22 March 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: I Hate That!

This week's topic over at The Broke and The Bookish is: Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

10.  Really repetitive non-fiction books:  Okay, I get it, you have a really brilliant thesis with some great examples to back it up.  Sometimes, however, it just isn't enough material for a book. 

9. Thinking that a book isn't worth reading because it is difficult/old/uses language with which the reader is not familiar: This is a little bit of literary snobbery, but I'm going to own it, because I used to kind of feel this way.  Now that I'm older and oh so much wiser (I wish...) I don't even believe that books are only worth reading if they are enjoyable.  And anyway, most of the difficulty diminishes with reading practice.

8. Thinking that a book isn't worth reading because it has an engaging plot/ is for young adults/ could be categorized as "genre" fiction:  Catcher In the Rye  is YA, The Maltese Falcon is genre fiction and Dickens is super plot driven and was remarkably popular in his own time. There is good and bad writing in every genre.

7. Magical Realism:  I don't why.  This is totally personal, but I just don't get it.

6.  Style over substance:  For me this is the Ulysses v. Finnegan's Wake line.  There has to be a motivation for the stylistic innovation.  The style should connect to the substance.

5. Long confusing character names:  I'm sorry Russian novels, you drive me nuts.  In many family-saga-type, long novels, I have serious trouble keeping the characters straight.  This is mostly because of my really terrible memory.

4.  Dialect...most of the time: I like sparingly used dialect, but I'm not a big fan of when an entire book is written that way. 

3. Footnotes...again, most of the time: I've read a lot of academic stuff in my career, and I find turning back and forth and looking up and down extra tiring.  I don't really like my fiction reading to feel like my academic reading, even though I don't consider myself an escapist reader. Don't even get me started on endnotes.

2. Obnoxiously or super slowly read audiobooks:  I don't think this one needs much explanation.

1. Books with the special edition movie cover:  These really embarrass me, which I know is totally petty.  I really like books for aesthetic reasons as well as for their content.  What I really hate is when I order a book from paperbackswap or Amazon and the cover in the picture is not the movie cover, but then I get the movie cover because they have the same ISBN.  Lame.

13 comments:

  1. Oh, I laughed when I read your disappointment over movie covers. I've never been able to name the emotion about those movie covers. I always feel like I'm jumping on a bandwagon if I read a book AFTER the movie and movie cover come out. Like I just want to feel my pride over finding the book before the movie producer does. Do you get that? I hope so! Good answers.

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  2. I hear you on the magical realism. It became such a cliche in Latin American literature that many Latin American writers and critics are now slamming it as catering to foreign stereotypes about the "exotic."

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  3. I know what you mean about super slow audiobooks. Sometimes I combine audiobooks with regular books so that I can listen while I'm driving but go faster by reading ahead.

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  4. Great list! I've been on a little rant about footnotes, myself. This is primarily focused on academic/non-ficition writing. I hate when an author assumes that all of the readers are morons and footnotes every freaking little thing. Assume that your readers know the basics of what you're writing about...otherwise how would they have known to be interested in 18th century animal imagery in poetry? Then there was the case of the author who didn't realize that footnotes were kind of, sort of supposed to explain what they just footnoted. Not just mention that "item X" may be explained by "obscure notation" in "dusty old book buried in some library in the middle of Europe." Just give us the full quote from the dusty old book and explain it, then.

    Sorry about that little rant there...didn't know it was still simmering. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. I get really aggravated over those movie covers as well...I'm weird about movies made from books anyway...I think this is where my literary snobbery shines through...

    I just finished an audiobook for which the reader read so slow during the action parts of the novel that I wanted to scream at the CD player in my car...I actually think I did once or twice :/

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  6. Wow I could not agree with your list more! Number 10 for sure - I recently finished a non-fiction book like this. Number 3 and especially number 1 as well - I refuse to buy a book with the movie as the cover! I would have bought Everything Is Illuminated much sooner if it weren't for this pet peeve of mine.

    Great list!

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  7. I agree especially with your concern about some folks avoiding challenging books: Although there are times in one's life when one can only stomach the lightest of fictions, most of the time the "it's too hard" excuse just doesn't cut it for me anymore.
    I tend to take Anne's tack on audiobooks, using them to alternate with a text so I can cover more ground quickly. I find them especially helpful with some YA or middle-reader books that can feel a little thin to an adult. However, an annoying audio narrator can certainly ruin a book for me too.
    Thanks for a thoughtfully constructed list here!

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  8. Totally agree with your 6. I'm very proud of you that you can write in some complicated technique and show everyone how clever you are. Now stop that.

    For your number 5, if there are confusing names I usually find myself just making up my own names for the character. It helps me keep things straight when I know there's no way I'm going to remember the name otherwise.

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  9. The cover thing has happened to me too! I've ordered stuff from Amazon and the movie cover is on the book. I still read the book, but I'm less happy about it.

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  10. Sometimes, however, it just isn't enough material for a book.

    YES!!!! Sometimes it's not even enough for an article :) It reminds me of politicians and their bizarre idea that if they repeat a thing often enough, it must be true.

    Also, I'm totally with you on the movie covers of books--I just saw one yesterday with the new Jane Eyre movie on the cover. *headdesk* I love Mia and Michael but Jane Eyre does not NEED that kind of thing....and don't even get me started on the Twilight-inspired covers of Wuthering Heights et al. *sigh*

    I've met several people who dislike magical realism. I don't really understand why. What is it that is irritating? I don't mean to be argumentative; I really want to know so I can address those concerns in my class before I have them read Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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  11. Dialect can definitely be a stumbling block, which is why I do a lot of prep work before teaching "Their Eyes Were Watching God," for example.

    I have to confess that I sometimes avoid books I think will be too....challenging? difficult? depressing? I defend myself by saying that in these busy days, I guard my reading time preciously and hate to be disappointed, but I know that's only an excuse :).

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  12. I definitely agree with number 9- my dad always says that I can't possibly enjoy the books I'm reading because, you know, they're 'hard', but once you get past them being 'hard' they're completely amazing.
    I also hate movie covers... I'm not reading it because I saw the movie guys! In fact, I probably haven't even seen the movie! Ugh.

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  13. A thoughtful list that includes lots I had not thought of. Yes, I am too judgmental. Yet I also am gripped with fear when I try difficult texts.

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I love your comments. Thanks for making me a happy blogger.

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