Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 259892 times)

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Spring Water on Sundays

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #165 on: January 30, 2013, 01:45:42 PM »
I absolutely agree with those who have mentioned unnecessarily long descritpions of things that are not important to the story. Pat Conroy's Beach Music: beautiful and interesting story, but he would go on for pages and PAGES describing the food he was cooking. We get it - the olive oil is GREEN!! It not only didn't add to the story at all - it actually took me out of the story. That book could have easily been 200 pages shorter.

I am right in the middle of this book and yes, the darn olive oil is green - let's move on.  I love Conroy's work but this book in particular is full of over descriptive verbage.

Are his other books less long-winded when it comes to descriptions of trivial matters? This was the first of his I read and I haven't attempted to pick up anything else by him. I really loved the story but was getting way too irritated at constantly being taken out of it.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #166 on: January 30, 2013, 02:02:18 PM »
I absolutely agree with those who have mentioned unnecessarily long descritpions of things that are not important to the story. Pat Conroy's Beach Music: beautiful and interesting story, but he would go on for pages and PAGES describing the food he was cooking. We get it - the olive oil is GREEN!! It not only didn't add to the story at all - it actually took me out of the story. That book could have easily been 200 pages shorter.

I am right in the middle of this book and yes, the darn olive oil is green - let's move on.  I love Conroy's work but this book in particular is full of over descriptive verbage.

Are his other books less long-winded when it comes to descriptions of trivial matters? This was the first of his I read and I haven't attempted to pick up anything else by him. I really loved the story but was getting way too irritated at constantly being taken out of it.

I thought South of Broad was less long winded. 

One Fish, Two Fish

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #167 on: January 30, 2013, 02:02:49 PM »
That post about Star Trek novels brought to mind one of my pet peeves, and it's something the books are guilty of.  A massive "series", if you can call it that, where there is no real continuity.  One author will contradict another, and so forth.

Another series that is really bad about that is the Dragonlance series.  You have the original trilogy, the follow-up trilogy, and books that came after that all written by the same team of two.  You've got spin-offs written by many different authors, going in all different directions, but apparently those aren't "true" canon.  Adventures concerning the main characters are accepted as part of the series, but apparently aren't to be taken seriously.  Some of them were my favorite books in the series.  Not too many new books are coming out for that series these days, but it contradicts itself a lot.  That said...I still like it, and I'll occasionally pick up one of my old books to read for nostalgia.  Also, reading the books as an adult, I strongly believe Raistlin and Kitiara to be sociopaths, and the scary thing is that they're two of the most popular characters!

Another thing that bothers me has to do with poor editing.  The wrong character name being used, among other things.  For example, the person speaking addresses someone by their own name.  What, are you talking to yourself?  ;D The only time I've ever defaced one of my own books, it was to correct errors like that with a pen.

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Kariachi

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #168 on: January 30, 2013, 02:34:16 PM »
Another one that I mostly see in fanfic, but I've seen it in discussions for books too.

Folks, everyone has their favorite pairing.  Some people even have their OTP.  (One True Pairing.)  And MY favorite pairing is just as valid as YOUR favorite pairing, and vice versa.  (Even if one is slash.  Different strokes and all that.)  So can we please not get into shouting matches over how the fans of pairing X are all terrible people who clearly never read the book/watched the movie/whatever?  There's room here for all of us.

(Yeesh.  I love Avengers fanfic, but some days I want to smack the entire fandom.  Happens in Dresden and Harry Potter, too.)

It happens in every fandom. Every. Fandom. Always. The latest review I got on one of my fics was someone yelling about how dare the rest of us not only write canon pairings. She included one in her list that was completely disproven in the show::)

Fanfic Specific:
1) Yes, please mark AUs. If not for the people who don't want to read them, then for the people like me who do. I've seen at least four fics that, by the summary, I wanted nothing to do with, until someone mentioned they were AUs.

2) I actually don't have a problem with people making siblings and such for characters we don't have this knowledge for (if we've met A's only sibling, don't make more, but if we know nothing about B's family...). I just don't want to see them as major characters. If I want to read about your characters, then publish an Original Story and I'll buy it. Keep it out of my fandom.

3) Please, by the love of all that's wonderful, mark your fluffing slash/femslash! Preferably with what couple it is! This isn't even a pet peeve, it's just basic ettiquette!

Overall Writing:
1) Poor spelling/grammar/word choice. Just. No.

2) Some basic research at least! I swear, I do more research for the daily writing challenges than some people do for their novels!

Okay, this example isn't from a book, but it makes my point. Character in a show is talking about his youth, namely his time in the US military. Apparently this enlisted man, at 18, was a Lieutenant in the Air Force, being allowed to fly jets, and receiving no real punishment for actions such as crashing said jet, nearly killing people in the process, and getting into bar brawls weekly. For some reason no one could understand why this ruined the episode for me (child of two AF vets), and why 'his commanding officer liked him' wasn't an excuse.

There is no excuse for something like this. It didn't just kill the episode, it killed the character for me.
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Grancalla

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #169 on: January 30, 2013, 03:17:47 PM »
I'm curious to know how many of these pet peeves apply to media other than books. Comics, for example. I'm a wannabe comic-artist and I don't want to turn off potential readers.

To add one of mine:
Characters that don't grow- at all- with no logical reason for staying the same. Same goes for relationships. People and relationships change over time, after all. I've fallen into the trap of liking a particular stage of a character's or relationship's evolution and wanting to stay there as long as possible, but there are limits.

A favorite example.
A manga called "Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru", which I don't think has been released in english, but I'm itching to do a snarky review/analysis of it, because it's like reading a trainwreck. It follows the 14-year-old bigger-Mary-Sue-than-Bella heroine and her 26-year-old boyfriend. At the beginning, it's all Heroine fretting and angsting at the slightest provocation (which NEVER ends up being justified) that her BF will leave her for someone closer to his age. The Hero is basically a cardboard cutout who gives Heroine fancy dresses, hangs out with hot models, and pats her on the head and tells her she's acting like a spoiked child when she's angsting, but that's okay because he likes spoiled girls. The angst makes perfect sense at first, since their relationship is bizarre. But several volumes in, after FOUR YEARS of in-story time has passed, Hero and Heroine are now married with a kid... and she's still angsting over him leaving for someone older, and he still hasn't grown a personality. Their relationship is basically the same as it was in the beginning, just with a super-hyper-adorable-precious baby hanging around to give the readers something else to go "awww" over.
Oh, god, somebody give me an excuse to write this review...
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Kariachi

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #170 on: January 30, 2013, 03:30:25 PM »
I'm curious to know how many of these pet peeves apply to media other than books. Comics, for example. I'm a wannabe comic-artist and I don't want to turn off potential readers.

To add one of mine:
Characters that don't grow- at all- with no logical reason for staying the same. Same goes for relationships. People and relationships change over time, after all. I've fallen into the trap of liking a particular stage of a character's or relationship's evolution and wanting to stay there as long as possible, but there are limits.

A favorite example.
A manga called "Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru", which I don't think has been released in english, but I'm itching to do a snarky review/analysis of it, because it's like reading a trainwreck. It follows the 14-year-old bigger-Mary-Sue-than-Bella heroine and her 26-year-old boyfriend. At the beginning, it's all Heroine fretting and angsting at the slightest provocation (which NEVER ends up being justified) that her BF will leave her for someone closer to his age. The Hero is basically a cardboard cutout who gives Heroine fancy dresses, hangs out with hot models, and pats her on the head and tells her she's acting like a spoiked child when she's angsting, but that's okay because he likes spoiled girls. The angst makes perfect sense at first, since their relationship is bizarre. But several volumes in, after FOUR YEARS of in-story time has passed, Hero and Heroine are now married with a kid... and she's still angsting over him leaving for someone older, and he still hasn't grown a personality. Their relationship is basically the same as it was in the beginning, just with a super-hyper-adorable-precious baby hanging around to give the readers something else to go "awww" over.
Oh, god, somebody give me an excuse to write this review...

Would you be so kind as to write a review for a manga called "Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru"? And if you'd then send me a link, that would be nice to.  ;D
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wolfie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #171 on: January 30, 2013, 03:41:29 PM »
Adolescents who don't act like adolescents. I know that it is a huge pain to have to add curfews and restrictions to your main character but having a 16 year old run off to another town for the weekend at a moment's notice is just not going to work. Neither is having a whole group of them meet at midnight on a school night so many times, and yet their parents don't seem to have any problems with it. Also having a 26 year old world traveler chasing a 16 year old is unrealistic. If doing that is important make the characters college age instead of high school age.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #172 on: January 30, 2013, 03:46:00 PM »
"Taught" is not an adjective.

The word you are looking for is "taut."

No, your spell-checker won't catch that, but I will grit my teeth if not close the book or computer file at "taught ropes" and "taught muscles."

If a word isn't part of your normal vocabulary, it probably doesn't belong in your fiction. (Gene Wolfe has an exemption here.) If you need it because it's specialized terminology (whether for sailing or informatics), make sure you know what it means and how to spell it.
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Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #173 on: January 30, 2013, 04:03:38 PM »
"Taught" is not an adjective.

Not even "self-taught"?
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AnnaJ

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #174 on: January 30, 2013, 04:07:00 PM »
If you don't want to do the research to set your book in a historical setting, then put it in a time setting you do know.  And that means having a clue about language and clothing and the major details - no, you don't get from London to Bath in a couple of hours in 1810.

If you want to make your female character a 21st century kick-butt female in the Regency era, then make it a time-travel novel, or an alternate universe...just, for the love of Georgette Heyer, do not make it a Regency novel or romance.

You do have absolute permission (at least from me), particularly if book involves much heat, to ignore the conventions of the day regarding bathing and allow your characters to bathe.  A lot.  :)

I honestly don't understand why anyone would want to set a book in a time or place they don't know or are unwilling to research - they either come off as being ignorant or the book has no grounding.  When you get halfway through a book and have to look back to see if it's set in New York or San Francisco or London, or if you can't remember if it's the 1850s or the 1890s, then the author did not do their job.

Luci

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #175 on: January 30, 2013, 04:12:19 PM »
"Taught" is not an adjective.

The word you are looking for is "taut."

No, your spell-checker won't catch that, but I will grit my teeth if not close the book or computer file at "taught ropes" and "taught muscles."

If a word isn't part of your normal vocabulary, it probably doesn't belong in your fiction. (Gene Wolfe has an exemption here.) If you need it because it's specialized terminology (whether for sailing or informatics), make sure you know what it means and how to spell it.

I found two of those in the first page of a book I bought. One was 'reigning in his enthusiasm'. I don't remember what the other was, but it was enough to send me around the bend and toss the book.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #176 on: January 30, 2013, 04:13:58 PM »
"Taught" is not an adjective.

Not even "self-taught"?

"Self-taught" is an adjective, yes, but not "taught" by itself. And (fortunately) I have yet to run into a story that says that a character had "impressive self-taught muscles" or that sails were held by "self-taught ropes."
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cabbageweevil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #177 on: January 30, 2013, 04:28:26 PM »
One of my pet peeves is that childhood characters never grow up - like Trixie Belden for example.

I know that these are written as children's books but Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, never age and it would be so much more fun if they did... a couple of years at least.  Maybe get them to college age or at least driving...

The award-winner for the most extreme instance of this, ever, must be the "Just William" short stories by the British writer Richmal Crompton. Her naughty-boy hero William Brown manages to stay at the age of eleven or twelve, for some forty years: the series -- many hundreds of stories in dozens upon dozens of books -- was written between approximately 1920 and 1960.  William's small band of young fellow-miscreants, and his parents and siblings, also remain throughout, at the ages they were when the series started (while history goes on happening around them).

With these stories, however, "willing suspension of disbelief" comes into play. Being a mischievous 11/12-year-old is what William is "about" -- lovers of the stories would not want him any other way !

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #178 on: January 30, 2013, 04:41:20 PM »
One of my pet peeves is that childhood characters never grow up - like Trixie Belden for example.

I know that these are written as children's books but Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, never age and it would be so much more fun if they did... a couple of years at least.  Maybe get them to college age or at least driving...

The award-winner for the most extreme instance of this, ever, must be the "Just William" short stories by the British writer Richmal Crompton. Her naughty-boy hero William Brown manages to stay at the age of eleven or twelve, for some forty years: the series -- many hundreds of stories in dozens upon dozens of books -- was written between approximately 1920 and 1960.  William's small band of young fellow-miscreants, and his parents and siblings, also remain throughout, at the ages they were when the series started (while history goes on happening around them).

With these stories, however, "willing suspension of disbelief" comes into play. Being a mischievous 11/12-year-old is what William is "about" -- lovers of the stories would not want him any other way !


And Junie B. Jones, after graduating from Kindergarten, has been in First Grade for years (and, according to the author, will never go up to Second Grade.)  I think in humor books about/for children, it makes sense. 

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #179 on: January 30, 2013, 04:42:57 PM »
One of my pet peeves is that childhood characters never grow up - like Trixie Belden for example.

I know that these are written as children's books but Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, never age and it would be so much more fun if they did... a couple of years at least.  Maybe get them to college age or at least driving...

But then, they wouldn't appeal to their target audience, which is young teenagers.

Twelve year olds will not be much interested in Nancy's musings on menopause as she hunts for clues.

And the Hardy Boys drove, I believe, a roadster.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."