I Kinda Want to Throw my Book Across the Room | 5 of my Bookish Pet Peeves

(No books were harmed in the writing of this post)

23 comments

(No books were harmed in the writing of this post)

I fundamentally respect books, and I like most of the ones I read. However, sometimes, like with all things… I just cannot stand them.

My Bookish Pet Peeves:

1) Obvious Political Bias (Without True Substance)

I’m not trying to stop authors from sharing their opinions because that’s the entire point of books and we need free and open discourse to function as a society. But it does get annoying when I’m trying to read an apolitical book but the author is taking childish jabs at Republicans every other page without facilitating any real discussions about politics. Thank you.

(I recently read a book where Trump was mentioned for literally no reason probably five different times and it completely took me out of the story)

Update: so, I ended up taking the plunge after all and writing an entire post on this

2) Spoiling Other Books

Authors, PLEASE don’t do this! Please! I really don’t know why this is such a common thing.

Everything, Everything spoils Flowers for Algernon and a bunch of other books. The Mother-Daughter Book Club spoils Little Women. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time spoils The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have not read this one yet, but apparently The Mystery of Mrs. Christie spoils The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. THAT ONE IS A CRIME! (pun sort of but not sort of intended)

3) Changing the Location for Different Editions

The main example of this that I can think of is my favorite series, Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series. When I read the first book from my library, the story took place in Connecticut. When I ordered the second book, Pip was living in England. The name of the town changed, the slang the characters used changed, and as it had been a few months since I read the first book I was really really confused for a while. Then I realized they had changed all this stuff for the US version of the books, so when I thought the setting was Connecticut that was just for the American editions. Confusing!

4) Anachronisms in Historical Fiction

It’s usually the female characters of historical fiction books who have the same sensibilities as modern-day feminists, even though it makes no sense within the historical context of the book and the society in which she lives. You can write a strong female character in a historical setting who believes in equality without making it seem like she stepped out of 2021. A woman in Regency England just isn’t going to have the same concept of feminism as one living today and it doesn’t make sense to write her that way.

5) Cliffhangers at the End of Every Chapter

One thing that inexplicably bothers me in books is when the author puts a mini cliffhanger at the end of every single chapter. They’re often dramatic one-liner sentences, and when every chapter has one they start to seem very manufactured.

Instead of creating suspense, it ends up diminishing suspense and making me annoyed. Like the boy who cried wolf.

Those are all the bookish pet peeves I’ll feature in today’s post. Do you share any of these? What bothers you in books? Let me know in the comments!

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Classical Music Piece of the Day: Vivaldi- Autumn from the Four Seasons

(Because I am extremely excited for my favorite season to begin)

23 comments on “I Kinda Want to Throw my Book Across the Room | 5 of my Bookish Pet Peeves”

  1. Wow. I never heard of that changing the locations thing. Seems kind of patronizing to American readers. Like we can’t follow the story unless it’s set in our own country? I mean, I actually seek out books set in interesting places in order to learn about that place and time.

    Which is why I’m SO down with #4. When characters in a historical setting have the exact same values as modern people, or — just as bad — when they talk exactly like modern people, all I can say is, weak. Weak research. If you’d really immersed yourself in the time period, then you would know what was important to people of that time period and what types of conflicts were likely to arise for them. Some of these will be universal human problems, sure, like parents loving their children … but not all. And yes, this also goes if you are writing a fantasy but borrowed heavily from a certain time period such as the Middle Ages. If you’ve got kings and castles, my friend, you have a hierarchical society and very few of your characters, if any, should be dyed-in-the-wool egalitarians.

    If any book commits #4 in a really egregious way, you get a pass. You have my permission to harm that book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha exactly, I was annoyed about the locations thing because, like, do you think Americans cannot handle reading a book by a British author that takes place in the UK? I’m assuming since it’s a YA series they wanted Pip to be more relatable, but it’s not that hard to understand differences between US and UK and I would rather just read the original how Holly Jackson originally wrote it 😂

      And yes, the anachronisms are very annoying. I had to DNF one book recently because it took place in Regency England, and the main character was complaining about “men running everything” literally every single time she opened her mouth and it was just extremely unrealistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I am with you on *all* of those pet peeves, but my biggest pet peeve is the anachronisms in historical fiction. I mean, you wouldn’t add in modern technology to the plot of a historical fiction, so why modern sensibilities?

    One pet peeve I have that wasn’t on the list was when a book follows two protagonists on opposing sides. It’s extremely hard to root for a character when I also understand the motives of the other. I had to DNF one book for this reason. I’m supposed to rally behind the protagonist’s viewpoint, not read about two antagonistic protagonists that are usually at each other’s throats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that analogy of not including modern technology and sensibilities! It perfectly explains what bothers me!

      That’s an interesting pet peeve, I never really thought about that— one of my other pet peeves though are multi POV books where one side is WAY more interesting than the other!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!

        Oh yeah, I hate that too because it’s usually soooo slow paced in the less interesting side and I’m trying to force myself through it and not look ahead XD

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This was such a good post!
    And while I haven’t experienced the location thing myself, I am aware of the fact that they such stuff for American readers, for some reason!
    P.S.- I loved the title!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They changed the setting in the US edition of AGGGTM?? Why?? 😳 Honestly, do American publishers just not trust their readers or something? It already drives me insane that they changed “Philosopher’s Stone” to “Sorcerous Stone” in the Harry Potter series, because, like, the Philosopher’s Stone is an actual thing that plays a huge role in European and Alchemical history! There are so many legends surrounding it, and then they just rename it to some random other thing because they’re worried kids reading the books won’t know what a philosopher is?? 🙄

    This type of stuff is also one of my biggest pet peeves, although in Germany, translators are not really notorious for changing settings, but character names. Which I hate! Like, why not introduce kids to foreign names early on and let them get to know other cultures? It sounds so weird when British teenagers suddenly run around with names like Nanni instead of Isabel or something 🙄 And then, for minor characters, they’ll sometimes have translated the name for the first books in a series, but then apparently forgot that character had already occured and left the original name in later books – thus creating two different people 🙈

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it’s so annoying! I read the first book of AGGGTM and was picturing a New England town in my head, and then I started the second and it was like “Pip is in Year 12….. everyone lined up in a queue…. she went on holiday” and I was like wait… am I crazy or is something different here? The name of the town was even different. I actually had to Google it and dig around to make sure I was not making up the clear memory that the town was Fairview, Connecticut in the first book! And yes the Philosopher’s -> Sorcerer’s Stone thing too, I forgot to put that in this post but that’s the other major example I was thinking of. It’s so strange that publishers seem to think Americans need everything to be “Americanized” or whatever their logic is, haha

      And wow yeah that does sound confusing with translations changing names. Actually, I have a friend whose family is from the Netherlands, she’s bilingual and she read Harry Potter in Dutch so when we would discuss the books she often didn’t know what minor characters I was talking about because in the Dutch version the names were all different!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yes, the Dutch versions are particularly passionate about changing names 🤣 I just got back from the Netherlands, but while I was there, I obviously had to go into a bookshop and flip through one of their Harry Potter editions. Imagine my surprise when the Dursleys were suddenly the Duffelings and Neville was Marcel Lubbermans 😳 I kind of feel sorry for your friend for having to have gotten to know the books with these horrifying new character names…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. On 1, I’m so glad I read YA because I’ve never had to account for that. On 2, that annoys me so, so much! The Doctor Who episode Unicorn And The Wasp spoilt Murder On The Orient Express and FOR WHAT. And on 3, I immediately thought of GGGTM because while I read the British edition, I ended up nearly having a whole argument with a reader on Goodreads who insisted it was set in Connecticut. Turns out we were both technically right!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah I absolutely HATE the spoilers thing. I don’t know why anyone feels the need to include major spoilers for very well known, good books. It’s one thing if it’s integral to the plot, I guess, but put a spoiler warning at least! And don’t just randomly drop spoilers for extremely great books that people probably would want to read!

      And yes I really don’t know why the publisher of AGGGTM decided to change it— I thought I was losing my mind for a second when I started reading the second book which I had ordered shipped from the UK before it came out here and suddenly the name of the town was totally different and it was obviously not set in America. It would have been way better to just keep the original and trust Americans to understand locations 😂

      Like

  6. Great post, and I completely agree with the fourth point. I read a lot of historical fiction so I’ve read quite a few books that have had characters who are feminists like they’re living in modern times. I like reading books with feminist characters, but they should be feminist for the time period, if that makes sense.

    I also don’t like when historical fiction books have characters that speak like people today. There’s usually some difference with vocabulary and such, so I think that the author should try to make it as accurate as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! This isn’t a book but I like Sybil from Downton Abbey as a feminist character who actually seems like a woman from 1916 and does things like shock her parents by wearing pants to dinner and attending suffrage protests, instead of constantly, unsubtly monologuing about hating the patriarchy 😂
      And yes it is also weird when the dialog sounds modern! It completely takes me out of the story

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Regarding #1, for me it’s not even the political bias but just the fact that some books mention politics for NO REASON and it’s so annoying especially because I’m not even American and the political climate and system is totally different in my country. It’s like some authors don’t realise that not every person is American and wants to read about book characters randomly criticising Trump…

    And the spoiling books – omg, you are so right on that!!. It’s even more annoying when some people justify it by saying “well, that book has been out for years, how haven’t you read it?” because yes, I have *all* the time in the world and have to be reading all the classic and popular books first so I’m not spoiled for them out of nowhere. That argument makes no sense.

    I was so confused about A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder too! I got the audiobook and the ebook and I was confused because of the location changes for really no good reason, in my opinion.

    Awesome post!
    P.S.: Was the title an Olivia Rodrigo song reference?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow yeah, I hate the unnecessary politics in books even living in the country where it’s usually relevant– I never really thought about how annoying it must be to read all that when you don’t even live in America! And yes I just don’t understand why authors like spoiling other books and no one ever really criticizes it. Being spoiled for a book you wanted to read is such a bad feeling and a lot of the time it’s just unnecessary to mention the ending of the book you’re name-dropping. As for AGGGTM, it seems no one understands why they would change the location… it really does not make sense. My best guess is relatability, but seriously, it’s not that hard to comprehend that there are other countries besides America lol

      And YES the title WAS actually an Olivia Rodrigo reference! I’m really impressed anyone noticed that!

      Like

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