You may have seen the video I did for Bookish Brits recently in which I talked about some of my top book turn offs...? It was a really fun video to film and while I did feel very nervous about sharing it with everyone (just watch it and you'll understand! I'm barely coherent in some of my arguments and all the silly faces! ahhh!) but luckily it was fairly well-received. I stand by all of the turn-offs I listed in my video (pregnancy, gratuitous violence, silly names, terms of endearment, sexist language and behaviours, etc) but since it's been a few days since my video went live OF COURSE I've thought of a whole heap of other things that annoy me.
So I thought today I might share SOME MORE turn-offs with you. If you don't mind. Please feel free to share your own in comments. And you should totally subscribe to the Bookish Brits channel!
First off, I can't believe that I forgot to talk about MY MOST HATED thing in books: infidelity. This is something that really annoys me. It kind of ties into my thoughts on love triangles but only sometimes. I really hate when a character is going out with one person, understands and realises that things aren't great and instead of dealing with that issue, starts something up with somebody else. No. Please don't do that. Please sort your shit in one relationship before moving onto another one :( Infidelity in any story line, whether it be in books, films or television, I cannot abide by it. Big no-no for me.
Up next: epilogues. You know how recently there was this big to-do over JK Rowling's comments regarding the relationships between Harry/Ron/Hermione after the events of Deathly Hallows? That sort of ties into my hatred for epilogues. Because what JK Rowling did there and what I feel like a lot of authors do with extended and detailed epilogues is that they're taking something away from the reader. What I feel that they are doing with epilogues is harnessing every aspect and detail of their characters' lives and destinies and taking that away from the readers. I quite like it when a book ends at a satisfying point and closing the book and daydreaming about what will happen next. I like picturing in my head that some characters will stay together forever and (this might just be me!) but sometimes I think 'yeah, you know, these two might stay together for awhile but maybe they'll drift apart or she'll cheat on him with that guy she meets at the coffee place or the long-distance thing won't work out when they both go to colleges in different parts of the world' and you know what? All of that is okay with me. I don't need (nor want!) to know every nauseating detail about their sickeningly sweet relationship and how they're raising twins who play hockey in 20 years from now. No. Don't put those images in my head.
This next one seems to crop up more in fantasy/paranormal/dystopian stories because of that added element of danger, but I really hate it when there is a concealment of information. When one character says at some point to another (usually the main character) 'I'd tell you, but I don't think you'll be able to handle it so I'm going to keep you in the dark for your own protection.' That shit drives me crazy. I really don't like those relationships where this balance of control is skewed in one person's favour over another. And usually this important information is something relevant to our main character's survival, too. Nice one.
This turn-off is probably something very specific to me, but I hate it when an author throws in words in another language, like 'sans' usually in relation to clothes. 'Sans' is never necessary in my book.
And finally, one of my most hated book turn-offs is when an author (typically when a character is choosing between two people) vilifies a character in order to bring home the point that the character made the right decision in choosing the other person. I hate this. Why is this necessary? In a love triangle situation where a character is choosing between two people, why is it necessary that the other person morphs into this extreme asshole after the choice is made? It never makes me think 'huh, what a douche, good thing the girl chose that other guy' it just makes think 'wow, this girl is a very poor judge of character and this just highlights that fact' Related to this is the extreme demonisation of characters who make mistakes. The villains are all super psychotic in this way that is unbelievable. I want to see more complex characterisation and not just this lazy 'this person who made a mistake anyone could make is, of course, PLAIN EVIL' sort of explanations.
What are some of your book turn-offs?
I totally agree with a lot of these, Clover. White-washing can be so annoying and just plain ridiculous - how is it realistic to have a novel populated ENTIRELY by white (and straight, able, etc) characters? That is not life!ReplyDelete
Throwaway sexist remarks - urgh! Also, using things like violence against women or mental illness as a plot device just drives me crazy. These things are genuinely upsetting but some authors just don't seem to take them seriously.
I think maybe my biggest book turn-off is the sentence "I realised I was holding my breath" and its variants. Once you notice it, you start seeing it everywhere and it is such a cliche!
I really enjoyed your video Clover - it made me giggle a couple of times - and a great post too :)
Thanks, maya. Yes. It got lost in editing, but further to the white-washing comment I made, I did mean to add that a lack of diversity elsewhere is a bit annoyance of mine as well!Delete
I get how infidelilty turns you off. It does that to me too. I don't mind if there is a love traingle and the girl hasn't really been together with the one of them, if she has she should stick with him.ReplyDelete
Escapism from Reality
Oh I don't like the thought of a character not being able to change their mind once they've chosen. I don't want to see that either!Delete
I completely agree, especially with infidelity and concealing information, it just stupid and annoyingReplyDelete
And occasionally rage-inducing :)Delete
I LOVED your video! What an awesome subject! My pet hate is when books/TV shows romanticise 'running away' and hating their parents for trying to help a situation! No i'm not a parent lol but it still annoys me when I see it.ReplyDelete
I don't think I've come across that very often but I can definitely see how you'd find that annoying :)Delete
Yes! This was a great video/post. Saying the things we are all thinking. Infidelity puts me off a character completely, so annoying! And yes, the concealment of info is a big one too. Mainly because it never works out for the better >..<ReplyDelete
I definitely think some information needs to be leaked slowly into the storyline, I just don't want (the main character) to be told directly I'm not telling you yet if they know really important stuff! And infidelity. Argh.Delete