01 October 2012

The Ultimate Turn Off

Thank you for the condolences for my grandmother.  I think of her daily and enjoy those thoughts.

I wrote this blog post while at home, where I don't have internet connection, and the kids were running amok.  So, if it's a little jumpy, jittery, jivey you know why.  It's because I'm a Mum.  (I'm just now wondering what excuse I'll use when the munchkins are older.  Hm.)

And now... 

When you’re reading a new book, what is the ultimate turn off?  What does it take to get you from quietly reading, to throwing the book across the room faster than Superman flies? (That is, if you throw books.  Many people are against this practice, for good reason.  But I find, sometimes, it’s cathartic.)  Perhaps there is something about the writing that you can’t force down.  Maybe it ends for you when a character does something inconsistent with what you’ve come to expect.  

The thing that turns me off a story the fastest is obscene/crude language involving sex.  Honestly, I’m not a prude, but perhaps I am when it comes to the books I read.  Too much detail in written sex is offensive to me in a way nothing else is.  It makes me feel like a peeping tom.  Like a dirty voyeur.  I have been known to drop a book like it has scorched me, never to pick it up again, except to force it out of my house.  It is this aversion, more than anything else, that keeps me wary in the general fiction section of the library.  I rarely pick a book off a shelf at random unless I’m in the Young Adult area.  I feel a little safer in YA.

Another item on my list of annoyances is bad editing.  When I, who have had little formal training in editing, can point out things on every page that the author, proof readers, editor, or various other people have failed or neglected to correct, there is a problem.  Occasionally, it bothers me enough to keep me from finishing.  Almost certainly stops me when the story isn’t good. (This only applies to a story that has been published.  Bloggers, emailers, and note-writers are safe from me.)

I guess I really only have one other thing that bothers me enough to keep me from finishing a novel.  I hate stupid characters willfully making stupid choices.  When a character does something even though they know it’s a really bad idea... it drives me nuts.  If I can’t see an immediate end in sight to their idiocy, I put the book down and step away.  If I’m in a tolerant mood later, I might pick it back up, but it’s doubtful.  

I don’t appreciate excessive swearing, but it didn’t stop me from reading “I Am The Messenger”, which I really liked.  (The writing is so superb, I couldn’t fault any of it.  It was like nirvana for writers. So, so beautiful.  But like I said, lots of swearing.)

I’m not a big fan of scary things, either, and usually don’t even pick these types up.  So, while I did read “Forest of Hands and Teeth”, it traumatized me enough that I refuse to read the rest of the series.  However, if you’re not sure if you like thrillers, and are wondering what to read, I would recommend “Forest of Hands and Teeth” so quickly it would breeze the hair from your face.  It’s one of the best.

Other than that, the only other thing that will get me to stop reading a book has nothing to do with the story itself, and everything to with me, the reader.  Quite often, halfway through a story, I’ll decide I’m not in the mood for that story and switch to something else.  Fickle.

So, have I covered what bothers you?  Or would you care to share your peeves with the class?

1 comment:

Dempsey Darrow said...


Bad grammar turns me off. "is comprised of" vs. "comprises", using "everyday" in cases where "every day" should be used and the reverse. Then again, these errors are rare in published books, but you weren't that specific. :-)

Predictable plot lines are a turn off. Poor (physical) character descriptions are too, although I know some of that must be left to the reader so that they can more closely identify with the story.

Being ex-military, swearing doesn't bother me that much unless it's being used purely for shock effect. Or being done by a woman. Guess I just betrayed my upbringing.

On a more personal note, don't pick up any books at Random. They do lottery drawings there and it's a questionable place that I have yet to find on the map. I hear there's a house there, though, full of books. Still, stay closer to home.