Inspired by Jane’s review of Sophia Nash’s Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, I am declaring my personal reading boycott of any book with “Duke” in the title. Or maybe it’s any book with a Duke in it? Or possibly it’s High Concept Regency Mistoricals with titles based on songs/movies/other pop culture phenomena? I’m not sure where to draw the lines.
I admit I have enjoyed at least one book that broke these rules, Julie Ann Long’s What I Did for a Duke. But even there the historical implausibilities/inconsistent world-building kept disrupting my enjoyment of the story. I’m tired of Dukes, tired of crazy implausible plots, tired of books that are not set in anything resembling real history but not set in a truly fairytale/fantasy world either. I think it’s time for this trend to die.
I usually don’t read controversial books just to satisfy my curiosity or form my own opinion about the controversy. They often just don’t sound like books I’d like, and I don’t think I can read them with an open mind. Plus, when I have so many books I want to read waiting for me, why try one I think I’ll dislike? I’m really tempted to read Joan Swan’s Fever after Jane’s live updates on Goodreads, though. Is the author’s characterization of a white supremacist realistic, or exploitative overkill? I think a lot depends on how the narrative treats this character, not just on the language he uses. And to decide what I think about that, I really have to read it myself.
This is totally a dashed-off placeholder post. I just finished a really good book, Madeleine E. Robins’ latest Sarah Tolerance mystery, and hope to get a review up this weekend; right now, I’m back to the grading pile.
What will make you read a controversial book? What trends have you had enough of?