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Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 1087316 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1320 on: September 09, 2013, 05:22:05 PM »
I'm reading Shogun right now, on and off, as its aggravating me a bit. The author writes like Inigo Montoya, flourishing every so often about things that its easy to lose track if what's going on. Im reminded of the Illiad, but at least Homer remembered the point, of he took his sweet time of getting to it.

Pen^2

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1321 on: September 09, 2013, 05:35:50 PM »
I'm reading Shogun right now, on and off, as its aggravating me a bit. The author writes like Inigo Montoya, flourishing every so often about things that its easy to lose track if what's going on. Im reminded of the Illiad, but at least Homer remembered the point, of he took his sweet time of getting to it.

Oh, I really feel for you! Loads of people recommended the book to me until I finally read it, and it was very frustrating because of this. I can only guess that the author might have been trying to use the writing style to bring across some sort of subtley-layered, dreamy oriental feel, affecting to be like The Tale of Genji or even Dream of the Red Chamber, which both used the sleepy meandering style quite well. At any rate, to me, Shogun just came across as disjointed and poorly-organised, and a little make-it-up-as-we-go. I liked the film more :P

AnnaJ

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1322 on: September 09, 2013, 07:41:23 PM »
A peeve I didn't realize I had - trying to end each chapter with a "CRUD MONKEYS!, a page-turning surprise!!!" 

I was reading - emphasis on was - a light mystery by a new-to-me author.  About a third of the way through the book I realized that she was trying to hook readers into continuing to the next chapter by introducing a tense/surprising/mysterious situation.  The problem was that most of these attempts fell flat, and this was exacerbated by her habit of beginning the next chapter hours after the last one ended and then recapping the situation by having her heroine tell someone what happened.  Aaaarrrggghhh!

Edited to add, so that's what Crud Monkeys replaces - I always wondered about those replacements.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 07:43:42 PM by AnnaJ »

Leafy

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1323 on: September 10, 2013, 05:55:29 AM »
Inaccurate character descriptions. I'm thinking in particular of characters (female) who are described as overweight or plump, with an appropriate clothing size given but then a totally unrealistic weight given to cap it off. I'm thinking of one in particular that was from UK chick-lit. I had to do the conversion for the character's weight because it did not sound right. Nope, the only way that girl was overweight, or even the size given, was if she was five feet or under. She was not.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1324 on: September 10, 2013, 06:08:20 AM »
I'm reading Shogun right now, on and off, as its aggravating me a bit. The author writes like Inigo Montoya, flourishing every so often about things that its easy to lose track if what's going on. Im reminded of the Illiad, but at least Homer remembered the point, of he took his sweet time of getting to it.
I had the same problem with Les Miserables (the book). Hugo kept going off at lengthy, completely irrelevant tangents. It irritated me so much that I gave up on the book, long before the end.

Petticoats

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1325 on: September 10, 2013, 10:01:37 AM »
Inaccurate character descriptions. I'm thinking in particular of characters (female) who are described as overweight or plump, with an appropriate clothing size given but then a totally unrealistic weight given to cap it off. I'm thinking of one in particular that was from UK chick-lit. I had to do the conversion for the character's weight because it did not sound right. Nope, the only way that girl was overweight, or even the size given, was if she was five feet or under. She was not.

Oh, that made me furious in an Anne Stuart I read (part of). The heroine is constantly being described as big, even a little ungainly with all the flesh on her big frame, she's super self-conscious about it, blah blah blah--it's a huge deal. When we finally get numbers, we find out that she's 5'7" and weighs... 135 pounds.

Uh, no. 135 is actually what the government considers standard weight for that height. I pay attention to this because I am 5'7" and a half, and I was actually on the skinny side at 135. So no, 135 pounds on a 5'7" frame is not going to look like some kind of Rubenesque Amazon. I stopped reading the book at that point.

cwm

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1326 on: September 10, 2013, 10:50:26 AM »
I'm reading Shogun right now, on and off, as its aggravating me a bit. The author writes like Inigo Montoya, flourishing every so often about things that its easy to lose track if what's going on. Im reminded of the Illiad, but at least Homer remembered the point, of he took his sweet time of getting to it.
I had the same problem with Les Miserables (the book). Hugo kept going off at lengthy, completely irrelevant tangents. It irritated me so much that I gave up on the book, long before the end.

Agreed. I cannot for the life of me read The House of the Seven Gables. It's too long, it makes no sense, and I just don't care one whit what the characters choose to do. I can't connect with them at all because the story takes such a long time to get around to them.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1327 on: September 10, 2013, 12:02:28 PM »
^ When I was 50 pages or so in and they were still describing the dingdangity house, I tossed that one, too.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1328 on: September 10, 2013, 10:15:10 PM »
Funny thing is, some authors can get away with giving a lot of information well. Has a one read James Michner? I read Hawaii which had a huge cats of characters and I didn't find it bring.

Sedorna

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1329 on: September 10, 2013, 11:38:52 PM »
Funny thing is, some authors can get away with giving a lot of information well. Has a one read James Michner? I read Hawaii which had a huge cats of characters and I didn't find it bring.

Well, of course not. Enormous felines are always interesting.  >:D

zyrs

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1330 on: September 10, 2013, 11:39:39 PM »
Inaccurate character descriptions. I'm thinking in particular of characters (female) who are described as overweight or plump, with an appropriate clothing size given but then a totally unrealistic weight given to cap it off. I'm thinking of one in particular that was from UK chick-lit. I had to do the conversion for the character's weight because it did not sound right. Nope, the only way that girl was overweight, or even the size given, was if she was five feet or under. She was not.

Oh, that made me furious in an Anne Stuart I read (part of). The heroine is constantly being described as big, even a little ungainly with all the flesh on her big frame, she's super self-conscious about it, blah blah blah--it's a huge deal. When we finally get numbers, we find out that she's 5'7" and weighs... 135 pounds.

Uh, no. 135 is actually what the government considers standard weight for that height. I pay attention to this because I am 5'7" and a half, and I was actually on the skinny side at 135. So no, 135 pounds on a 5'7" frame is not going to look like some kind of Rubenesque Amazon. I stopped reading the book at that point.

I remember reading a story where the heroine was described in such a way that the mental picture you would get of her was "just this side of a blue whale" huge.  Every sentence that lead up to her height and weight being mentioned described her with disgust - pasty flesh, sagging body, breaking the concrete when she walked descriptions.

So then the author mentioned her actual height and weight.  5'4" and around 190-220 lbs.  While that is larger than normal by government standards, it isn't really all that large.  And definitely she could not have saved the day the way she did, as she didn't have the size for it.  It ended up being the last thing I ever read by that author.


violinp

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1331 on: September 11, 2013, 12:03:28 AM »
Inaccurate character descriptions. I'm thinking in particular of characters (female) who are described as overweight or plump, with an appropriate clothing size given but then a totally unrealistic weight given to cap it off. I'm thinking of one in particular that was from UK chick-lit. I had to do the conversion for the character's weight because it did not sound right. Nope, the only way that girl was overweight, or even the size given, was if she was five feet or under. She was not.

Oh, that made me furious in an Anne Stuart I read (part of). The heroine is constantly being described as big, even a little ungainly with all the flesh on her big frame, she's super self-conscious about it, blah blah blah--it's a huge deal. When we finally get numbers, we find out that she's 5'7" and weighs... 135 pounds.

Uh, no. 135 is actually what the government considers standard weight for that height. I pay attention to this because I am 5'7" and a half, and I was actually on the skinny side at 135. So no, 135 pounds on a 5'7" frame is not going to look like some kind of Rubenesque Amazon. I stopped reading the book at that point.

I remember reading a story where the heroine was described in such a way that the mental picture you would get of her was "just this side of a blue whale" huge.  Every sentence that lead up to her height and weight being mentioned described her with disgust - pasty flesh, sagging body, breaking the concrete when she walked descriptions.

So then the author mentioned her actual height and weight.  5'4" and around 190-220 lbs.  While that is larger than normal by government standards, it isn't really all that large.  And definitely she could not have saved the day the way she did, as she didn't have the size for it.  It ended up being the last thing I ever read by that author.

I'm 205 pounds and 4'11". I'm here to tell you that, though I am certainly, ahem, curvy, I'm hardly breaking concrete. A woman who's 5 inches taller than I am wouldn't even really register as fat to me. That author was an idiot.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Allyson

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1332 on: September 11, 2013, 01:45:46 AM »
In general I think giving specific numbers for height and *especially* weight is unnecessary, and often a bad idea, for these reasons. Everyone will develop their own mental picture of "tall and athletic" or "small and curvy" without the author needing to spell it out. I had a similar experience to some readers above when reading about a supposedly really fit, muscular policewoman who was 5'9 and 125 lbs. It threw me because I picture that as quite skinny. Another person might not think so. But if the author had just stuck to "taller than average and in really good shape" that would have worked better, I think. It doesn't really *add* anything to my experience to get driver's-license style descriptions.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1333 on: September 11, 2013, 02:17:56 AM »
I'm reading Shogun right now, on and off, as its aggravating me a bit. The author writes like Inigo Montoya, flourishing every so often about things that its easy to lose track if what's going on. Im reminded of the Illiad, but at least Homer remembered the point, of he took his sweet time of getting to it.
I had the same problem with Les Miserables (the book). Hugo kept going off at lengthy, completely irrelevant tangents. It irritated me so much that I gave up on the book, long before the end.

Agreed. I cannot for the life of me read The House of the Seven Gables. It's too long, it makes no sense, and I just don't care one whit what the characters choose to do. I can't connect with them at all because the story takes such a long time to get around to them.
And Outdoor Girl wrote: "When I was 50 pages or so in and they were still describing the dingdangity house, I tossed that one too."

I have to confess that The House of the Seven Gables was a title unknown to me (I'm not American, which is maybe a bit of an excuse). Googled it: I have heard of Nathaniel Hawthorne, but not hitherto, of this one of his.  Learning what I have from you folks, am reckoning "one to leave alone" !

poundcake

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1334 on: September 11, 2013, 06:43:44 AM »
Actually, Hawthorne's short stories are amazing, twisted, and creepy. It's a shame they ruin him for people with The Scarlet Letter and House of the Seven Gables in school because there are more heavy handed "morals" to be extracted. Don't completely abandon him yet!

My current peeve is being utterly unable to come up with the right name for a FMC in my latest writing project. It's a peeve of mine that so many books in this genre have either overly fluffy names, or historically inaccurate names. I appreciate that a heroine has certain qualities, but it is highly unlikely that your Austen-obsessed FMC in 2013 will really have the name "Jane" to boot. Nor is your titled 18th c. French lady likely to be named "Typhanie." A rose by any other name really might not smell as sweet.