It’s time for another book tag, and this looked like a great one because it’s not about specific books and has a lot of questions that make for good discussion.
Just to clarify, “in” means I like the thing, “out” means I dislike it. Please keep in mind my answers are just about my taste, and everyone should enjoy what they like and do what they want with their own books!
1. Reading the last page first:
Out! I don’t think I have ever done this in my life. I don’t like spoilers. I like tension and not knowing what will happen.
2. Enemies to lovers:
In. I think it can be fun when done well.
3. Dream sequences:
OUT. I try not to speak wholly badly about tropes, writing styles, etc. because authors should do what they want to do in their books. But I do have a very strong personal opinion about this, and it’s that I hate dream sequences. I don’t think I have read a single one that gave any necessary info that couldn’t have been given in a less convoluted way. For example, if a character is feeling guilty, I don’t need two whole pages of stuff that doesn’t actually happen in order to know about the guilt.
Also, the dreams in books make too much sense. My dreams are like, “So I was talking to a lion, and then the lion turned into a swarm of bees, so I ran and jumped into a car and shouted at the person to “Just drive!” so we sped away, and then the car was a submarine—it didn’t turn into one, it just, like, was? And I had a boyfriend who was a vampire, but he wasn’t there…”
But it’s not like I’m gonna condemn a whole book just because there’s a dream in it. I just read it and move on. And maybe there are some good, well-used dream sequences out there that I just haven’t come across.
There is one exception I’ve encountered, which is when the dream world is actually real. Like, the character travels there and is lucid and affected by what happens there. Or they’re seeing something that’s real. Or it’s a psychic vision. That sort of thing.
4. Love triangles:
In! I don’t know why this trope is so widely disliked. I love the angst of a good love triangle! Occasionally, they even end in a throuple! But I suppose they can be poorly done, and maybe a lot of people have only read poorly written ones.
5. Cracked spines:
Out. I just like my books pristine. The idea of well-loved books with cracked spines and folded corners and whatnot is romantic and all, but still not what I want for my books.
6. Back to my small town:
In, I guess? I think this is more of a contemporary trope. I’ve probably read something with this trope, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I’m not against it though.
7. Monsters are regular people:
Destiny raises a good point, is this about monsters being part of society, or humans being terrible and therefore the real monsters? I have a more resounding “In!” for the former, but I read about awful humans sometimes too.
8. No paragraph breaks:
Hmmm. This doesn’t really affect me since I listen to books, either as an audiobook or with a screen reader. But if I were reading with my eyes, I do think a lack of paragraph breaks would be frustrating. On the other hand, I think it’s cool when authors experiment with different ways of writing to portray a character, mood, etc. I may not always personally like it, but I like that they’re trying things. But I don’t feel like I can choose in or out, since I haven’t read any books like this with my eyes. (If you want a book that does weird writing stuff like this, check out The Seventh Mansion by Maryse Meijer.)
9. Multi-generational sagas:
Out. I like to really get to know one or a small group of characters and be there with them over a shorter period of time. I like to understand them and feel what they’re feeling.
In! Some stories are just so great that I want to experience them again. But rereading is also a unique experience because of how I notice different things each time. I don’t have to focus on the main story because I already know it, I can pay more attention to details. And sometimes there are things like foreshadowing or little moments that you simply wouldn’t realize the meaning of without having already read the book.
11. Artificial intelligence:
In! (Assuming this means as a character in the book, not an AI-written book. Sad that I even have to specify that now.) I like non-human characters in general.
12. Drop caps:
Out. They don’t get read by the screen reader, usually, so I end up having to figure out what word that was supposed to be. But even reading with my eyes, it’s not something I have any feelings about. I think my eyes would usually pass over them and start at the second letter, and then I’d have to go back to see what the first was when I realized that didn’t make sense.
13. Happy endings:
In! I am ok with unhappy ones too, if they make sense, and sometimes I even crave them. But I am more often in the mood for happy endings. Or bittersweet where it’s mostly happy but not perfect.
14. Plot points that only converge at the end:
I’m not entirely sure what’s meant by this. Two separate sets of characters having separate adventures? Not something I seek out, but sure, as long as I can sufficiently get to know both. Or just lots of different things that are set up throughout the book and maybe they seem random or confusing, but all the sudden they all come together at the end? I’m all in for that, because when that is done right, it is AMAZING. Like in Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente.
15. Detailed magic systems:
In. I’m usually not bothered if the magic system is basic or not super explained, but detailed ones can be really cool and unique.
16. Classic fantasy races:
To somewhat echo Destiny again, like elves, orcs, etc.? In, I guess. But I don’t really read classic high fantasy, so I enjoy seeing them in modern books and/or other types of settings. Like in The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon (the two MCs are an orc and an elf, but it’s a cyberpunk / urban fantasy setting).
17. Unreliable narrators:
Tentatively in. Because it depends on how it’s written. I’ve read some books where the author really forced it and relied too much on vague mysteries that character forgot or whatever. But I’ve also read books where it was used well.
18. Evil protagonists:
In. Because I like this idea. But I’ve had a hard time finding books with villain protags that I really like. And I don’t know if it’s because I just can’t like those kinds of characters, or because I just didn’t like those particular books.
19. The chosen one:
Out. If it were actually like, “I need someone to save the world. You seem competent, I choose you!” I may enjoy this trope more. But it’s always interwoven with fate and destiny and the idea that things have been predicted ahead of time, and that’s where it bothers me. Not to mention the burden put on one person being forced into the whole thing, because apparently no one else can do it. But some of my favorite books have used and subverted this trope.
20. When the protagonist dies:
Out, but with allowances for exceptions. In fact, the protagonist dies in one of my favorite books. But it’s not something I would want to happen in books often. I feel like it should be used sparingly.
21. Really long chapters:
I neither notice nor care about chapter length, especially when listening to books, but I didn’t care when I read with my eyes either. So I just can’t answer this.
22. French flaps:
I had to look this one up (as far as I understand, it’s when the cover of a paperback has a folded under flap, like a dust jacket except it’s all just part of the cover), so I’m gonna say out, unless it has something pretty on it. But I wouldn’t be bothered by it.
23. Deckled edges:
In! I think they’re pretty. Though not for every book. I feel like it should be for books with a certain vibe. Hiddensee by Gregory Maquire has them, and that’s a good example of a book with the right vibe.
24. Signed copies by the author:
In! But I’m not so into it that I’ll pay extra or go out of my way for it. The few I have were won in giveaways or just lucky happenstance when I bought from Book Outlet.
25. Dog-earing pages:
Out. I used to. Including a few years ago when I read print books sometimes still, if I was reading an already old book or if I were in a situation in which I had no other option. But I prefer not to.
26. Chapter titles instead of numbers:
Out? It’s fine either way. I just don’t tend to pay attention to chapter titles, unless I notice they’re funny or clever or intriguing.