Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 248997 times)

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redleaf

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1215 on: August 30, 2013, 07:03:20 PM »
Okay, maybe all y'all literary types can help me out. There's this novel I read within the past few years, and I can remember enough about it to know that it's a historical type novel that's not to horribly inaccurate.

This family gets dropped off in Canada on an island, they're going to be working on the island fishing and such. And there's another family there already. They have to get by with not enough food for anyone, the fishing boat only comes back once in a while. There's natives there, and in the end some of the people end up moving to a nearby city. I think one of the characters is a priest?

Yeah, I've really got nothing else, and I can't figure out who else to ask at this point. I can't get to a library for at least another week or so and it's bothering me now.

That would be Random Passage by Bernice Morgan - awesome book!

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1216 on: August 30, 2013, 07:56:11 PM »
With regards to using celebrities as descriptions for characters, it annoys me when I'm reading fanfiction and people can't even describe the canon characters properly.

I think I've probably mentioned earlier in the thread I read one POTC fanfic where Captain Jack Sparrow (and another one it was Will Turner) had bright blue eyes.  Um, I don't think so.  Sure Johnny's worn colored contacts to change his eye color in other movies like in Charlie ATCF, but in POTC his eyes were their usual gorgeous dark chocolate color. 

But as for other stories basing a character's look on a celebrity, I wouldn't find it as eyerolly if they'd just take a few minutes to describe the celebrity.  Instead of saying "He looked like Johnny Depp!" (Once saw that in a Janet Evanovich book), describing him.  Especially since, as someone else pointed out, celebrities change looks over the years so just using the name isn't enough and I'd really be annoyed if an author were to say "so and so around the time of this movie."  Cause then if I didn't know the actor or how they looked at that time, I'd have to put the book down to look up a picture.
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Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1217 on: August 30, 2013, 09:03:20 PM »
A writing guide I read once said to give your characters only minimal descriptions, and leave the rest to the reader's imagination.  6'2, shaggy blond hair, green eyes, and muscles where other guys don't even have places is always going to be more useful than "looks just like Soap Opera Guy!"  (FTR, I have no idea what any soap opera guys look like, nor most modern actors.) 

Oh, and if your story is in first person, for the love of the gods, don't write Mary Sue howlers like "I tossed my long, reddish-brown hair out of my eyes."  If you must describe 'yourself', then DO it!  "I have auburn hair and brown eyes."  Or have some other character describe 'you.' 

Quote
She watched as I yanked a comb through my hair.  "I never knew your hair was curly, Lar.  I know women who would kill for long honey-blond curls like those."

I swiped a line from the old granny-tale and added my best leer.  " 'The better to seduce you with, my dear'." 

Anya's one of the few people I allow to tease me, and she takes every advantage of it.  "Oooo, yes, if it wasn't for the beard and mustache, you'd make a very pretty girl."

"Don't forget my big blue eyes, too," I said sourly.  She was getting a little too close to the truth there, and I took enough hassles over my looks as a boy.  If short hair wasn't the mark of a peasant, I'd chop all this hair off in a heartbeat.  As it is, I keep it back in a warrior's braid and try to ignore it.
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Mollie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1218 on: August 30, 2013, 10:19:33 PM »
What about a historically important actress that almost everybody will know? I read a book about someone who wanted to be a model, and she was compared to a young Audrey Hepburn. I accepted that, because her movies were classics, and I can't think of anypne who hasn't seen my fair lady, or breakfest at Tiffanys or Roman Holiday.

My peeve is authors that give husbands and wifes that historically go together. It really threw me off reading about a Franklin and Eleanor Jones. I kept correcting the last name to Roosevelt. So, Franklin and Eleanor, George and Martha, Abraham and Mary etc is off putting.

Ereine

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1219 on: August 31, 2013, 12:16:23 AM »
The descriptions reminded me of a tiny thing that annoys me. It seems like the short hand for certain type of hero (rebellious, makes his own way, doesn't care about conventions) is to say that his hair is a bit longer than currently fashionable, brushing his collar. I've encountered it in everything from Regency romances to books set in this year, like the fashion never changed.

One problem with using celebrities to tell how hot your characters are is that not everyone will find them attractive. I just read one book that used Mel Gibson who I find really unattractive and so the hero became pretty unattractive too.

I can't claim to know a lot about police work, all I know I've learned from books and movies but I had to stop reading one book because it seemed so unrealistic. There was a woman who was almost the victim of a serial killer and her testimony convicted the killer. Then he escaped and is looking for the woman. A police officer is assigned to protect her. On the way to some safe place they stop to interview a woman who helped the killer escape (because there are apparently no other cops in the town) and discover that she's been murdered. The cop just gives the woman he's protecting a pair of gloves and asks her to help with searching the victim's home. The have been talking about just killing the murderer, I guess that's why they don't care but I would imagine that anything they find at the crime scene couldn't be used in court, especially as it was told that the killer has a really ruthless and skilled defence lawyer.

Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1220 on: August 31, 2013, 08:19:30 AM »


One problem with using celebrities to tell how hot your characters are is that not everyone will find them attractive. I just read one book that used Mel Gibson who I find really unattractive and so the hero became pretty unattractive too.
Not to mention, it makes your book incomprehensible a few decades from now. I know I read current books that refer to currently popular young actors, and often I get no meaning out of the description, because I can't remember exactly which young actor is which.  ::)

Elisabunny

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1221 on: August 31, 2013, 10:34:39 AM »
I recently couldn't get past a book's Kindle sample.

In order to establish our heroine's open-mindedness, she gets offended at a minor character's ethnic slur.  The slur?  Referring to a German character (our hero  ;) ) as Dutch.

Now, I grew up near Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I read many times how it was actually a misunderstanding of Deutsch, but I never saw it being presented as a slur, just a misunderstanding.

Plus, there was no previous indication in the book that our hero wasn't, in fact, Dutch- as, from the Netherlands.  Just, "oh, meet soandso.  He's Dutch."  Which could have been to explain his thick accent.
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Winterlight

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1222 on: August 31, 2013, 11:51:12 AM »
The descriptions reminded me of a tiny thing that annoys me. It seems like the short hand for certain type of hero (rebellious, makes his own way, doesn't care about conventions) is to say that his hair is a bit longer than currently fashionable, brushing his collar. I've encountered it in everything from Regency romances to books set in this year, like the fashion never changed.

Yeah, that's a guaranteed eyeroller, especially in modern books. I know guys with waist-length hair, no hair and everything in between. You aren't making him sound like a rebel- he sounds like someone who needs a haircut.
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Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1223 on: August 31, 2013, 01:41:45 PM »
For anyone bored of the very formulaic YA paranormal romance novels, a group called Chez Apocalypse wrote a parody of one girl's mysterious romance... with Cthulu.

http://www.amazon.com/Awoken-ebook/dp/B00EV5P866/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1224 on: August 31, 2013, 05:04:45 PM »
I recently couldn't get past a book's Kindle sample.

In order to establish our heroine's open-mindedness, she gets offended at a minor character's ethnic slur.  The slur?  Referring to a German character (our hero  ;) ) as Dutch.

Now, I grew up near Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I read many times how it was actually a misunderstanding of Deutsch, but I never saw it being presented as a slur, just a misunderstanding.

Plus, there was no previous indication in the book that our hero wasn't, in fact, Dutch- as, from the Netherlands.  Just, "oh, meet soandso.  He's Dutch."  Which could have been to explain his thick accent.
My grandfather, who was born in Singenrein in the Thuringian/Bavarian regions of Germany, was known as Dutch, because after WWI it was not so popular to be German in Western Colorado. He made sure his new neighbors knew that he was a US veteran of WWI, but found it far easier to explain his accent as Dutch. Thinking him a Dutchman who'd fought against the Germans was a lot less complicated than trying to explain he really WAS German, but had fought on the US side of the war.

In that case, I could see a Dutchman being offended at being called German, just as Koreans are offended at being called Japanese. It could be called an insult to be thought a member of a nation that had invaded and abused your real nation... but why would it be offensive to call a German Dutch? Do people think that being Dutch is a bad thing?
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 05:08:10 PM by Jocelyn »

lady_disdain

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1225 on: August 31, 2013, 09:24:45 PM »
Depending on the context, the problem isn't in being called Dutch, exactly, but that Germans, Dutch and (probably) Flemish Belgians would all be tossed in the same basket and called the same thing. Dutch was probably short hand for "weird sounding foreigner". In today's term, I would equate it with calling a Nicaraguan "Mexican", implying that all Latinos are the same thing and who cares, anyway?

violinp

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1226 on: September 01, 2013, 12:05:00 AM »
I recently couldn't get past a book's Kindle sample.

In order to establish our heroine's open-mindedness, she gets offended at a minor character's ethnic slur.  The slur?  Referring to a German character (our hero  ;) ) as Dutch.

Now, I grew up near Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I read many times how it was actually a misunderstanding of Deutsch, but I never saw it being presented as a slur, just a misunderstanding.

Plus, there was no previous indication in the book that our hero wasn't, in fact, Dutch- as, from the Netherlands.  Just, "oh, meet soandso.  He's Dutch."  Which could have been to explain his thick accent.
My grandfather, who was born in Singenrein in the Thuringian/Bavarian regions of Germany, was known as Dutch, because after WWI it was not so popular to be German in Western Colorado. He made sure his new neighbors knew that he was a US veteran of WWI, but found it far easier to explain his accent as Dutch. Thinking him a Dutchman who'd fought against the Germans was a lot less complicated than trying to explain he really WAS German, but had fought on the US side of the war.

In that case, I could see a Dutchman being offended at being called German, just as Koreans are offended at being called Japanese. It could be called an insult to be thought a member of a nation that had invaded and abused your real nation... but why would it be offensive to call a German Dutch? Do people think that being Dutch is a bad thing?

Well, for a while, there was such a thing as the "Pennsylvania Dutch" as a way to to say Germans. Perhaps that's what the author was thinking of? (has a vain hope that it's what was meant.)
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PeterM

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1227 on: September 01, 2013, 01:43:31 AM »

How about a "reader's forum pet peeve?" I like to peruse various book identification forums, both to keep my own identifying skills sharp and to get the inside line on books worth trying out. I figure any book that someone remembers and wants to track down years later is probably worth at least a look, right?

One of my pet peeves about these sites relates to the people posting looking for help. Most of them have at least a vague description of the book in the subject line. "Skilled Hunter Vs. Monster In The Arctic" is what I used for the subject line of one of my own queries, for example, with further plot details in the main post. Other people describe distinctive cover illustrations, which can be very useful for jogging people's memories. Some people don't remember much at all, but they tell what they do know. "Murder mystery from the 70's" is a heck of a lot better than nothing. Any detail in the subject line helps, if only because I know I can't identify and am not interested in a "Gothic Romance From The 50's," so I won't even bother to open that thread.

And then there are the legions of posts with the subject "Can't remember book" or "Help!" Completely useless. I can't get too upset because the majority of people who post aren't even close to being regulars, so they don't know the customs, and they might not go online much at all except for the occasional question about this or that. But still, it's annoying.

What really bugged me today, though, were the regulars posting to try and identify the books. Some sites have few readers and thus few replies. Some have a lot of readers and sometimes a whole lot of replies to any given request. Many of the replies are completely worthless. I'm not talking about replies to the effect of "Ooh, that sounds good, I hope someone IDs it!" or "I'm reminded of a completely different book that you might like" Those do nothing to answer the OP's question but they're perfectly innocuous and foster a sense of community on the site. I like that sort of thing, even when I'm excited because there are nine replies but it turns out none of them actually IDed the book.

What drives me nuts are the people who seem to have a pathological need to suggest possible answers, even when a single second's thought would indicate that, no, that can't possibly be what the OP is looking for. Longshot answers are one thing, because you never know if the OP is remembering some details wrong or conflating two or more books. So sure, many unlikely suggestions have their place and are worth a shot. But some of them latch onto a single detail and suggest something that is quite clearly not right, just to have an excuse to post. I'll make up some examples to avoid my admittedly childish and way too long rant conceivably identifying or upsetting anyone.

OP - "I'm looking for a hard science fiction story set on Pluto where at one point a horned alien catches on fire and dies."
#1 - "You're probably looking for The Lord Of The Rings. The Balrog has horns and is cloaked in fire."
#2 - "There's an old Disney cartoon where Pluto the dog tussles with a bull that has horns and is accidentally knocked into a fire."
#3 - "The movie 'Backdraft' is about firefighters and there are a lot of scenes with fire. You should check to see if there's a novelization." (*)
#4 - "Satan is often depicted as having horns. I think you're looking for 'Paradise Lost.' Or maybe Dante's 'Inferno.'"

or

OP - "I'm looking for a pornographic book I read back in the 70's, which had a lot of hookers working out of an old red schoolhouse. It was seriously explicit, man. Motherscrabblers scrabblin' everywhere, it was great."
#1 - "Anne of Green Gables wasn't pornographic, and she didn't live in a schoolhouse, but it does have a color and a building or building part right there in the title, so you might want to take a look."
# 2 - "Who else likes pie?"
#3 - "You know what else is green? Grass. There's a lot of grass in Middle Earth. I think you're looking The Silmarrillion or one of the other Tolken appendices. I'm pretty sure I remember a schoolhouse full of whores in there somewhere."
#4 - "Apple is my favorite kind of pie. What's yours?"
#5 - "I remember a picture book about a little red school-house.  The teacher was a bear and the students were all sorts of animals. Search Amazon, I'm sure you'll find it."
#6 - "PIE!!!!!"

Okay, I probably need to step away from the computer now. Also, I want pie.

* - For those who might be curious, there apparently was a novelization of the movie "Backdraft." I'm less surprised by its existence than I am by the fact that it was written by some guy named Kirk Mitchell rather than Alan Dean Foster. I thought Foster was required by law to do all movie novelizations from 1978 well into the mid-90's. (**)

** - Just to clarify, neither the movie nor the novelization of "Backdraft" take place on Pluto or involve aliens. (***)

*** - In all honestly I have to admit that I haven't read the novelization, so I should change that to "To the best of my knowledge, the novelization of "Backdraft" does not take place on Pluto or involve aliens."

MariaE

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1228 on: September 01, 2013, 01:50:47 AM »
Depending on the context, the problem isn't in being called Dutch, exactly, but that Germans, Dutch and (probably) Flemish Belgians would all be tossed in the same basket and called the same thing. Dutch was probably short hand for "weird sounding foreigner". In today's term, I would equate it with calling a Nicaraguan "Mexican", implying that all Latinos are the same thing and who cares, anyway?

Add Danes to that list. If I had a dollar for every time people mixed up Danish and Dutch or Denmark and the Netherlands I'd have constant funding for my yarn addiction  ;D


PeterM, I'm on a similar forum on GoodReads, and I'll add one more pet peeve to the list - people who don't read the OP to the end before replying.
OP: I'm looking for a book about X, Y and Z. I know it's not "Book" by Author, because I've already checked that one out.
#1: That sounds an awful look like "Book" by Author.
#2: Have you tried reading Book by Authhor?
#3: It's Book by Author, definitely!

I mind it less when the OP comes back to say that's not it in a later post - that's easily missed. But when it's right there in the OP??!?
 
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1229 on: September 01, 2013, 01:57:40 AM »
I recently couldn't get past a book's Kindle sample.

In order to establish our heroine's open-mindedness, she gets offended at a minor character's ethnic slur.  The slur?  Referring to a German character (our hero  ;) ) as Dutch.

Now, I grew up near Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I read many times how it was actually a misunderstanding of Deutsch, but I never saw it being presented as a slur, just a misunderstanding.

Plus, there was no previous indication in the book that our hero wasn't, in fact, Dutch- as, from the Netherlands.  Just, "oh, meet soandso.  He's Dutch."  Which could have been to explain his thick accent.
My grandfather, who was born in Singenrein in the Thuringian/Bavarian regions of Germany, was known as Dutch, because after WWI it was not so popular to be German in Western Colorado. He made sure his new neighbors knew that he was a US veteran of WWI, but found it far easier to explain his accent as Dutch. Thinking him a Dutchman who'd fought against the Germans was a lot less complicated than trying to explain he really WAS German, but had fought on the US side of the war.

In that case, I could see a Dutchman being offended at being called German, just as Koreans are offended at being called Japanese. It could be called an insult to be thought a member of a nation that had invaded and abused your real nation... but why would it be offensive to call a German Dutch? Do people think that being Dutch is a bad thing?

Well, for a while, there was such a thing as the "Pennsylvania Dutch" as a way to to say Germans. Perhaps that's what the author was thinking of? (has a vain hope that it's what was meant.)

I still don't understand how that is a racial slur.  Then again, I'm of Pennsylvania Dutch decent.
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