SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

103 views
Members' Chat > What Would You Like to See Different About Books

Comments Showing 1-50 of 56 (56 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by David (new)

David Navratil | 25 comments Newbie David here, How many times does the 1st written page of a book begin on a different page number? I have always hated that!
Also I wish that at the beginning of books the publisher would have a list of all characters in order as they appear in the book and what relationship they have in the book. I'm always coming up with a character that I have to go back thru a book to find out who that person is!!

Just a little thought for you folks!! David N.


message 2: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments digital books with xray (Kindle) will tell you who a character is

and no, I don't want the relationships and characters listed at the start of a book - sometimes finding out someone is related to someone else is hidden for a reason


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2611 comments I think a character index for books with very large casts would be good (or across series), but I would want it in the back of the book for the reasons stated above.

I sometimes wish book previews weren’t included.

1. Sometimes it’s for a different author entirely, and if it’s an unknown author it usually doesn’t include enough for me to want to run out and pick up their book. If you’re going to include teaser chapters, they should be REALLY good teasers.

2. Sometimes it’s for a sequel to a book you just finished but doesn’t come out for a year. If you loved it- there isn’t usually enough of a taste of book two to answer any of those burning questions you have.


message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2287 comments My thoughts are for larger, content-based questions. I want science books to be written, or at least co-written, by scientists, not just journalists. I want SF to thoughtfully explore new & wondrous possibilities, not just adventure and intrigue in outer space. (More later if you're interested in this kind of stuff.)

Super short chapters bother me. Like James Patterson's rip-off novelettes masquerading (and costing as much) as full-length novels. An occasional punctuation is fine, an assortment of chapter lengths is fine, But just having them all short for the sake of increasing the un-put-down-ability and the page count is ridiculous.

But yeah, in big novels, a character index, map, and glossary (as apt) in back would be good. Trailers, well, they're not so common in paper books and easy to skip, and I do skip them, tyvm, and I assume I'll skip them in ebooks.

I have never been bothered to start on p. 3, or 7, or 9. Why would it matter?


message 5: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
I want them all to include a place to send in typos. I do like appendices in the back!

Maybe some sort of synopsis provided by the author (or at least with their approval) for preceding books so that if it's years between publications you don't need to do a full reread?


message 6: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 3405 comments Allison wrote: "Maybe some sort of synopsis provided by the author (or at least with their approval) for preceding books so ..."

So yes!


message 7: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (justiceofkalr) | 395 comments Allison wrote: "I want them all to include a place to send in typos. I do like appendices in the back!

Maybe some sort of synopsis provided by the author (or at least with their approval) for preceding books so ..."


So much yes to the synopsis of previous events in books. There are series that I have effectively given up on because I don't really remember what's going on but I don't have the time to dedicate to rereading all the previous books.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments FYI about synopsis - You can always try Wikipedia, especially if it's a popular enough book. Or sometimes TV Tropes can help.


message 9: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
colleen the convivial curmudgeon wrote: "FYI about synopsis - You can always try Wikipedia, especially if it's a popular enough book. Or sometimes TV Tropes can help."

Yeah, there are often wikis, but they aren't quality controlled, so some do a synopsis, some do chapter by chapter, or character by character, or go into eeeeverry detail... it is better than a reread, though!


message 10: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Allison wrote: "I want them all to include a place to send in typos.

Aaahhhh the typos in some ebooks are just *egregious.* I would love this feature!


message 11: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2287 comments Gabi wrote: "Allison wrote: "Maybe some sort of synopsis provided by the author (or at least with their approval) for preceding books so ..."

So yes!"


Great idea. 'Course, it'll likely be seen as detracting from revenue, as publishers will assume readers will buy fewer of the previous books.

I love the idea of being able to report typos and grammatical errors.


message 12: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments Anthony wrote: "Allison wrote: "I want them all to include a place to send in typos.

Aaahhhh the typos in some ebooks are just *egregious.* I would love this feature!"


There is a way to report each and every typo in Kindle books - just long press on the typo, select More and there's a Report Typo option. I do this all the time


message 13: by Jerry-Book (new)

Jerry-Book | 86 comments If places are important such as battle locations and location of troops, why not include maps? A book about the Battle of Waterloo is deficient without maps of the location of Napoleon's men and Wellington's troops before and during the Battle. Even in the LOTR, maps were helpful. Were the Mountains of Mordor a mile away or 100 miles away?


message 14: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
CBRetriever wrote: "Anthony wrote: "Allison wrote: "I want them all to include a place to send in typos.

Aaahhhh the typos in some ebooks are just *egregious.* I would love this feature!"

There is a way to report ea..."


Good tip!!


message 15: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments CBRetriever wrote: "Anthony wrote: "Allison wrote: "I want them all to include a place to send in typos.

Aaahhhh the typos in some ebooks are just *egregious.* I would love this feature!"

There is a way to report ea..."


Is this also available in iBooks? I prefer their interface overall to the kindle interface. (I read on my iPad.)


message 16: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments Jerry-Book wrote: "If places are important such as battle locations and location of troops, why not include maps? A book about the Battle of Waterloo is deficient without maps of the location of Napoleon's men and We..."

I also favor the (judicious) use of maps in order to orient and guide the reader. Sometimes, the action happens in some obscure kingdom in past history and having the readers wondering where it is while they read the story may tend to ruin their pleasure at reading.


message 17: by YouKneeK (new)

YouKneeK | 1397 comments David wrote: "Newbie David here, How many times does the 1st written page of a book begin on a different page number?..."

I wish books had the feature of pausing time while I read them. What, you wanted serious suggestions? Oops, sorry. ;)

I can’t really think of any serious suggestions, except that maps in books can be difficult to read easily due to their size. Even on an e-book when you can zoom in, the resolution is often low so that zooming in just gives you a big, blurry view of a small portion of the map, and then you can’t see the big picture. I’d like for every book with a map to also come with an official web address where readers can download a free hi-def map that’s suitable for printing. Sometimes you can find maps by Googling for them, but it depends on how popular the series is and sometimes it’s hard to find a good one.

Regarding reporting typos/errors on the Kindle, I use that feature sporadically. It’s been available for years and I was excited when it was first added. I used to use it for every error I saw, but that slows down the reading process so now I just do it for books I’m really enjoying. That may seem a little counter-intuitive, because why would I want to stop and report errors when I’m wrapped up in the story, but I’m more willing to spend some of my valuable spare time “helping” if it’s for a book I love.


message 18: by OldSchoolScholar (new)

OldSchoolScholar | 9 comments What I'd like to see different is: The Return of Quality.

Oh, somewhere in the mid to late 90's (coincidentally when Amazon came about) mediocre became the new outstanding and garbage became the new mediocre . Within the last 10 years, it shifted again. Now, most "outstanding" novels are pure "garbage".

Everyone's an author these days. There is no criteria to getting your book into print. If you got the $$$$, there are dozens of marketing/publicity companies that will mobilize their troops and flood the internet with expertly written, glowing, 5 star reviews. How many times have you said to yourself, "How did this book get so many 5 star reviews"?

For a while, Brick and Mortar stores were immune from this virus called "garbage" books.....but no more. It's Buyer Beware now. One really has to do their Due Diligence to avoid getting burned.

For me, ratings are very important, but not for reasons you may think. If a book has 95% 5 star reviews, I run away. If the 1 star reviewers are bullied by other reviewers, I run away. What you are most likely seeing are the workings of shills. Bought-and-paid-for minions.

Also, in the sci/fi fantasy genre, if I see the author was a comic book writer, or a video game writer, or a board game writer, I tend to be cautious. These writers usually have a built-in base of fanboys who will vigorously and viciously defend their Almighty Idol.

It's such a chore to find books along the quality of Ben Bova, Raymond Feist, David Eddings, Stephen R. Donaldson, Terry Brooks, Asimov. Oh there's a few out there, but put on your hip-boots, your rubber gloves, and don your face mask, because you're going to be trudging through and digging in some deep S**T in order to find them.

Will quality sci/fi fantasy novels ever dominate the "book shelves" as they did in the pre-Amazon days? No, I'm afraid they won't. Asking authors to self-police themselves is like asking the mouse to guard the cheese. I just wish there was some sort of criteria that a potential author must first meet in order to get their book into print.


message 19: by Wen (new)

Wen | 401 comments Anthony wrote: Is this also available in iBooks? I prefer their interface overall to the kindle interface. (I read on my iPad.) "

Maybe try Kindle Oasis? I felt that the screen size is larger than the previous version and also lighter^^


message 20: by David (new)

David Navratil | 25 comments Good comments!! Thank You

OldSchoolScholar wrote: "What I'd like to see different is: The Return of Quality.

Oh, somewhere in the mid to late 90's (coincidentally when Amazon came about) mediocre became the new outstanding and garbage becam..."



message 21: by David (new)

David Navratil | 25 comments I just bought my 1st Kindle (Paperwhite) and I will start looking for the "XRAY" feature in books!! Tks, David
CBRetriever wrote: "digital books with xray (Kindle) will tell you who a character is

and no, I don't want the relationships and characters listed at the start of a book - sometimes finding out someone is related to ..."



message 22: by YouKneeK (new)

YouKneeK | 1397 comments David wrote: "I just bought my 1st Kindle (Paperwhite) and I will start looking for the "XRAY" feature in books!!"

If you’re very spoiler-adverse, be a little careful with that xray feature. Sometimes they have spoilers, revealing information about characters before you get to the relevant point in the book.

My tactic is to touch the name of a character I need my memory refreshed on, avert my eyes if it’s a book with xray enabled, and click the search icon. This pulls up a list of all occurrences of that character name, in order of occurrence, along with a brief snippet of the surrounding text. I can quickly look at the earliest occurrences of the character and remind myself of what I should already know about them and where they fit into the story I've already read, versus finding out things that haven't been revealed yet. This is also really great if you’re reading a series. Just leave all the books for that series on your Kindle while you’re reading it, and then use the “all text” option of the search. It will pull up all occurrences of that character name in all the books on your Kindle, and you can drill into whichever book you want to see the results from.


message 23: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellehartline) | 1777 comments I agree with OldSchoolScholar in so very many ways! Just as singers don't necessarily have to be talented to make recordings, authors don't have to be good writers to get their books out there. Truly, it seems as if more books are let-downs than are exemplary. An astounding number of them are just plain absurd. Most of the time, the ratings themselves are useless. I have learned to read the critical reviews first, and to take the five-stars with a grain of salt.


message 24: by Karin (last edited Aug 31, 2018 04:32PM) (new)

Karin | 773 comments I hate reading kindle books that show highlights from other readers!!!!!!!!!!! If you don't read with wifi on, you're stuck with them. I no longer read kindle books, though, because I can't sideload (and I understand why they had to eliminate that--drat those dishonest people!!


message 25: by YouKneeK (new)

YouKneeK | 1397 comments Karin wrote: "I hate reading kindle books that show highlights from other readers!!!!!!!!!!!"

This probably isn’t too relevant to you since you aren’t reading Kindle books anymore, but you can turn off the highlights in the settings. I found them annoying also, turned them off shortly after they started showing up, and haven't seen them since.

The directions to turn them off may be different depending on what device or app you’re using but, on my Kindle Oasis, it’s under Settings / Reading Options / Highlights & About This Book. You would then set “Popular Highlights” to Off.


message 26: by David (new)

David Navratil | 25 comments Thanks for the Tip, I'm still feeling my way around all of the options with my PaperWhite. Still a bit slow on all the new gadgets. I really like being able to change the font size, now every book is a large print, Ha! Ha! - David
YouKneeK wrote: "David wrote: "I just bought my 1st Kindle (Paperwhite) and I will start looking for the "XRAY" feature in books!!"

If you’re very spoiler-adverse, be a little careful with that xray feature. Somet..."



message 27: by Michel (last edited Sep 02, 2018 01:09PM) (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments OldSchoolScholar wrote: "What I'd like to see different is: The Return of Quality.

Oh, somewhere in the mid to late 90's (coincidentally when Amazon came about) mediocre became the new outstanding and garbage becam..."


Aren't you generalizing a bit too much, OldSchoolScholar? There are tens of thousands of new books being published every year, just in the USA, and I am pretty sure that you couldn't read more than a few dozens at most in the last year. So, what is your basis to claim that the general quality of books today is 'garbage'? There is also the question of personal tastes that comes into play. A book could be well written, have an imaginative plot and vivid, interesting characters, but some readers will still call that book 'garbage' for different reasons, like a social, religious or political point of view different from the author. Yes, many so-called 'bestsellers' are truly garbage (50 Shades of Grey comes to mind), but on the other hand, there are many obscure authors still struggling for recognition who have produced very good books, but can't get the ear of a publisher and don't have the money to self-publish.

I believe that there are still plenty of books out there well worth reading. We just need to find them. I believe that a group like Goodreads helps us do that by sharing views, reviews and opinions.


message 28: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments Anthony wrote: "Is this also available in iBooks? I prefer their interface overall to the kindle interface. (I read on my iPad.) "

try a Kindle reading app on your iPad and you should have that option


message 29: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments Karin wrote: "I hate reading kindle books that show highlights from other readers!!!!!!!!!!! If you don't read with wifi on, you're stuck with them. I no longer read kindle books, though, because I can't sideloa..."

just turn them off - the only books you can't turn off popular highlights in are Oprah Bookclub books


message 30: by Trike (new)

Trike OldSchoolScholar wrote: "What I'd like to see different is: The Return of Quality.

Oh, somewhere in the mid to late 90's (coincidentally when Amazon came about) mediocre became the new outstanding and garbage becam..."


tl;dr - Music/books/movies were better when I was a kid, millennials are ruining mayonnaise, get off my lawn you damn kids!

#SturgeonsLaw


message 31: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments OldSchoolScholar wrote: "What I'd like to see different is: The Return of Quality.

Oh, somewhere in the mid to late 90's (coincidentally when Amazon came about) mediocre became the new outstanding and garbage becam..."


late 1950s = the rise of Harlequin Romance novels
1970s = rise of the bodice ripper romances
2000s = rise of paranormal romances

1990's = huge uptick in self-help books

as far as Amazon and other digital publishers contributing to garbage books, they've also helped several authors succeed and become quite popular: Andy Weir and The Martian and Hugh Howey and Wool Omnibus (movie and/or TV series currently in development) both of which are not garbage


message 32: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Let us not confuse what we wish would change in the publishing industry with what we'd like to see different in actual books :)


message 33: by AMG (new)

AMG (thenecessarysalamander) | 306 comments I wish books had better bindings and covers. I know that's silly, but I'm very gentle with my hardcovers because, if I buy a hardcover, it means I want to have the book forever. Lately, it feels like a lot of the hardcovers I buy or get from the library that have been printed recently have bindings that break really easily.

Maybe that's silly, but I had hardcovers as a child that I abused and that never had broken bindings. When I'm not even opening the book all the way for fear of damaging the binding and it still breaks, it makes me very sad.


message 34: by Chris (new)

Chris | 1046 comments I'd like to see more illustrated books. Not just graphic novels and children's book, but illustrations in full-length novels as we see in some late 19th Century books by the likes of Dickens. The Harry Potter books are another example.


message 35: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "I'd like to see more illustrated books. Not just graphic novels and children's book, but illustrations in full-length novels as we see in some late 19th Century books by the likes of Dickens. The H..."

Oohh, that would be nice! I definitely am looking forward to the Earthsea illustrated collection.


message 36: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments Chris wrote: "I'd like to see more illustrated books. Not just graphic novels and children's book, but illustrations in full-length novels as we see in some late 19th Century books by the likes of Dickens. The H..."

Would readers be pleased/interested to see novels with a thematic picture at the start of each chapter? Some say that certain ereaders handle badly pictures.


message 37: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments they don't handle pictures badly if the publisher uses a high enough resolution. The The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones looks good on a Kindle even though it's in greyscale and so do some cookbooks.

I think some of the publishers just use the lowest dpi (resolution) in order to make the finished file smaller


message 38: by Kateb (new)

Kateb | 893 comments Michel wrote: "OldSchoolScholar wrote: "What I'd like to see different is: The Return of Quality.

Oh, somewhere in the mid to late 90's (coincidentally when Amazon came about) mediocre became the new outstandin..."


I fully agree. Plus even though Oldschoolscholar named some of my fav authors that I have their complete works he must not have spent a lot of time looking for new authors of equal quality.

Then I like some of the garbage books, easier to read when queuing for 5 mins, or those 5 mins time gapes when I have nothing to do.

If he wants a better quality of book maybe he needs to browse through many of the comments and recommendations made over the past year

I personally put John Conroe up with Raymond Feist , I am sure others would give some other authors for him


message 39: by Tom (new)

Tom Wood (tom_wood) | 83 comments CBRetriever wrote: "... I think some of the publishers just use the lowest dpi (resolution) in order to make the finished file smaller "

Amazon charges a per-MB download fee to the publisher on every ebook purchase. In the US, it's $0.15 per MB. So yeah, there is a built-in incentive to keep the ebook file size to a minimum. I think this is suppressing innovation in ebooks that are anything other than plain text.


message 40: by OldSchoolScholar (last edited Sep 02, 2018 12:50PM) (new)

OldSchoolScholar | 9 comments I personally hate when the first several pages of a book are full of BLURBS. You know, when other well-established authors write a glowing endorsement of the book you have in your hands.

Having worked closely with marketing departments my entire life, I can tell you that most of these blurbs are just bought-and-paid-for commercials. Rarely does the famous author read more than a few dozen pages of the book he or she is blurbing.

Oh yeah, I'd like to see the end to famous authors enlisting co-writers to help them write their books. This is the reason I cut down on my reading of James Patterson. He actually said of his co-writers (who write the vast majority of his novels), "They actually pay me. Because they're learning so much". OUCH!!!


message 41: by Jemppu (new)

Jemppu | 1730 comments Chris wrote: "I'd like to see more illustrated books. Not just graphic novels and children's book, but illustrations in full-length novels as we see in some late 19th Century books by the likes of Dickens. The H..."

I *love* this idea. Alice in Wonderland was one of these kind I remember owning as kid.

With this there is however the 'risk' of limiting the readers own imagination to the illustrator's depiction of creatures and settings though.


message 42: by Michel (last edited Sep 02, 2018 01:27PM) (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments OldSchoolScholar wrote: "I'd like to see the end to famous authors enlisting co-writers to help them write their books...."

An even worst kind of case is when a celebrated author dies, with someone else then taking over the series he started while keeping the name of the dead author on the cover, in big letters. The one such case that aggravates me especially is the spy/military thriller books written after the death of Tom Clancy, but still sporting in bold letters on the cover 'A TOM CLANCY NOVEL', then in much smaller letters below the name of the actual writer. I find this practice profoundly dishonest, as it exploits the celebrity of a now dead author while not giving the same level/quality/dept of writing or story-telling. I don't care if the substitute author was supposedly endorsed by the family of the dead author or if he/she is a talented writer. If you write a book, then promote it on the strength of your own name, not on the name of some dead author.


message 43: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1327 comments Michael I agree to some extent but there are examples where it is the correct thing to do as when Brandon Sanderson finished The Wheel of Time.

His widow picked Sanderson, and Jordan was said to have outlined quite a bit of it. And Sanderson did an excellent job - some have said better than Jordan would have! It was the right move listing both names in that case.


message 44: by Michel (last edited Sep 02, 2018 02:08PM) (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments But which name was shown prominently on the covers of those books, Rachel? My grudge is not against having a substitute author finishing a book series, but against substitute authors who make a prominent display of the original author' name on the cover in order to profit from that dead author's popularity. Did those last books of the Wheel of Time series show Sanderson's name or Jordan's name most prominently? In the case example I gave, the words 'A TOM CLANCY NOVEL' covered a good third of the cover, while the name of the substitute writer was shown in much smaller lettering at the bottom of the cover. I am talking about a lack of intellectual honesty here.


message 45: by OldSchoolScholar (new)

OldSchoolScholar | 9 comments Continuing with this thought, One of the worst cases I came across about deceased authors "living on" was this. On pure impulse, I bought a newly published Western Book in Walmart. The author, William W. Johnstone, I later found out had been dead for a long time. It wasn't until 3 years after his death did his estate confirm it. They went on to say that a "carefully selected author" has been chosen to carry on his legacy--J. A. Johnstone, William's nephew.

What irks me is that his name is so huge on the book and that is says, "with J.A. Johnstone" in tiny letters under it. But William is long dead, he doesn't have any say over anything.

And I thought Patterson was bad by farming out 80% of his novels to unknowns, but at least he had some say in it.

Maybe I'll start a topic on what we'd like to see different in the INDUSTRY.


message 46: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1327 comments In my example I believe they were presented the same size one below the other


message 47: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 52 comments Amanda wrote: "I wish books had better bindings and covers. I know that's silly, but I'm very gentle with my hardcovers because, if I buy a hardcover, it means I want to have the book forever. Lately, it feels li..."

Yes! This!

Some of my Harry Potter books are in hardcover and others not. The Hardcover ones fell apart pretty quickly. I mean, I know I keep re-reading them, but they still shouldn't be this fragile. You'd think the hardcover would be more durable not less!


message 48: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (sunscour) | 31 comments Chris wrote: "I'd like to see more illustrated books. Not just graphic novels and children's book, but illustrations in full-length novels as we see in some late 19th Century books by the likes of Dickens. The H..."

****THIS****


message 49: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 157 comments I’m going to jump on the ‘more illustrations please’ band wagon. A recent book series which uses illustrations really well (imho) is The Stormlight Archives (starting with The Way of Kings) where the pictures of the fantasy beasts etc are in-universe taken from one of the characters’ sketchbooks.


message 50: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Yes, Ruth! Just a few scatterings, but it adds so much depth to the world and the character, I felt. Another one that comes to mind is The Little Prince which used art well to convey various poignant moments. Reading it without the illustrations would have lost some of the depth, I think.


« previous 1
back to top