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Reader's Station > What are your biggest pet peeves in books?

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message 1: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
What really annoys you about books? This could be books in general or a particular book. We love a passionate rant here at CR&W.


message 2: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 100 comments Whinny female characters and self destructive characters who want pity...


message 3: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 19 comments Passive voice!


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

The world isn't fully realised and that it could have been a book you read before, it is so cliche.


message 5: by Nada (new)

Nada Al-Karmi (nadooush) shallow characters


message 6: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 12 comments Books that don't end the way I want them to, i.e., The Age of Innocence; books that I get so into I don't want them to end, like David Copperfield; books that are so extraordinary that I despair of writing anything good myself, i.e., anything by Marcel Proust; books by authors I don't like but I feel I have to read just because they are cultural icons, like Jane Austen; books that...well, that's enough ranting for now.


message 7: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Thorson (jennthorson) | 46 comments Characters who make decisions simply to fit a scene the author wants to do, not because the character has shown he/she would behave that way.

Tales that leave me wondering what the point was, and suspecting heavily that there wasn't one but the author was only messing with me. :)

Too much obvious telling how we, as the reader, are supposed to view or feel about a character but not backing that up with behavior/action.


message 8: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
I rarely chime in here but my biggest pet peeve is when the book leaves you hanging. You get to the end and start flipping through the back, in case there is a secret passage to the rest of the book or something.


message 9: by Patricia (new)

Patricia O'Sullivan | 57 comments I don't like writing that isn't balanced. Too much backstory is annoying as is too little. Too much dialogue confuses me, not enough bores me. Too many characters to keep track of puts me off as does a novel with too few characters. Finally, too much conflict in a story is exhausting, but not enough conflict makes for a dull story.


message 10: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Mullis | 15 comments It really bothers me when timelines don't mesh. A woman is 24, has a sister who is 5 years older than she is, her mother's been dead 7 years and her father tells her that when her mother was 24 she'd had the sister and was pregnant with her. ?? That's the kind of thing that drives me nuts.


message 11: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Griffin (authorgeraldggriffin) | 306 comments Ottilie wrote: "Whinny female characters and self destructive characters who want pity..."

Gads, who writes that stuff?!


message 12: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie (rosemariel) | 12 comments TSTL (too stupid to live) characters. I prefer a modicum of common sense, particularly in protagonists; and don't much care if it makes plotting more difficult for the author. Oy!


message 13: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 100 comments Gerald way to many books -_-


message 14: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Griffin (authorgeraldggriffin) | 306 comments Rosemarie wrote: "TSTL (too stupid to live) characters. I prefer a modicum of common sense, particularly in protagonists; and don't much care if it makes plotting more difficult for the author. Oy!"

If you say so. Thankfully, I've spared myself from them! If I got into one, I wouldn't read far enough to even complain. Thank you for your reply.:)


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

books with endings that are too convenienct because the author set up a premise that could not be resolved. too many stephen king stories do that. like in "it." that clown turns into a spider, and the group kills the spider. that clown was unstoppable. why does it turn into a spider? why was it so easy to kill? no explanation.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Richard wrote: "books with endings that are too convenienct because the author set up a premise that could not be resolved. too many stephen king stories do that. like in "it." that clown turns into a spider, a..."

Exactly, that book was so terrible and I'm not sure why people love that book so much.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Convenient endings. When the author has dug a hole too deep for their protagonist and are forced to come up with a last minute device to save them without foreshadowing the action.

I disagree with Richard on 'IT' as I believe he's confusing the movie with the book. I'll have to go back and reread the ending to see if I'm wrong. If I remember correctly. In the movie the scene where they defeated the monster was shown as a shadow against a cave wall, with the alien/monster appearing spider like.
In the book it was a metaphysical confrontation on a different plane of existence. I seem to recall something about rubber bands and tongues. Go figure.


message 18: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Morrese (dl_morrese) | 17 comments Characters, especially protagonists, with no admirable traits. Without them, I don't care what happens.


message 19: by Ron (new)

Ron Heimbecher (RonHeimbecher) | 42 comments Rosemarie wrote: "...and don't much care if it makes plotting more difficult for the author. Oy!"

Good thought Rosemarie. I think that it should be horrendously difficult for the writer, for if it's not, it will be very difficult to keep the reader's attention. Why should a reader give a hoot about a story that it too easy on the characters, ergo, too easy on the writer.


message 20: by Ron (new)

Ron Heimbecher (RonHeimbecher) | 42 comments Richard wrote: "In the book it was a metaphysical confrontation on a different plane of existence. I seem to recall something about rubber bands and tongues. Go figure."

Ditto, Richard. I don't think movie adaptations of King's work can be true to the books' endings and still give test audiences the HEA* endings they crave. Many of his books end much on the darker side, even if the protagonist wins (or is at least redeemed) in the end.

(*on the off chance that someone in the group is unfamiliar with the formula term -- Happily Ever After.)


message 21: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Thorson (jennthorson) | 46 comments Ron wrote: "Richard wrote: "In the book it was a metaphysical confrontation on a different plane of existence. I seem to recall something about rubber bands and tongues. Go figure."

Ditto, Richard. I don't th..."


It's true that King's stuff, as engaging as his books may be, largely doesn't seem to translate well to screen. (Compounded, in my opinion, by the screenplays he's tried to write himself. Sometimes being too close to a project isn't helpful when it comes to streamlining a book to become an engaging film.)


message 22: by Ron (new)

Ron Heimbecher (RonHeimbecher) | 42 comments Now, to the original question... my biggest pet peeve is a writer's (or publisher's) firm belief in Sam Goldwyn's adage "If you have a message, send a telegram."

Orwell - 1984, Animal Farm; Sinclair - The Jungle; Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451; Steinbeck - Grapes of Wrath; all my heroes. Nothing changes if no one has the courage to step up to the plate and write about it.

Imagine where we'd be if Woodward and Bernstein followed Goldwyn's "message."

It is important to note, however, that all of the above were brilliant in the use of language, enough to spin a wonderful story around engrossing characters without coming off like a dull, didactic professor or a moralist preacher.


message 23: by Paula (new)

Paula Millhouse (pmillhouse) | 133 comments Passive voice.

Failing to tie together loose ends at the end of the story.

Melodrama, for the sake of melodrama.


message 24: by Mary (new)

Mary Findley | 110 comments I have been privileged recently to start reading a bunch of indie writers. I have communicated with several of them personally and I fear the thing that bugs me most is that they have errors. I used to be a proofreader and editor and I can't stop finding them. Some of them are fine, engaging stories and plots and all the rest, and they tell me they have upwards of 9 people read them for errors. Why are so many of them still there? And when I ask about them, they say, "Oh, can you make a list, and I'll fix them?" Should I hang out a shingle? Does the world need me? :-)


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan Diane wrote: "Passive voice!"

Please elaborate..?


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan nada wrote: "shallow characters"

Tell me more please.


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan Patricia wrote: I don't like writing that isn't balanced. Too much backstory is annoying as is too little. Too much dialogue confuses me, not enough bores me. Too many characters to keep track of puts me off as does a novel with too few characters. Finally, too much conflict in a story is exhausting, but not enough conflict makes for a dull story. "

O M G ! you don't want much !?
you just want perfection! Altho there are some great writers / authors - I've found mistakes, low action, high action, etc. so...my question to you would be... are you EVER satisfied? lol


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan Gerald wrote: "Ottilie wrote: "Whinny female characters and self destructive characters who want pity..."

Gads, who writes that stuff?!"


but aren't they more realistic? I don't want to read about absolutely perfect people - close to perfect is ok...lol but absolutely perfect? naw


message 29: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Baxter (smallblondehippy) | 50 comments Richard wrote: "books with endings that are too convenienct because the author set up a premise that could not be resolved. too many stephen king stories do that. like in "it." that clown turns into a spider, a..."

Yes! That bugged the hell out me. Talk about a disappointing ending! I dislike insta-love. Girl sees boy. Girl loves boy. Boy is most amazing thing on planet. Boy sees girl. Boy loves girl. Girl is most amazing thing on the plant. You get the picture.


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan Elizabeth wrote: .. I dislike insta-love. Girl sees boy. Girl loves boy. Boy is most amazing thing on planet. Boy sees girl. Boy loves girl. Girl is most amazing thing on the plant.."

lol - plant...

anyway... what if it's paranormal - werewolves for example, and they recognize their mate? It's fated and in their genes - or vampires who suddenly can breathe and feel their heart beat (as in being "blooded") like in Immortals after Dark..?


message 31: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Baxter (smallblondehippy) | 50 comments Susan wrote: lol - plant..."

Hee hee! Have you never heard of those plants boys and girls live on?!


message 32: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 100 comments Susan *ARK* wrote: "Gerald wrote: "Ottilie wrote: "Whinny female characters and self destructive characters who want pity..."

Gads, who writes that stuff?!"

but aren't they more realistic? I don't want to read ..."


Haha true some whinny-ness is fine, but when the whole book is them being whinny and not wanting to do anything for themselves because they believe others should do it for them. For some people it probably is believable, but isn't fun to read. Haha I might be a little naive but I like the characters having a fault then maybe fight still


message 33: by Nessie (new)

Nessie Q. (iseenessie) | 1 comments Rosemarie wrote: "TSTL (too stupid to live) characters. I prefer a modicum of common sense, particularly in protagonists; and don't much care if it makes plotting more difficult for the author. Oy!"

I'm inclined to agree with this one. I mean it annoys me to hell when a protagonist lacks common sense. There's a limitation to how stubborn/defiant a protagonist should be. I've read a series where the heroine was too stubborn and self centered you'll think she's stupid.


message 34: by Paula (new)

Paula Millhouse (pmillhouse) | 133 comments Passive voice: The gun had been fired by Jacob.

Active Voice: Jacob fired the gun.


message 35: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 100 comments Oh Paula I thought you meant passive like the character was whimy!


message 36: by Fred (new)

Fred Hughes | 1 comments I read a book recently where the author randomly jumped ahead in the story line, twice, revealing key answers to questions that were still building in the story line.

I still can't figure out why they would have done that as it did not add to my enjoyment of the book


message 37: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 100 comments That's so weird!


message 38: by Ron (new)

Ron Heimbecher (RonHeimbecher) | 42 comments Fred wrote: "I read a book recently where the author randomly jumped ahead in the story line, twice, revealing key answers to questions that were still building in the story line.

I still can't figure out wh..."


1. poor editing. The info might have been included as a "to do" and never removed.
2. The writer doesn't understand the concept of foreshadowing....


message 39: by Julie (last edited Feb 20, 2012 09:14PM) (new)

Julie Reece I'm not into books where the MC doesn't have a clear goal or character arc. I don't love it when the MC does something completely out of character just to aid an ailing plotline.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan Elizabeth wrote: "Susan wrote: lol - plant..."

Hee hee! Have you never heard of those plants boys and girls live on?!"


2 funny...


message 41: by Frank (new)

Frank Mundo | 19 comments Fluffed out novels that probably should have been short stories.


message 42: by Greg (new)

Greg Scowen (gregscowen) For me, it is novels that have incomplete plot-lines (regardless of how many plots there are). By this I mean, where you close the book at the last page and wonder what happened to the girl that flew past the 10th floor window or the green elephant that escaped from the zoo.
If I have questions, the author hasn't done their job and tied up all the loose ends.

I also seriously hate deus ex machina*. Just figure out what you want to write, or at least go back and introduce that damned gun or villain earlier in with a little foreshadowing or something.

I hate these as much in novels as I do in film and television. Yes, I am looking at you L.O.S.T.!


* a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.


message 43: by Luke (new)

Luke Benoit (httpwwwgoodreadscomlukeinlb) | 7 comments I will not read any books with TINY PRINT ever ever ever!


message 44: by Nora aka Diva (new)

Nora aka Diva (DuctTapeDiva) Spelling errors, the wrong homophone getting used and characters with names I can never figure how to pronounce. Example: Suej, how do you pronounce that?


message 45: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Thorson (jennthorson) | 46 comments Nora aka Diva wrote: "Spelling errors, the wrong homophone getting used and characters with names I can never figure how to pronounce. Example: Suej, how do you pronounce that?"

Probably "SOO-edge"-- Which is sort of unfortunate, unless the character is from the planet Roetoe-Ruter or something. :)


message 46: by Nora aka Diva (last edited Feb 21, 2012 01:04PM) (new)

Nora aka Diva (DuctTapeDiva) I never thought of that so I settled on Swayge. Like suede but the jeh J sound at the end. lol.


message 47: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Thorson (jennthorson) | 46 comments Nora aka Diva wrote: "I never thought of that so I settled on Swayge. Like suede but the jeh J sound at the end. lol."

I like your pronunciation far, far better. :) Let's go with that.


message 48: by Rosemarie (last edited Feb 21, 2012 01:31PM) (new)

Rosemarie (rosemariel) | 12 comments Nora aka Diva wrote: "Spelling errors, the wrong homophone getting used

Oh, Nora, good one! I collected the homophones for a while, but gave up. (My all-time strangest was littoral for literal. Whoa, a geology spellchecker.) Two in three pages and I'm completely off that author, unfortunately.

Another is the misuse and overuse of apostrophes. Some authors put one in every time they make a noun plural. Someone must be having a sale on them.


message 49: by Sonya (new)

Sonya marie madden | 72 comments too many similies/metaphores


message 50: by Sonya (new)

Sonya marie madden | 72 comments Jenn wrote: "Ron wrote: "Richard wrote: "In the book it was a metaphysical confrontation on a different plane of existence. I seem to recall something about rubber bands and tongues. Go figure."

Ditto, Richard..."


But the movie Misery was awesome!


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