Tuesday 22 March 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by the wonderful The Broke and the Bookish.
I didn't think I'd really be able to participate in this week's top ten because I didn't think I had any pet peeves when it came to books. Sure, I get annoyed/angry at politics, sexism, racism, Fox News, Johnny Depp haters, polluters, and all things like that- but books? Not so much. Then I read a few other lists, and all these feelings that I never knew I had came rushing out and before I knew it, I had my top ten!

My list doesn't really have anything to do with book quality, since I will pretty much buy books in any condition at all, as long as they have the words in them that I want to read. My sister, however, has a serious problem in that she can't have the spines of her books bent. To achieve this, she basically has to barely open a book to read it, which I'm pretty sure means she must miss about 20% of the story through not being able to see the words in the very middle of the book. Yeah, she's pretty odd. I also don't really have any peeves relating to stories, because, essentially I either like a book or not, and this rarely has anything to do with recurring annoyances in books. Maybe the books I read are all just too different to each other, I don't know.

So, what does this leave? Well, all will be revealed below! Please, make yourself comfortable, attain suitable levels of annoyance, and I'll tell you all about the bookish things that annoy me...

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

1. Spelling/grammatical errors- I just can't stand them! It's especially annoying considering that I would love to be a book editor (or, whoever it is whose job is to check for mistakes), so if someone has the job who isn't doing it properly, that doesn't really seem fair. I also always seem to find these, no matter how small, which kind of annoys me even more with myself because I'm so horribly anal. Or maybe just observant...

2. Blurbs that do not at all reflect content- I can't remember the really good (or bad) example of this that I found, but it does happen a fair bit- the blurb tries to make it sound like a fun holiday read, or a laugh-a-minute tome, and then you read it and want to kill yourself! I always seem to see this on books I've already read, and I just feel like sticking my own, far more accurate, blurb over the top of it, like 'this will not relax you on a beach. But it is much better than something that will', something like that.

3. Comparing everything to The Catcher in the Rye- Look, it's probably not going to be that much like The Catcher in the Rye, ok? Just because there are depressed teenagers in it, does not mean that they are at all like the supremely irritating Holden Caulfield, ok? This is not at all a bad thing, but if I believed that all these books were like The Catcher in the Rye, then I'd hardly ever read anything, not even The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I love love loved! But yes, please stop doing this publishers, because it really puts me off your books- The Catcher in the Rye is not that good, so please stop comparing things to it!

4. Really Bad Biographies- Seriously. I didn't even know I had this problem until I read What's Eating Johnny Depp, but I really do demand something more from my biographies of famous figures than a rehashing of a relationship that happened 18 years ago, and which surely can't have had as much an effect on their life as this author suggests it did. But in general, unless you've properly researched a person's entire life, and preferably talked to said person about whether or not what you're going to write is total bullshit, then you probably shouldn't be writing their biography. Just sayin'...

5. Movie Covers- I've seen this come up a few times already today, but it is something that really bugs me, especially when there are far nicer covers to be found. I even took this problem as far as avoiding the movie cover of Revolutionary Road, in favour of the far more expensive but nicer Vintage edition of it... and this is when I had no money! I would, I suppose, under duress buy a book with a movie cover if it was about 50p, but on the whole I try to avoid them like the plague.

6. Not living near The Strand Bookstore- This goes hand in hand with my general life peeve of not living in New York City, but I am so uninspired by the basically one bookstore that we have in England (Waterstones, one day you will be destroyed!) that I yearn and pine for The Strand to come to my town and make my life complete! If you've never been there, go immediately (it's on 8th and Broadway)- this can wait until you get back.

7. Putting all minorities into one character- I've only ever found one example of this, and I did eventually get over it, but at first it really pissed me off and made it hard for me to be friends with this series of books (but boy, did I manage!) But, in The Dark Tower series of books, there is essentially a group of people that includes three white men, and then a disabled, black woman. I mean, I would never diss Stephen King without good reason (because I do love him so) but this seemed a bit ridiculous-he just kept disadvantaging a character (societywise) further and further, whilst covering all his bases so that everyone could find someone to connect with, or something. Of course, Susannah's gender and disability become very important later on in the story, and there is a reason for it all, so I kind of got over it, but it threw me for a good while there!

8. Books that make you look stupid- I guess with this, I don't necessarily mean stupid, but less bookish than you actually are- books that make it look like you read things only because you saw them in a movie rather than because you actually want to read them. My biggest example is Love Letters of Great Men, which came with this horrible cardboard banner that said 'recommended for Sex and the City fans' or something like that- I'm not sure because I threw it away in disgust. But anyway, I resented that implication because, while I am a Sex and the City fan (although my love teetered after the last film, what the hell was that all about?!) this was still exactly the kind of book I would adore- I love reading people's letters, and famous people's love, and it was just perfect for me, movie or no movie. But no, the stupid cardboard banner ruined it for me!

9. Inappropriate Covers/Titles- This Christmas I got two books on feminism- One of them, Living Dolls, had a rather dodgy cover (naked legs and torso and a barbie doll where one's bits should be) and the other was Female Chauvinist Pigs, which is not that nice a title to have to read out to your 81 year old grandmother! I mean, I love both the books, but that was really not a good experience for me. Perhaps the lesson I should learn is that I shouldn't ask for such books for Christmas, and I should buy them myself...

10. Kindles, Ebooks, Ipads (for reading) etc.- I'm sorry. I know how practical they are, I know how much paper they'll save, I just really can't get on board with books that don't come on paper. I love turning pages, counting how many pages I have left until the end of a chapter, even the comforting weight of a book in my bag that reassures me that I'll never be bored! I'm sure that all these electronic devices are very good, but I just can't be their friend. I think they understand, especially when they saw my reaction to finding a book on amazon yesterday that amazon itself was only selling as a digital copy (I'll give you a hint, the word 'fuck' was involved. A lot.) Give me paper or give me death, as far as I'm concerned.

So that's my top ten, how about you? Any little annoyances related to books that you want to share with me? Have a proper think about it now, because I can almost guarantee you that you will have at least one- I didn't think I did, and look at me now, all crazy and angry!


  1. I completely forgot about blurbs! That happens way to often! I'm not really into movie covers either...Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

  2. I love your list, especially your "life pet peeve" of not living in NYC! I agree, The Strand is awesome and I want to live there too! :) And I totally forgot about blurbs...they can be false advertising, like a movie trailer that is completely different from the movie or only shows the funny parts.

  3. Love your laugh-out-loud list! And I agree with all your peeves. Who knew there were so many?? Your list and mine don't overlap in the slightest, and yet...
    Ahhh... The Strand. I just visited there for the first time in 15 years and - if my not-so-much-into-books friend hadn't waxed a tad bored and anxious after 10 minutes pawing through all the Strand-branded merch - could have blissfully roamed those aisles for the full day. I did manage to coax her patience with my enthusiasm, so I wandered amid the Sunday crowd for an hour or so. Although I live on the other side of the US and in a mid-size town that surely sports more bookstores per capita than even NYC, I feel your pain. :-)
    Here's hoping that you one day create your own Euro-Strand...

  4. Movie covers is a good one! I try to avoid those if I can help it.

    I love the Strand too. Lived in NY for a while but now I'm far away and would love to get back there sometime.

    I agree with #7 and #8 too. It's fun to rant about these pet peeves- thanks for sharing your list!

  5. I literally laughed out loud at your number 3. Fantastic point!

    I will encourage you to give eBooks a chance. I was not into the idea of the Kindle when it first came out but I'm a fan of it now. I still love actual books and buy them at about the same rate as eBooks but it's nice to be able to carry a bunch of books with me in a single device rather than an overstuffed bag.

  6. Very funny list! I didn’t get around to compiling my own Pet Peeves this week, but I totally agree with number 5. I also avoid movie cover editions like the plague! Thanks for the tip on What’s Eating Johnny Depp.

  7. Interesting list. A few things I haven't seen before. Re: #10, I'm not against eBooks on principle, I'm for what gets more people reading, but there are arguments that they are less environmentally friendly. People will always want the newer version of the gadget. What happens to the old one? It's made up of materials that aren't recyclable (unlike paper books), so they end up in the dump. This is one of the reasons why I won't be paying for one for a while.

  8. Oh Laura, I love you. You make me laugh so much. I didn't include it on my list, but I hate movie covers too. Especially when they have an attractive man on them, it connotes that you're shallow or something. Not really, but in my head it does. I used an example of "dodgy" (love that word) covers on my blog. It's hysterical and sad.

  9. Really nice list. I agree with the movie cover one.

    I'm a new follower :) and thanks for visiting my blog.

  10. This is a great list! And I totally agree with you on The Catcher in the Rye bit! I'm not a Catcher lover, so telling me that this book will be the new CitR is not a good way to convince me to read it. In fact, I'm convinced that more that half the people who profess their love for this book really just want to sound intellectual, so they pretend they enjoyed it. :P

  11. Your number #2 is spot on. I just hate that. Lttle Bee and comes to mind! Great list, I'm really enjoying reading these!
    Mine is here:

  12. I agree about blurbs being misleading - so disappointing! I have a Kindle because I realized last year that I won't be able to take my library with me when I move from country to country. It's practical and convenient, but I do prefer reading "proper" books by far. And now I'll have to check out The Strand when I go to NY this spring :)

  13. I definitely agree with the pet peeve of not having great bookstores. One of the last independent bookstores in my town just shut down. It was a terrible bookstore, but at least it wasn't a chain. What I would give for a Strand or Powells...

    Here is my list: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-ten-tuesday-i-hate-that.html

  14. Good list.

    I hate:

    Putting all design books under the 'art' section of bookstores
    The fact that Borders closed down (and was replaced by a Tesco in Bournemouth)
    Fad genres, especially 'paranormal romance' and misery memoirs
    This: http://superpunch.blogspot.com/2009/09/wuthering-heights-with-new-twilight.html

  15. Yeah, the e-books. I don't like them either. Reading books is so much more that just reading. It's a tactile, visual, sensory experience.