I read a lot. Really a lot. So I come across all kinds of suggestions, lists of ‘must read’ books, promotions, hard sells by authors, and of course, the never-to-be-popular 100 books you must read before you die.
Let me say up front that I think most of the 100 books you must read before you die really belong on a “100 Books to Get Around to Reading If You’re Stuck in a Post Apocalyptic Snowstorm and Have No Internet to Download More Books and Already Got Suckered Into Downloading These” list.
Did you know that just about every book on just about anybody’s Books You Must Read list has Cliffnotes, or Sparknotes or Jablonsky Foglepuss’ Guide To on the internet? Not to mention Wikipedia, the Mother of All Spoilers book plot description machine. So you will be delighted to know you do not have to actually read those 100 Books You Must Read. You just grab the one-paragraph plot description, maybe a critique or two, and Bob’s Your Uncle. Or as we say here in Sunny Mexico, Roberto es tu tio. You be rollin’. Those less clever than you be hatin’.
So now that we have set aside the arduous task of actually having to read difficult books, we can talk about the 7 plots I no longer wish to appear in front of my eyeballs.
- Zombies. People, people, people. I am SO over zombies. Zombies are so 5 minutes ago. So let’s lurch on to the next on my Yawn List.
- Aliens from outer space bent on: destroying the planet, OR enslaving humans for their own devious end. I think by now even the dimmest of us bulbs knows that there ain’t nobody out there. There’s just us, a lot of space debris, and Fermi and his annoying paradox. If you MUST have aliens, how about depicting them as having some kind of intentions that don’t look so scarily like humanity at its religious worst?
- Thrillers involving conspiracies, the government and a secret cartel. Let’s face it; what would some guy sitting in his nice middle class home in his nice middle class office with the door locked to keep the kids from pestering him to come play frisbee know about government coverups, grand conspiracies for world domination, and heavy weapons handling? Gimme a break.
- Any book whose plot revolves around only ONE guy or gal or teen, or whatthefrig being able to save the world. We can’t even get a decent committee together to save the world. Not likely some single soul is going to do it. See snarky comments in #3. Dragging right along to:
- Any mystery where the protagonist (the investigating cop, the investigating P.I., the nice lady protagonist) suddenly and without much cause of any kind, becomes the number one suspect in the murder and must spend the rest of the book trying to clear their name.
- Serial killers. If you don’t read much news, but read a lot of crime fiction, you would get the idea that the country is riddled, bursting at the seams, with serial killers . We all know this isn’t true. Can’t mystery and crime writers come up with some different, if not new, trope? How about the one where the pissed off wife cuts off her husband’s wackadoodle. That’s not particularly overdone, would you say?
- Post Apocalyptic anything. What’s with this ongoing obsession with scenarios where everyone but a few are (a) dead; or (b) running from the vicious hoards/gangs/militia who want to kill them for no reason; or (c) finding a few kindred souls and go scrounging for food? My PollyAnna mind cannot understand why such dark plotlines appeal to anyone after maybe the first three or four post apocalyptic books. I mean, once you get it that there is no electric, no water, no continuing food source and that we are all going to die of despair, what else is there to say?
- Bonus Item: Vampires. I wasn’t going to include Vampires because they are still pretty popular. But I have read what I consider to be the two definitive vampire novels, and anything else after that is just crunch crunch crunch.
And just because you have been so patient and tolerant, I will give you Four Plots of Literary Fiction I Can Do Without.
- Coming of Age stories. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everybody has to grow up sometime. Some of us just take longer than others.
- Existential angst. I got enough angst to fill a cargo container. Don’t need to read about somebody else’s whiney problems. Get a grip. Grow up.
- Fictionalized memoirs. Yeah, like anybody really cares about some non-celebrity’s life except their mother and any siblings who are afraid of what beans may be spilled and what skeletons fall out of the hall closet.
- Any book touted as “lyrical” or “heart stopping” or “relentless” or “profound” because they usually are none of those things.
Now don’t you all go filling the comments section chastising me for not wanting to read another zombie book or plow through yet one more coming of age book because YOU like them. Good for you. That’s why the Alien Overlords invented chocolate, vanilla and pistachio.
Now get off the computer and go read something.