Let’s Get Lit-erary: Bookish Pet Peeves

A woman relaxes by a lake with a book. While reading can be fun, there are many book pet peeves that can get on reader’s nerves. Photo courtesy of: unsplash.com

While I’m usually raving about books, there’s always a time to rant. So many things about books can get on readers’ nerves, whether they are tangible or issues with writing.  

Here are some grievances many readers share:  

Stickers on covers 

This pet peeve goes two ways. It’s frustrating when actual stickers, namely price tags, leave a sticky residue on your book. But lately, publishers have been slapping on fake stickers to advertise adaptations or celebrity book club endorsements. Not only is this trickery, but they’re also placed in spots blocking gorgeous cover designs. I’ve been searching for a copy of “Shadow and Bone” without the Netflix advert to no avail, with the original cover being out-of-print.  

I’m not like other girls 

Admittedly, this notion is what drives the plot of many novels. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s why a lot of people relate to protagonists; while special in their own way, they feel like outcasts. But what readers take issue with is the overemphasis of this point. Sure it’s annoying, but it can also discredit or overlook other characters — the protagonist is assuredly not better than everyone else.  

Author’s name larger than the title 

This is popular with authors like Stephen King and Elin Hilderbrand, who have a cult following of readers. Whether or not this is up to them, there’s something about this that screams superiority-complex. Yes, writing a book is a massive accomplishment. But, a book should be more about the story than anything else, and emphasizing the title, as opposed to the author, promotes that message.  

Synopsis full of spoilers  

This one is tough because a good synopsis is what lures you into reading a book. Yet it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re halfway through a novel and the latest revelation is something you knew well before diving in. Even if the book is entertaining, trudging through the first chunk can feel like a waste of time when you know what’s about to go down.  

Real people on covers 

Let’s be real: Everyone judges books by their covers. And if I see a model on one, I’m immediately dissuaded from picking it up. It’s embarrassing to carry around and bothersome when the person doesn’t fit the character you’ve envisioned. Worse yet is when the model doesn’t even match the author’s description of the character. Luckily this trend has dissipated over time, but movie tie-in covers persist.  

Deckled/Sprayed edges 

 A lot of people will seek out deckled or sprayed edges, but I’m not the biggest fan. While I understand the aesthetic appeal of deckled edges, they can be impractical when paging through a text. Publishers will often release sprayed or decorative edges for exclusive anniversary editions. While some can be stunning, most end up looking tacky. I find that sprayed edges look the classiest when done in gold or silver.  

Too many alternating POVs 

My rule is no more than two first-person point of views. Any more than that and things get confusing real quick. POV changes always seem to occur when you’ve just begun to get into a character’s story. Plus, it can be pretty easy to fly by pages without even realizing the POV has switched. Sometimes you even have to restart chapters to get in the right mindset. If a fictional setting is full of complex and important characters, use third-person! First-person is supposed to offer a more intimate perspective, but it simply will not deliver if there are too many players involved.  

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