Literary Blog Hop - Literary Pet Peeves

Literary Blog Hop

The Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase and this week's question is:

What is your literary pet peeve?

Lots of bloggers have said that they don't really have many, and I don't really either.  I can usually find something to appreciate in every book that I read, even if it is laborious.  However, this did bug me:

This is one of the many forms that Mark Danielewki's novel, House of Leaves, takes.  There are quite a few things that I like about House of Leaves.  The story is scary and conceptually fascinating, but actually reading this is tiring.  I mean this physically.  The two worst parts of the book for me were: the section that has one word per page, and the section where the words spiral around the page.  This might sound wimpy, but reading this book made my arms tired.  It is thick and heavy and required a lot of movement. You also can't look normal in a coffee shop spinning your book around and tilting your head.

This so far is the whiniest post ever, so maybe I'll broaden this pet peeve and call it style without substance.  I'll preface this by saying that I'm not all curmudgeony about postmodern literature in general.  I like experimentation with form. However, I really only like it if it seems motivated.  I get very tired of cleverness for the sake of cleverness. I also don't understand footnotes in fiction.  If the information is necessary for understanding the story, it should be part of the text. I also don't really like magical realism...but that is of the subject, so I'll leave it at that.

Since I didn't post last week, I'll include my favorite poem, which happens to be an experimental form:

This is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

-William Carlos Williams, 1962


  1. house of leaves is a book I want to read but know it is annoying but one of these books you have to read at some point ,all the best stu

  2. I feel like I'm one of the few people who liked the one word pages in House of Leaves, but even saying that, I wrote about it too. The footnote trail drove me crazy!

    Lovely post, I'm a new follower

    Sarah @ Loving Books

  3. I'm with Stu on House of Leaves. It's a book you constantly hearing people talk about but are a little unwilling to try it. Maybe I will. Great post.

  4. "Style without substance"--agreed. I've seen some objections to the Power Point chapter in Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad, but I thought it worked beautifully, illuminating the character. Style with substance.

  5. The only book I have read that was written using an unusual physical style is The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, but the story was so good and the way the unique style was used was so appropriate and clever that I absolutely loved it and it has become one of my favourite books!

  6. I've heard all kinds of different opinions about House of Leaves, and ultimately ... it sounds kind of gimmicky to me. I haven't read it though, so I know I can't really say.

  7. Thank you for posting the poem--I'd forgotten that one! I love it: short and sweet.

  8. I LOVED House of Leaves... not only was it a really good chilling story but I loved how it was written. I wouldn't necessarily read another book written that way, but in this case it made for an interesting and fun read. I liked that I had to wrok hard because it made finishing it all the more sweet :) I do understand where you are coming from though.

  9. Ohhh...I love that poem! I think you have every right to complain about that book's format. Ugh, that would drive me batty :D

  10. Experimentation is fantastic if it serves a purpose to the story & not solely to garner praise or publicity, it must be there purely for the interest of the book, whatever reasoning that takes, otherwise it's pointless.

    Poetry is pure white.
    It emerges from water covered with drops,
    Is wrinkled, all in a heap.
    It has to be spread out, the skin of the planet,
    Has to be ironed out, the sea's whiteness;
    and the hands keep moving, moving,
    the holy surfaces are smoothed out,
    and that is how things are accomplished.
    Every day, hands are creating the world,
    Fire is married to steel,
    and canvas, line, and cotten come back
    from the skirmishings of the laundries,
    and out of light a dove is born---
    Pure,innocence returns out of the swirl.
    Pablo Neruda

  11. Thank you for joining my I Want More Challenge, glad to have found you and look forward to your reviews.

    I am a new follower. I commented on your last review also.

  12. BTW - the sculpture of the little girl reading in your header, so delightful, I want it for my garden, love that.

  13. Love that William Carlos William's Poem - good choice.


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