Gretchen Rubin writes about admitting to herself that she doesn’t like books where a character is falsely accused of a crime.
One of the key tools for a happiness project, I’ve discovered, is mindfulness. Which is unfortunate, because I’m a very unmindful person. (Take this quiz to find out how mindful you are.) But I see that the more aware I am of my emotions, reactions, and behavior, the more readily I can shape them.
For example, it took me years to notice a very obvious fact about myself: I have a horror of any plotline involving unjust accusation. I just can’t bear it. I’d find myself intensely disturbed by books, plays, movies, or histories that other people enjoyed – if I was even able to finish them. Say, Othello.
I must be more mindful than Gretchen, because I know I dislike two types of plotlines:
- When completely impossible things happen. This eliminates just about every fantasy and science fiction book ever written, including The Hobbit. I didn’t even enjoy The Time Traveller’s Wife, unlike everyone else I know. I don’t seem able to suspend disbelief. But for some reason I enjoy Harry Potter. I think I feel differently about children ‘s books.
- Books about dysfunctional families. These are books where characters make one bad decision after another, are cruel to children, or undergo a series of disasters. Those are harder to avoid, so I usually stop reading in the middle. Reading The Lost Mother kept me awake one night and I never finished it.
In Rubin’s post and the comments, you can find more plotlines avoided by readers. What type of plotlines do you find disturbing?
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