Finding novels without triggering content




I was wondering if anyone else finds it particularly difficult to find well written, intelligent novel yet without reference to triggering subject matter for those with PTSD. Does anyone have any recommendations? I’m willing to read any genre! Thank you.


yet without reference to triggering subject matter
That would depend entirely on what your triggers & stressors are... as everyone’s are different.

The only way to have nooooooo triggering subject matter would be to have a book of blank pages, and even then, that would undoubtedly trigger a lot of people (papers drifting down after building collapse, forms one is trying to fill out swirling into blankness as the ER docs are trying to save your kid, being beaten for not having your homework done yet, the piece of blank paper from the stack you were about to write your number on for the cute guy/girl when the bank robbers burst in, the after action report that just sat there looking at you refusing to write itself, using book title/binding pages to start a fire, the new journal someone just cracked open as the driver lost control on the ice, the folded over verdict from the jury before they acquitted your rapist, and on and on).

1. What are you trying to avoid?

2. Any trends/patterns you’ve noticed? ((Like explicit is fine, but tension drop kicks you into the stratosphere, or vice versa; or inaccurate representations have you arguing with the book, yanking all your contradicting experience to the forefront, or the opposite that the less real/accurate it is, the less your own stuff is recalled; or humor -like a character has a car that explodes in every book- makes everything better/worse))


I’m reading one right now that is highly triggering content, but I’m being very purposeful in my mindset. I want to know how she got through what I’m reading about. Sometimes instead of avoiding a trigger in books I learn about possible resolutions. I don’t really know what to suggest to you as I sit looking at my bookshelves. I know which authors I avoid though. You could try the mauve binchey series, I liked her and piccoult, and Nicholas sparks.


The first year I read mainly Good children’s literature. There is quality reading to be found in children’s and YA genre and while it does tackle big subjects it tackles them sensitively.

I read ( quality) YA books regularly in my rotation. I like them and when I’m more ‘activated’ they are more comfortable to me than avoiding big subjects completely. Magical realism is my favourite sort of read .


Depends on where I am on the symptom scale. I can read something by Harlen Coben and be so immersed in the twists and turns that even if something surfaces I am reading to get to the next part. So it's temporary.

Some things I read for the exposure. If I know I can ground and put the book down, take a break, and then resume reading.

I love to read so I just take my chances and if it's too much, but still a good book I just save it for when I can manage. Anything about animals being hurt is always a stressor but not a trigger. If it's just a short part of the book I can skip that part and go on and read the book.

Just depends on where I am in PTSDland.


If you're comfortable reach out to your local library either via email or phone. Reader's advisory is big part of the job, so you could ask "What are some titles in this genre that are not graphic?" and that should help. There are also some websites that cover read-alikes if you'd rather search privately.