Saturday, August 4, 2012

What puts you off a book?

You pick up a book, the cover looks great, the blurb is awesome, then you read a couple of pages and go "...Nah..." put it down, and even on the most dull day, you still can't pick it to stave off crippling boredom.

Has this ever happened to you? It happens to me with reasonable frequency.

Today I'm posting my top three major turn offs in books. These are things that annoy me, and I cannot get over and thus find myself incapable of finishing the book. This is a personal list, I don't expect everyone to agree, and certainly isn't representative of all romance readers!

1. Names.
With names like Primrose and Antigone in my books, you could say it's the pot calling the kettle black... However, my pet hate with names isn't because of weirdness, or difficulty in pronounciation.... what I dislike is in romance genres - is heroines with boys names. I picked up a book not long ago in which the heroine's name was Harrison.... ummm, to me, Harrison is strictly a boys name. It literally means "Harry's son", so I couldn't get over it and despite a great premise behind the story I didn't read it. I'll tolerate girls called Camryn, Riley or whatever, but this one was a deal breaker.
My other issue with names is reading period novels and finding someone called Jayden or Tenisha. Modern names fit in modern stories (unless there is time travel involved) so finding Tenisha sauntering around Regency England just doesn't cut the mustard, at least for me.

2. Unrealistic Dialogue.
[image courtesy: Lovelornpoet]
Authors can't always get it right, I know that, I'm probably guilty of this myself on occasion, but sometimes I am jarred out of a book simply by the poorly written dialogue. You can check out some pretty interesting examples here

3. Green eyes

I've probably mentioned this before, but green eyes are remarkably popular in literature, when in reality green eyes are quite rare and are attributed to only 2-5% of the world population. I'm reading a book at the moment (and am determined to finish it) where at least 4 of the characters have green eyes. It's annoying. However, for the record, green eyes are the fifth rarest form of eye colour, followed by amber at number four, violet at three, black at number two and coming it at the rarest is red (as only those with albanism have this colour naturally).

Anyway, I'm interested to know what puts you off a book in the first couple of chapters!

Have a good weekend :)


  1. Not getting to the point quick enough and prattling on too long to set the scene. I like a fair pace in my reading.
    Also books that over complicate things with unnecessary characters that just cause you a hard time following the plot whilst not adding anything to the story. -Melinda

    1. You're spot on about the unnecessary characters! That's a good one!

  2. There was an e-book I picked up a few months ago because it sounded really interesting and the main character was a librarian, but I couldn't make it past the first few chapters. The problem wasn't so much the writing; it was okay. An issue that can happen with e-books is improper formatting. Every time I flipped to another page the page number jumped, sometimes going from 5 to 12 and the next time going up to 27. The story itself didn't jump but that really bothered me to the point where I couldn't focus on the story.

    I agree with Melinda on not getting to the point quick enough, and Nicola your list is spot on. I also thoroughly enjoyed the link to examples of bad dialogue. An issue with dialogue that bothers me is when they constantly use the other person's name.

    "Hello, Bob."

    "Hi, Sam."

    "How are you today, Bob?"

    "Oh, I'm doin' all right, Sam."

    It isn't necessary to constantly use the characters' names like that and sometimes it makes me put a book aside.

    Finally I would like to say that I was born with green eyes, but over the years they have actually changed and now they are more hazel (and known to change with my mood).

  3. Hey Danielle,LOL you're right about the name use! The list of poor dialogue is very cool isn't it? Useful as a reference too!

    And as for green eyes, oddly my sister-in-law, my own sister and my daughter all have green eyes. So they aren't that rare in my family! The rest of us are blue eyed. My sisters eyes turned green when she turned 13, and my daughters eyes turned green when she was 3. Weird.

    As for the e-book page numeration, I'm going to keep an eye out for that in future... observant little thing that I am :)

  4. My page numeration issue was in "A Hidden Fire" by Elizabeth Hunter. Of course I also wonder if that is an issue just in the NOOK Book, or if it happens for Kindle and other e-readers as well. It's possible that the book is fine using another reader. I guess that would be something to investigate further... Hmm, perhaps there has been a library study on that. This is what I get for getting a Master's degree in Library and Information Science, lol.