Novel Reading Peeves

Okay, here’s the thing. I love reading. Always have. But….

Some books drive me crazy.

Not the ones I start and don’t like. Those are easy to deal with. Just stop reading.

It’s the ones with an intriguing story line–a new twist on a familiar tale. For example, I’m enjoying the novel I’m reading now immensely, but the author and editor missed some big irritants. I don’t need to be told twelve times that the heroine’s reputation must remain unblemished or she will lose her status in society and her livelihood. Tell me once and get on with the story.

Then there is the hero (who of course will fall in love with the heroine — at least I hope so as they’re a great pair) who has struggled and managed to pull himself out of poverty and find a comfortable niche in society, but he still uses “street speech.” Surely in his efforts to improve his life, he would have worked on his language skills.

Novels that end too abruptly disappoint. The author uses the last couple of pages to have one of the characters conveniently explain the whys and wherefores of the plot–The end. These leave me feeling cheated.

Or the novel that has a natural ending, but the author goes on anyway. I distinctly remember one book that went off on a completely different tangent. What!?

And, I don’t like novels that leave the ending hanging. Some authors are able to handle this well giving us hope that things will turn out okay in the end or by letting us decide what will happen next leaving us the opportunity to be satisfied with our choice.

I’m not a fan of prologues or epilogues either. Start the story where it starts and end it where it ends.

That’s my novel rant. What are your reading peeves?





7 comments on “Novel Reading Peeves

  1. I agree with all these points. Glaring mistakes just put me off. I know I have a few in my books even though they are carefully edited by a number of people. Some things fall through the cracks. But too many and it takes me out of the story, even if it is a good story.

    • Darlene, I can live with a few typos as you can find those in almost any novel. And big mistakes can occur too. Amy Tan had a character in two places at the same time in one of her books! But the broader spectrum like those I mentioned are hard to tolerate.

      • Ha! Since my husband has worked at bookstores for 40 years, we get a lot of advanced reader copies and pre-published proofs. O.M.G. The number of typos and such is amazing. I think it was one of Lee Child’s book where a whole chapter was repeated, throwing all the chapter numbers off. I never do find the published version to see if they correct all the errors.

  2. My wise old grandmother taught me to finish what I start. I always had applied that to reading books, too. About five years ago, though, I decided that if a book can’t capture my interest in the first 50 pages, I’m done with it. That allows me to read more stuff that I do like.

  3. When I was a kid I thought that if I started a book, I had to finish it. At some point I realized there was no law so, like you, I go by the first chapter or two and then decide to finish or not.

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