Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 254921 times)

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Yarnspinner

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1650 on: January 25, 2014, 03:52:33 PM »

Or don't realize that the series has run out of interesting ideas and needs to end. I loved the first six or so of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. The only reason I've read 19 & 20 is because I thought she was moving towards wrapping it up at the end of 20.  No such luck.

You lasted a little longer than I did.  My sister sent me about 10 she'd gone through and her only comment was she was curious about what I thought.  The first 3 had me laughing so hard it hurt.  But on 4, it started to go south and gave up somewhere in the middle of 5. 

For me, the same applies to Jodi Piccault.   The first one 2 were My Sister's Keeper and Plain Truth, both of which I liked.  Then I read the one about the girl and her father in Alaska, and the whole thing crashed and burned. It was as if the weaknesses I noticed in the first 2 overtook the whole book.

I just finished Takedown Twenty by Evanovich and, while I did chuckle in spots, I really hated how the whole thing tied up at the end.  (I have a suspicion that this may have been the series swan song, but who knows?)  I think what has bothered me with the series since it went into double digits is that it has become too broad and missing a lot of detail.  The best way to describe it for me is to compare it to a graphic novel I used to enjoy (before the company stopped publishing it.) 

"Ruse" was a mystery taking place in an alternate Edwardian England where magic worked.  One of the things that was breathtaking about it was the very detailed art work.  Whoever did the work didn't stint on detail and color.  You could tell one character from the other as each looked unique.  Then someone else took over for a few issues.  THAT artist wasn't anywhere near as detailed in execution of characters and background.  Indeed, in some scenes our heroine looked pretty much like the evil sorceress she was fighting....their noses were little commas, their eyes were drawn wide...it was as if the illustrators of the Archie Comics had taken over.

And that is how the Stephanie Plum series now feels.  Sure, we still have the most inept bounty hunter to ever have her car blown up, but now the old details remain and new details aren't there really, leaving us with the broad outlines of the old series.  None of the characters seem to change much or grow (except for Ranger and lately all he gets to say is "Babe") and Stephanie hasn't grown up at all.  Surely there is comedy to be mined from a Morelli-Plum wedding (Grandma Bella putting curses on everyone at the wedding, Lula in a lime green stretch maid of honor gown that has no choice, Dougie making a pot laced cake....)  and a couple more episodes with pregnant Stephanie chasing down a jumper or two before deciding maybe it's time to--grow the heck up! 

Her independence used to be fun and even inspiring.  Now it's just annoying.

Corvid

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1651 on: January 25, 2014, 04:11:52 PM »
I am so very sick of heroines who the narrator and other characters insist are "smart, strong, resilient, and fascinating!" and yet nothing they actually do in the books are evidence of that. Quite the opposite, actually. Just saying "Ashley is a strong, tough, smart woman!" isn't nearly enough.

I've noticed, too, that what some authors consider "smart, strong, resilient, and fascinating" is what I consider "inconsiderate, selfish, raging, steamrolling female dog".  I don't need a female protagonist to be a mealy-mouthed Polyanna and I'm fine with a flawed main character but 1) there's a line there and 2) most people would not actually think someone who acted like this was the greatest girl EVAR.  In these books everyone just adores these girls/women who act like complete jerks.  In real life they'd be alienating people right and left.

rose red

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1652 on: February 18, 2014, 09:52:45 AM »
I'm reminded of a pet peeve with the book I just started.  When covers don't match the story.  The main character is described with long curly black hair.  She even made a point of saying she's scared of cutting it in fear of looking like a poodle.  The cover has a girl with sleek wavy blond hair.  The complete opposite.

Winterlight

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1653 on: February 18, 2014, 10:22:56 AM »
That bugs me too. In movies made from books, it can be even worse. The Age Of Innocence had a brunette heroine generally described as "slight" and a blonde statuesque antagonist. So who did they cast? Blonde Michelle Pfieffer for the heroine and fragile brunette Winona Ryder for the antagonist.
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Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1654 on: February 18, 2014, 10:30:24 AM »
I'm reminded of a pet peeve with the book I just started.  When covers don't match the story.  The main character is described with long curly black hair.  She even made a point of saying she's scared of cutting it in fear of looking like a poodle.  The cover has a girl with sleek wavy blond hair.  The complete opposite.

If it's an e-book, or privately published, the author probably didn't spend money getting a "proper" cover made, just picked some free/inexpensive stock photo by looking for "Image=girl".

Of course, this hits even established authors using large publishing houses. Apparently J.R.R. Tolkien somewhat perplexed at why the cover for the first official American run of LOTR included ostriches in the cover art.
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rose red

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1655 on: February 18, 2014, 10:38:14 AM »
^ It's a book published by Penquin.  It's YA and YA covers are usually pretty good which was why this one jumped out at me.

Ereine

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1656 on: February 18, 2014, 12:37:40 PM »
I think that sometimes publishing schedules are so tight that the illustrator won't have a chance to read the book or be given an accurate brief, maybe the heroine only became dark-haired after the cover was made. Obviously sometimes the publisher just doesn't care. When Wheel of Time was translated into Finnish they split each book into three books (maybe they thought that they would make three times as much money that way) and had to find cover images for the extra books. I assume that they didn't want to spend any extra money on the images as they used some random fantasy illustrations that had nothing to do with the books.

I was reminded of a pet peeve by a book I'm currently reading. It isn't a bad book, though it may contain too many made up words and too many countries to remember (the words are at least explained but geography isn't) but it is written as the heroine's report of her crime, written for her judges so the whole time I know that things will end up badly. Of course I would have known that if I had read the cover blurb before buying but I had enjoyed some of her other books so I thought that it was a safe buy.

Yarnspinner

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1657 on: February 18, 2014, 01:34:05 PM »
Years and years ago, I attended a convention for fantasy fans.  At one of the panels, an author brought up the issue of cover art.  He told of a friend who had written a novel in which the hero was a slender, beautiful  man whose orientation was to that of the left handed brother hood.  Indeed, in the story (said the author) the hero makes many references to his same gender couplings. 

He was surprised, therefore, when the book showed up with a huge, brawny Conan like character on the cover and the huge Conan like character has a half nekkid female tossed over his shoulder.  There were no female characters in the book.

Author got a message from the artist shortly thereafter apologizing for the cover art.  "The publishers made me do it because they didn't want it to be an obvious thing.  BUT if you take a close look, you'll see I did put an earring in (whichever ear it is that signifies being g@y).  It was all I could do."

Thirty plus years later, I still wonder what book and which author he was talking about.


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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1658 on: February 18, 2014, 01:48:46 PM »
Sometimes the publisher gives the artist a page or two of the novel to work with--so they will know, for example, that there's a scene where the hero is fighting a wyvern, but that page doesn't mention that the hero is short and red-haired, because the reader already knows that.

And sometimes the inaccuracies are deliberate: Octavia Butler's publishers kept putting obviously white characters on the covers of her books, which had black protagonists. Except once they used a green-skinned woman: someone in marketing was sure that the expected white readers wouldn't buy a science fiction book if they knew up front that the heroine was black.
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Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1659 on: February 18, 2014, 02:28:25 PM »
In The Dresden Files series, the main character is a wizard living in Chicago who tries to avoid all the stereotypes of his occupation. He specifically mentions that he despises hats.

It's pretty obvious the illustrator of the newer editions (which have a picture of the main character) hasn't read them, because Harry Dresden is shown wearing a hat, albeit a fedora rather than a wizard's cap. The author found it funny though, so every book in that edition's print has Harry in progressively bigger hats.

Luci

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1660 on: February 18, 2014, 02:32:42 PM »
I am getting pretty tired of reading the genre description of novels on Amazon. I do not to really like romance because it  is such a formula. The main characters are repelled but they notice each other's rears. Oh, please! If I don't like someone to begin with, I'll be polite, but chances are I will never really like the person. I don't get the 'cute butt' thing! I know what comes out of it, and that's never the part I've been interested in, anyway.  :) Just call it a "romantic, comedic, mystery" so I know what to expect. I'm not condemning the authors of the novels, just the reviewers.

I get into a novel that sounds good and am hit by all these things that other people think are "romance", or worse, but it isn't called a "romance" to begin with. I have finally found that I need to read the best five and most negative five of the reviews.

PS I got a lot of my sexual education from under-the-counter novels in junior high, so I don't really want to ban them!  >:D

Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1661 on: February 18, 2014, 02:49:12 PM »
Related to the inaccurate covers one, I get really annoyed when a book series gets released with new covers because it's been made into a film or TV series... and they put characters who were created for the TV show on the covers!

The two worst offenders are:

Vampire Diaries: the show completely shuffled and redrew the main female characters, not a single one of them is unchanged and they mixed and matched a lot of their appearances, skills and personalities. Also Elena doesn't have a brother in the books, she has a sister who's only about 8, yet I've seen books with Jeremy on the front

True Blood: The character Jessica does not exist,  (BOOK SPOILERS!) Lafayette is killed at the beginning of the second book and the antagonist MaryAnne does not exist as such (there is a Maenad in the second book, but she isn't the killer Sookie's looking for, she's much less plot relevant and she's never named), but sure enough, all have their own covers.

I have absolutely nothing against changing things in an adaptation, but tricking people who've seen the show but not read the books feels dishonest, and they might be put off a perfectly good series once they realise they've been tricked.

luna_elvellon

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1662 on: February 18, 2014, 03:04:31 PM »
I remember reading a whole rant on goodreads about how dystopia book covers always seem to have gorgeous girls in elaborate gowns when in the actual book, they're all in jumpsuits or patched clothing or something. One series I'm reading right now (Dollhouse series by Anya Allyn) is more of a modern-day horror, but again, all the covers are basically moody fashion shots. Even dressing her up more like various dolls would have been a lot better for this series, and probably a good deal more unique.

Speaking of that series, I agree that it's incredibly annoying to have a series completely change as you go along. In this case, I fell in love with the gothic-like tone of the first book and immediately started on book two, but the whole feeling is completely different and I've had it half-read for some time now.

And much as I'm enjoying historical romance, too many romantic tropes never fail to bug me. One of the biggest that I keep running into is the theme that all of a woman's problems can be solved simply by finding the right man. Also, somewhat related are religious novels that think that a good religious theme will forgive pretty much anything else about the story. One particularly memorable example tried using a guy who was basically a manipulative stalker as a positive example (you know, since he loved and forgave the girl for her "faults"). Can't say I'm exactly inclined to read anything else by that author.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1663 on: February 18, 2014, 04:13:35 PM »
I think I mentioned this elsewhere, but when the movie version of Girl with the Pearl Earring came out, the new covers showed Colin Firth all wrapped around Scarlet Johansen.  Unlike the first editions, which showed, the painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.  So in the first editions, if you weren't familiar with the painting, there it was.  But the movie tie ins gave you a completely wonky idea of what it was about.
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zyrs

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1664 on: February 19, 2014, 03:03:04 AM »
That bugs me too. In movies made from books, it can be even worse. The Age Of Innocence had a brunette heroine generally described as "slight" and a blonde statuesque antagonist. So who did they cast? Blonde Michelle Pfieffer for the heroine and fragile brunette Winona Ryder for the antagonist.

In the book Salem's lot the adult male protagonist was dark-haired, the teenaged male protagonist was dark-haired, the main vampire had a full head of hair and the vampire's assistant was bald.

In the made-for-tv movie Salem's lot, both male protagonists were blonde, the assistant had a full head of hair and the vampire was patterned after Nosferatu.  It made it much harder for me to watch it.