Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book-Related Pet Peeves

I don't usually participate in the Top Ten Tuesdays meme, although I love reading it in other blogs, but this week I couldn't resist.  It's hosted at The Broke And The Bookish - check it out for other people's top ten bookish pet peeves.  Here are the top ten book-related things that drive me nuts:

1.  YA books with dialogue that is obviously an adult trying to sound like a teenager.  Very few people can use slang well in dialogue, and there is nothing that can ruin a YA book faster for me than having a character use "teen speak" that sounds less than authentic.

2.  Movie tie-in covers.  I have exactly one book with a movie tie-in cover (About a Boy) because I bought it in high school before I realized that there were other options.  Ok and Hugh Grant is on the cover.  BUT, I still hate these.

3. Lack of plot.  Books don't have to be plot-driven to be enjoyable, but I hate books that try to be literary by having nothing interesting happen at all.  Boring does not necessarily equal literary fiction.  Some authors don't seem to understand that.  Things can happen in literary fiction, I promise.

4. Typos, especially in self-pubbed books.  There is a reason that self-published books have a bad reputation.  This is not to say that all of them are bad, but authors who choose to self-pub and who don't properly proofread are just perpetuating the idea.  It drives me nuts to see typos in any book, but I think it's particularly inexcusable if you aren't using a traditional publisher.  If you want to be taken seriously and self-pub, do not send out a book that has a million typos.  It's sloppy and lazy.

5. Cheap looking covers.  Again, this is something I see in many self-published books or books from smaller houses.  I know they may not have the same financial resources as the larger houses, but I see many books with covers that look like the author spent five minutes working on it in Photoshop.  I would rather see a book with a solid color cover and title only than one with ugly Photoshopping.  Just say no to bad cover art.  Like typos, it looks lazy.

6. Poorly written dialect.  Actually I could probably change that to be any use of dialect.  I'd much rather read a character description that tells me a character is from the south or speaks with a southern drawl than to read dialogue that includes a bunch of "How ya'll folks doin down heah in Gawjuh".  It's distracting and, in some cases, insulting.

7. Stickers that cover the title, author's name, or cover copy.  I understand that stickers are a necessary evil and I have no problem with removing them with the help of my trusty Goo-Gone.  But, please don't put them in a spot that keeps me from seeing what the book is, who it's written by, or what it's about.

8. Library books that smell like cigarette smoke.  Gross.  Enough said.

9. Gigantic hardbacks.  I typically prefer hardbacks because they are more sturdy and don't tend to show wear as much.  But I hate trying to read a ginormous hardback book in bed and getting hand cramps and red marks from trying to hold it up.  I guess that's probably more preference than pet peeve, though.

10. Cover photos featuring people on the verge of making out. I don't usually read romance novels, so I'm not talking about the Fabio-style bodice rippers.  I'm talking about the recent trend in contemporary YA to show two people with their faces centimeters away from open mouth kissing on the cover.  Is your book about more than making out?  Then show us on the cover.  They just make me feel uncomfortable, especially when it's two teenagers making out in a shower or something.  I feel like a perv reading it in public.


  1. I feel your #10! When I was reading Perfect Chemistry at school, my teacher almost confiscated it because of the cover :P So. Annoying.

  2. So totally agree with #1 especially! I hate it when dialogue ends up sounding all stilted and forced because the author is trying so hard to sound like teens and just failing utterly.

  3. Your #5 and 7 I totally agree with. A cover can make or breat the selling of a book.

    And the stickers over synopsis etc, sheeeesh, makes me want to fire the person that did it.

    Personal Note
    I don't know if it is new but I love the picture of you and the dogs, your hair is gorgeous straight and longer, I like :-)

  4. I'm with you on number 10...I HATE THAT!

  5. I'm with you on #7. I almost ruined my copy of Demonglass trying to get the price tag off.

  6. I have many of these, too! I always avoid the movie covers if I can help it. And cheesy covers! I want to be able to read my books in public without trying to hide the cover in shame.

    The sticker one made me think of something else I've encountered SEVERAL times recently: when they put those stupid security sensor stickers ON one of the pages in the middle of the book. I mean, if they really feel like they need to put one of those in the book, fine, but at least do it on the inside of the cover or something. NOT on a page!

  7. HAHAHA that last one was funny. Those make-out covers are so ridiculous!!

    Smokey books are gross!!

  8. Great list - I agree about movie tie-in covers - they're from the devil. I don't care how good the movie version of Water for Elephants is (I'm hoping it's really good), but I don't want a picture of Robert Pattinson on the cover of one of my favorite books ever!

  9. A nice list you have here! I totally agree with most of your points, it really annoys me! Lack of plot is something I find quite often in most stories because I guess writers don't want to develop a plot or make it different. Cheap looking covers put me off too! By the way, I wrote a post about my own fiction pet peeves on my blog so I hope you will read and comment with your own opinion telling me what you think!