Why I Read Bad Books

It is no surprise to those of you who have seen my now-retired blog, but I like to read a bad book or two. They aren’t the worst books (I’m sure I could find worse), but they are terrible books for me. By that I mean they are in genres I don’t read, have synopsis I would usually shy away from, and covers that keep me up at night.

Romance novels, Erotica, Urban Fantasy, Christian Literature, Chick Lit, I pour through it like a man with a death wish. 

Why? Well I put it in the title, so don’t mind me if I stretch this out a little.

I am a writer, dangit! While this may spoil the conclusion to this, it is true. I’m not a published author (well, not in any important way), but I have at least taken the step of considering this my ‘craft’, which means that reading isn’t always about what I like. 

There are a lot of advice blogs that will tell you, write what you know, write what you would want to read. They are correct, I agree absolutely. Enshrine that, and repeat it at the start of a million more blogs. That doesn’t mean it is smart to ignore the world around you.

Sometimes, and this may surprise some of you, I just don’t know enough. 

Pick your jaws up off the ground, I’m working to remedy the problem. See, I find it easy to hate on things just because it is the thing to do. I’m not completely blind (just… mostly blind), I can tell based on word of mouth if something isn’t what I want. When someone tells me that the main story line of a novel includes a woman having to choose between a vampire and a werewolf as her lover, and she doesn’t choose the ‘scream until I go comatose’ option, I’m going to tell you I don’t want to read that. 


Except, I eat that up when its on HBO. So what the hell? So in usual skeptic fashion I have to ask myself ‘what do I know?’ and the answer is always an enthusiastic ‘meh’.

So I open up bad books, I read them with a smile on my face, until I get past a few pages, or even paragraphs, and realize I’ve made a grave mistake.

But that is beautiful, knowing for sure. Because how else would I know that I’m not a fan of gay sci-fi erotica including tiger-men unless I just opened up the darn book and read it?

Do I really hate ‘African-American’ Romance Novels, or do I just assume that the pandering writing will turn me off?

Is it fair to turn up my nose at every Urban Fantasy novel where a woman has exposed mid-driff and leather pants on the cover? (This covers about 39% of Urban Fantasy novels, I’ve done the research)

Urban Fantasy still bores me, as if the writers didn’t want to decide on their own milieu. African-American Romance is as tiring as I imagined, like a Tyler Perry movie in slow motion. Christian Literature is the most offensive genre I’ve ever read. The gay erotica wasn’t that bad, in comparison.

Without trying, I never would have known, so I have to keep trying. I have to read what is popular, the Nicholas Sparks novels, and 50 Shades ripoffs. I have to read what will always be on shelves, the stories about finding god and ladies with too many men to choose from. Sometimes they have tricks hidden in there, techniques I might not find in the books I read, and could use far away from dens of horny catmen lusting for booty. Because when it comes down to it, the most important thing is how the story is put together, and if it finds the right audience. So I take one for the team, dive into the pool of terror in search of pearls, and hope I come up with only that. You can thank me later.


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