On last week’s Thursday Thoughts I ranted about my extreme hatred for the word “giggle”, and it made me realize how many different things in books really irritate me. Instead of making a bunch of little posts about things that irritate me in books, I thought for this post I would touch on a bunch of them, compiling them into one list of:
Did that fancy header intrigue you? Then let’s get started!
Actually, we’re not going to get started quite yet. First, I want to discuss exactly what it means for their to be a bookish turn-off. If a book I’m considering reading contains one of these things, it only means that I might be slightly reluctantly to buy it, and might rather want to get it from the library or wait to read it until I’ve read some good reviews about it. Nothing I ever hear about a book will make me completely refuse to give it a shot if I’m interested in the story (unless the author is promoting racism or something horrific like that). So, if you picture a light switch, these things – when present in books – don’t completely turned off the book for me. Instead, it’s more similar to that thing we all did as little kids, when we attempted to balance the switch in between on and off and see what happens. Does that make sense? (Hint: Probably not)
Okay, considering we’re 260 words in and I’ve already managed to be over-complicated and make a horrible light switch analogy… I’m guessing it’s time to get started (for real-sies this time)
1) When all the books in a series have the exact same amount of pages
I mean, why not get the really weird one out of the way. Maybe I’m the only person bothered by this, and maybe I’m the only person who’s ever noticed this. However, when I do notice it, it definitely is a bookish turn-off in the way that it makes me very wary of the book series. I mean, there’s absolutely no way that that’s a coincidence, and I figure that it must limit the author in some way if they’re forcing themselves to meet the same amount of page requirements with every single book (whether that be by dragging out the story or by rushing it). If the author is sacrificing the ability to make the length of the book perfect for the story, will the story still be good? I don’t know… I guess we’d have to take the risk and see which way the light switch flips (I’m sorry, that’s the last time I’ll reference that). I’ve seen this happen in a bunch of different series, but most notably The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. I understand that maybe for these particular books he wanted to make it seem as if all of the different diaries that Greg was writing in were the same length, but is it really necessary? Really?
2) when FRIENDSHIPs TURN INTO MORE
I hate this so, so much, mainly because it’s so cheesily overdone. Of course, there are some cases where I think it can be well done (though I’m not going to give any examples because that would be spoiler-y), but when this idea is the entire plot it drives me nuts, especially when the two friends have been friends since childhood. Do you know how rare it is in books for a girl and a boy who have been friends since they were three to not fall in love? For once, just once, I’d like to see one of those characters who is so determined to ruin a heartwarming friendship for a cheesy relationship shoved into the friendzone, never to return. I nominate John Green for the job.
3) when there are LOVE TRIANGLES (warning: upcoming twilight and hunger games spoilers)
Again, you have to remember that this are things that make me wary of a book, not things that make me completely unwilling to read them. The thing about love triangles is that they are done so often, but so often not done well. I honestly like love triangles at the beginning, when you’re wondering who the person is going to choose and how the other person is going to react, but soon they get ridiculously one-sided. Like, as much as I shipped #Kale (I mean, what a cool ship name first of all) did anyone honestly think that Katniss and Gale would just patch things up after everything in the first book and second half of the second? His didn’t have a shot. And sorry to everyone who was #TeamJacob, but there’s a reason that they were advertised as vampire novels instead of werewolf books. Again, love triangles are fun when they’re done right. Keep us guessing, but please, please, don’t pull an America Singer and just switch back and forth every other chapter. I love you, but you give me gray hairs.
4) WHEN A BOOK IS VERY SHORT
I’m incredibly different from all of my friends because of this bookish turn-off. Most of my friends will refuse to read a book that they think is too long, while I’m reluctant to pick up books that I think are too short (typically under 350 pages). I guess part of the reason why I don’t like reading short books is because I usually like to buy all the books I read and I’m hesitant to spend money on a book that is very short and probably won’t last me very long. I also worry that the author will struggle to cram all of the things the synopsis advertises into such a little package. Like, are you sure that you’re going to deliver a “heart-pounding, tear-jerking story filled with romance, action, betrayal, and death” in just 220 pages? Again, there are some pretty big exceptions to this one: some of my favorite books are short books, like Fairest by Marissa Meyer, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin.
5) When a book is compared to other books
With this one, you can either do it very wrong or very right. For me, this can be incredibly helpful sometimes. If I see a book that says, “Might appeal to the fans of Harry Potter” or something like that on the back of it, I’m interested because I really like Harry Potter and if they think this book might appeal to me then I might be willing to give it a shot. However, I once saw a book that had a review included on the back of it that began, “Step aside Harry Potter…” What?! Guys, this book was a middle grade contemporary novel that was practically a graphic novel what with all of the pictures and huge words it had. If a publisher or author is allowing their books to be compared to other really great books or even have the audacity to include reviews say that their book will replace other books, then that’s not good marketing – that’s just irritating. Dearest publishers:
- Not every fantasy (or middle grade) book is the next Harry Potter
- Just because it’s a dystopian doesn’t mean it’s “Just like the Hunger Games!”
- If a character dies, you don’t get to brand your book as something “giving The Fault in Our Stars some competition”.
I don’t think I’m alone in this pet peeve. Publishers do it, reviewers do it, and oh my goodness do my English teachers do it. All I’m asking is that you please, please stop.
So those are some of my bookish turn-offs (or the longer title, which I’m not going to type out again)! I have a lot more – I never realized how much I like to complain – but I think I’ll stop there for now and maybe to a part two sometime later this year. Do this things irritate/worry you as much as they do me? Is there anything that really bothers you that you think should be featured in part two? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading! 🙂