Top Ten Tuesday: Problems with Books

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is “Book-Related Problems.” Since books just about my favorite thing in the world, I don’t exactly have a lot of problems with them. But I’ve identified a few problems that relate to reading and blogging, and then I thought about things that cause me to dislike a book.

Some of my reading-related “problems”:

  1. Pressure to read. One of the downsides of challenges and book blogging activities is the pressure to read more. The day blogging interferes with my enjoyment of reading is the day I quit.  Still, sometimes it feels like a bit of a race to keep up with my reading, stay up to date on my reviews, and read the kinds of books I’ve committed to, rather than just reading what I want at the moment. And while I love my library, that’s an additional pressure, because I’m on waiting lists and once a book comes in, I have limited time to read it.
  2. Series keep multiplying the number of books I want to read. Add to that spinoffs, novellas, short story compilations. Sometimes, a series just needs to end. But really, I just need to start fewer of them. Series I started in 2014 included: Parasite, Wool, Veronica Mars, Tales of the Ketty Jay, Shades of Milk and Honey, and the Flavia de Luce mysteries. I won’t keep up with most of them.
  3. Review copies not available to readers in the U.S. I read a ton of British authors, and most of the books on Netgalley that I really want to read are only available in the UK, Canada, or Australia. I realize this is a contract thing but it’s maddening. I seem to be living in the wrong country.
  4. Reading too many books at one time and getting them confused.  I try to limit myself to two, and they should be different genres and time periods.  But still, it’s odd how often something that comes up in one book comes up in the other book I’m reading.

Some of the top things that make me dislike a book:

  1. Books that are emotionally manipulative. Please, limit the dying spouses, children, and pets, unless it’s a really well-written story. This always happens when I’m on the metro or on a plane. Books make me cry like a baby.
  2. Unbelievable plot devices. The Humans, for example. An alien is sent to Earth to eliminate a scientist and the people around him. This alien race knows the exact moment the scientist solves a mathematical mystery but somehow never learned that people wear clothes or eat food?
  3. Books that can be described as “sweet.”  Sorry A.J. Fikry, Guernsey Potato Peel Society, Labor Day. Maybe I’m just too cynical, but I think the world is pretty much a mess, and people are a complicated mix of good and bad.
  4. Books where I hate the main character. I’m not talking about flawed or screwed up main characters. Those are the best. I’m talking about main characters that are completely annoying or insensitive. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a good example. And for some reason the trait of unlikeable protagonists seems to be related to my next problem….
  5. Books that flip back and forth between historical and present-day characters. This can be done well, but all too often the historical story is what’s really interesting, and for some reason the author feels the need to chop it up with an uninteresting, unlikeable modern character (Sarah’s Key, Those Who Save Us, People of the Book are a few examples).
  6. Books with no good female or no good male characters. The Memory Garden had no redeeming male characters at all. If I wanted Steel Magnolias, I’d have watched it. And don’t get me started on books that have no decent female characters.

So those are my book-related problems!  Kind of a negative post today, but it was interesting to think about things I don’t like in books.  What drives you crazy in a book?

9 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Problems with Books”

  1. Michael

    Great list. I share some of your “problems.”

    But some of them are good problems to have.

    And I’m with you on the territorial distribution for ARCs. It can drive me crazy sometimes.

  2. hlmorris85

    I’m definitely with you on the pressure to read. For me it manifests in feeling like I have to read everything cover to cover even when I’m hating it. That’s something I’m still working on putting a stop to.

  3. DebbieRodgers @Exurbanis

    I live in Canada and seem to be constantly interested in books that are “available to persons with a valid U.S. mailing address only”. I guess we sometimes see what we don’t have, as opposed to what we do. 🙂

  4. Lindsey

    I agree with the pressure to read and the frustration of ARCs. I think the even more frustrating thing is Netgalley’s new feature where a book is on the website, but not available for review yet. What is up with that?!?

  5. rudejasper

    I like your approach! Series can be frustrating but I’m addicted. And I’m with you on the pressure to read. ARCs actually kind of stress me out because I feel obligated and it’s on a schedule. And a huge Amen to the unbelievable plot devices. Drives me crazy because I just keep worrying on the inconsistency in my head.


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