Fifty Authors I Will Not Read

I think most people have authors they won’t read, even if other people love their books. I have quite a few. Some are authors I tried in the past and have no desire to revisit, and some are authors I refuse to read on principle.

So for instance…

  1. Philip Pullman
  2. Mercedes Lackey
  3. John Norman
  4. James Joyce
  5. E.L. James
  6. Dan Brown
  7. Victor Hugo
  8. William Faulkner
  9. Ayn Rand
  10. Bernard Cornwell
  11. Richard Dawkins
  12. Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins
  13. Jean M. Auel
  14. Margaret Mitchell
  15. Nicholas Sparks
  16. Marion Zimmer Bradley
  17. Candace Bushnell
  18. Friedrich Nietzsche
  19. Blanka Lipinska
  20. Peter David
  21. Clive Barker
  22. Diana Gabaldon
  23. Anne McCaffrey
  24. Junji Ito
  25. Alice Oseman
  26. Warren Ellis
  27. Barbara Kingsolver
  28. R.F. Kuang
  29. Ernest Cline
  30. Chuck Palahniuk
  31. John Steinbeck
  32. Ernest Hemingway
  33. Anne Bishop
  34. Dan Simmons
  35. Isabel Allende
  36. Scarlett St. Clair
  37. Herman Melville
  38. Michael Moorcock
  39. J. D. Robb
  40. Chuck Wendig
  41. Joe Haldeman
  42. Glen Cook
  43. Franz Kafka
  44. Brian Herbert
  45. Jodi Picoult
  46. R. A. Salvatore
  47. Kevin J. Anderson
  48. James Patterson
  49. John Updike
  50. John Ringo

I think I’ve got a pretty diverse listing of books I refuse to read – science fiction, fantasy, classic fiction, modern fiction, mystery, romance, comics, etc. The one thing they have in common is that I have zero desire to read them, even ironically or to explore/review how bad they are (which is why L. Ron Hubbard is conspicuously absent from the list, even though he wrote the worst book I have ever seen in my life – and I have seen some crappy books).

There are also pretty diverse reasons why I refuse to read these books. A lot of these authors bore or annoy me, for instance. Kevin J. Anderson, for instance, is like eating a diet of only white bread to me – it’s boring, it’s unmemorable, and I immediately start craving something with flavor and meatiness. Another is Herman Melville, whose magnum opus is about six thousand pages of whaling minutiae. Or James Joyce, because… James Joyce. Or R. A. Salvatore, who has been writing basically the same pap for decades.

Another large category is authors who are bigots. Typically, bigots against me and people like me. I don’t try to force anyone to boycott artists who disagree with them, like many do. But I reserve the right to criticize, to call out and to make it clear that these people are bigots. For instance, Philip Pullman, who wrote an entire fantasy trilogy about how much he hates Christianity. He’s not getting my money, because he’s a bigot filled with hate, and anyone who claims to be against hate better also be against him.

There’s a lot of bigots on that list. Some very big names. Nobody is too famous to call out.

A much smaller category would be ones that I have political or religious disagreement with. I am willing to listen to people of various political or religious persuasions, although I am obviously not going to entertain and agree with all viewpoints. Only idiots do that. But someone like Ayn Rand simply doesn’t make any sense in the real world, and promotes a hideous way of thinking mixed with childish self-worship, which we already have too much of in the world. And guys like John Ringo and John Norman are just… blech. Their attitudes towards women are hideous.

I also don’t think that authors should necessarily be expected to be any better than any other person; having skeletons in their closet, addictions or bad stuff in their past is not a reason to avoid someone’s work. However, I am not going to read books by Marion Zimmer Bradley – not just because she was a pedophile, but because her work is so suffused in her spiritual corruption that it is literally painful for me to read, and it was painful long before I learned what she was.

This is kind of tied into the bigot and political/religious thing, but some of these authors are simply awful people, and it’s unpleasant to put your mind in their playground.

The smallest listing of all – only two people, actually – is people I don’t want to read because they do their job too well. That is the only reason Junji Ito is on it, so… if you’re a fan of his, you can unclench. Being listed on here is actually a compliment.

I’ll probably come up with more authors I refuse to read in the future, but for now, fifty is plenty.


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