I remember talking to Renee a while ago and realizing that we both had been thinking of writing a similar kind of post. Hers was this one. Today I want to tell you about certain themes/topics that I simply can’t resist when reading a blurb, and also those which make me stay away from certain books. And I’ve added examples of novels and films. If you have any recommendations, let me know!
I can’t resist…
A crime from the past that is relevant in the present. Can it be solved now after so many years? Will the victim’s family get their closure? My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni is one of my favorites, as you all know.
Everyone knows I love a good murder, but disappearances are even more fascinating. Did the victim run away? Were they taken? The Last Place You Look combines a cold case with the disappearing factor and I absolutely loved it.
Small Town Mystery
Most of police procedurals are set in big cities, but I love a good old story about a small town sheriff solving an apparently “small” case. Yeah, you already know which one I’m going to say… Tall Oaks.
Police Dynamics & Corruption
I love everything related to cops. The Force by Don Winslow is a great example, but honestly, I’ll read anything involving police detectives. Another great one about cop dynamics is the Tennison series,
Prison & Death Row
I can’t help it, I’ve always enjoyed stories about redemption and prison life. And what if a lawyer gets a letter from someone in prison claiming to be innocent? Daisy in Chains, The Angel, That Night… all three are amazing stories.
I really enjoy family dramas and I love following a family through the years. Homegoing was amazing, although a bit different, too. Another popular one could be The House of Spirits.
I’ve always loved stories about racism, especially in the south. And if there’s a trial, even better. To Kill A Mockingbird is the classic example and one of my favorites, hands down.
Investigation & Social Injustices
Other topics I enjoy: everything that is remotely similar to like Runaway Jury, Erin Brockovich or Spotlight. Journalists or lawyers taking the underdog’s side of the story. When I read or watch those stories I wish I had studied journalism or law.
Coming of Age
Think of the kids from Stand By Me, Stranger Things, IT or Super 8. Crime, fantasy, I don’t care. I love this subgenre and I will never stop wanting to read about children. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep & The Last Child are two of my favorites.
Gangsters & Italian/Irish Mafia
If it’s in New York or Boston, even better. Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed… And Sirens by Joseph Knox, too, although that one is set in Manchester.
Narcos & DEA
Ever since I started watching the show, I’ve been obsessed with this topic and South America in general. I read The Power of the Dog about a month ago and I was fascinated by it.
I haven’t read many books about this particular topic, but I’d love to read more. I recently discovered Girl On Point and it was a great surprise. I just love the tension and the way things can easily unravel. Some movies I enjoyed about this topic: The Infiltrator, Imperium, Rush.
Time Travel/Groundhog Day/Parallel Realities
This is something I’m always curious about. Dark Matter, Before I Fall, A Murder In Time… and one of my most expected releases is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
I love reading about people living “alternative” lifestyles. I find these groups fascinating. My favorite will always be Into The Light by Aleatha Romig, a book that combines many of the elements I’ve mentioned in this post. Also loved the film The East, as well as Colonia.
Exorcisms and Possessions
I’m a big fan of this topic, and I don’t even know why since I’m as atheist as can be. But I’m always attracted to this kind of stories, especially if they include an interesting approach, like in A Head Full of Ghosts or My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I’m also addicted to the tv show The Exorcist.
Although I haven’t read many yet, I would love to explore this theme way more. The Handmaid’s Tale is the first one that comes to my mind, and Black Mirror is one of my favorite tv shows. I need to read more books about this topic.
Immigrant Stories & Brooklyn setting
Irish, Jewish or Italian families in America and the “Brooklyn” experience. Mostly are coming of age books, although there is some historical fiction, too. A good example: Ashes of Fiery Weather.
I will stay away from…
Contemporary/New Adult Romance
Anything that is about a young woman fresh out of college and looking for love and especially if there’s a lot of drama because she’s still broken-hearted and there are love triangles or bad boys riding motorcycles or whatever. Next.
The Innocent/Naïve Young Woman
If I read a blurb that talks about an “innocent” young woman meeting an “experienced” bad-boy-tortured-soul, I immediately move on to the next blurb. Sorry, not sorry. Erotica is not for me.
I hate reading about people suffering from cancer or any other illness. I didn’t enjoy Me Before You or even The Fault In Our Stars and while there might be exceptions, I try not to read about those topics if I can.
I don’t dislike fantasy per se, I’m just picky because I only like certain aspects of it (witches and Harry Potter, for example). But no, definitely not dragons or monsters or zombies or people fighting against them to save the world.
This is not something I want to read about, and that was even before it happened here in Barcelona. I just don’t find it as interesting as other “criminal” topics, as there’s no mystery whatsoever.
High-concept Thrillers & Politics
While I love to watch action thriller movies, strangely, I don’t enjoy reading them. So that’s why you probably won’t find me reading novels about conspiracies or someone planning on killing the president of the United States or launching nuclear weapons or anything related to spies and political stuff. I’m already bored.
You know I like historical fiction, but only “recent” historical fiction, especially the XXth and XIXth century. While I’ve certainly made some exceptions with medieval times, I’m not interested in older history at all.
Used to love, but not so much anymore…
“The Perfect Couple”
I used to read every domestic thriller about “perfect couples” I could find, but I grew tired of reading the same marriage story over and over again. Now I only read them when someone tells me I should. And I trust you guys, so the pressure is on you 😉
Old Mansion With A Secret
Don’t get me wrong, as I still enjoy this kind of historical mysteries, I’m just very selective. I feel like there are way too many and some of the ones I read this past year didn’t impress me as they should’ve.
I spent my late teens and early twenties reading everything by Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes. Right now, I’m just never in the mood for these books, but I could make an exception if something is really good.
Vampires & Dystopian YA
I read a lot of YA books in the past and eventually became tired of the genre. I tried again, but couldn’t get into the fantasy books at all. I guess, as with the three topics mentioned above, I could make an exception if the book is worth it.