10 bookish turn-offs

I try to choose books which I think I’ll enjoy reading. However, sometimes issues arise which are likely to give me a negative impression of a book. Consequently these issues may find their way into my reviews…

Dialogue without speech marks. See: Conversations with Friends and Everything Under.

Excessive use of overly dramatic expressions such as narrowing one’s eyes or growling. See: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Giant paragraphs. See: The Wall. Also everything by Henry James and Franz Kafka.

New characters introduced towards the end. See: The Other Things and The Secret Commonwealth.

Ridiculous typos. See: The Space Between Time and The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists.

Animal cruelty. See: The Doll Factory and Let Me Lie.

Stories which don’t match their packaging. See: The Haunted Hotel and The House Swap.

Information repeated over and over again. See: House of Glass.

Too long. See: Doctor Sleep and Women of the Dunes.

No pictures when it would have been really handy. See: The Golden Thread and Visit Sunny Chernobyl.


I could of course mention ugly book covers but you know I’m not that shallow… 😉

19 thoughts on “10 bookish turn-offs”

  1. Great list! I agree 100%!! Ugh yea the overuse of dramatic expressions.. I recently read a book with a lot of nonsense like that, a woman’s lip even “quivered”. Even in the context it was so dramatic, sexist and ridiculous.

    1. Thank you, I’m glad we agree on it. That sounds like a frustrating book to read, with expressions that end up being funny even when the writer is intending to be serious.

  2. I’m currently reading a book which keeps using the word ‘scruffly’. It is a) not a word, and b) overused. It’s the only thing irritating me about an otherwise great book.

    1. Scruffly?! You’re right, that’s not even a word. Even if it was, just one use of it would be enough. Unless of course the character’s name is Scruffly (sounds like a playful puppy?)

  3. “Dialogue without speech marks” 100%!!! In Romanian we MUST sign every sentence spoken by someone with “-“. When I first started reading English books I was shocked thinking that there was NO DIALOGUE anywhere! I later learned that it’s there, just not marked.

    1. I think writers do this just to look edgy, I can’t see the point of it. It’s a pity when an otherwise interesting book is made too frustrating to read.

  4. OMG…yes…And the animal cruelty part…omg that book had lots of it and I skimmed through all of them…it was crazy cruel! 🙁

    1. I really wasn’t expecting it, I wouldn’t have read the book otherwise. I think I’m a bit scarred from reading it still 🙁

      1. Oh so sorry, I misread your msg…pls delete that comment! LOLOL Thanks to my kids! Yeah…I’m scarred by it still :(((((

  5. I know a lot of older SF books use “Presently” as a common transition and it can bug me sometimes. Repetition that sticks out or is awkward can be a bummer.

    1. I can’t say I’ve noticed that one, but I’ll be sure to look out for it now 😉

  6. A fabulous list! In fact, as I was reading these, I narrowed my eyes and started growling – haha.

    I’ve heard of Visit Sunny Chernobyl, and thought of getting it from the library, but was surprised to read it doesn’t include photos. Hmm.

    1. Thanks, glad you agree! Regarding Visit Sunny Chernobyl, I borrowed the e-book from the library but I suppose it’s possible there are other editions with photos in.

    1. They do have a habit of creeping in, no matter how many times one proofreads one’s work 😉

  7. oh gosh yeah I’m put off books where the author doesn’t use speech marks (and conversations with friends was an example of that for me too). I also can understand overdramatic expressions can be irritating. I really don’t like when books don’t match the packaging (especially cos it’s so easily avoided and doesn’t serve anyone!!) Also really dislike when info is repeated over and over. And I don’t like books that are too long either (well, it kind of links to repeating content- I feel like it has to be earned and it’s more likely things will be repeated in that case).

    1. I’m glad we are agreed on this! I think I still wouldn’t have liked Conversations with Friends anyway but that issue just made it worse.

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