As someone who reads at least three novels a week, I consider myself a bit of a book connoisseur. I have devoured a number of excellent books, and I have also slogged through quite a few that were not my favorite. The sheer volume of literature I’ve consumed has allowed me to hone my list of dislikes, from physical flaws in a paperback or boring storylines.
I insist on finding a hard copy of the books I read. However, this has resulted in my developing a list of bothersome printing practices. First and worst are pictures of real people on book covers. Usually, these are romance books, and the cover makes reading the book truly embarrassing. If I see a book in a store with male models or scantily dressed women on the cover, I will immediately put it back on the shelf and walk away.
Another issue is half covers or covers that are not as wide as the pages of the book. Why is it missing half of its cover? It looks sloppy, and I really cannot justify it. Boring titles are also another deterrent to picking up a book. If the title explains exactly what happens in the book, then I have no reason to read it. Small fonts are also quite annoying. Even though I have 20/20 vision, reading small text gives me a headache, and it is discouraging to realize it has taken me five minutes to read two pages. Weird fonts, such as cursive, can be fun for short passages, but they also make the book harder to read for longer spans of time. Although these printing choices may seem like small pet peeves, they can make or break a book for me.
A book’s content can also raise major issues. I have seriously considered messaging authors to ask them what they were thinking. If I read an entire book —- or worse yet, an entire book series — and the beloved main character or love interest dies, I have wasted my time. I, quite frankly, want a refund. In that same vein, I expect the ending of a long series of books to be satisfying. I have read a four-book fantasy series that totaled 2000 pages, only for it to end in sadness. Again, a waste of my time. The whole point of reading for me is to get to a satisfying conclusion, such as winning the war or the couple getting together.
Another big pet peeve of mine is a passive main character. Everything is just happening to the main character instead of them driving the plot. This makes for a boring read, and I cannot get attached. When it comes to romances, I hate when they are too long. There is really no need for relationship issues to take 500 pages to resolve. They lose my interest unless they are spectacularly written, anyway. For thrillers, I should not have to read through multiple chapters of background to get to the suspense and action. The whole point of reading a thriller is to be thrilled, not to be given a four page description of an old house. Also, the names of characters should not be too similar, as it’s just confusing to the reader. Tim should not be in an epic battle with Tom. Lastly, children should not be included in adult novels. They can be cute, but most of the time they are written to seem too old and unrealistically mature. The five-year-old should not be giving sage advice to an adult.
Although no book is perfect, some are better than others. If you plan to write a book, I beg you, on behalf of myself and other readers, please try to avoid these mistakes.
Hater Tuesday is an authorless column that runs on Tuesdays and centers around critiquing media or culture.