Bookish Pet Peeves
Obviously, reading books is awesome. It can transport you to other worlds, and all you have to do is sit there. And yet, all my fellow readers know that, in spite of all the awesomeness generally associated with books, there are a few things about them that can really get on our nerves.
Today I’m going to be talking about some of the things about books that do that for me. These will be all over the place—they might be related to the size of the book, the actual content, the formatting, the artwork on the cover or in the book—whatever. At the time of writing this intro I have no idea what I’m going to choose yet, so this will be an adventure for you and me both, but I’m going to aim for at least five—because apparently all of my list posts come in groups of five.
Anyway, let’s get into it. Five of my biggest bookish pet peeves.
I know this is probably one that a lot of people can relate to. I understand that booksellers and publishers want you to know if a book won a prize or if it’s a special edition or something, and that’s all cool, but if they’re going to do that, I would really prefer for them to at least choose a sticker that’s easy to get off, because most of the time when I try to take the sticker off of a book, only half of it comes off, and then I’m left to desperately scrape at the ugly sticker fragments, hoping in vain that they’ll come off. Then, when I finally manage to get those scraps off, I’m left with gross sticky residue on my nice hardcover book—and that stuff is never coming off.
Or—and this is truly a reader’s nightmare—sometimes the sticker comes off fine, but it also takes some of the book cover with it. This mostly happens with paperbacks, and when it does, it devastates me.
But the thing that might be worse than all of those options is when you think a book has a sticker on it, but on closer inspection, you discover that said picture is actually a part of the cover. Usually this is for books that have won prizes, which I guess I can understand, but it still angers me.
Honestly, most of the time when a book has a sticker on it, I just decide to leave it on rather than trying to get it off with any kind of success.
I get it. We’re all human, we all make mistakes—and sometimes we miss things, even when there is a literal team of people combing through the words for errors. And realistically, it’s pretty incredible how few typos there are in most books, considering just how many words make up a whole book, and how easy it is to miss mistakes when reading. Mad props to editors for having eagle eyes.
Even with all that, though, typos in books still annoy me. They’re not rage-worthy or anything, and they certainly won’t make me DNF a book, but they do tend to take me out of the world a little, which is annoying.
I don’t know if this is just a me problem, because in case you didn’t know, I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi. I’m that girl who puts proper punctuation into text message sentences, and who has to hold herself back from completely tearing others’ papers apart during peer review sessions at school. Basically, I’m the worst, and my being the worst translates to the typos in books too.
3. Awful cover art
You know those covers that look like someone threw them together in Photoshop in maybe five minutes, looked at the final product, and just went, “Eh, good enough”? That’s what I’m talking about here. I would give examples, but I don’t want to be too mean.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the goal of a book cover should be to pique people’s interest in the book by giving them an inkling of what’s inside. When it comes to those five-minute-Photoshop covers, I just don’t see how that goal is being achieved.
It’s even worse when a cover like that is on a book that’s actually really good—but I already talked about that a little bit in a post from a few months ago (it was called Love the Book, Hate the Cover; you can go read it here if you’re interested).
4. Unnumbered book series
You guys know I love fantasy. The thing about fantasy, though, is there aren’t very many standalones. With fantasy, the world and story are often pretty expansive, so multiple books are kind of necessary, which I, personally, love.
What I don’t love, however, is that a large portion of the time—especially, I’ve noticed, with adult fantasy—there’s no indication anywhere on the book as to where that book falls in the series. Granted, with the Internet around, it’s generally not that difficult to find out the book order of any given series. It takes a 5-second Google session. And there are some books that have a helpful list somewhere near the title page of “other books by This Author,” which (at least I hope) includes the books in the right order, so that’s nice.
Still, is it really all that hard to put a little number on the spine? There are plenty of book series out there that have them, so I don’t really understand why all book series can’t have them. And if there’s a little number on the spine, then the answer is right there and people who want to buy the book don’t have to take all the extra steps to make sure it’s actually the right book.
5. Characters who do nothing but think about their significant other
I guess this is more of a story pet peeve, rather than one related to the physical book, but I did say I would let myself include pretty much anything related to books at all, so I think this still counts. It definitely annoys me.
For this one, I’m talking more specifically about characters who have been in a relationship for a while, and they still spend every second of every day thinking about their significant other. Even when they’re in the middle of a battle scene, or an otherwise intense situation, where said lover is not involved. I don’t know if any of you have ever been in a long-term relationship before, but as someone who has been with the same person for over 3 years now, I can tell you with some amount of certainty that… well, that just doesn’t happen. At least, not for me.
Yeah, at the beginning of a relationship, it makes sense for a character to spend a ton of time thinking about that other person—I can accept that—but after a few months, that tendency goes away. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t think about them ever—that’s also not normal—but they shouldn’t be an all-consuming topic anymore.
Maybe I’m a little biased, since I’m not much of a fan of romance in books, and I tend to be harsh on the way it’s represented. The kinds of romances I tend to like in books are the subtle kind that don’t get much screen time, but they’re a blast of cuteness when they do show up (also I really like hate-to-love or friends-to-lovers, or even hate-to-friends-to-lovers, maybe because those tend to be pretty slow-burn—but that’s not relevant to this conversation).
Okay! I think that’s all the pet peeves I’m going to talk about for today. Let me know down in the comments what your biggest bookish pet peeves are? Are any of them the same as mine?
Thanks for reading, everyone, and I’ll see you soon!