I don’t have a lot of bookish pet peeves. I’m pretty easy to please. As long as the story is believable within the world it’s written, then I’m usually pretty happy with it. There are a few things that do bug me, though.
- Grammatical errors: Nothing distracts me from a story more than grammatical errors. Why do you think I’m going to school to become a copyeditor? Spelling errors, missing words, extra words in the sense of changing one’s thought and forgetting to delete a word that doesn’t deal with the new thought, and time line inconsistencies are the errors that bother me the most. When I first read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I can’t tell you how irritated I was with the “Priori Incantatem” chapter because the order that Harry’s parents came out of Voldemort’s wand was reversed. I’m glad it was fixed in a subsequent edition.
- Graphic sex: I love a good romance just as much as the next person and I especially love a good YA novel (or any novel for that matter) with sexual tension in it. But, I don’t want to know the details, like what body parts are involved or what he’s doing to her to give her pleasure, or vice versa. At that point, I feel like the story’s more about lust than love. Also, I’m okay if characters are sexually active. I’m even okay reading about their exploits as long as it’s not detailed. What books fit that bill, do you ask? I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, Graceling, Fire, Shiver, and others along those lines.
- Swearing: Even though I usually skip over swearing when I read, I wish I didn’t have to. I especially hate the F-word. I often feel like it’s used just for shock value. It usually adds nothing to the story or dialogue, so why have it in there in the first place?
- Symbolism: I know this is a weird pet peeve. However, as I’ve been taking my current English class–Writing Literary Criticism–I’ve realized how much I hate symbolism. Why can’t the author just come out and say what they mean? If they don’t, then I just don’t care. I’m a very concrete, non-abstract person, so symbolism, especially subtle symbolism, is wasted on me. I’d rather read a story just to read a story. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to be forced to parallel the characters, plot, setting, etc. with something else to completely understand the book.
- Love triangles: I know there has to be conflict in a story for the story to work or be interesting, but does it always have to be in the form of a love triangle? I’m sick of love triangles and to be honest, I’ve never been a fan. I’d like to see more stories where the two “lovers” are kept apart for reasons other than another love interest. It’s done all the time on TV shows. Why can’t it be done in books?
- Contrived endings: I don’t like it when authors go against their characters’ natures to contrive the ending they want. I want the pieces to fall where they may. Obviously if the story is plot driven, then characters aren’t going to matter that much. But, if the story is character driven, then the characters need to drive the plot and that includes the ending.
- Predictable plot: One of my favorite things, especially when reading a book with some sort of mystery in it, is to be left guessing until the very end. However, once I reach the ending, it better not be a stretch to figure out how everything lead up to that point.
- Same plot in a series: This goes along with predictable plot, but I hate it so much that I think it warrants its own bullet point. I hate it when each book in a series has the exact same plot just with different details (with the exception of Harry Potter because the details were different enough to keep my interest). I stopped watching House because I could always predict what happened: patient gets sick, patient goes to see House, House rejects patient, House accepts patient, House thinks he’s figured it out, patient is treated, patient starts to get better, patient almost dies because previous diagnosis is wrong, House talks to Wilson, House has an epiphany and really figures out the problem, patient is treated, and patient gets better. The only thing different in each episode of House is who the patient is, what the patient is sick with (although the writers seem to use the same illnesses over and over too), and how the patient’s beliefs or lifestyle affect House. Boring! Change it up!
- Not enough detail: I know people often complain that the final four books in the Harry Potter series are too long. Frankly, I love the length of those books! I want a story to last as long as possible, if I’m enjoying it. I don’t often want stories to end because I’m enjoying them so much. However, with that being said, there are some books *cough-The-Lord-of-the-Rings-cough* that are too detailed, which bore me. Again, however, I can usually get through those boring parts and still love the story just as much as I would’ve if I hadn’t been bored to tears in some places.
- Minuscule text: I know this is funny. But, I really don’t want to break out my magnifying glass just so I can read a book. The writing in some books, especially classics, is usually too closely spaced together and extremely small. I love reading classics on my Kindle because it lets me change the font size and spacing, making it easier to read. (No, this isn’t a Kindle commercial nor was this post endorsed by Amazon.)
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