Now that banned books week is over I can safely discuss the tiny subsections of the written word that I just won't read. I think everyone has things, by disinclination, principle, or unconscious aversion, that they will simply never read. Among people capable of reading, these exclusion zones can be quite massive (everything other than road signs maybe, or, currently popular among phone/internet devotees, anything beyond the second sentence in any collection of text), and, alternately, among voracious readers, the exclusions can be very tiny. The teen librarian (Hi Marcus! Don't worry, I won't mention your name here!) has even devised schemes to push his reading boundaries, like reading a book from every shelf in the Library. I, likewise, have an ability, or compulsion, or feverish interest enough, to poke my nose into virtually any collection of text, at least for a few minutes. Nevertheless I do find odd little categorical pockets of things, for various reasons, that I just can't get myself to investigate. Whether naming them here drives me to break down these barriers or helps to solidify them remains to be seen.
1. Any large scale piece about cats written by someone who has also written similarly about dogs.
The last one I willingly read was, years ago, Tribe of Tiger by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who also wrote The Hidden Life of Dogs. I liked both, but I just can't take it anymore. As a fierce pro cat, it's too emotional. I will not crack the cover of Cat Fancy Magazine when there is also a Dog Fancy Magazine. It's a loyalty thing. Pick one.
2. The books of Barbara Kingsolver.
Based on the hostility of people I respect, I do not read her books. When I express to other people my horror at myself for doing this they always reassure me I have done the right thing, reinforcing this strange exception to deciding for myself.
3. Romance novels involving "Highlanders"
Anyone involved in romance fiction in any capacity can tell you that about 20 percent of all "Romance" novels involve "Highlanders." What are these Highlanders? I think they might be Scottish or something. I try desperately to get interested, to even just read a back cover, but everything grows fuzzy when I try, and somehow I suddenly have a Vampire Romance in my hands, or a magazine about pumpkins. So I read those instead.
4. Any book of politics from a "Centrist" perspective.
I avoid the direct discussion of politics here as my prose tends to develop fever blisters, therefore it would be for the best if I did not explain this. You must trust me that you should not ask. I hope you can understand.
5. Anything by any author who exceeds a cumulative quota of killing their characters.
All the works of Larry Mcmurtry and George R.R. Martin could be glued page to page together at this point and I would never know it.