What grinds my gears. Literary pet peeves.

1948.02You know what really grinds my gears? No, not shifting without pressing the clutch. I’m talking about some really annoying bookish things that irk me. I’m sure I am not alone in this strange behavior, so instead of just talking to myself under my breath and freaking people out, I will just put it out there and get it over with. So here are some things that drive me bananas:

1. When I start reading a series and find that cover art and dimensions do not match. Honestly, some people would think me crazy for that, but I am a big graphic design nerd and these inconsistencies give me an eye-twitch. Naturally, older published books (especially from the nineties) are guilty of this crime. Time for a reprint!

2. The complete absence of nicely translated and packaged books by literary giants like Jules Verne or Alexandre Dumas in English language outside of standard few works. Both had written a library-full of novels and non-fiction, so why can’t I enjoy their bibliography wrapped in a high quality edition?

3. The existence of paranormal young adult romance genre that goes like this… Once upon a time there lived an ordinary girl who liked to complain about her ordinary life outside of popular circle, when one day she found out that she possessed amazing supernatural powers to save the world as we know it. Instantly the girl became an object of affection of two other-worldly hunks (a boy-next-door type and a dangerous melancholic) who are head over hills for her nevermind her ordinary looks and a slightly ditsy personality. The three of them spend extensive periods of time going back and forth about their feelings, all while saving the world – naturally. Epic battle, final kiss. The end. Now where is my book deal?

4. Mass market paperbacks. I find them to be exact opposite of what books should be. I see books as lifetime satellites that are re-read often and displayed proudly. Mass parket paperbacks are produced to be cheap and disposable; they crack after the first hundred pages; they get those ugly white creases down the spine that make the title illegible. What a snob, I knooow…

5. When authors write a series out of chronological order, but instead just jump around wherever they want. I like to read in publication order, because usually I get to see writing style maturing, characters becoming more fleshed-out, deeper subjects being brought up. Reading in chronological order sometimes creates inconsistencies between quality and even *gasp* spoilers. I regret reading The Chronicles of Narnia this way instead of following the publication dates.

6. Goodreads users who rate a book before it’s published and the advanced copies are sent out. The most recent instance of this crime I noticed was upon the announcement of J.K.Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. The day after the fact Goodreads was swamped by Harry Potter fans rating the book five stars, screaming their heads off how much they were excited for the release. There is nothing wrong with being excited, but rating a book without even reading it considerably skews the overall rating on the website, leading to misconceptions about the true quality of the novel’s contents. The irony of it all? Once the book was released, many of these fans were disappointed to find the new work of their favorite author to be drastically different from their expectations. The result? Casual Vacancy still won 2012 Choice Awards for Best Fiction besides the 3.26 rating. That’s just stupid.

7. When authors write prequels/in-betweeners and label them with sequential numbers like 1.25 or 3.6… What’s that supposed to be all about? Some kind of math problem? Soon we’ll see installments numbered like an accurate representation of pi to the fourteenth digit. I think Julie Kagawa went all out on that one, to provide one example.

I’m sure there are lots of more important things to worry about in life, but complaining is so much fun. And I like complaining about the insignificant things.


  1. Ha, kindred spirit! I didn’t know just how much I hated these things. Especially number 3. Where’s my book deal?!

  2. […] Was going to write something like this soon, but I was beaten to the punch. What are your literary pet peeves? #3 FTW. [Read at Tasseled Book Blog] […]

  3. I think we both deserve a deal for at least a trilogy.

  4. Number 6 baffles me, too. How can you rate something you haven’t read? You don’t know if you liked it–the star rating is *not* ‘how excited are you about this book?’

  5. That and an empty review full of flashing gifs expressing their joy 🙂 My favorite Goodreaders to shake my head at.

  6. Why do they make series where the cover art and book dimensions don’t match! GOD it drives me insane. I get resentful when they do different dimensions for books by a single author, to be honest. It was maddening when Audrey Niffenegger put out her second novel and it was with a different publisher and it’s completely a different size. Hmph.

  7. They do it just to mess with our heads, I swear. I’m glad I’m not the only one who can’t stand these changes. I have this problem now with Stephen King. My only hope that sometime in the future they will re-issue these books in matching sets.

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