Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Bookish Pet Peeves

This Tuesday's Top Ten hop, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, asks what are your top literary pet peeves? Anything from things that bug you in a story to things bookstores do to the physical book itself, what bothers you?  Here goes:

In the story
Eye dialect - The Blue Bookcase, in their own book hop, asked a question about literary pet peeves and this is the number one thing that drives me nuts in an actual story. Eye dialect is when an author writes a character's dialog phonetically so you get the feeling of what the person actually sounds like. If it's done well, it can add depth and realism to a story. However, usually it's annoying and the only way to understand what's being said is to actually read those parts aloud. And personally, that makes me sound stupid and/or really racist.

Stream of consciousness - I always like the idea of stream-of-conscious writing, but I've yet to enjoy it in execution. I'm looking at you, Joyce.

At the bookstore
Hidden books - I love those tables with new releases or recommended books or whathaveyou. They usually have some good books I probably wouldn't have found if they were just in the stacks. However, if I'm actually looking for a specific book, I usually can't find it with the author's other works and I have to go hunt down all of those tables to see if it's hiding there.

Trying to find non-fiction books in a big box store - OK, this might just be the fact that I never know how these things are organized, but I can never find books like Freakonomics at the store. Fiction is simple but non-fiction usually means a book could be in any one of several places. At this point I'll go check one of those computers that are normally around the big box stores and while those are helpful in telling me if the book is hidden somewhere in the store, but it doesn't tell me where.

On the books
Man-handled cover - I hate to see someone bend the cover of a book back. I don't personally write in books but it doesn't pain me to see someone else taking notes. But this makes me die a little.

Stickers on the cover - This just goes along with not liking to see the cover hurt, but I hate when stickers are on the cover cos I have a need to yank it off. And that many times takes a part of the cover with it.

Apparently I'm less annoyed by things than I thought I would be.  Or I'm just having a mental block right now.

What are your bookish pet peeves?

Update As I've been checking out other people's posts I've seen some other bookish things that drive me nuts. I'm going to stay away from some story features because for the most part it's a matter of the author being a bad author and I don't want to blame the tricks or techniques if the problem lays in an untalented writer. Eye dialect and stream-of-consciousness annoy me regardless of if they're "done well" or I've never seen an example of it working.

Series that don't announce they're a series - I obviously just mentioned I read You Suck before realizing it was the second in the series. It'd be nice if there was something to indicate I was about to start in the middle of the story. The Thursday Next series does this too. I didn't realize it was a series and was just lucky enough that I picked up the next book in the series instead of jumping around.

Messy bookshelves - This goes along with that OCD I mention around bending book covers. The shelves don't have to be organized in anyway other than however you like it, but essentially, if it looks like the books are about to be damaged I'm going to freak out in my head. And if I know you well, out loud, while I fix things. While on the topic of messy bookshelves

Mismatched series - I really don't care if your sets don't match, but I have conniptions if mine don't. See my Harry Potter "set" over there. I picked up the second book at an English language bookstore in Rome and really didn't care about the cover. Then I slowly collected the other books and was sad the set didn't match. I actually went out of my way to buy the 6th book in a format that looked similar to the 2nd book. It's an "adult cover" copy of the book and I was just happy I didn't end up with some weird HP slashfiction.

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