. I hope to read the books myself soon so that I can form my own opinion, though.

      I disagree a bit here... To accurately portray war, the book MUST be brutal and nasty, in a sense. But I think I understand what you mean - it doesn't HAVE to be filthy and yet many are. Obviously I have a problem with that as well.

      I agree that violence can be disturbing and there ARE undoubtedly time when it is gratuitous and unnecessary. Certain topics however are just gritty and there isn't any way around that. I also think that sometimes things NEED to be disturbing and graphic to grab our attention and break our hearts and get us thinking so that we can CHANGE. I think some of the most influential books of all time have been really jarring shocking even "scandalous" books that were considered inappropriate when they were written, but they caused change and that is a good thing.

      :) I didn't mean what's popular right now, I meant... all the books we have access to today. The classics. Dickens and Shakespeare and Jane Austen... those books. I don't read much pop fiction either, to be honest with you. It tends to be poorly written and harmful and about selfish teenagers and unrealistic romances, if you ask me. ;)

      I believe that people are born sinners and I suppose I assumed that Catholics believed that too??? My apologies if I was wrong! I don't know a great deal about your religion.

      So... I believe that people are born sinful and that "selfish" is really just another word for that. Selfishness isn't just ONE sin that some people struggle with and others don't, it's something we all struggle with every day, all the time. It manifests itself in impatience with others and intolerance of others and lying and stealing and murder and wanting glory and... I could go on and on.

      And as long as a protagonist changes for the better over the course of the story, I am okay with them starting out quite selfish! :)

      I tend to think that even if you can't see selfishness in yourself, it's still probably there?? But that's none of my business. :)

      I've heard that quote as well, or "hate the crime, not the criminal" but the truth is that we tolerate selfishness in others because we love them and don't want to hurt them. So we don't call them out on their selfishness EVERY SINGLE TIME or even most of the time, really. We just kind of sigh or roll our eyes and deal with it. An example would be my little brother - I'll be trying to do school or work or something important and he will want to come and interrupt to talk to me. This is technically selfish but I love him, so I tolerate his selfishness.

      Thanks for your kind reply!

  7. Hello Kayla Marie,

    I see where you are coming from now. I also am one that speaks her mind, and I can understand how you might have gotten confused in my manner of speaking.

    I tend to read for pleasure, and I don't want to read a book that makes me angry or sick (because that takes the fun out of it). Hence, my reading library tends to be more light-hearted reads or ones that inspire me to be a better person. Sometimes I'll dip into a thriller, but it's rare. I can take a little grit, but I draw the line at gross.

    I'm not challenging that if an author wants to portray something accurately or advocate change, he/she has to do it effectively, including using shock value. For me, it is heavily dependent on the change that is being put forth and the way that it is done, for both have to be good for it to be effective, in my opinion.

    As a Catholic, I do know that people are conceived and born with Original Sin. This is the sin of Adam and Eve, and that is remitted when the person is baptized. But, nonetheless, we still have the inclination to sin and therefore we are liable to commit Actual sins.

    Before, I was very confused on your use of the word "selfish" and needed some context to understand what you meant, which you graciously gave me. What you call "selfishness" is actually the fallen human nature (which includes that inclination to sin) manifesting itself. Actual selfishness, uncharitable attitudes and arrogant behaviors are only part of it. I was referring to the actual thought and act of being selfish before.

    Charity is an odd balance of having patience with faults and helping people correct them. I believe that patience is not equal to tolerance. Tolerance has the connotation of approval. Patience does not. Do you approve of your brother interrupting you? From what you have said, I don't believe that you do. Yet you seem to put that aside to see what he wants. You don't approve of the action, you have patience with the person. That's really what that quote really means. I know, it really is a paradox and difficult to understand. And if it was my brother, I would not hesitate to call out his error, I'm glad that you handle it more gently.

    Ideas are never straightforward, they are more like complex webs of emotion, reason and experience. It is not always known what shapes them.


    1. Hmmm. Alright, I think I understand that. If you are mostly reading for pleasure, it makes sense to avoid books that are going to make you uncomfortable or grossed out. Every once in a while, though, I think it's good to read books that challenge us. For example, I was required to read Brave New World and Lord of the Flies for school. I found both DISTURBING IN THE EXTREME. And I don't think I would EVER choose to read either one again. But they are both extremely good books... and extremely necessary books.

      I don't read a great many thrillers, either... I didn't mean shocking in that way. :)

      It seems that our biggest problem is that we use words with entirely different meanings in mind. ;)

      How strange. I feel the opposite - tolerance implies for me a kind of grudging, hateful acceptance. For example, the world teaches us to "tolerate" people of other religions, which is to say we can hate them with all our might but we can't take any action. Christianity, on the other hand, calls us to love our enemies, which means we WILL take action because we care, but we will not do it with spite or hatred in our hearts.

      Anyway. I don't know why I even used "toleration" as an example, because it was a poor one and one that I don't, as a general rule, approve of.

      I want my brother to know that he is more important to me than any project; I think letting him interrupt to talk to me sets the precedent that he can come to me at any time and with any problem and I will listen.

    2. Hello Kayla Marie!

      Forgive me, I've been in error! When I said that tolerance was not the same as patience, I made the mistake of using the world's definition of tolerance.

      Tolerance, in a Catholic sense, is an extension of patience.

      While a lot of people connotate it with approval (however grudging), Catholics define it as "putting up with" or "not interfering directly". It's not saying that we are indifferent (that would be saying that we don't care), but rather it's an extension of of a Spiritual Work of Mercy called "Bearing wrongs patiently.". We are called to speak out zealously, balanced by prudence and not with hatred.

      Forgive me for my poor wording! I hope this makes a little more sense.

      God Bless,

  8. Based off an Irish folk song?!?!? That is so cool! I get some of my based titling inspiration from those lovely bits of music!

    1. Aren't they wonderful?

      Unfortunately, I've had to table that story temporarily (more details in the Sunshine Blogger Award post) Don't worry, I fully intend to finish it in the future sometime.



How are you, dear friend? Come closer to the fire, and make yourself comfortable! I'd love to hear what you've been thinking about, even if it's an old post! I only ask that proper decorum be observed.

I always try to reply to my correspondence! Have a blessed day!
~ Catherine

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