Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs 
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

We all have them, our literary dealbreakers..plot points and book characteristics that drive you batty.  They're kind of like nails on a chalkboard when you're reading.   While they aren't universal (occasionally one of the items from the following list takes me by surprise), generally speaking, here is a list of things I can't stand in books.

1) Talking Animals - This is definitely numero uno on my list.  I can't fully explain other than to say if animals really do think and talk to one another, I'm not sure I want to know what my cat thinks about me.  She could quite possibly be planning a coup.  I just can't wrap my mind around animals with human characteristics.  There are exceptions of course.  Watership Down is just brilliant, and I would love to meet Aslan, but given a choice, I'd rather do yard work than read a book narrated by a talking animal.  Have I mentioned my aversion to yard work?

2)  Midlife Crisis - "I'm about to go all selfish on you and leave for another country to find myself even though I'll figure out I knew myself all along, I just didn't want to be with you in the first place."  Get over yourself!  I probably shouldn't judge.  I might one day have a midlife crisis and be a total crazy person.  But geez...whiny much!  Maybe that should have been #2 instead...whiny characters.  I wish all books came with a warning if characters are going to be excessively whiny.

3)  Symbolism & Metaphors - "What I'm saying isn't really what I mean, and what I mean could mean something different to you, and to me, and to him..."  Just tell me the point already!  Personally I like to be hit over the head with the moral of the story.  I read to escape.  If the author expects too much out of me, ick.  That kind of makes me sound like a lazy, lazy reader.  I like to be challenged, but not left behind if I don't get the great symbolism.

4)  Books Over 400 Pages - So I just totally shamed myself.  Please don't think less of me.  Maybe I've been working with teenagers too long.  Not that all teenagers are allergic to long books, but a vast majority of the ones I meet complain if a book lasts more than 300 pages.  I've noticed lately, though, that I like to get and out pretty quickly in a book.  Maybe because 95% of teen books being published are a part of a series.  Don't prattle on forever.  Entertain me and then be done with it already.  (I'm hanging my head embarrassed.)

5)  It Was Just A Dream - How dare you!  I'm looking at you Life of Pi.  I suspended belief for you.  I made it through man eating islands and hungry tigers.  I stuck with you, and you pull that...that vague, dreamy ending.  AHHH!  Unfortunately this "turn-off" isn't discovered until the very end, but what a quick way to ruin my day

7) Series Recaps - I mentioned this last week in my Top Ten Best Sequels post...I strongly believe that an author should trust you to know what has happened in previous books.  I'm a big girl.  I can make the choice to re-read if necessary.  Just get on with the story already!

So...not 10.  I'm not really that picky.  Along with this here list, there are a few things I'm a bit over when it comes to reading.  They're mostly paranormal things.  I'm looking at YOU vampires and werewolves.  I still totally dig me some fairies though:)

So what's on your list?!

Happy reading!


  1. I just read The One and Only Ivan. I'm beginning to think that I'm not a fan of animal narrators, either.
    I also get annoyed when the story picks up finally after 150 pages. Come on! Get to it already.
    And I think my 'too long' mark is at about 700 pages. By then, I'm thinking, just wrap it up.

  2. I think unlikeable characters is my worst turn-off. I also am turning into my mom and really prefer a happy ending. I am never going to give a sad book 5 stars on Goodreads.

    1. There's nothing wrong with wanting happy endings! I do like the occasional tearjerker too though...and I've read a few whoppers recently that left me a blubbering mess.

  3. I've read some animal-narrator books that didn't work at all, and a few that were wonderful. But I'm generally more comfortable with talking animals when they're magical, like Anne McCaffrey's dragons, Mercedes Lackey's Companions (horses, but not), and so forth. One book I loved with a "normal" animal who narrates portions of the tale is Gwen Cooper's Love Saves the Day.

    And whiny characters? Totally turn me off.

    Thank you for stopping by my TTT list earlier. I'm glad to have found your blog, and I'll be following.

    1. I completely agree. Most of the talking animals I enjoy are magical in some way, shape, or form (I'm looking at you Mr. Cheshire Cat :) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I'm with Rachel with regard to unlikeable characters. Over-hyped books (sorry Mr. Riordan) are also a source of frustration as they so often do not live up to their press (and shame on editors who do not do a proper job of editing BNA (big name authors) as not every word they produce is golden.) Books that are over-hyped AND derivative are probably the worst offenders for me. Case in point--Eragon (and all its relentlessly insipid, utterly predictable spawn.) Beyond that, not much deters me from enjoying a book. ;-)


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