Bookish Pet Peeves: Things I Hate To See In Books (But Will Probably Read Anyway)

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Ok, this post is going to make me sound like I hate books and reading, but I don’t. Not even close. There are, however, a lot of random little things that bother me.

When it comes to reviewing books, I’m very good at explaining what I don’t like (everything here) but not so good at describing what I do like.

I thought it would be fun to just do this post about my bookish pet peeves. Just remember, it’s all my opinion and I still LOVE books very much.

Bad editing

This is the WoOoOoOoOrst (did you read that like Mona Lisa Sapperstein? I hope so.) This is more of an issue with self-publish books than from a publishing house though. I’m all for self-publishing, it’s great, but that means there is some questionable work out there.

I get that errors slip through but there are enough that I’m noticing them every few pages or even every few pages, that ain’t it. GET AN EDITOR! Seriously. Get five editors. I won’t stop reading because of mistakes but it really pulls me out of the story.

Excessive use of names between characters

This is probably just a personal one but I hate when people always use each others names. But this could be because I almost never use names in conversation with someone. I have no idea why, but I just don’t do it. It feels weird to me. Which is weird in itself.

But when a conversation is like this: I don’t know, John, what should we do? Well, Lucinda, I think we should go to the beach. Oh, John, that sounds great! I just can’t. It’s too much.

This also applies to parents/siblings calling each other son/daughter/brother/sister. Who does that!?

I’m an only child, so I don’t know if people actually do this. My parents might call me daughter but in a joking way (I send them postcards to dearest mother and father and sign them dearest daughter), in books it’s just what they say and you can tell it’s not a joke.

Every teenager has the same snarky sarcastic tone in speaking

This is actually a funny one for me because I love, love, love the Illuminae and Aurora Rising series and this is basically how everyone in it speaks to each other.

I get that there are probably people that speak like this normally, but when every single character is perfectly snarky and sarcastic with awesome comebacks on the spot, it starts to get annoying. This can also just depend on the book, too.

Mobile in American settings

WHY DO AUTHORS DO THIS!? This may be my least favorite on this list. I’ve come across this in at least two books recently where they are talking about their mobile but the book is set in the US and written by an American author that lives in the US. Like, why don’t you just say phone!? No one calls it a mobile here!

And even if the author is from the UK or lives there but is American, if it’s set in the US, it shouldn’t be called a mobile because, like I said, NO ONE CALLS IT A MOBILE HERE.

This is also somewhat related, but using British spellings in a book totally set in the US (and vice versa) bothers me, too. I don’t know the official ruling on this, but I think you should use the spellings and slang/names for wherever the books is set, not where you are from.

Excessive (and wrong) use of italics

I DNF’d a book once that had so many words italicized, I couldn’t stand it. And they weren’t even the words that would be emphasized, just random words on the page in italics.

This meant that I would read every italicized word with an emphasis which makes the people just sound ridiculous.

There would be like, fifteen words in italics on each page. I can’t imagine how long it took them to write a whole book like that.

Historical fiction with modern speaking and jokes

This one is tough because I don’t want to read historical fiction set in the Victorian era with the exact language they would have used but I also don’t want it filled with modern slang or sayings because that just doesn’t make sense.

I don’t encounter this one much because I don’t read tons of historical fiction, but I think the Jackaby books are a good middle-ground of historical language but not in a stuffy way, you know?

One random cultural reference like a store name instead of a lot of references

I know a lot of people complain when books are full of cultural references like, specific current technology, stores, or celebrities, but this doesn’t bother me.

What does is when they are vague throughout the whole book then randomly drop a store name or brand name. Like they normally just say she put on her jeans but later say she adored her True Religion jeans.

I say either keep it vague or use them more often, not just once randomly. I also think this just suits specific books more. It wouldn’t be weird to me in something like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars but it would be weird in, say, a thriller or horror. It may date a book but I still think it can work.

When books don’t say they’re part of a series or have series numbers on them

Again, this is the WoOoOoOorst! I just want to be able to know quickly which number in a series a book is when I’m browsing. I’ve seen some with the number really small on the side or cover and I LOVE that!

Some also will say book two in whatever series on the cover and I love that. Others, you can tell with the titles if they have numbers in them sometimes, but some are just SO confusing.

The ones that are the most confusing to me are Pretty Little Liars, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Karen McManus’s books.

If there are only a couple of books in a series it doesn’t bother me as much but once you get over three, number them! PLL has like, 15 or 16 with no indication on them of the order. Miss Peregrine has, what, like six now? And no indication of order.

Then Karen McManus throws numbers in the titles and it makes no sense. There is One of Us is Lying, One of Us is Next, The Cousins, and Two Can Keep a Secret. All of the covers look the same so they all look like they could be a series together, but The two with One in the title are the series and the other two are standalones.

But it sounds like Two Can Keep a Secret should be the second. It just doesn’t make sense and has taken me forever to figure out how to read those. Wow. I guess I have a lot to say about this.

Movie covers

Really, who even likes these?

Photoshopped people on covers

This is just personal preference and I mean no offense to anyone with this, but I think books with photoshopped people on the covers look cheap and not good. I see this the most with romance/erotica and fantasy, but usually the self-published ones.

This isn’t just people on the covers like the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, those don’t bother me, but the very obviously photoshopped ones with like, a blue clouded background wings or something.

No description, just blurbs

Ok, publishers, I don’t care what other authors think of this book, especially if I can’t read a description of the book on the book! I will not buy it if it doesn’t tell me what I’m buying.

Plus, blurbs are almost always overhyping it. Give me a description! I want to buy your book! I don’t care what Stephen King and Reese Witherspoon think of this book, I just want to know what it’s about without having to Google it.

Giant author picture on the back

Or the authors name bigger than the title on the cover. I’m looking at you, Micro.

Murders being an accident in thrillers

This one is pretty specific but I really hate when, in thrillers, the whole thing is set around someones murder and there’s all the buildup to who did it and what happened and then you find out that it was just an accident.

I read one last year like this where it was a huge deal and everyone thinks the boyfriend did it but then we find out she just drowned and he couldn’t save her. What? That’s it? It’s not even close to a murder! Ugh.

Do you agree with any of these? What are your bookish pet peeves?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a Wisconsin native currently working my way around the US. You can probably find me reading on the beach, wandering through the desert, or hanging out in a cute little coffee shop.

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