I’m not much of a picky reader. I’ll read young adult, adult, middle grade, classics, whatever. I don’t really like science fiction, but I’ll still read it and frequently enjoy it (like when I read The Martian).
That said, I do have several bookish pet peeves, which have become more apparent to me this summer since I’ve been reading a little more than I normally do. So I thought I’d list them (because lists are magical) and break them up into two categories: pet peeves that deal with the story, and pet peeves that deal with the actual book.
Note: I wrote this post a long time ago and never got around to publishing it! I know I’ve been MIA for awhile, and it’s 100% the fault of graduate school. That evil institute of higher education! I’m in my last semester, though, so I’ll have much more time for blogging after May. Thanks for sticking with me!
– dreams –
I hate reading about a character’s dreams. Most of the time, it does nothing for the story. It’s just there so you know what the character is feeling. But the point of the narrator is to tell us what the character is feeling, especially if it’s in first person. Dreams are boring and unnecessary and interrupt the flow of the story. culprit: Twilight, Throne of Glass
-characters not saying what needs to be said –
THIS IS MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE. Oh, I’ve read so many stories that would go much smoother if everyone would just be honest and say what needs to be said when it needs to be said. The Lunar Chronicles is sooo bad about this. I’m literally screaming at Cinder about 2/3 of the time. culprit: The Lunar Chronicles, Gone Girl
– werewolves –
I just don’t like werewolves. I think they’re silly. I’ve never read (or seen) a story with werewolves that I really liked. (update: Okay, so Wolf and Scarlet finally grew on me in Winter and Stars Above) culprit: New Moon, Shiver, Scarlet
– names I can’t pronounce –
This is exclusively in fantasy novels. If the book is contemporary and the character is from a different country, that’s just my own ignorance working against me. But with fantasy novels? The author literally could have chosen any name. WHY DO THEY ALWAYS CHOOSE THE WORST ONE? I want to be able to look at the name and know exactly how to say it. Also, I want it to be spelled in an orderly fashion. Stop throwing the letter y around everywhere. culprit: Chaol in Throne of Glass; I have not read A Court of Thorns and Roses mainly because the MC’s name is Feyre
– characters feeling sorry for themselves –
Nothing is worse than a character that whines all the time.IT’S SO ANNOYING culprit: Dorothy Must Die, Percy Jackson, We Were Liars
The classics are really bad about this. I read Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw twice in college and it’s the worst. The narrator (unnamed) is at this gathering where all these people are telling stories. His friend starts reading a manuscript from a governess that begins to tell the story. So it’s a story-within-a-letter-within-a-story. Bah! (I will say, though, that this pet peeve generally doesn’t apply to books that are primarily written in a journal/log format, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Martian.) culprit: Frankenstein, Fangirl, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
– characters texting/typing in abbreviated speech –
I think it’s outdated. Do people really text like that anymore? Using u for you and such? I think it looks ridiculous. culprit: I know they are out there but I can’t think of any right now. I guess the use of “fug” in An Abundance of Katherines would fall under this category. That was so annoying.
– series –
I HATE SERIES. With a flaming passion. I’d much rather have 1,000 standalone novels. Sometimes, they’re okay, like with Harry Potter. It’s acceptable and totally understandable. But sometimes the story just needs to stop. culprit: Twilight, Divergent, Crank, The Giver
– synopses that give away too much – I had to read a play in college and literally everything about the plot was in the blurb on the back. I get that this might be helpful for people in the play, but for the casual reader it’s just rude.
– bulky bookmarks –
Sometimes, they’re really pretty. My sister got me a beautiful bookmark one time that had a red “E” dangling from it, but I could never bring myself to use it because it was not good for the spine of the book.
– folding the cover over the spine of the book –
*eye twitches* DON’T YOU KNOW THAT BOOKS ARE PRECIOUS AND SHOULD NOT BE MANHANDLED? Show some respect!!
– books not in the proper place at a book store – I want my local used bookstore to hire me just so I can fix this problem. They had Mitch Album under Philosophical, Hoot and Flush by Carl Hiaasen under Mystery & Suspense, and Divergent under Paranormal Romance. Don’t even get me started on their YA section. *cries angry tears* – movie tie-in covers –
Look, sometimes they’re okay. I get that they can attract a wider audience. But most of the time, they look horrible! (Notable exception: Gone Girl.) culprit: The Martian, The Giver, The Host
– people on covers – Who are these people? Why are you trying to stifle my imagination? (Notable exception: memoirs or biographies, or something like The Diary of Anne Frank. Anne Frank can be on any cover she wants.) P.S. I love the Dude, Where’s My Forehead? list on Goodreads. culprit: too many to list, but particularly books about romance and summer. And The Outsiders.
– (audio) when the narrator doesn’t indicate the start of a new chapter –
This is terrible! I want to know when my chapters end and start. The Night Circus did this. Fairest by Marissa Meyer did it, too, even though the rest of the Lunar Chronicles announce chapter breaks. It’s so frustrating. ~~~
So there you are–my (somewhat) comprehensive list of bookish pet peeves. Did we agree on anything? What are some of YOUR bookish pet peeves? What do you use for a bookmark? What character names do you have problems pronouncing?
currently listening to: Good Help (Is So Hard To Find) by Death Cab for Cutie