News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • May 28, 2017, 01:44:09 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 707526 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Reika

  • Member
  • Posts: 3683
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #3345 on: May 19, 2017, 06:50:56 PM »
With something you don't know, the less you say the less you have to explain. And the best sci-fi authors don't explain unless it's plot relevant anyway.

Exactly. Besides I feel like the authors who like to drone on about the scientific theories behind their thing in their fiction books are showing off, or trying to pad their word count. I'm reading fiction for a reason.

If I want to educate myself on something, I'll read papers/journals/whatever by experts to learn.

David Weber is notorious for doing this. When I have to wade through ten pages of technical stuff to get to the plot again, it puts me off.

Yes, Weber is one of the main offenders I was thinking of. :)

VorFemme

  • Member
  • Posts: 16229
  • It's too darned hot! (song from Kiss Me, Kate)
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #3346 on: May 19, 2017, 07:28:13 PM »
With something you don't know, the less you say the less you have to explain. And the best sci-fi authors don't explain unless it's plot relevant anyway.

Exactly. Besides I feel like the authors who like to drone on about the scientific theories behind their thing in their fiction books are showing off, or trying to pad their word count. I'm reading fiction for a reason.

If I want to educate myself on something, I'll read papers/journals/whatever by experts to learn.

David Weber is notorious for doing this. When I have to wade through ten pages of technical stuff to get to the plot again, it puts me off.

Yes, Weber is one of the main offenders I was thinking of. :)

I have been working on a "look through the technical stuff a bit" and then start reading & paying attention again once the story starts up again.

I learned to do this when reading some things that I liked the story on - but not always the *other* stuff - the language in Love Story comes to mind...the first time I read it was the Readers' Digest's edition - which mostly got rid of the bad language and some *scrabble* stuff that didn't advance the plot for me when I was thirteen.

I did reread it later - decided that there are some cases when I prefer the Bowdlerized version - as side tracking to the bedroom, when it has little or nothing to do with the plot or does nothing to advance the story's progress - is just not doing anything for my appreciation of the writer's skills.

Laurell K. Hamilton and Jean Auel - please take note.  Jean Auel does both the technical side tracking and the *scrabbble* side tracking - some judicious editing would reduce the thickness of her books...although I get the impression that there are people who are reading only for the stuff related to Stone Age activities in the fur bedding.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

Yarnspinner

  • Member
  • Posts: 4503
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #3347 on: May 19, 2017, 11:37:57 PM »
I enjoyed everything Steinbeck wrote except for Travels with Charley.  I might have been too young for it, but I have never had the desire to pick it back up. 
I remember liking Gatsby in high school, but I haven't read it since.   I do not enjoy Dickens at all.  Great Expectation was the bane of my existence in 8th grade.  I tried to read it again as an adult, and I still couldn't through it.

Great Expectations was one of my GCSE literature set texts. I had to study the wretched novel for two years (it comprised about a third of the course) and I loathed it. It is with a certain measure of pride that I can say I passed GCSE Literature without ever, once, finishing it. And there's a certain degree of amusement with which I note that I got exactly the same grade as a friend of mine who obsessively read it (and the other two set texts). She...was not nearly as amused.

And a new peeve: infodumping. Specifically, the sort of infodumping where the author is literally stopping the narrative every five minutes to explain terminology. I get that not everyone (and I include myself in this!) will understand what a JTAC is, or FOB or anyone of a number of acronyms and peculiar euphemisms that the military (any branch, any nationality) goes in for, but gosh darn it, unless it's really esoteric, stuff it in a glossary. Seriously.

I get that the terminology is complicated and unfamiliar, but stopping to explain every last bit of it brings what should be a tense action sequence to a screeching halt.

Never have I been more glad that I didn't spend the money to buy the full book and instead just got a sample chapter to try!
The unabridged Les Miserables has some of the worst examples of this. Right in the middle of the story, Hugo breaks off and includes whole chapters about different French coins they use, or the street dialect of the urchin characters! Then I realized why it was nearly always found abridged.

I have not read it, but I understand Moby D1ck has a lot of information on whale taxonomy.

I absolutely loved this book, but was disappointed as I recognized several of them as either urban legends or short stories I had read elsewhere.  The woman whose husband arranged for her to receive a puppy after his death so that she wouldn't be lonely comes to mind.  It was written as if it had actually happened, but the original story was written as a Christmas tale back in the 1920s.

Isn't that part of the story in John Wick - except it was his wife that left him the puppy

Oh Lord.  I must have been sleeping when I went to reply--I was replying to the comment on the book Small Miracles.  All I can say about Moby wingadingdingy is that if all the DIY chapters on whaling were removed the book would be five chapters long. 

kglory

  • Member
  • Posts: 1034
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #3348 on: May 21, 2017, 02:06:06 AM »
Because we only have some copies, I have been reading (on CD) books from the Precious Ramotswe series out of order.  The gentle mysteries are lovely to read, but the fact that the author goes in and out of everyone's thoughts without so much as a paragraph to separate them drives me insane.  Also, my teeth clench every time someone mentions Grace Makutsi's 97% or her talking shoes.  Yes, the books are supposed to be light hearted and funny (and they are) but they are becoming SO light hearted that they may just float away with all the characters tied to them by pretty chiffon scarves.

I loved the first few of this series!  The very first book had several clever (but light hearted) mysteries.  The 2nd had a longer, more complex, well done mystery.  All still light, of course, and with a fabulous dry humor.  And they do a brilliant job of immersing you in Botswana's culture, so the reader learns all these cultural nuances. 

I loved these series up through book 5 or 6 - my favorite being the one where Mma Maktusi goes to dancing school (won't say more in case you haven't read this one) - where at the start, she finally has the money to rent an apartment with her own running water, so she no longer has to pay the neighbor for the privilege of washing her hair from the pump in the neighbor's yard, which made the movers think she had become a very rich lady - again the show, don't tell, about African culture.

After that, it seemed like the author ran out of new ideas - either for character development, OR for the mysteries they solve.  Maybe he never expected it to be this popular!  But I feel like everything from book 7 onwards just drones on about the same things.  Our beloved characters, if they never grow any, seem dull - the constant harping on the 97% and the shoes, for example.  And worse, the mysteries are so simple that we readers can now solve them in 2 seconds, but Mma Ramotswe, who is presented as so insightful in the earlier books, now spends an entire book puzzling over something so basic!  Oh and don't get me started that one unpleasant woman (introduced in the dancing school book in a really natural way, one of my favorite scenes) pops up again over the next 20 books and becomes the villain of EVERY plot in EVERY book in EVERY single way.  Unbelievable!

That's my thoughts in a nutshell about the #1 Detective Agency books, without giving too much away! ;)