Bookish Pet Peeves Tag

Tags seem perfect for the start of a new year. A book I recently finished prompted me to do the Bookish Pet Peeves Tag. I don’t like tagging people because I don’t want to annoy anyone. If you want to do the tag, feel free to do it and put the link to your response in the comments. I think this tag was created by The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday. Without further ado, here are my 5 bookish pet peeves:

1) Books with deckled edge paper

I utterly loathe deckled edges!! My copy of Don Quixote had deckled edge paper. Because the pages stuck together, I couldn’t flip through the book to find my favorite passages. It is useless to underline and write in the margins of books with deckled edge paper.

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2) Dust jackets

I mostly buy paperback books not only because they are less expensive and lighter than hardcover books but also because they don’t come with dust jackets. Dust jackets easily slip off.

3) Obnoxious highlighting in used books  

I generally don’t care about the condition of my books. I will buy used copies with highlighting, marginal notes, or broken spines. I underline and write in the margins of nearly every books I read. I believe in reading with a pencil. However, I don’t want the whole book highlighted. Obnoxious highlighting not only makes the book look ugly, it is a counterproductive practice. Highlighting alone doesn’t help you study. You must take notes if you want to remember anything you’ve read. Highlighting is only appropriate for marking favorite passages. But what is the purpose of highlighting the whole book?

4) Introductions with spoilers

Many of the works I read come with very informative introductions. I know now to read them after I finish the classic, but I wish editor’s essays came at the end of the book rather than at the beginning. They almost always give away the whole plot. Maybe the editor could include a spoiler warning in appropriate sections of the essay. I understand that a note about historical context might be appropriate in the introduction to a classic, but I don’t want to know the whole story before I read it. I do appreciate, however, the work editors and translators do to make a particular classic accessible to a modern English-speaking audience.

5)Now a major motion picture” on non-movie covers

I am not opposed to movie covers. If I like the film adaptation, I sometimes buy the book with the movie cover. But, if the book does not have a movie cover, I don’t want the cover to remind me that the book is now a major motion picture. If I didn’t buy a copy with a movie cover, I may not have liked the film adaptation. For example, I bought a Lord of the Rings box set without the movie covers because I don’t like the films. However, the cover of The Hobbit has a note saying that it is now a major motion picture. I don’t want to be reminded of the movies when I pick up The Hobbit. The box set is beautiful except for this irritating note. I have even considered replacing my copy of The Hobbit.

What are your bookish pet peeves? I didn’t discuss writing style or plot. That’s for another post.

7 Storytelling Pet Peeves

Below are a few of my storytelling pet peeves:

1) When magic saves characters. If magic is a normal part of the world the author has created, magic rules should be explained and then not breached to save a character’s life.

2) When characters seemingly come back to life. Unless resurrection is a major theme in the story, characters should die when it is reasonable for them to do so. That is my greatest criticism of The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf should have died on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

3) When female characters are sweet, precious angels. I am speaking to YOU, Johanna Spyri (author of Heidi), Charles Dickens, and Eleanor Porter (author of Polyanna).

4) When there is religious stereotyping. As a Catholic, this irks me to no end. Not all priests are awful people. Not all monks are assassins. Not every historical fiction novel set in Medieval Europe needs to have lovely Catholic characters, but I have met a few good Catholic priests. They exist.

5) When the Virgin can’t wait to be “sexually liberated”. This bothers me a lot. I know that sex sells, and that people have sex, but once in a while I’d like to read a book in which a female or male character chooses to be or is OK with being celibate.

6) When the single or married (but always female) secretary becomes de facto a love interest. This bothers me because I see it as a misogynistic trope. Why are secretaries always hit on by their bosses? Why do authors assume that a secretary wants to get into her boss’s pants?  Why are secretaries always female? Geesh. This needs to stop.

7) When there are glaring historical inaccuracies in a historical fiction work. The word “historical” is in the name of the genre for a reason.

What are your storytelling pet peeves?