Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Today's topic is "Top Ten Book Turn-Offs."


  1. Kids portrayed as smarter than their parents (or adults in general). I realize not all parents are June and Ward Cleaver. Heck, I'm not even close. But when kids are portrayed as smarter than adults, it bugs me. It tends to happen more in television than books (Good Luck Charlie, Dog with a Blog) but it does nothing for me. I think that's my one complaint with The Hunger Games trilogy: Katniss is smarter--and better, more useful, more dependable--than her mother. Her mother is pretty much useless. I feel the story could have done just as well if her mother wasn't so dependent on Katniss. 
  2. Characters that never grow or change. Now, I realize, you're not meant to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid for meaningful examples of family relationships, but when I first met Greg Heffley he was a self-centered jerk with no compassion or concern for anyone else. In Book 7, he's the same, even though he's supposed to be growing up some. 
  3. Family dysfunction. I know, I know. Functioning families are boring. Conflict makes a story. My kids love stories filled with all kinds of family dysfunction: The Eleventh Plague, Circle of Secrets, The Hunger Games. I just want to read a book that makes me feel good every once in a while. 
  4. Swearing for the sake of swearing.  Whether we're talking fiction or nonfiction, cuss words need to make sense. They shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. They shouldn't be used for effect. 
  5. Unnecessary sex scenes. I read Season for Miracles by Marilyn Pappano after watching the movie on Hallmark Channel. The book contained some sex scenes that I felt were totally unnecessary because they had little impact on the characters or the story itself. In addition, with this book it was odd because God and an angel played a role in the story line. Sex is okay in a novel. I don't even mind some graphic sex scenes depending upon how they are written; but again, they have to fit the story and serve some purpose. 
  6. Cliffhanger endings between books in a series. I know this is silly, but I don't like being forced to buy the next book in a series simply to put all the pieces together for something that happened in the last book. Not tying up every loose end is one thing. Having a big plot point remain unresolved until the next book is a major no-no for me.
  7. Stunning women and drop dead gorgeous men in romance novels. I probably don't make any sense on this one either, but I would much prefer a story where two average people find love together than read one about two gorgeous people that are described like models, are instantly attracted to each other, and amazingly find love. 
  8. Bad covers. I scan websites and bookshelves and decide which book to check out based upon the cover. If the cover isn't well done or looks too computer generated, I won't even scroll down or flip it over to read the blurb. I also tend to like people on book covers, but as long as the scene is pretty, I'm okay if there aren't any people.
  9. Too many spelling or grammar errors. I once went through a book and began circling the errors. I had to stop because there were so many. I don't expect perfection. Authors and editors are human. But I also don't expect to be distracted by the sheer number of errors in a book.
  10. Characters acting so "out of character" it's unbelievable. Readers invest a fair amount of time getting to know a book's characters. While it's okay for characters to take risks and to act in an unexpected way (humans are unpredictable, after all), the motivation behind the character's actions must be believable. He or she can't cross a line you won't believe this character you have come to know and like/love/hate would cross. 
Bonus turn-off: When the stated content of the book isn't what you get inside. It's happened to me a few times and I feel ripped off that I've spent hard-earned cash on a book that wasn't as promised. 

7 comments:

chrissireads said...

You've got some great turn-offs which I completely agree with!

raindropsandpages said...

I've had your bonus turn off happen to me a few times, and it's driven me absolutely mad! I dislike the bait and switch approach to writing. Great list, and I love your blog--green to me is so soothing.

caitstruelife said...

my biggest book turn off is cheating
heres my list http://caitstruelife.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-book-turn-offs/

bookshelffantasies.com said...

This is a great list! Definitely agree on kids portrayed as smarter than all the adults around them -- I understand why this would be fun for kids to read, but it's not exactly a healthy view on the world! I love that you included stunning women and drop dead gorgeous men! I'd add to that the type of female character who thinks she's average-looking, but is really a stunning woman with insecurity. Gah!

Lisa

Just a Lil Lost said...

Great list!! Totally agree on so many of those.. it's amazing how a finished book can still have that many spelling and grammatical mistakes! and YES! the kids acting smarter than their parents.. and I completely forgot bad covers too. It's so true, the story could be fantastic but if the cover is horrible, I'm really not going to pick it up...

Thanks for stopping by my TTT!

Susanne Drazic said...

Great list of book turn-offs. I hate when a book is nothing like what it is described to be. Big turn-off!

booksteame.com said...

Yup! I can't agree with you more, particularly about the bad editing bit! Being a journalism student, I look for errors everywhere, and I can't enjoy a book if there are lots of them.