Things That Turn You Off In A Book

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If you are a book reader, then you probably have your own list of things that turn you off in a book. Those annoying little things that want to make to return the book (to Amazon, to your library, to your friend who lent you the book in the first place) or simply to throw it across the room – hard.

I know I have my own list of top book turn-offs and that list is growing. It used to be a list of 5 things, then 10 and now they’re more than 10. I guess the more books we read, the more selective we become and the easier it is to spot the real gems from the trash. Sure one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but still, there must be some common things that we all cringe at when reading a book.

So here are mine, especially when reading a mystery novel that should hold my interest, be fast paced and have a well defined movement from A to B.

1. A cheesy dialogue – ok this really gets on my nerves and while I find this mostly in young adult (YA) fiction, I’ve seen it in mysteries as well, along with romances and pretty much any genre. I hate it.

2. Books where the characters take drugs – I’m not talking here about a former drug addict who changed his or her life around, became a police detective or a fighter for better health, bla bla bla. I’m talking about a character who is actually taking drugs in the novel. I usually let go of the book right away. I just can’t stand it, it’s a serious petpeeve of mine.

3. Books with too many different points of view, with too many narrators. Sure I do love a good book with more people narrating it throught the various chapters, but that takes a great writer to pull it off well. In most cases the result is a disaster.

4. Books where the ending is a letdown (especially in mysteries and trillers) – imagine you’re reading a book full of suspense, one of those nail biting books, ‘edge of your seat’ type of novels, and reading the last page and feeling literally cheated. There’s either no clear resolution, or it is so anticlimactic as if the writer just rushed through it to get it done already. I just don’t want to pick up another book by this author – like ever again!

5. Books with repetitive writing, and by this I mean where the author is using the same phrases and words over and over again – sometimes several times in the same paragraph. A few times you might let it go, but eventually the phrase ends up in your subconsciousness doing as much damage as the water dripping slowly from the faucet over several hours where you can’t do anything about it (except smash it to pieces).

6. Shallow writing – now this is for every genre equally annoying and sadly there are plenty of authors with a very mediocre and shallow writing. One should be forbidden to put out such garbage. Ever.

7. Book series that should have ended several books ago – I could name several series like these – you know when a trilogy becomes a series of 5 or more books just because the author has sold the rights to make a movie of all, or because the series was so popular that they thought churning a few more books can’t hurt (*cough* Charlaine Harris *cough*)

8. Books that suffer from bad editing syndrome – I hate this one, it’s a major petpeeve of mine. I get that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes, but the job of the editor is to catch those grammar and syntax errors that make a book look like written by a high school student. Honestly, those editors who let these kinds of mistakes through should be fired.

9. Books with not developed secondary characters – it is sad but I find so often in books that the author focuses on the main characters and only mentions in passing the secondary characters who are just there as book fillers. This is a very narrow view that should not be present in a book. Afterall no book is 2 dimensional either, right?

10. Books with ugly book covers – luckily I see less and less of this, these days the covers are better done than the books themselves, but still, now and then I come across a book cover that I have a feeling it was done from a $5 freelancing site like Fiverr.com. I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but still, dear author, do you have to take this phrase literally?

Here is one book cover that I can’t stop laughing at every time I see it…talk about Moment of Truth…I mean is she doing what I think she’s doing with her hand???

Moment of Truth

So how about you, what are some of your petpeeves when it comes to things that turn you off in a book?

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35 Responses to “Things That Turn You Off In A Book”

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  1. Jori says:

    The greatest annoyance for me with a book is when the ending is rushed.

  2. Olivia says:

    I agree with all your points, but the ones that really annoy me are several viewpoints and underdeveloped secondary characters. In a book you are supposed to have main, secondary and filler characters. Filler characters are the only ones that can be underdeveloped as they normally only fit in one or two sentences. And its normally the secondary characters who get me through a book, they can be so much more interesting!

  3. Fan R says:

    I do not like books narrating about real life, real life problems and at the same the main character managed to handle and solve absolutely everything. I understand when it is about superheros or a fiction. It becomes boring to read.

  4. Victoria Howe says:

    Read…read, I wish I had time with two pre-schoolers, heehee. But agree about the cheesey dialogue, and the bad ending. It’s frustrating – out of a million ideas, the author ended it some silly odd way!
    And that picture of a book, omg! Made me giggle though xx

  5. Tracey (Jadelynx) says:

    A book without a good summary. This is what draws people to buy it, so it’s important.

    My biggest peeve is when the author goes on and on, describing every little detail of the scene, when it is not necessary. Drives me crazy!

  6. patricia says:

    I agree with so many of these. The cover has to be appealing to my eyes or I will not buy it and the same goes for products at the grocery store too.

  7. Debi says:

    I agree. My biggest is the too many narrators. I am not a fan of first person anyway but prefer only one person.

  8. krystal kesson says:

    YUP! I agree with your list! Another one is super long, narrative’s that are there for nothing. I just read a book that just went on and on and on and there was a part whre a speech went on for 78 pages!!!

  9. Melanie says:

    LOL What is she doing with her hand? And wait, isn’t his hand in his pocket? Or is it in his pants? ha someone didn’t look at that carefully

    I think repetitive writing bugs me or characters that don’t grow through a book annoy me the most

  10. HilLesha says:

    These are many of my pet peeves! My latest pet peeve is when each chapter has 2-3 pages – um, what? This is not a children’s book!

  11. tough Cookie Mommy says:

    A cheesy dialogue definitely turns me off as a reader. I enjoy dialogue between the characters but only if it is done well and doesn’t take away from the descriptive language.

  12. Cynthia L says:

    I am chuckling a little from that photo! I am not sure I would have noticed it if you hadn’t of pointed it out. I guess I never really thought of a list of what I don’t like in a book. I just know if it can’t keep me wanting to read, it goes back to the library.

  13. Melanie a/k/a CrazyMom says:

    AWESOME post… I couldn’t agree more.. I love a good book, but leave drugs out or stop dragging the story on and on and on… I will get bored and stop reading.. Glad I’m not the only one with pet peeves …

  14. April @Pixie Dust Savings says:

    I agree with your list 100 percent. I think it is kind of funny that 50 shades of grey actually had several of your pet peeves and it is so popular. It is really badly written.

  15. Bobbi Burleson says:

    When it comes to books I say “Hold the cheese please!!”

  16. Morgan Eckstein says:

    Series where the author has sold so many copies that the later books receive very little editing beyond simple grammar.

  17. Karen says:

    You named quite a few of mine, another is where they spend ages developing a character/plot and then decide to forget everything they did and throw you off.

  18. Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade says:

    I have a list as well. I don’t read smut. I mean if I want that, I’ll talk to my dh. I do agree with your list and the book example cracks me up. Neither one looked thrilled and the cover is boring/depressing, THEN I saw her hand! wow

  19. Sarah Bailey says:

    I’m really weird with books I can read a lot of things but if something really slow I can only battle so long with it x

  20. Amber Edwards says:

    Oh Seriously!! I have to agree with all of these! This is what completely turns me off to a book! I also have to add, where the book series started off amazing, but the follow up books seem as though the author was rushed and just trying ot write and complete the next book and resolve the story by a deadline, instead of continuing the same creativity they started the series with! Oh man, I hate that.

  21. Katherine Bartlett says:

    I have to agree with the ugly book cover. I won’t read a book that has an ugly cover.

  22. brett says:

    I hate unresolved endings. They make me stabby!!

    And I am LOL at that book cover. Ridiculous!

  23. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says:

    This new trend of leaving the ending wide open and unresolved gets on my last nerve!

  24. Aisha Kristine Chong says:

    I totally agree not with just books but even on movies – too much cheeziness is totally not on my list, lol!

  25. Carol says:

    You have hit the nail on the head with this list of book turn offs. I also do not like books that are sexually explicit for no reason at all other than it gets the author off.

  26. Fanfreluche says:

    It has to be a really bad book for me to put it down. Usually I hate loooong descriptions of places or objects unless it really add to the plot

  27. Anita Breeze says:

    Yes, you are spot on! And it’s too funny, I saw that book cover on Pinterest and was thinking about how awful it was, and now I know why it was there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Rosey says:

    Bad editing gets me every time, and the e-books seem to suffer from it quite regularly. It distracts from the story line when there are a bunch of editing errors.

  29. Annemarie says:

    My pet peeve about books are the ones who have a great story going and I am totally enjoying it and then they seem to rush the end and ruin the book.

  30. Le-an Lacaba says:

    omg! I have a lot of things that I hate when it comes to books. the top of my list are those where there aren’t any correct punctuation marks. my mind tends to read fast, and without a period or a comma i get overloaded!

  31. Pam says:

    I think the number one thing for me is a chessy dialouge. That will turn me right off. I have to agree with most of yours and really can’t thing of anything to add. Great list!

  32. Madison says:

    You nailed some of my pet peeves right there. I’m with you on those horrible series books as well. I remember reading that series “Marked” right after reading the Twilight series and felt that she should have just stopped at about book 3. Lets hope there’s no movie deal for that one! As for that book cover, I busted out laughing too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Robin says:

    I absolutely HATE it when a book leaves me hanging at the end. I don’t want to “imagine” what they did, I want to know for sure. It makes me soooo mad.

  34. Timothy Torrents says:

    I don’t like books that have too many characters. It just gets confusing after awhile and you have no idea what is going on. Typos also really get on my nerves. Also boring story lines. If I don’t feel hook at the beginning of the book I rarely follow through with the rest. Great post! I am sure this will be very helpful for anyone who is planning on releasing a new book.

  35. Adelien says:

    I don’t like books involving drugs, violence, and war. If they are just a little inside, that would be fine. Too much, no way. Thank you for sharing.

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