Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 177243 times)

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #465 on: February 27, 2013, 01:58:14 PM »
To be fair, I'm only about 60 pages into this book, but this trope is making it very hard to get into:
We are introduced to the hero, who is 200 yrs old but well preserved and urbane.
He meets a 20 yr old who is the spitting image of a former unrequited love so, naturally, beautiful, delicate, and feisty (in order of importance to him).
They spend two days together because... It's a plot point I guess.
Then she changes her mind about a major life altering decision because now she loves him.
After two days, with no showing or even much telling.

Now that is lazy writing.  I can only hope the story is why this book is considered a sci fi classic, cuz it's not character development.

Can I ask what the title is? Or author?

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #466 on: February 27, 2013, 02:10:20 PM »
To be fair, I'm only about 60 pages into this book, but this trope is making it very hard to get into:
We are introduced to the hero, who is 200 yrs old but well preserved and urbane.
He meets a 20 yr old who is the spitting image of a former unrequited love so, naturally, beautiful, delicate, and feisty (in order of importance to him).
They spend two days together because... It's a plot point I guess.
Then she changes her mind about a major life altering decision because now she loves him.
After two days, with no showing or even much telling.

Now that is lazy writing.  I can only hope the story is why this book is considered a sci fi classic, cuz it's not character development.

Heinlein?  He seemed to have a thing for old men and young women.

A strange phenomenon that happens to a surprising number of male writers as they get older.
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Tia2

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #467 on: February 27, 2013, 04:16:26 PM »


A strange phenomenon that happens to a surprising number of male writers as they get older.

If you really want a jaw dropping example of this, try John Ringo.  If you google 'oh, John Ringo, no', you can get lists of similar books.

Unfortunately, he's a good writer (at least until he acquired the dreaded co-author in the last of the series) which is why I've actually read all of said stories more than once.

Of course, he also politely engaged with the original posters which helps.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html?thread=760769

Warning: the above thread may have triggers for s*xual assault and violence
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 05:02:50 PM by Tiamet »

Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #468 on: February 27, 2013, 04:28:56 PM »
To be fair, I'm only about 60 pages into this book, but this trope is making it very hard to get into:
We are introduced to the hero, who is 200 yrs old but well preserved and urbane.
He meets a 20 yr old who is the spitting image of a former unrequited love so, naturally, beautiful, delicate, and feisty (in order of importance to him).
They spend two days together because... It's a plot point I guess.
Then she changes her mind about a major life altering decision because now she loves him.
After two days, with no showing or even much telling.

Now that is lazy writing.  I can only hope the story is why this book is considered a sci fi classic, cuz it's not character development.

Snerk. On a different note, I used to think all those stories/shows where the descendant looks exactly like their ancestor (played by the same actor, if TV/movie) were just exaggerated to convey the supernatural situation. Then I found a picture of my great-great grandfather, who looks very, very similar to one of my cousins. Granted the guy has a big bushy beard, and if you shaved it off and stood them side by side I'm not saying they'd look like clones. But, my ancestor had a pretty common name and I was looking through a lot of photos without knowing if they were the right guy, and when I came across this one I was like, crud monkeys, it's Cousin Bob. And I'm usually pretty bad at recognizing stuff like that.

So a few months ago that might have been a fiction peeve of mine, but now I realize it apparently is kinda true, that strong family resemblances can last through several generations.
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Kariachi

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #469 on: February 27, 2013, 04:35:11 PM »
Snerk. On a different note, I used to think all those stories/shows where the descendant looks exactly like their ancestor (played by the same actor, if TV/movie) were just exaggerated to convey the supernatural situation. Then I found a picture of my great-great grandfather, who looks very, very similar to one of my cousins. Granted the guy has a big bushy beard, and if you shaved it off and stood them side by side I'm not saying they'd look like clones. But, my ancestor had a pretty common name and I was looking through a lot of photos without knowing if they were the right guy, and when I came across this one I was like, crud monkeys, it's Cousin Bob. And I'm usually pretty bad at recognizing stuff like that.

So a few months ago that might have been a fiction peeve of mine, but now I realize it apparently is kinda true, that strong family resemblances can last through several generations.

Heck, I've seen people get up in arms because characters looks eerily like their parents. I can understand when everybody's kids all look exactly like them, but as someone who's 30 years and 50 lbs from being her mother's clone, I can't exactly say 'that doesn't happen'.
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lilfox

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #470 on: February 27, 2013, 04:37:56 PM »
To be fair, I'm only about 60 pages into this book, but this trope is making it very hard to get into:
We are introduced to the hero, who is 200 yrs old but well preserved and urbane.
He meets a 20 yr old who is the spitting image of a former unrequited love so, naturally, beautiful, delicate, and feisty (in order of importance to him).
They spend two days together because... It's a plot point I guess.
Then she changes her mind about a major life altering decision because now she loves him.
After two days, with no showing or even much telling.

Now that is lazy writing.  I can only hope the story is why this book is considered a sci fi classic, cuz it's not character development.

Can I ask what the title is? Or author?

Whoops, I forgot to include it:  Ringworld by Larry Niven, 1970.

What I am enjoying is learning what different sci fi authors thought would be the technology of the future.  Niven includes hyperdrives and (effectively) transporters, but the spaceships are hand flown.

Softly Spoken

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #471 on: February 27, 2013, 08:39:31 PM »
Re: PPs about ineffective female heroines - one of my favorite books of all time is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. Before Shrek or Brave was even a glimmer in someone's eye, Wrede's character Cimorene was the ultimate anti-princess: she'd rather fence and make cherries jubilee than learn how to embroider and curtsy just right. To get out of marrying a total loser, she runs away and hires herself as a dragon's princess instead of waiting for one to carry her off. Wrede has lots of fun turning the traditional fairy tale world on it's head. ;D

Re: Characters doing unrealistic things / dumb male authors. I like to read romance novels but these days most of them tick me the ehell off. Two of the worst things:
1) The bad boy worship and some male authors apparent, um, "small equipment complex." I am sick of troubled bad boys that need fixing. And guys that are total jerks to the girls and ...yet...they-they can't resist him *swoon* and find him 'fascinating.' UUGGGH! >:( Then there is this crummy series, a pulpy cowboy series with this white guy raised by native americans so he's the western equivalent of a superhero. He literally ends up sleeping with every girl he meets. The good girls, the villianess, the girl working the bar. They all want him, they all throw themselves at him, and they all have to tell him how big it is! ::) Barf. He (or rather the author) is also a one-trick pony in bed. All the scenes read the same with a slightly different physical description of the girl he happens to be doing at the time. And they go south on him but he never reciprocates? Bull pucky! :P

2) The girl is never. ever. ever. strong.  >:( Even in books where the guy is attracted to a girl because of her confidence and strength, she is always so surprised that such an awesome guy would possibly want her. Once, just once, I want to read a girl pulling a Han Solo and when a guy is going on and on about how great she is just say "Yes, I know." ;D Guess I'll have to write it myself because every romance heroine I've read so far comes with her self-esteem surgically removed and implanted as a symbiote in her love interest. ::) Feh!
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flowersintheattic

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #472 on: February 27, 2013, 09:02:26 PM »
Re: PPs about ineffective female heroines - one of my favorite books of all time is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. Before Shrek or Brave was even a glimmer in someone's eye, Wrede's character Cimorene was the ultimate anti-princess: she'd rather fence and make cherries jubilee than learn how to embroider and curtsy just right. To get out of marrying a total loser, she runs away and hires herself as a dragon's princess instead of waiting for one to carry her off. Wrede has lots of fun turning the traditional fairy tale world on it's head. ;D

I love Love LOVE the Dealing with Dragons books. It's nice to know other people also appreciate them. I always wanted to be just like Cimorene, but unfortunately, I was blonde and short. I had to settle for being quite a bit like Alianora.  ;)

My biggest pet peeve in books (that hasn't been mentioned yet) is when I get the feeling that the writer got too attached to the characters, and thus no harm can befall them. It reminds of me of the movie Stranger than Fiction, where Emma Thompson couldn't kill off Will Farrell, even thought Dustin Hoffman insisted the book would be a masterpiece if she did.

The worst example of it I can think of is "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. The book is presented as somewhat realistic, but when the four main characters do a raid of a government building, with death being almost certain. But somehow, and if I remember correctly, it's largely glossed over beyond one of the guards being sympathetic to their cause, they all survive. It's not that I dislike any of the main characters involved, but the end made me feel like she just couldn't bring herself to kill one of them, so she sort of just magicked them out of the situation.
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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #473 on: February 27, 2013, 10:18:21 PM »
One of my pet peeves is entirely my problem (most definitely not the author's, especially with historical books) - how women behaved or were treated. I read 'Jane Eyre' in high school, and while I enjoyed it, I was deeply annoyed at how Jane still called him "Mr. Rochester" even when they were in love.  I thought she should be able to call him by his first name at that point. Still bugs me, even though it's the way things were done at the time.  ;D

Plus any heroine (i.e. main character) who is a shrinking violet or completely helpless just annoys me to no end.

It's been over 15 years since I read Jane Eyre, and I remember hating it the first time, so I'm not out to defend the book!

But as far as the forms of address, wouldn't the reverse also be true for the time -- i.e., he should be calling her "Miss Eyre" just as she should be calling him "Mr. Rochester"?

If he didn't, maybe it's because they were not social equals.  But I know from the Jane Austen books that men also showed respect for women by calling them Miss so-and-so as opposed to their given first name.

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #474 on: February 27, 2013, 10:26:12 PM »
Jane was also being very careful to keep the proper distance between herself and Mr Rochester, to avoid people gossiping that she had become his mistress before marriage. That is why she kept her duties as governess, refused his gifts, etc.

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #475 on: February 27, 2013, 11:32:19 PM »
Re: PPs about ineffective female heroines - one of my favorite books of all time is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. Before Shrek or Brave was even a glimmer in someone's eye, Wrede's character Cimorene was the ultimate anti-princess: she'd rather fence and make cherries jubilee than learn how to embroider and curtsy just right. To get out of marrying a total loser, she runs away and hires herself as a dragon's princess instead of waiting for one to carry her off. Wrede has lots of fun turning the traditional fairy tale world on it's head. ;D

I love Love LOVE the Dealing with Dragons books. It's nice to know other people also appreciate them. I always wanted to be just like Cimorene, but unfortunately, I was blonde and short. I had to settle for being quite a bit like Alianora.  ;)

My biggest pet peeve in books (that hasn't been mentioned yet) is when I get the feeling that the writer got too attached to the characters, and thus no harm can befall them. It reminds of me of the movie Stranger than Fiction, where Emma Thompson couldn't kill off Will Farrell, even thought Dustin Hoffman insisted the book would be a masterpiece if she did.

The worst example of it I can think of is "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. The book is presented as somewhat realistic, but when the four main characters do a raid of a government building, with death being almost certain. But somehow, and if I remember correctly, it's largely glossed over beyond one of the guards being sympathetic to their cause, they all survive. It's not that I dislike any of the main characters involved, but the end made me feel like she just couldn't bring herself to kill one of them, so she sort of just magicked them out of the situation.

Heehee yup that's me too: Cimorene attitude in an Alianora body! ;D (I love the line in the book about looking up at princes through your eyelashes. :-*)

I agree about how the "miraculous escapes" of some characters really challenge your suspension of disbelief. However I often find myself exasperated by the opposite - deaths that come too quick, too easy, too soon and (IMHO) to the wrong character. I read a book rooting for everyone to survive - I think death (of anything more than an "extra") is actually fairly rare outside of supernatural, horror/suspense and murder mysteries. I find deaths of characters I am just getting into quite jarring...and also somewhat annoying if I invest time and attention into someone who is essentially a "throw away." I also think an author (especially one who writes a long series) can get lazy and end up just automatically killing every villian the hero fights. Sometimes it makes sense in the context of the story and how dangerous the setting is, but other times you feel the author is just overplaying to our/their personal sense of justice or maybe even working through some issues. ::)

I read serial mysteries expecting just about anyone outside of the recurring characters to end up dead any second. Saves me some aggravation. :P

Death needs to be done right. Sometimes it is painfully clear when an author uses death to mean something and further the plot, and when they just got lazy or bored with a character and decided to kill them off. I also hate death as a "save-the-shoddy-storyline" move. Also, when any story has a supernatural element, I am just as annoyed by too-easy resurrections that take away from the emotional impact of the loss of a character. And I really hate lazy (or complete lack of :o) explanations of why/how a character came back to life, because it shows a fundamental weakness in basic world-building.

If you can't explain the rules of your world, or justify why you are breaking the rules you already established, don't just do it anyway and hope your loyal readers won't notice. We notice. We always notice. >:(
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SheltieMom

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #476 on: February 27, 2013, 11:36:42 PM »
To be fair, I'm only about 60 pages into this book, but this trope is making it very hard to get into:
We are introduced to the hero, who is 200 yrs old but well preserved and urbane.
He meets a 20 yr old who is the spitting image of a former unrequited love so, naturally, beautiful, delicate, and feisty (in order of importance to him).
They spend two days together because... It's a plot point I guess.
Then she changes her mind about a major life altering decision because now she loves him.
After two days, with no showing or even much telling.

Now that is lazy writing.  I can only hope the story is why this book is considered a sci fi classic, cuz it's not character development.

Can I ask what the title is? Or author?

Whoops, I forgot to include it:  Ringworld by Larry Niven, 1970.

What I am enjoying is learning what different sci fi authors thought would be the technology of the future.  Niven includes hyperdrives and (effectively) transporters, but the spaceships are hand flown.

Please don't give up on it. There's a lot of stuff you'll learn later! I don't really recommend the sequels. (Ringworld Engineers and The Ringworld Throne) Every two or three years I go back and read The Tales of Known Space, and all the novels that go with them. Niven's been a favorite of mine since the 70's. (I was just wondering what to read next. Thank you!)

Also, if you enjoy his works, you might also try his collaborations with Jerry Pournelle. They are both great writers on their own, but when they work together, you get something really special. I highly recommend Lucifer's Hammer, although it will make you want to start hoarding food....
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Ereine

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #477 on: February 28, 2013, 01:58:57 AM »

Re: Characters doing unrealistic things / dumb male authors. I like to read romance novels but these days most of them tick me the ehell off. Two of the worst things:
1) The bad boy worship and some male authors apparent, um, "small equipment complex." I am sick of troubled bad boys that need fixing. And guys that are total jerks to the girls and ...yet...they-they can't resist him *swoon* and find him 'fascinating.' UUGGGH! >:( Then there is this crummy series, a pulpy cowboy series with this white guy raised by native americans so he's the western equivalent of a superhero. He literally ends up sleeping with every girl he meets. The good girls, the villianess, the girl working the bar. They all want him, they all throw themselves at him, and they all have to tell him how big it is! ::) Barf. He (or rather the author) is also a one-trick pony in bed. All the scenes read the same with a slightly different physical description of the girl he happens to be doing at the time. And they go south on him but he never reciprocates? Bull pucky! :P

2) The girl is never. ever. ever. strong.  >:( Even in books where the guy is attracted to a girl because of her confidence and strength, she is always so surprised that such an awesome guy would possibly want her. Once, just once, I want to read a girl pulling a Han Solo and when a guy is going on and on about how great she is just say "Yes, I know." ;D Guess I'll have to write it myself because every romance heroine I've read so far comes with her self-esteem surgically removed and implanted as a symbiote in her love interest. ::) Feh!

I don't think that the book in the first example is a romance novel, I think that definition requires the HEA.  Just having sex with lots of people doesn't really qualify (well it might make you happy ever after but not really in the romance novel way).

For number two, Alyssa Locke in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters series (she's in many of them, her HEA is in Gone Too Far) has some issues but her belief in her professional abilities isn't one of them. There's also Teri Howe in her Over The Edge who has self-esteem issues but not about being a really good pilot. For less serious romantic suspense there's Tara Janzen with her slightly silly secret agent type series with some pretty strong heroines. I do think that characters in romance novels (both male and female) require some sort of weakness or vulnerability to be interesting, completely strong characters tend to be a bit boring to me.

There's also the "strong" heroine who seems to manifest mostly in the belief that even if you have a team of professionals looking for the horribly violent serial killer, it would be weakness not to stay in the safe place the professionals told you to stay in and that you would regret the rest of your life not doing something (no matter how stupid or ineffective) and so the best course of action is to go look for the killer in an abandoned mine. By yourself, without telling anyone where you've gone. I hate books where that leads to a miraculous rescue by the hero and capture of the killer instead of the heroine dead where nobody will ever find her body (not that I want the heroine dead but it seems like the more likely outcome).

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #478 on: February 28, 2013, 02:54:11 AM »

Re: Characters doing unrealistic things / dumb male authors. I like to read romance novels but these days most of them tick me the ehell off. Two of the worst things:
1) The bad boy worship and some male authors apparent, um, "small equipment complex." I am sick of troubled bad boys that need fixing. And guys that are total jerks to the girls and ...yet...they-they can't resist him *swoon* and find him 'fascinating.' UUGGGH! >:( Then there is this crummy series, a pulpy cowboy series with this white guy raised by native americans so he's the western equivalent of a superhero. He literally ends up sleeping with every girl he meets. The good girls, the villianess, the girl working the bar. They all want him, they all throw themselves at him, and they all have to tell him how big it is! ::) Barf. He (or rather the author) is also a one-trick pony in bed. All the scenes read the same with a slightly different physical description of the girl he happens to be doing at the time. And they go south on him but he never reciprocates? Bull pucky! :P

2) The girl is never. ever. ever. strong.  >:( Even in books where the guy is attracted to a girl because of her confidence and strength, she is always so surprised that such an awesome guy would possibly want her. Once, just once, I want to read a girl pulling a Han Solo and when a guy is going on and on about how great she is just say "Yes, I know." ;D Guess I'll have to write it myself because every romance heroine I've read so far comes with her self-esteem surgically removed and implanted as a symbiote in her love interest. ::) Feh!

I don't think that the book in the first example is a romance novel, I think that definition requires the HEA.  Just having sex with lots of people doesn't really qualify (well it might make you happy ever after but not really in the romance novel way).

For number two, Alyssa Locke in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters series (she's in many of them, her HEA is in Gone Too Far) has some issues but her belief in her professional abilities isn't one of them. There's also Teri Howe in her Over The Edge who has self-esteem issues but not about being a really good pilot. For less serious romantic suspense there's Tara Janzen with her slightly silly secret agent type series with some pretty strong heroines. I do think that characters in romance novels (both male and female) require some sort of weakness or vulnerability to be interesting, completely strong characters tend to be a bit boring to me.

There's also the "strong" heroine who seems to manifest mostly in the belief that even if you have a team of professionals looking for the horribly violent serial killer, it would be weakness not to stay in the safe place the professionals told you to stay in and that you would regret the rest of your life not doing something (no matter how stupid or ineffective) and so the best course of action is to go look for the killer in an abandoned mine. By yourself, without telling anyone where you've gone. I hate books where that leads to a miraculous rescue by the hero and capture of the killer instead of the heroine dead where nobody will ever find her body (not that I want the heroine dead but it seems like the more likely outcome).
Okay I'll admit the cowboy series I mentioned was more adventure than romance but in order to not make him a total jerk they always played up this tragic thing where he was cheated out of his HEA and lost the only girl he ever loved...and so drowns his sorrow in other women...I guess? Whatever. ::)

I love flawed characters too, my complaint is that most of romance heroines I've read have the same flaw of low self-esteem that always comes up in relation to the guy. That is why I loathed Bella about two paragraphs into Twilight - it's that whiny boohooing over how no one could possibly be interested in you blah blah blah. We all have insecurities but 1) realistically it ebbs and flows and 2) we don't let them consume us or define us.

Re: the bolded. Arrrgh! I KNOW!! Also, you notice how many more "amateur" female detectives there are than male? If they're male, they're "special consultants." ::) I swear I'm not on a feminist rant tonight, but I am really annoyed that when a girl, even a professional like a PI or FBI or whatever, does the whole going-off-on-their-own-to-follow-a-hunch-and-maybe-meet-the-killer she's stupid and a ridiculous girl who is in over her head (barring notable exceptions like Silence of the Lambs) - but when a guy does it he's brave and a rebel who plays by his own rules? I would actually rather read about a girl having a lousy love life than read about her making obvious, idiotic suicidal mistakes like that on the job.

...but I was just thinking...if they didn't push there would be no story. We don't really want to read about every proceeding slowing and carefully by the book, do we?  ;)
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Ereine

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #479 on: February 28, 2013, 03:04:11 AM »
I don't really count Twilight as a romance novel either, though I'm not sure what it is.

I read some book that I can't remember but really liked that had the traditional killer on the loose and the hero who was some sort of cop or agent or something told the heroine that she should stay in the safe place and lock the door and the heroine said something like "Of course I will, do you think that I'm an idiot?" It was very refreshing :) though I guess that it may kill the suspense plot a bit, if all you do is wait at home for the police to do their work.