Today, I thought we’d talk about bookish pet peeves, big and small. The things that drive you crazy and make you roll your eyes so hard, you fear they’ll roll right out of their sockets, or that make you want to throw your Kindle into the pool.
I have three bigger and three smaller things I want to complain about, and if you feel like joining in, please let me know your pet peeves in the comments! 🙂
The Big Misunderstanding: If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that this is my number one pet-peeve. For example: I hate it when MC1 listens to MC2’s side of a phone conversation, draws (wrong) conclusions and storms out. First of all: it’s overused and feels like a cheap way of creating drama to me. Also: don’t eavesdrop. And if you do and something seems strange, ASK about it. Talk to each other, fictional people! It’s not that difficult.
The Cliffhanger: This is the reason I read ALL THREE BOOKS of the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy even though I hated them: books 1 and 2 ended with a cliffhanger. And I’m a curious person and had to know how it all ended even though I really didn’t care. Now, years later, I ask myself why I just didn’t google a spoiler-filled review, read it and satisfied my curiosity that way instead of tormenting myself by reading all that crap. (If you like 50 Shades, I’m sorry for ranting about them. I really don’t, though!)
But I learned a valuable lesson from this: always read spoiler-filled reviews to know if the books end in a cliffhanger! If they do, I don’t read them.
Too Much Sex: And let’s be clear, I’m not talking about erotica here, because that’s a legit genre for that kind of thing. I’m also not talking about the sex scenes that move the plot forward. No, I’m talking about the book I read that was less than 80 pages and had 5 detailed sex scenes. Five. And no, it wasn’t labeled erotica. I know a lot of people like sex in their books, but I’m not one of them. For me, that’s something that’ll actually make me put down a book. And any time I see a review where stars are deducted because of not enough or no sex at all, I buy that book! 🙂
“‘You’re so sexy,’ he purred.” Purred!! UGH, unless “he” in this sentence is a cat-shifter, this is not okay! People don’t purr!! It squicks me out!
People having sex when they’re very sick or injured. Yes, I understand it’s to show that they were very worried to lose each other and now that the injured/sick person is on the mend, they’re relived and want to show each other they’re happy. But that person in the hospital bed with a broken bone who’s so drugged up on painkillers they can hardly remember their name, you think they wanna have sex? And if it’s a guy: you think he can have an erection in that state?
I mean: if my husband even looks at me with bedroom eyes when I have a simple cold, I’ll just hide under my covers and pretend I’m not there. If I was doped up in a hospital bed: forget about it. Kiss my forehead and squeeze my hand and tell me you’re so happy I’m okay, but don’t try to get into my pants! (I recommend To Love and To Cherish by Addison Albright, to read a realistic situation relating to a serious injury!)
Epithets. And if you’re not familiar with what it is, it’s “the red-head” in this sentence: “Harry bent down and kissed the red-head.” This can of course work if Harry doesn’t know the name of the red-head because it’s the first time they meet, but if the red-head in question is Harry’s husband Ron (yes, I read a lot of Harry Potter fanfic! Not much Harry/Ron though 🙂 ) and he knows the name…then it becomes annoying.
To be perfectly honest, I used to do it myself (Find His Way Home has so many “his lover” I cringed when I re-read it recently) until one of my editors pointed it out to me, saying that Harry in my example above probably wouldn’t think about his husband as “the red-head.” The way I don’t think about my husband as “the bearded guy.”
There are exceptions that work for me. For example: “Harry bent down and kissed his husband” would work. Or “Ron stole his brother’s broom,” because it’s not uncommon for people to think about their significant other as “my husband/wife” or sibling as “my brother/sister.”
Before I started writing, I never even thought about epithets. But now I can’t not notice them and they drive me crazy. I know pronouns are difficult when you write same-sex relationships and it’s hard to keep up with which “he” this particular “he” is referring to. And as a writer I think “I’ve written his name a gazillion times already, I have to change it up a little” and that’s why I ended up with too many “his lover” in FHWH. But seriously. A “he” or the name is so much less intrusive, so pretty please with sugar on top, use that instead! 🙂
3 thoughts on “Monday Book Talk”
We must think alike, because I was thinking “right on” for each item on your list (and thank you so much for the shout out)! And that injury point is not just for sexy times. It bothers me when the MC tough guy is unaffected by serious injury and keeps going despite something that, physiologically, should down him.
I’d probably want to clarify “cliffhanger,” which gets watered down in its usage sometimes. I object to a true cliffhanger, but not as much when it’s merely that some things still need to be tied up in later stories, and you know they will be…eventually. And I really don’t object to something that’s really just a teaser hint of what’s to come in a future story.
Epithets jump out at me more than they used to, too. (Sorry for the beta reading fail on the overuse of “lover.” I didn’t think anything of it at the time.) But you’re right about how usage/intent is key. It’s wrong when it’s merely to avoid the name or pronoun, and especially when the POV character wouldn’t think the term. There are times when “husband “ or “lover” are perfectly fitting to use.
“Lover” is one of those words that makes me cringe when it’s used as an endearment. It’s used that way in one of my favorites, but not by an MC, so it makes me wonder if that was deliberate to help the reader root against that guy?
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““Lover” is one of those words that makes me cringe when it’s used as an endearment.” YES!! I mean, I’m perfectly fine (obviously, heh, and you’re forgiven btw!) when someone _thinks_ about his SO as lover (as long as it’s once or twice at least, NOT the amount I managed to sprinkle into FHWH). But saying it face to face? Ugh, makes me cringe, too. Maybe it’s because of this old Friends-clip (https://youtu.be/xBes0eZYuUw at 2:30) 😂😂 Idk, but I really don’t like it! 🙂
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Hahaha…Yeah, I kind of think when it’s used in shows/books it’s probably meant to induce a cringe.