Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Pet Peeves

This week's blog hop from The Broke & The Bookish is:  Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves (all those things that annoy you in a story, with book covers, bookstores, etc.

This was a fun one, and I'm quite surprised at how I started out thinking I had no pet peeves, and then quickly worked myself into a rant! 

I present to you the edited version, in no particular order:

*  Stereotyped stock characters as protagonists or antagonitsts.  Yes, there's nothing new under the sun, it's true; but at least give it a shot, wouldja?

*  Yet another vampire book or dystopia riding on the coat tails of Twilight and The Hunger Games

*  Bookstores with snooty salespeople who make you feel that you're interrupting their precious reading time when they have to help you or who sneer if you get a name or title slightly off.

*  Seemingly obligatory and unmotivated yet graphically described sex scenes in YA books, esp. the current trend to throw in a masturbation scene at some random moment.  What's with that?

* Books written to capitalize on/make money from TV shows, like the recent Glee series. 

* Books that can't stand alone because they're in the middle of a series.  To my taste, every book ought to have its own merits and - if it's plotted - some sort of closure.

* Writers who are out solely to make a buck rather than to serve the world by helping us enjoy and/or understand ourselves & that world at the same time.  I have little patience for anyone in any profession who's only in it for the cash.   (Not that cash is a bad thing.  However, I do believe that just about any job can offer the opportunity to do good while you're making a living.)

*  When writers start off in close third person following the protagonist, then shift perspectives abruptly for a few paragraphs due to carelessness rather than craft.  I've seen a few of these annoying errors in mass market paperbacks from rather famous but clearly a tad too prolific authors of late.

* Print that's so small or pages so thin that you get a headache after just a few minutes' reading.  I've recently chosen among 3-4 versions of classic texts with these concerns making the pivotal difference in where I invest.

* When, at author events & readings, audience members ask long 'questions' that are really rambling, discursive attempts to impress the author.  Ugh. 

There.  Glad I got all that off my chest.  See you over at The Broke and the Bookish's blog hop!



Brenna said...

I agree with you on print size. I don't need something large, but really small print size is hard for me to read even though I've got 20/20 vision. It just looks so clumped together I often lose my place on the page.

Red said...

I hate when writers switch perspective and it's, as you say, do to lack of talent rather than a technique they were going for.

llevinso said...

I agree on the print size totally. I'm not asking for huge but come on!

Loni said...

I agree about the overflow of vampire books because of Twilight. I'm always looking for something original.

Birdie said...

When, at author events & readings, audience members ask long 'questions' that are really rambling, discursive attempts to impress the author.

THIS!!!!!!! My uni had a "forum" series and they always allowed for Q and A. There was almost always at least one person who was not really asking a question--just listening to the sound of their own voices. Ugh.

I also agree on the print size and the vampire 'phenomenon.'

Laurie said...

Looks like we're all pretty well aligned re: a book oughta be readable, in the most literal sense.
I'm wondered whether anyone else ever questions the writers who churn out book after book for personal gain only... Perhaps I shouldn't judge? I suppose it's the YA market about which I still keep thinking a higher standard ought to apply. Not that YA books need to be preachy or simply "issue fiction", but that some richer contribution might be required. What do you think?

LBC said...

Shifts in point of view really bother me as well. I also hate people who are "writing for the money" (cough, James Frey). There are so few people that can even make any money writing. That money should be reserved for writers with a voice that deserves to be heard (and hasn't been heard before).

Here is my list: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-ten-tuesday-i-hate-that.html

Must Love Books said...

haha I agree with the last one. I've been to loads of signings and people drag on forever with questions. If they want to impress the author, ask the question when you get to them for the signing!

Trish said...

Stock characters make me cringe and roll my eyes. Oh puhleeze. Can't the author be any more creative than that?

Sara said...

I agree with the random sex. I'm fine with it when it fits but it frequently doesn't.

Laurie said...

MLB: Good tip. ;-)
Birdie: Hadn't thought of Frey for years, but you're right. I was picturing a few of the more egregiously $$-hungry of those grocery store paperback writers whose books get thinner and sloppier every year (or month, as the case may often be), but Frey might fit the bill too.
Trish: Apparently not. And I will do my utmost to avoid books written by folks with that little imagination.
Sara: I must be reading your comment wrong! LOL... And sometimes I wonder: What if the writer added a random baseball game or snipe hunt in place of the sex scene? Wouldn't readers raise an eyebrow then?

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