Some books need a warning!

March 29, 2011 at 5:42 PM 2 comments

Films have age categorisation and sometimes a system of stars to warn of bad language, sex or violence. But there is no such system for books, and there ought to be. Especially if the thing in question is a surprise and not what you expect for the genre. But for certain things there always ought to be a warning.

I won’t read horror. I am very careful about what I put in my head as I have very vivid dreams and can get bad nightmares if I’m not careful.

I do read stuff which can get a bit close to the line at times. I enjoy the mystery solving part of murder mysteries, but not the murder part, especially if it’s gruesome. I sometimes enjoy exciting books like thrillers, although I have to be in the right mood. Also historical novels can contain nasty bits, because history had nasty bits, just as now does. But I neither need nor want those thrust down my throat!

It’s not that I’m denial about them existing, but I don’t find them entertaining.

The main thing which upsets me is torture. I seriously do not want to read detailed descriptions of this or of its results. It is sick and disgusting. That humans can do stuff like that to each other or to helpless animals revolts me.

So what I would like is a warning on novels which have torture or animal cruelty so I can avoid them.

Especially to cats. That will make me throw the book across the room and not want to even touch it again. That’s what triggered this post today. If you are the same then don’t read the girl with the dragon tattoo. I wasn’t going to read it myself, because of the sexual abuse, but my mother said I should and that it wasn’t too bad. Hmm, not trusting her opinion again. This is not even the first book she said was OK which wasn’t!

I got through the abuse bits and I agree they weren’t actually handled too badly. But then there started to be bits of animal cruelty and descriptions of murders which had involved torture. They were brief, so I pressed on. I shouldn’t have! I’m not going to finish it. I felt uneasy when a cat turned up in it. There are certain authors you just can’t trust.

Also, don’t read the Gaudi key if you’re like me. Another of my mother’s lends! I thought it was going to be a puzzle solving thriller, a bit like Dan Brown, but with Gaudi, whose architecture I like. There was violence in it, more than I prefer, but then there was a horrific and very detailed torturing to death of a fairly main female character, which I felt was gratuitously long and almost lovingly described. It made me seriously question what sort of person would write this stuff!

I even emailed the publisher to complain about that one, but I never got a response.

Although I would prefer if such stuff as torture and cruelty did not even exist, the fact that it does means someone will write about it and I’m not suggesting censorship, just a warning so squeamish people like me know to avoid it!

What do you think? Have you ever been upset by something you read or watched? Do you think a warning system could work? Should it be done?

Maybe a website listing books with certain problems would help. For all I know, such a thing exists. If you know about one, please let me know! Especially one which warns against books where bad things happen to cats…


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. estherlou  |  March 29, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    I’m totally with you. I like Star Trek books, and I like Christian fiction. I was in a Christian book club and got a “preview” book for a new series of books, or new club. Trusting and naive, I dove into the book to find it was full of r-rated sex scenes! I tossed it in the trash unfinished. I even wrote the book club questioning their judgement in sending such a book to someone subscr ibed to their Christian fiction club! Didn’t get a response. I guess we just have to really be careful and look out for ourselves…no one is going to do it for us!

  • 2. katharinetrauger  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    How about a book written for pre-teens with explicite how-to’s for suicide!
    It was in the youth section of a public library and I could not even get the librarian to move it over to the adult section, so adamant was she against any type of sensoring. Sighs…


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