The In or Out book tag was created by Rick MacDonnell of Booktube, but I discovered it on Marija’s blog. I haven’t done a tag in ages because I’m lazy, but since this basically just involves giving your opinions on a bunch of tropes/bookish habits, it should be quick and easy and not too laborious.
reading the last page first
Okay, so, when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out, I was living in Egypt and had to wait a bit to get the book and was very carefully avoiding spoilers. When I finally got the book, for some reason I flipped through it and happened to glance at the last page and was spoiled for Dumbledore’s death, and now I live in terrible fear of glancing at the last page and being horribly spoiled, so uh, no, I definitely do not look at the last page. I also don’t understand the point of this? Why would you look at the last page first??? Even if there were some pertinent info there, would it even make sense if you don’t know anything about the plot of the book?
enemies to lovers
I can like this trope, if done right. The problem is most enemies to lovers stories are more like…I-feel-very-lukewarm-about-you to lovers, which is most definitely not the same thing at all. That said, I’m not as into this trope as a lot of people are. It’s not that I don’t like it, but it’s just so rare for it to be done well that I haven’t had many opportunities to swoon over it. What I will swoon over is a variation of this trope, which is the Morality Pet trope, wherein basically an evil person has that (1) person they care about. I go absolutely feral for that trope.
Verdict: IN (ish)
I loathe dream sequences. In general I don’t like anything even resembling Alice in Wonderland vibes, where the narrative is basically nonsense. That’s what dream sequences are — complete nonsense and maybe some symbolism that you have to pick apart, and I hate symbolism. If there’s anything remotely close to a dream sequence in a book, I’m skipping it.
I really like love triangles! I think they’re spicy and interesting and can function as a kind of wish fulfillment fantasy type of thing. I can see why they can be frustrating, especially when it’s obvious who the love interest is going to choose, but I also think they can be a great opportunity to explore different facets of a love interest’s persona.
Sometimes I break the spines of my books intentionally just so that my brain isn’t as precious about it. Like, the spine is going to break eventually if I read the book, so I figure I may as well just do it right away and get on with it. Plus there’s something charming about a book with a broken spine; it looks well-used and well-loved. Plus if I started obsessing about keeping my books in pristine condition I would lose my mind.
back to my small town
Ehhh, I can take this or leave this, I guess? I don’t read too much realistic fiction so I guess I don’t have too much experience with this except in like, detective dramas or something (usually in TV format). I feel like it usually comes with a lot of unnecessary drama, so I’m more inclined to say it’s not for me.
monsters are regular people
I guess it depends on what you mean by monsters? I really do like my villains to be humanized, to have believable motivations and to behave in ways that make sense, because most of the time bad people are just regular people, and understanding that is important in understanding why people do the terrible things they do. If we’re talking vampires/werewolves/etc, then nope, not a fan – I want my real monsters to have some kind of monstrous element.
Verdict: IN (ish)
no paragraph breaks
NOPE. Also, WHY. This is just pretentious nonsense. What is the point of this besides being intentionally pretentious.
Hmm…I’m not sure, because I don’t think I’ve read many multigenerational sagas? I feel like I’ve probably read a few that are multi-POV featuring members of the same family, but I don’t think that’s what this trope is referring to. Generally speaking, though, I think I prefer to stick with one group of characters, so it feels more like a story and less like a history lesson.
Ideally I wouldn’t have to re-read but I do because my memory is garbage. I like the idea of re-reading but I also think it’s such a waste of time because I could be exploring so many other stories and ideas and exposing myself to new material. If I do re-read for pleasure these days, usually I’ll just skim and jump around.
Verdict: OUT (ish)
I…really hate AI stories. Or, I don’t know, maybe I don’t hate them, but they just never pique my interest at all. Literally if a book has anything to do with AI I will immediately lose interest.
I can take ’em or leave ’em.
Oooh this is tough; I would say generally speaking I prefer happy endings, or at least, endings where the characters are still alive and the book hints that they are still going to keep having adventures/living their lives/etc. However, I can also vibe with endings that shatter me (e.g. The Poppy War trilogy).
plot points that only converged at the end
I absolutely LOVE this; I think it’s such a mic drop when random plot points come together.
detailed magic system
YES; I very much prefer hard magic systems to soft magic systems. I know some people will say they prefer their magic to be ~mysterious so that it maintains the feeling of magic, but like, no matter how much internal logic you provide me about someone shooting flames out of their hands, it’s still going to be magical, you know? I need to understand how a magic system works, otherwise it can feel like the author deus ex machina-ing all over the place. Plus it’s just fun to explore and learn about an intricate magic system!
classic fantasy races
So, I absolutely hate this, actually. If a fantasy book has orcs/goblins/trolls/etc, I’m probably not going to read it, or, if I make an exception, I will do my best to pretend everyone is just a human (e.g. The Unspoken Name), but it will still bother me and distract me. I just. I do not like classic fantasy races. I couldn’t tell you why. I do enjoy fantasy books that feature different races, so long as they are all human and have human characteristics.
This can work for me in certain situations, but generally I’m going to say no, I don’t like this trope. I don’t like feeling like everything I’m reading is a lie, or pointless, and I especially hate this trope in thrillers, like when the narrator turns out to be the killer, or turns out to be hiding a major piece of information from the reader.
YES! Or at the very least, a morally ambiguous protagonist! I find virtuous protagonists really boring, especially in fantasy. I mean, don’t get me wrong, virtuous protagonists can be great too, but I like variety, so I’ll probably be super bored with a story where all the characters are just genuinely good people, because where’s the fun and drama in that?
the chosen one
I like this trope! I think if played straight it can be kind of trite (but even then I still don’t mind it!), but I also think that most authors these days are doing interesting things with this trope! I myself have been plotting a Chosen One Adult Fantasy for some years now, and I think it can be really fun to poke around at the genre conventions of the Chosen One trope.
when the protagonist dies
I enjoy this! It’s always a very memorable twist. I can literally list off the books I’ve read that have done this, because it is so, so shocking and memorable. And sometimes it just really works for the story!
really long chapters
I definitely prefer shorter chapters; it just makes for a quicker reading experience. And I know this is purely psychological if the book is not multi-POV, but still, it just makes flipping pages easier. That said, it’s not like I despise longer chapters or anything, and sometimes they’re necessary.
Verdict: OUT (ish)
Oh, I DESPISE French flaps. Like, the whole point of a paperback is that it doesn’t have a floppy removable cover like hardcovers, and now you’re gonna give me a paperback with a floppy cover? The worst of both worlds? Why?
Okay, so I’m of two minds about deckled edges. One the one hand, I love their aesthetic; I think they make books look so old and traditional, like a handmade book out of someone’s personal library. On the other hand, they are physical nightmare, practically speaking, because they make it nigh impossible to flip through books or even turn the pages properly. So, if I have to make a decision, I’m going to go with practicality.
Verdict: OUT (ish)
signed copies by the author
This might be a weird stance to take as a soon-to-be-traditionally-published-author, but I genuinely could not care less signed copies. I don’t understand the appeal at all.
I mean, you do you, but I don’t like this. I’m not obsessive about keeping my books in pristine condition, as I already said, but I just don’t like dog-earing pages. And why would I, when I have so many lovely bookmarks lying around?
chapter titles instead of numbers
I…don’t love this. I admire the creativity of authors who do this, but I also find it weirdly distracting and totally unnecessary. But I also don’t feel that strongly about it.