Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

toptentuesday-1So this week, it’s all about turn-offs. The Broke and the Bookish are focusing on the things that turn you off. Now I really don’t think I have any themes that turns me off – I don’t mind reading about cheating, absent parents, sex etc. But I still have some things that turns me off so here’s my (rather short) list.

  1. Lack of editing. I hate it when the (lack of) editing interferes with the reading experience. When you are engrossed in a book and then there’s mistakes that just pulls you right out. Recently, I read Hillari’s Head by Tim Stutler and unfortunately, this book was pretty much destroyed by errors and mistakes.
  2. Unfulfilled potential. I really hate it when a book has a lot of potential but the writer lacks the abilities to pull it all together and make it all work and give you a wonderful book. I’ve read two books this year that really, really had so much more to offer than what they ended up being. Again, Hillari’s Head by Tim Stutler but also the Danish novel Det syvende barn by Erik Valeur. Both could have been really good but both let me down.
  3. Out of character. When a character does something that’s completely out of character and just feels wrong. The best (or worst?) example of this I think I’ve ever read, is in the last volume of the Earth’s Children series, The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel. She lets one of her main characters act in a way that just felt so wrong that I almost just put the book down right there and then. I forced myself to finish it but it has put a dark spot on the entire series for me.
  4. Bodily harm/torture. I can be a bit squeamish. I don’t like when injuries or torture or other types of bodily harm are described in too much detail. Years ago, when I read Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, I took days to read just a few pages because they were just too much for me. And this year, when reading a gruesome torture scene in Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, I too had to force myself to make my way through just a few couple of pages because they were too graphic. I have been known to faint in real life when people talk about blood and injuries…
  5. Repetitiveness in character descriptions. Robert Jordan, I’m looking at you! You don’t have to write the same thing about your characters whenever you mentions them! You really don’t! I am able to remember that one of them pulls her braid a lot – especially after you have mentioned it the first hundred times!
  6. YA Paranormal Romance. If there’s one genre that turns me off in general, it’s romance (even though I devoured Barbara Cartland novels when I was younger …!). But YA Paranormal Romance … I’m just not interested. Even though I know there might be some good novels hiding under this header, I don’t give them the time of day… And I actually do feel a bit bad about this one because it’s not normally my style to just reject something so outright like this without knowing more about it.

So there you have it. I pride myself of being tolerant and open-minded and I think/hope that my reading habits reflect this. So that’s probably why I could only come up with a measly 6 turn-offs – and none of them, except the last one, really keep me from finishing novels…

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7 thoughts on “Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

  1. Good list! I agree with the unfulfilled potential one. It’s so disappointing when a book doesn’t live up to it’s potential because either the writer couldn’t pull it off or didn’t take the time to fully develop the plot and characters.

  2. Lack of editing? Yes.
    Unfulfilled potential? Very much yes (in fact a book full of potential always worries me in case it doesn’t work out)
    Out of character? Yes indeed.
    Repetitive descriptions? Yes, yes, yes.
    YA Romance (paranormal or otherwise)? Yup.

    And now a word about The Land of the Painted Caves: Didn’t you feel it’s a good example of number 2, 3 AND 5? I was so excited about it and then the whole thing was just one long description of caves while Ayla batted her eyelids at Jondalar and appeared to forget all about her much longed for daughter. A black spot on the series is exactly how I feel about it. So much so that I like to pretend it doesn’t exist and sent my copy to the charity shop!

  3. Lack of editing gets my goat also. So does narrative where the author seems to think it adds to the effect if they include an adjective with virtually every noun. Susan Hill’s Woman in Black was ruined by that for me

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