Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 260801 times)

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Ryuugan80

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #195 on: January 31, 2013, 12:00:20 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.)

Happens with Avatar the Last Airbender too. It just makes me sigh sometimes.

As for my pet peeves:

I've only seen this happen once or twice, just in fanfiction thankfully: Long stretches of just dialouge. It can be cute with a very short drabble so long as it's easy to figure out what's going on, but normally...no.

Excessive description of unnessesary stuff.

I can handle a bit of bad grammar or misplaced words, but when there's a lot of it I tend to get cranky.
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magicdomino

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #196 on: January 31, 2013, 12:02:10 PM »

My book pet peeve is when I'm reading a book (or a fanfic, come to that) and discover the author has little knowledge of the rules of grammar or punctuation.  If you don't know how to use punctuation, please, for the love of commas, learn before you put your story out there.

I agree. I was recommended a book on Amazon which sounded brilliant, so I downloaded a sample to my Kindle. In the first two pages there were fifteen punctuation errors, generally like so:

"What does he want me to do", he said.
"Go home".

INSIDE THE BLOODY QUOTES!! (deep breath) It's not that hard!

Thank goodness for free samples. I'd have gone mad trying to read an entire book of that.

That might be British punctuation, as opposed to American punctuation.  I just finished Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which is British.

Quote
"There is, too, a gulf between American usage and our own, with Americans always using double quotation marks and American grammarians insisting that, if a sentence ends with a phrase in inverted commas, all the terminal punctuation for the sentence must come tidily inside the speech marks, even when this doesn't seem to make sense.

I can see how it could be annoying.  All the Pretty Horses was aggravating because the author couldn't be bothered with quotation marks. It was just these weird, choppy paragraphs.  I couldn't tell that someone was speaking, much less who was speaking.   

Queen of Clubs

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #197 on: January 31, 2013, 12:51:59 PM »

I agree. I was recommended a book on Amazon which sounded brilliant, so I downloaded a sample to my Kindle. In the first two pages there were fifteen punctuation errors, generally like so:

"What does he want me to do", he said.
"Go home".

INSIDE THE BLOODY QUOTES!! (deep breath) It's not that hard!

Thank goodness for free samples. I'd have gone mad trying to read an entire book of that.

That might be British punctuation, as opposed to American punctuation.  I just finished Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which is British.

Quote
"There is, too, a gulf between American usage and our own, with Americans always using double quotation marks and American grammarians insisting that, if a sentence ends with a phrase in inverted commas, all the terminal punctuation for the sentence must come tidily inside the speech marks, even when this doesn't seem to make sense.

I can see how it could be annoying.  All the Pretty Horses was aggravating because the author couldn't be bothered with quotation marks. It was just these weird, choppy paragraphs.  I couldn't tell that someone was speaking, much less who was speaking.

That's only referring to quotes.  In direct speech/dialogue, all the punctuation goes inside the speech marks.  I think Lynn Truss really needed to clarify that, as so many people misunderstand it...and probably use it to excuse people who have no clue about punctuation. /is British

Yarnspinner

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #198 on: February 01, 2013, 02:51:48 PM »
Dear Author of Ghost Novel I Am Currently Reading:


You have written a compelling, gripping and creepy read that succeeds without being gorey and slasher-y.  I am really enjoying it.  HOWEVER, your hero needs to get over the fact soon that certain parts of his anatomy will shrink when he is exposed to the cold or when he is super duper scared.  He had to let us know about it at least four times during his outdoor walk in the middle of the night with only his pajamas as proof against a pretty wicked snowstorm  in chapter three alone and then twice more in a later chapter when he is scared by something that happens.  Seriously, we got it.  Shrinkage occurs.  Call George Costanza and talk to him about  it.  And move on with the story.  I beg you.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #199 on: February 01, 2013, 02:55:07 PM »
I hate when historical novels can be bothered to do basic research.  In "When We Were Gods," a novel based on the life of Cleopatra, where the writer (although claiming to be far more factually accurate than Hollywood) seems to have limited his research to World Book Encyclopedia.

For example, once Cleopatra and Caesar become intimate, she starts calling him Julius (ooh! she's using his first name).  Except, it isn't his first name.  Julius  was his clan.  A true intimate might call him Gaius.

Then there are constant references to how bitterly cold Rome is in winter compared to Egypt.  Granted, Egypt is closer to the equator, but it is also mostly desert -- nights can be chilly in Alexandra.  And Rome doesn't have inches of snow in the winter.  Every winter.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #200 on: February 01, 2013, 03:17:10 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.

lilfox

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #201 on: February 01, 2013, 07:08:35 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.

But they do all wear silver jumpsuits, right?   ;)

I'm with you.  I can understand why it's done - with alien races, authors have to resort to some amount of obvious stereotyping because they can't get away with using the history that come with a known (human) race to invoke certain expectations or perceptions of the characters (even if they write characters that fall outside the normal stereotypes, there are those stereotypes to fall outside of).

But it's the literary equivalent of the Star Trek approach of "add a different cranial ridge and presto! all-new alien race."  Where's the depth?

PeterM

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #202 on: February 01, 2013, 07:37:09 PM »
Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town? 

Off topic, but for anyone interested in a story about a paradise planet whose unassuming natives caught up in politics and money and corruption by people who want to turn their home into a resort, I cannot recommend "Monument" by Lloyd Biggle highly enough. Plucky natives vs. huge amounts of power and money don't usually fare too well, but these natives have The Plan.

http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/1416520724/1416520724___2.htm

Easily one of my favorites of all time.

Softly Spoken

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #203 on: February 01, 2013, 10:10:49 PM »
Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town? 

Off topic, but for anyone interested in a story about a paradise planet whose unassuming natives caught up in politics and money and corruption by people who want to turn their home into a resort, I cannot recommend "Monument" by Lloyd Biggle highly enough. Plucky natives vs. huge amounts of power and money don't usually fare too well, but these natives have The Plan.

http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/1416520724/1416520724___2.htm

Easily one of my favorites of all time.

Darn you, PeterM...as if I don't have enough to read!  ;D (*mutters* I told myself I was just going to take a quick look...why did I believe me? ::))
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HoneyBee42

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #204 on: February 01, 2013, 10:25:52 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.
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furrcats

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #205 on: February 02, 2013, 12:57:47 AM »
Q-in-law was the first adult novel I  ever read I loved it  :)

PeterM

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #206 on: February 02, 2013, 03:06:43 AM »
I cannot recommend "Monument" by Lloyd Biggle highly enough.

http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/1416520724/1416520724___2.htm

Darn you, PeterM...as if I don't have enough to read!  ;D (*mutters* I told myself I was just going to take a quick look...why did I believe me? ::))

Ya gotta finish it, because the last line might be my favorite of all time, and perfectly fits the story.

If you really want to lose some time, there's also a novel version. Most of your time will be spent tracking a copy down, of course, and it's not as good as the shorter original, but it's still a good read and has a few really interesting courtroom scenes that aren't in the original.

Amanita

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #207 on: February 03, 2013, 02:37:55 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.

Pretty much this! I have a copy of a Star Wars book called "The Guide to Alien SPecies" or something like that. While it's a fun read, your complaint sums it up exactly! For example, one species might be described as highly xenophobic. The whole species. Really? All members of the species hate outsiders for whatever reason? (Superiority complex, religious reasons, fear that contact with others could lead to colonization or contamination of their "pure" culture) Even if a planet's governing body holds those beliefs, surely there would be dissenters? Surely there would be differences of opinion, with different groups having different ideas, or positions at various places along the ideological spectrum? For example- the governing body's position is one of isolationism, but in reality, citizens have different ideas- some are very isolationist or xenophobic, others hold a moderate position advocating perhaps just enough contact with outsiders to avoid becoming out of touch, or coming up on the wrong end of a technology gap, and others still (even if they're a minority and catch flak for it) advocating for openness.

I'm trying to avoid this in my own writing- true, I'm dealing with a race of beings who coexist with humans on this planet, who have their own culture and ideas. But at the same time, they're not all ideological clones- The majority believe in a symbiotic relationship with humans, but there's a minority who have been badly treated by humans, and don't want to play nice anymore. In some cases, they've integrated peacefully with humans, two cultures coexisting in relative peace. In other areas, they tend to butt heads.

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #208 on: February 03, 2013, 04:32:58 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.

Pretty much this! I have a copy of a Star Wars book called "The Guide to Alien SPecies" or something like that. While it's a fun read, your complaint sums it up exactly! For example, one species might be described as highly xenophobic. The whole species. Really? All members of the species hate outsiders for whatever reason? (Superiority complex, religious reasons, fear that contact with others could lead to colonization or contamination of their "pure" culture) Even if a planet's governing body holds those beliefs, surely there would be dissenters? Surely there would be differences of opinion, with different groups having different ideas, or positions at various places along the ideological spectrum? For example- the governing body's position is one of isolationism, but in reality, citizens have different ideas- some are very isolationist or xenophobic, others hold a moderate position advocating perhaps just enough contact with outsiders to avoid becoming out of touch, or coming up on the wrong end of a technology gap, and others still (even if they're a minority and catch flak for it) advocating for openness.

I'm trying to avoid this in my own writing- true, I'm dealing with a race of beings who coexist with humans on this planet, who have their own culture and ideas. But at the same time, they're not all ideological clones- The majority believe in a symbiotic relationship with humans, but there's a minority who have been badly treated by humans, and don't want to play nice anymore. In some cases, they've integrated peacefully with humans, two cultures coexisting in relative peace. In other areas, they tend to butt heads.

It is possible for a race to be genetically xenophoboic... that is, they react with hostility toward other lifeforms on a biological level.  But basically, yes.
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dirtyweasel

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #209 on: February 03, 2013, 05:01:26 PM »
Books with vague or no endings at all...like the Sopranos, but in book form.  One author in particular is guilty of this: Brian Keene.  He writes horror fiction and I've read about six of his books, but after reading the last book I have to say that I will never read another book of his ever again.  Of the six books that I've read from him, three had vague/no endings where you're supposed to come up with your own conclusion on how the story ends.

The last book that I read from this author involves characters that are stuck in a town which has been surrounded by a supernatural evil mist and so they escape, but you never find out what happens to them because you find out at the very end that it's a diary that the main character has left behind about everything that happened.  The book basically ends with: "We're leaving right now to cross the supernatural evil mist in order to escape this town, but I can't tell you what happens because I'm leaving this diary here for other people to find!  Yes, I know that the story has culminated in seeing what happens when you cross the supernatural evil mist, but you'll have to imagine what happens to us because I'm leaving the book here!"     

Some people call endings like this "artistic," but I consider them lazy and cop-out's.  I read books because I want a story and I want the story to end.