Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

 This week’s Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is all about turn-offs. Top Ten Book Turn-Offs, that is. Only 10? Aw, shucks. Here are some of mine, in no particular order.

1. Grammar/spelling.

The odd mistake is fine, to be expected in fact. I can get past that. God knows, I make plenty. But if there are so many mistakes that it takes me out of the story, I’m out.

2. Repetition.

I don’t mind a bit of stylistic repeating of tone or sentence structure – even a preference for certain turns of phrase or words can be okay. But when it gets to a point that I start wondering if the author has actually heard of a thesaurus, then I start getting annoyed. This was one of the (many, many) issues I had with Fifty Shades of Grey.

3. Predictability.

If I can see the plot twist or where the story is going then what’s the point in reading it? This Is What Happy Looks Like was like that for me. Even worse when it’s a mystery.

4. Writing as if the audience should be very impressed with your cleverness.

I’ll be impressed if you, you know, impress me.  But don’t come up with some plot that’s supposed to be really amazing and write it as if you’ve just revealed the location of the fountain of youth, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle and come up with a cure for cancer when all you’ve done is write a moderately entertaining and somewhat predictable novel. This was my issue with The Da Vinci Code. I would have been more impressed if Brown hadn’t written it as if he was blown away by his own cleverness.

5. Impenetrable language.

Long words are fine. A varied vocabulary is great. But when the author is contemporary and clearly throwing obscure words around to show off, I just wanna smack them.

6. Too many characters.

Oh man, War and Peace. The first five pages had more characters (all with apparently the same three names in variation) than all the Harry Potter books combined. My brain can’t keep track!

7. Unbelievable characters

Don’t decide halfway through a book that you wish you’d written a different character and just start writing that character. Don’t make your characters do things that are completely, you know, out of character because you can’t figure out another way to get the story to come out right.  

8. On-again, off-again love affairs.

It’s bad enough in TV shows, but in books? Puh-lease. Zero fucks.

9. Lazy writing.

The Hunger Games series. **SPOILER** I loved the premise of these books. And for the first half of each of them, they were even decently written. But as it got to the end, it was like the author had a set number of pages and ran out of space for the climax. You know, the part of the book we have been WAITING FOR. Chapter upon chapter of Katniss hunting squirrels in the beginning, and then for the climax of each book she takes a nap. We have to find out what happened in a quick two page re-cap from another character when she wakes up? SERIOUSLY???? So annoyed.

10. Padding.

I get that back in the day authors were paid by the word, so books like Bleak House are stupid long. I don’t like it, but I get it. But the Stephen King novels – some of them are heavier than my house. It’s just excessive. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the guy is a seriously talented writer, and the books are still worth reading, but I feel like he could have cut some of them down a bit. Just a few hundred pages or so.

I’m not going to go back and change mine, cos that would be cheating, but I can’t believe I didn’t think of the first two in The Broke and the Bookish post! Insta-love and animal cruelty. Both  major turn-offs for me. I can handle people being hurt and killed (my favourite TV show is Criminal Minds) but have a puppy hit by a car and I’m in tears and putting the book back on the shelf (or throwing it out, if it’s really bad), no matter how much I want to know what happens. I’m also with them on some of the others – the super-controlling-guy-you’re-supposed-to-root-for one and the virgin-as-saint one.

Want to share some of your book turn-offs? Head over to The Broke and the Bookish and link up! //<![CDATA[ var sc_project=10144299; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="82f610c9"; var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://secure." : "http://www."); document.write("”); //]]>

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6 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

  1. M.

    I'm glad someone agrees on the Dan Brown issue, I was worried I was bringing down a world of criticism on myself with that one! Good story, but meh on writing is totally on the money. I haven't read Jasper Fforde yet (it's on my to-read list), but I'll keep an eye out for that. I definitely had trouble getting into The Eyre Affair when I tried to start it… so we'll see! I was glad too. I actually hadn't even heard that term before today, but after reading through a bunch of Top Ten Tuesdays, I'd be okay with never hearing it again! Thanks for stopping by – heading over to check out yours now!

  2. Stephanie Shepherd

    Your number 4 made me chuckle and so true! I actually had Dan Brown and The DaVinci code in mind for the “can spin a yarn but bad writing” pet peeve. Jasper Fforde, even though I actually really like his books, has sometimes struck me with the “look how clever this is” vibe. Great list! And it's good you didn't include Insta-love because it looks like most people did include it so it was covered:) With so much hate for the insta-love, I wonder then why authors still go there!

  3. M.

    Neither can I – even if it's a beautifully-written story, or it's true to the time period or it's central to the plot – I'd rather miss out on an amazing piece of writing than suffer through reading about something bad happening to an animal. It's gotten so if there are animals in a book, I consider not reading it just in case it turns out something bad happens to any of them. This is getting out of hand. I started reading The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine, which is all about a community of people in New York who know each other through their dogs, and I'm having trouble because I keep expecting one of them to get sick or hit by a car or run away or… something.

    Also a few people in this link-up have the same thing with animals, and one of them mentioned this truly HORRIFIC part in Crime and Punishment. I won't tell you what happens, because that would just be mean, but let me advise you not to read it if you haven't already. Same with Under the Dome.

  4. M.

    Ugh, that sounds horrendous. You know, ostensibly. 😉

    I have a really hard time with repetition. There have been a few books where it got to the point that I couldn't even pay attention to the plot because I was too busy thinking of different words and phrases the author could have used to vary it up a bit!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Katrin

    Sometimes I can't really believe how much we have in common. When an animal gets hurt in a book then I stop reading. I do the same with movies and shows. I just can't handle it and it makes me so angry. I can read the bloodiest crime novels, I can read about people getting killed in really horrible ways but I can't handle it when animals get hurt.

  6. itsonpage47

    I hate repetition so much. Recently I read a book where the main character kept saying ostensibly over and over. It didn't even really make sense and it was really frustrating.


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