Topics I can’t resist when choosing a book

I borrowed the idea for this post from fellow bookbloggers, Annie The Misstery, and Renee It’s Book Talk

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.


Family secrets – They say every family has a skeleton or two. I love finding out about the skeletons, especially when the secret has been concealed for a generation or so… I love this type of novel. Kate Morton’s “The Lake House” and Lisa Jewell’s “I found you” are prime examples.

Remote and isolated settings – Novels set in remote locales, especially islands, have always appealed to me.  It started with my love of “Jane Eyre” as an adolescent. Those bleak Yorkshire moors, miles from anywhere…. Now I seem to really enjoy this remoteness still.  For instance, “The Blackhouse” by Peter May was set on an island and is one of my favorites. “A pocketful of names” by Joe Coomer is also set on an island.

Village/Small Town stories
I love a good novel set in a small village or town. A place where everyone seems to know everyone else.  I love the dynamic of village life, perhaps because I’ve never experienced it myself. And… if it is a village in the United Kingdom it is even more appealing. “Rainy day sisters” by Kate Hewitt is a good example.


Police Procedurals with flawed cops that have baggage, but have a strong moral compass
Procedurals have been my weakness for a long time.  Many of my favorite series are police procedurals.  British policemen are my favorite. I have only to read the words “Detective Inspector” to want to investigate the book further.


Eccentrics and people who are a little ‘odd’ or are misunderstood
I can’t help it, I’ve always loved people who are just a little bit out of the ordinary.
Fredrik Backman’s “A man called Ove” and Gail Honeyman’s “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” are great examples.




Family Sagas – Reading about the multi-generational story of a family holds great appeal for me.  Probably because my own family is very small (I’m an only child).  Some of my favorite family sagas are “Of sea and seed” by Annie Daylon; “Miller’s Valley” by Ann Quindlen; “The shell seekers” by Rosamunde Pilcher; “The forgotten garden” by Kate Morton; “Black Rabbit Hall” by Eve Chase. These are just a few of the many I have enjoyed.

New Beginnings – Books that feature characters who are ‘starting over’ have always held an allure for me.  You know, those where someone has inherited a house in an unfamiliar locale… those who have had a traumatic experience and move house to start over…


Old house with a secret – From the time in my younger years when I couldn’t get enough gothic fiction, this theme continues to attract me.  If houses could talk…



Betrayals – Once trust has been broken, it is so very difficult, if not impossible, to repair.  This is a subject I find endlessly fascinating.



Time Travel – My love affair with time travel novels started with Marlys Millhiser’s “The mirror” and was reinforced by Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.



Immigrant Stories – the trials and tribulations of immigrants have long been a favorite theme of mine. I attribute this to the fact that my mother was a British war bride.



I’ve read a few novels featuring this subject and I’ve found them distressing and disturbing – not is a good way.

Dystopian futures
Life is bleak enough without reading of an imagined dystopia.  The only exception I can think of that I read and enjoyed was P.D. James’ “The children of men”.

Vampire, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Gargoyles, etc.
I dislike fantasy on the whole. I prefer more realistic storylines that are at least semi-believable…

Spaceships and aliens
Science fiction does not generally appeal to me at all.  I just can’t explain it…

This is not something I want to read about, and that was even before 911, and recent events in Paris, London, Manchester, and most recently Las Vegas & New York. The nightly news is distressing enough without reading about it too.

Just not believable, and frankly I think they are ridiculous.

Again, there is enough evil in the world.


Serial killers – I guess I’ve just overindulged on serial killers. There are just SO many of these titles floating about…  some are on my TBR at the moment.  I just don’t actively search them out anymore.

War stories – Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good historical set during the war years, it is just the novels that feature battle scenes that I’ve had too much of.

I would love to hear of your favorite (and perhaps least favorite) book topics. Please share in the comments.



About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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42 Responses to Topics I can’t resist when choosing a book

  1. I love family sagas especially set in the war years and family secrets. I also do not like dystopia, zombies etc…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rb147forever says:

    Beautifully Written! Loved it.

    Hey, this is the link to my blog, a beautiful journey of two young souls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eviora says:

    Thank you for sharing your tastes! As an aspiring writer, I do enjoy hearing about what kind of stories people find intriguing – even if I must recommend that you not read my book after seeing your dislikes! xD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The first three; Family secrets, isolated settings, village/small town. They have a sort of charm that draws me in. Great post, it’s fun to read what others’ preferences are. There’s plenty of genres mentioned here that I haven’t explored yet and hoping to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a great list and made me think about my own motivations to choose or not a book. I have to say I agree with most of the topics you stay away from (except dystopian futures, I tend to like those), but I have never thought about what makes me chose a book in the first place. I might pick on your idea and make a list of my own as well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lainy SMBSLT says:

    I read just about anything and I have to admit, I love a zombie read so much so I gave them their own tab on my blog 😀

    I read season reads too, Feb romance, October Horror/supernatural, December Christmas and everything and anything inbetween. I generally avoid Historical although I read one or two and did enjoy it, war and politics isn’t my thing at all.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Love that you have a Zombie tab on your blog. Different strokes for different folks and all that… I also read seasonally when I can and actively save my Christmas reads for December, my horror for October and so on.


  7. Great list, very informative of what you like. I agree with you about not liking to read about terrorism, too close to home and the current world reality. No to zombies and vampires as well, all fantasy really. I do love a good dystopian novel though, I must admit that genre is one of my favourites.☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting Cynthia that I have had several comments in favor of dystopian futures. To me they are just an extension of terrorism – or what could come about if the terrorists succeed…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ha ha! 😆It probably seems contradictory. Some dystopia is due to terrorism, not much that I have read. The type of dystopia I like is books like: We by Zamyatin, 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Brave new World. In all of these there is a new and destructive world order, but not terrorism as such. Fahrenheit 451 is another good one.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooh yes to all of these- I especially like remote islands and new beginnings!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I loved Eleanor Oliphant as well and maybe I should read more of these types of books! Great list, it makes me want to think of my own list now !

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: Blog Posts I’ve enjoyed This Week #6 – Secret Library Blog

  11. Pragya says:

    I like weird people and war stories but keep away from vampires and all. Great idea and awesome post.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great list! I’m also a fan of books featuring family/village secrets, gothic houses and remote locations. I’m not so much about time travel but I love time slip novels with dual narratives across two timelines. I’ve read some cult books done really well but others…not so much. Really gruesome serial killer books put me off – as do main character detectives with car crash lives (drug addiction, alcohol problem AND a broken marriage but somehow still a serving officer? It just stretches the bounds of probability for me). I have to admit to being a sucker for a zombie story though!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I love this post – right now I’m addicted to the small-town setting! Now I have to find a book that is a dystopian novel but also includes all that you love in books, haha – I’m going to lure you over to the dark/dystopian side!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I loved that when I thought of a book from your heading you mentioned the book, this happened 3 times. I love psychological mess with my mind books the most. I agree with your family secrets one. And I still enjoy serial killer stories, especially if get to hear what the killer is thinking, that is cool.

    I have got to read Kate Morton, she has been on my TBR list for too long.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. totally agree with your stay away list–mine, too. and the attractions–I also enjoy police procedurals, but would add most anything with a pet, most often a dog(s). also enjoy historical fiction and war related stories during ‘Nam. (my hubby was in the Navy.) additionally, appreciate a good thriller and suspense (light on paranormal)–but not if/when it turns dark, nasty, bloody. as you said–we get enough of that in the news.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment. I would be very reluctant to read a novel set during the Vietnam years. It is so interesting how all readers add their own life experiences to their reading preferences. I too like novels in which a pet (dog or cat) figure prominently.


  16. skyecaitlin says:

    I agree with your pros and cons!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Steph says:

    Great list!! I think I have to agree with everything on your “stay away from” list, haha. But I love the isolated settings and family sagas.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Carlissa says:

    I love this post too as I love all of the same topics, but I also like some science fiction and fantasy. I grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars, so I do like a good space opera.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for the shoutout Lynne! I forgot to include remote/isolated settings in mine but I love that type of setting. I agree with you on all your “no’s” but I will try a dystopian if it’s highly recommended but none of the others. I’ve also tired of the serial killer stories, literally the only 1 I read and liked this year is Ragdoll by Daniel Cole.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Renee I’ve not read “Ragdoll” but I do have a few others on my TBR. I guess it is just the prevalence of serial killer novels that irks me as surely they are not as common in real life as the regular, run-of-the-mill murder. LOL I prefer when the psyche of the killer is exposed rather than their often brutal and gory methods.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I agree with you on everything but the time travel……..I’m not sure why but I just can’t seem to do it! Small town and family secrets get me every time!

    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Love this post and I think I’ll join in sometime. I don’t like zombies or serial killers but I do enjoy war stories and cults.

    Liked by 2 people

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