Top Ten Tuesday is the very entertaining weekly meme hosted by the gals over at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. Every week they pick the Top Ten subject matter, then we all join in. Take a look to see what other book bloggers are writing about today's subject: Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves.
I wonder if I have as many as 10 Bookish Peeves in me. Yeah, probably. (HA!) Okay, in no particular order, here goes:
1) Ugly book covers. An ugly, badly designed book jacket makes me think the publisher didn't give a damn so why should I? There is NEVER an excuse for bad design. (Bad is probably just as expensive to create as good.) I am a BIG fan of letterpress and artist hand-lettering when it comes to covers. But now with everything being done on computer, the use of uninteresting type face for example, is paramount. There is a flat blandness and sameness to computer done covers that I dislike. (I also dislike the look and feel of certain magazines run off on computer.) Not all new covers have this, mind you, but enough so that I notice. Examples of great covers that have the 'richness' of great design and artwork: the Harry Potter covers.
2) The 'sameness' of women's books, including their utterly boring covers. Why is it so easy to 'tell' a woman's book sitting on a rack, from thirty paces? The same pastel covers and 'gentle' imagery. The first few times this worked and was interesting. The 1000th time, it leaves me indifferent. There is also a certain 'sameness' of content which is one of the reasons I rarely read the best selling 'women's' books. I know I am probably overlooking lots of good writing, but honestly, the subject matter in most of these books leaves me cold. I know I am probably in the minority but, there it is. By the way, I read both male and female writers in a kind of 50/50 ratio (more or less).
3) A hundred million viewpoints. Okay, I exaggerate. But you know what I mean. I am not an admirer of multiple viewpoints to tell a story. I will tolerate it from my very favorite writers but only because they are excellent in their craft and mostly know what they're doing. But I would still prefer to stick with one character OR with a third party overview. I am overly fond of first person story telling so I am prejudiced in its favor when I pick up a book and read the first page to see what's what. If you write good first-person, I will likely read you.
4) Happy hitman books. I am not a fan of professional killers telling their side of the story. I am not a fan of 'reformed'' hitmen telling their side of the story. I am not a fan of hired killers or serial killers becoming the 'heroes' of their own books. Even if they are handsome and dress nicely. I just can't get around the fact that characters who kill for money or because they have some strange compulsion to do so, cannot be entirely trusted to tell me anything that will enrich my life. I am just not that sophisticated.
5) Genre disrespect. As far as I am concerned, there are only two types of books: good and bad. I do not like it when I feel hemmed in or 'forced' to apologize for what I read. Okay, that hardly ever happens anymore, but yeah, occasionally it still does. I dislike most of the uses of classification. I don't mind qualifying a book as a 'mystery or western or science fiction, etc' - that's fine. (Especially if have an affection for a certain sort of books to begin with.) It's when the classification itself is used to denigrate, to make one book somehow 'less than' another simply by the fact that one tells a certain sort of story and the other doesn't. There is good writing and there is bad writing. One of those is the only thing that interests me.
6) Book endings where everything just sort of peters out. Jeez, I hate that. I also prefer a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, if at all possible. (And why this should be impossible I simply do not know.) I am a HUGE fan of linear story-telling.
7) Telling the story in the present tense. No, no, a thousand times NO! I think I've yet to finish a book written in this popular style of writing. This combined with stream of consciousness is enough to make me run screaming from the room. Well...almost.
8) Paperbacks that fall apart after one or two readings. Yeah, it still happens. The paper is usually crap thin (feels like newsprint) and the pages are falling out almost before you get to the end. I know, I know, with Kindle this will never happen. Puh-leeze!
9) Dialect. Don't like it. Far as I'm concerned, it's not necessary. (Unless it is done extremely well. There is always the exception to this and any other sort of writing rule - talent and genius can get away with just about anything.) Although I do like sometimes when a writer is having a bit of fun with it, THEN it's okay. As in Alan Bradley's new Flavia de Luce book. One of the characters being 'grilled' is a three year old kid slurping on a stick of candy so when he says his name is Timofy (for Timothy) I have no choice but to laugh out loud.
10) Animal cruelty. I simply will not read a book which has this sort of thing as a feature of the plot. If by some chance I run across this in a story and the situation is not immediately fixed and the miscreant drawn and quartered, I stop reading.
Since I seem to have a peevish nature to begin with, I probably could have come up with 10 more (in fact, I can think of several right off the bat...), but these will do for the moment. So, what are YOUR favorite book peeves?