Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Book Lover's List of Literary Grievances

First, let me say that I believe myself to be very tolerant when it comes to the books I read. My average book rating is 3.55 (out of 5) stars, which I feel speaks to my preference to acknowledge the positive more often than the negative. I read a lot of self-published romance books and overall have been blown away by the quality of writing. (I believe most of the books on my year-end favorites lists are indie published.) However, there are some inaccuracies I'm finding repeated all too often—grammatical, formatting, and publishing, mainly. Sometimes we just have strong preferences and become bothered when books don't conform, though, right?

These are some of the "repeat offenders" I find particularly irksome.
  • Whoa is not spelled w-o-a-h!
  • Lightning, the atmospheric occurrence, being misspelled lightening
  • Qualifying "unique" with very, more, really, etc. Unique means something is one of a kind; it can't be more unique than something else!
  • The words "floor" and "ground" should not be used interchangeably!
  • The verb needs to agree with the subject. For example, "One of the boxes is open." "The woman with all the dogs walks down my street." "All of the books, including yours, are in that box."
  • The excessive overuse of some words is highly annoying (e.g "core" in romance novels), particularly when listening to audiobooks.
  • Using "zip" as a noun instead of as a verb. It's a zipper, folks.
  • First person internal monologues should not contain excessive descriptive adjectives! Do our inner voices actually say things like the following? "I brush my long, curly, blonde tresses..." or "I drive my large black custom SUV..." or "I clean my beautifully decorated monotone apartment..." These fabricated examples seem silly, yes? Well, I've read much sillier, believe me. 
  • When asked something like, "Do you mind if...?" the answer, if it is okay, should be NO!!! 
  • If a book represents more than one character's point of view, each change in narration should be obviously attributed to whose voice it is. Sometimes it's just not obvious!  
  • Book covers should be representative of the story and/or characters. If the hero's and heroine's physical appearance is mentioned in the book, the cover models should at least resemble them. Things like hair color are obvious, yes?
  • When authors use initials in lieu of their given name(s) and don't use periods, it can appear to be a two (or more) letter name. I know the modern trend is straying away from periods, but it can be confusing. I mean, I see a name like AL JEFFERSON as AL (short for Albert, Alfred, etc.) and not A.L. Although, maybe it's just my preference and doesn't matter to others. 
  • In dialogue exchanges or conversations, the character should be rather easily identifiable. 
  • A character's idiosyncratic personality and verbal language patterns should belong to one character only and not every character an author creates.
  • When characters who the author repeatedly emphasizes intelligence and articulateness in don't live up to those standards at all. 
I am no grammar queen, but I know some things. I know the above things take away from my reading pleasure. What about you? What are some of your pet peeves in regards to books?