Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 240167 times)

1 Member and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Petticoats

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3494
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1320 on: September 09, 2013, 04:39:59 PM »
I know this is a thread for pet peeves, but I want to raise a glass to one of my favorite writers who died last month, Elizabeth Peters.  I think of her when I see this thread because I read all of her novels and, despite one of her series going for 19 books, she never hit one of my pet peeves...RIP, Elizabeth.

Hear, hear. 

I had the privilege of meeting her several times.  We even went out to dinner together.  She was a sweet, smart and funny lady who will be greatly missed. 

Her Egyptology was bang on.  We were all tickled when she used a friend as a major character in one of her novels.

I'm so envious. Just from reading her books I imagined her as a lovely person and a ton of fun to hang out with.

Elisabunny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1358
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1321 on: September 09, 2013, 05:44:56 PM »
I know this is a thread for pet peeves, but I want to raise a glass to one of my favorite writers who died last month, Elizabeth Peters.  I think of her when I see this thread because I read all of her novels and, despite one of her series going for 19 books, she never hit one of my pet peeves...RIP, Elizabeth.


Actually, I tried reading one of her Amelia Peabody books and it hit so many of my pet peeves I never felt like reading another one. I can't stand characters that are so perfect they seem like parodies of themselves. This book was deep into the series so it started out with the main character giving a long synopsis of all the previous books and detailing the perfect life that she and her perfect husband share with their perfect children and their perfect spouses and perfect servants. That was bad enough, but not a deal-breaker, except that it was a symptom of a pet peeve I run into a lot in modern mysteries. Namely that the book focuses solely on the characters and there is only a passing nod to an actual mystery. In this instance, after the murder they muse on who could have done it, then leave the country to go help their son the super-spy on his espionage mission, and when they get back the person who committed the murder walks up and admits it. They spend the rest of the book dealing with archaeology. Sorry, when something is billed as a mystery, I expect the plot to revolve around a mystery.

I loved the early ones, but the later books were definitely guilty of this.

Same here.  I got to the point that I just wasn't interested.  Plus it bugged me that Amelia shrunk between the first and second books.
You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...

Katana_Geldar

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1861
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1322 on: September 09, 2013, 06:22:05 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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1323 on: September 09, 2013, 06:35:50 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

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 692
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1324 on: September 09, 2013, 08:41:23 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, 08:43:42 PM by AnnaJ »

Leafy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 186
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1325 on: September 10, 2013, 06:55:29 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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1096
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1326 on: September 10, 2013, 07:08:20 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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3494
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1327 on: September 10, 2013, 11:01:37 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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2427
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1328 on: September 10, 2013, 11:50:26 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

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13978
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1329 on: September 10, 2013, 01:02:28 PM »
^ When I was 50 pages or so in and they were still describing the dingdangity house, I tossed that one, too.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

Katana_Geldar

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1861
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1330 on: September 10, 2013, 11:15:10 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

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 147
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1331 on: September 11, 2013, 12:38:52 AM »
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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2012
  • spiffily male.
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1332 on: September 11, 2013, 12:39:39 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.


violinp

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3600
  • cabbagegirl28's my sister :)
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1333 on: September 11, 2013, 01:03:28 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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2018
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1334 on: September 11, 2013, 02:45:46 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.