10 reasons why I hated your book – Part 2

Jul 13, 201741 comments

How often do you drop a book down because you could not take it anymore? Not in the positive, overwhelming, OMG I-need-a-moment kind. But more of a what-in-the-crap-did-I-read way. The kind that made us wish we had the book in its physical form, so that we would have had the pleasure of throwing it against the wall. 

We pay for the sin of having not taken the hint when their friends warn us about the book in not so subtle ways. We want to taste the poison for ourselves. We are masochistic. We persevere. We suffer through books with half baked plots, overcompensating sex scenes, subplots that adds nothing but pages and what not. Yet it does not stop us from reaching to the next book you have not heard reviews or rather noy good reviews about. Now that is what they call ‘the adventurous life of a book lover’. 
 
We already discussed a few things that would make you stop reading a book, if you can help it. Here we are on the second part. Go on.
 

6) Show not tell me:


Why would you spend 25 lines saying what a badass your villain is when you can tell me what he did and I could form an opinion myself? We readers like visualizing the horrors your villain could unleash, not just accept your word for it. Now, Twilight lovers do not harm me but I have to add this excerpt *hides away under the table*

“You know Bella, Jacob?” Lauren asked—in what I imagined was an insolent tone – from across the fire.
“We’ve sort of known each other since I was born,” he laughed, smiling at me again.
“How nice.” She didn’t sound like she thought it was nice at all, and her pale, fishy eyes narrowed. 
“Bella,” she called again, watching my face carefully, “I was just saying to Tyler that it was too bad none of the Cullens could come out today. Didn’t anyone think to invite them?” Her expression of concern was unconvincing.
“You mean Dr. Carlisle Cullen’s family?” the tall, older boy asked before I could respond, much to Lauren’s irritation. He was really closer to a man than a boy, and his voice was very deep.
“Yes, do you know them?” she asked condescendingly, turning halfway toward him.
– Twilight, Stephenie Meyer.

I am going to ignore every other problem with the above prose and focus on the topic. What does Meyers tell us? Lauren is unlikeable. Yet she does not show us anything to help the fact. I am annoyed; Period!
 

5) I can not care less for your characters:


We all have heroes that we have fallen for, some that we have rooted for and even characters that we hate, sometimes for a reason or not. Maybe there are protagonists that we can not relate to, yet we understand them. I love roles that fall into the gray area, the broken ones and the one that breaks others.
Why I hate your book

But what I truly abhor are characters that I cannot feel anything for. Why would I want to read about people who do not do anything or just not interesting enough, for 150 pages or more? 
 

4) Too crowded and suffocating:


We have all read books that have too many things going on. Too many sub plots and too many characters do overwhelm us, the readers. Imagine if only we had had a story for each of the seven dwarfs in the Snow White, would we have enjoyed it as much?
 
While JK Rowling did a commendable job in delving into so many sub plots, not all authors do that with such success, And to be honest, I have fallen too many a times now harder for the characters from the sub plot than the actual protagonists.

Why I hate your book
Pic Credit

Yet the number of times I had to skim through the story of the side kick because it does not help the story move forward nor to understand the characters better is too many. They simply might have been filling the pages and be distracting. If so, why would I have to read them to reach the end of the book?
 
3) What did I read now!:

One of the major issues I have with the YA and fantasy world is that I can’t make myself believe in them, this from someone who adores horror fiction and might possibly be scared that one could walk in and out of a picture frame. 
 
Credibility of the story or plot doesn’t mean that these things should be able to happen in the real world, but they should be plausible in the world that the author has spun for me. For instance, I don’t care if vampires are real or not, but I do mind if you tell me vampires do not drink blood.
Why I hate your book

I hate books that has characters who are not credible – they do something quite not like themselves at all without proper reasons. Likewise, when books lack cultural and historical authenticity readers tend to stop getting into the characters. Book with no credibility means lazy writing, which is an excellent way to make me hate your book.
 

2) Plain bad writing and editing:

I linger in the doorway of Command, the high-tech meeting/war council room complete with computerized talking walls, electronic maps showing the troop movements in various districts, and a giant rectangular table with control panels I’m not supposed to touch. –  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

 
The above excerpt is a narration by Katniss, how are we supposed to ‘hear’ the ‘meeting/war’ part? Does she say slash? Does anybody around here say slash when you are talking to IRL? Minor quirks like these usually end up to form a huge ball of hatred even before I could even complete the book.
 

“So today is the day,” she says.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Are you nervous?” I stare into my own eyes for a moment.
…..
“No,” I say. “The tests don’t have to change our choices.”
“Right.” She smiles.
“Let’s go eat breakfast.”
“Thank you. For cutting my hair.”
– Divergent by Veronica Roth

 
Brevity might be the soul of wit. But having to read conversations like the one above or the much infamous  
 

“Sorry,” Brom apologized – Eragon, Christopher Paolini 

 
Grammatically they might have no errors but they do nothing but make the readers interest drop as fast as it can.

1) Bad grammar:

Though we all dread the Grammar Nazis in the Internet forums and FB posts, bad grammar in books and manuscripts are still acceptable. 
Why I hate your book
Pic Credit
One can be able to tolerate a typo here and there but not those with terrible tenses, senseless smilies and cringe-worthy cliches.

To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed. – The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

While even the classic writers have once in a while chosen to break the rules of English grammar, the number of new age writers who argue that grammar 101 as a restriction to their free thoughts and writing style is simply appalling and their arguments are ridiculous. 
 
How often do you quit a book that you do not enjoy? And what makes you decide to stop putting yourself through hell? What pushes the button for you? Let me know in the comments.
Related:  Book Review: Nobody's baby but mine

41 Comments

  1. Heidi

    Bad grammar is annoying to me as well.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Right? I can ignore a few typos but once I start noticing them often, it turns me off completely.

      Reply
  2. Christina

    Excellent post and points!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks a lot!

      Reply
  3. Whispering Stories

    I struggle more with the writing flow and character development than with the grammar in a book. Grammar and bad spelling aren’t great but I can get past them, the others I can’t.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I understand what you mean. But it is not easy for me just give up on books.

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      I agree with you!

      Reply
  4. DJ Sakata

    I hear you – But also I’m struggling lately with books loaded with foreign words and unfamiliar social or cultural references with no hint as to what they mean. I am wearing out the translator on my Kindle. But what about the people reading a hard copy. Maddening!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I hate slangs and especially an ill used slang. Sigh!

      Reply
  5. Eline

    I always struggle with #6 as well. For me it was particularly bad in Seven Years by Danika Dark. It’s just stated “this heroine is a real badass”. And other than everybody saying this about her and her sometimes using curse words there are absolutely no actions that show her as a strong or asskicking person.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Right? I hate when that happens. Why would they tell that so many times and then show nothing.

      Reply
  6. jennifer gaarder

    I stopped getting books from NetGalley because of grammar problems.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Sadly, I have done that too.

      Reply
  7. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    Oof. I could say that about Divergent – I didn’t care about Tris or the other characters by book three. 😂

    Also bad grammar – I’m not the best editor but sometimes the editing and writing is SO BAD even the most basic of editors can see it. 🙈

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      The editing has been so bad that even a basic reader can see it. It usually makes me want to stop reading the book.

      Reply
  8. Michelle

    YES! Bad grammar especially! That is one of the things that I just cannot stand, especially in a published book.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      It irks me so much!

      Reply
  9. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    That comic about “your” xDDDD so true, so true!
    Really, it’s mostly the editing and the spelling that drop be off. Or the chicken-freezer writing. But luckily, this doesn’t happen too often – I mostly suffer this with those old ARCs I have downloaded ages ago on NetGalley. I choose better now, it seems xD

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I still get such ARCs from indie and small publishing houses, but I have been making good choices lately too.

      Reply
  10. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I so feel you! The struggle to put down a book, even if it is horrible is so hard. I generally feel like I am deserting a friend or betraying one's trust. Uff!

    Reply
  11. SHANAYA TALES

    I can completely relate with pretty much everything you have written in this post. And yes, life is too short for bad books, which is why, as difficult it is for me to DNF books, I am making a determined effort to let go.

    Reply
  12. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    Ah I can see why that would be annoying. Give the reader a break and not underestimate them. It would annoy me as well.

    I love your long comment. Makes me happy that I am not the only one who hates these flat, and hallow characters.

    Reply
  13. The Story Sponge

    I agree with all of these! I am mercilessly brutal when it comes to the dissection of books. Showing and not telling is so important. Some authors leave no room for subtlety. It annoys me so much when author's have sloppy or overly explanatory writing styles.
    One of my favorite examples of this is an except from the Leven Thumps series by Obert Skye. I don't remember it exactly, but it went something like this: ""What key?" asked Leven, playing innocent but really knowing that Clover was referring to the key he had found when digging up the secret." As the reader we have been with Leven this whole time- his brain is not that complex- we know exactly what he is thinking- WHY do you think you have to explain everything?!?! I was unable to finish this series, funnily enough…
    I am very picky about characters too. I hate it when authors don't take any time for character development. No, I do not want to read an entire novel peopled by pieces of cardboard.
    I love the examples you gave of bad writing! Authors really need to raise their standards. All I am asking for is total perfection.

    Reply
  14. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I feel you, Cait! And I want my characters to make me cry, grin, blush and angry when they feel so.

    Reply
  15. Cait @ Paper Fury

    My pet peeve is not connecting with characters. *cries* It just really bothers me?! Like why would I keep reading if I'm not invested or connected??! ?

    Reply
  16. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I agree with the character building part and I used to do that too. High Five on stopping that.

    Reply
  17. K

    This is too funny, and pretty spot on. I used to force my way through bad books as my own sort of character -building punishment (but whyyy??) but now, even if i'm only 10 pages in and need to take a break, or there is some brutal Twilight-esque prose I just toss it into my Library donation pile. I've got a long list to read, no sense in wasting time 😉

    Reply
  18. Sarah Camille

    I agree with many of these points. For me sci-fi or fantasy stuff that is just ridiculous or confusing turns me off.
    Cheers! Sarah Camille // SCsScoop.com

    Reply
  19. Cassie's Library

    I believe it is the social worker part of my brain that allows me to not care as much about that aspect of writing. It helps me to focus differently o intended messages. Everyone though had their thing that turns them off of writing. Too much romance and I shut down on a book. 😉

    Reply
  20. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    Well, I should say you are blessed. Repeated errors, especially spelling and grammatical errors, make me lose interest altogether. If you can look past it, you are indeed lucky.

    Reply
  21. Cassie's Library

    I am the anomaly in the room. None of these bother me for the most part, especially the bad grammar. I feel that proper grammar can keep very important voices out of literature. There is a book called "Rose's Story" that I had to read for a social work class I was in several years back. It taught me very quickly that in literature voices have been silenced that could show us so much about the world. From that moment on I have cared less and less about someone properly utilizing grammar and been more concerned with their overall message.

    Reply
  22. Terri

    I totally agree.

    Reply
  23. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    They irated me too much that I had to spit them out somewhere for you know, my own mental sanity.

    Reply
  24. DJ Sakata

    Excellent post – I've never thought it all through before but agree!

    Reply
  25. Amanda Frazier

    Oh gosh. You've pointed out so many things that are going to bug me from here on out while I'm reading! haha

    Reply
  26. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    High-five on going back to classics! Doesn't make you sound old, only more sensible.

    Reply
  27. Emily at theexpatmama.com

    YES! I used to really enjoy reading but there's been far too many books recently that have been "best sellers" but are just rubbish. I find myself going back to the classics more and more. I fear this makes me sound terribly old, but my reading time is precious and I want quality. It's a tough life.

    Reply

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Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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