The “Ten things I hate to see in a book” meme…

1. A character who looks in a mirror (shop window or whatever) so that the author can then describe them. So done to death.

2. A dream sequence where the reader is misled into thinking it is real, only to have character wake up and “Oh, it was all a dream.”

3. Women characters who all seem to be weepy and incompetent in a crisis. Geez, women have kept the human race alive through the worst of times – very few are hysterical in a real crisis.

4. Rip-off plots. Books written to coast along on in the wake of a bestseller. You know, Da Vinci Code look-alikes. Someone writes a bestseller about being a drug-addicted, one-armed juggler living on the streets of London with a pet giraffe, and next thing you know there are dozens of books about drug-addicted, one-armed ju…

5. A mass of truly horrible characters none of whom I can empathise with, doing truly horrible stuff, none of which I can sympathise with. You’ve gotta offer me something better than that to keep me reading.

6. Women characters who, when together, never talk about anything but their relationships with men and clothes/fashion.

7. Male heroic figures who never care about all the killing they do.

8. Villains who have no purpose to their villainy except to be villainous. Why? What’s the pay-off ?

9. A character that is too like me. Please, I wanna read to get away from it all…

10. I don’t mind books that make me think. I don’t mind books that leave me up in the air to draw my own conclusions about how everything turned out. But I do loathe books where I simply don’t understand what the hell is going on and where I don’t have enough clues so that I can even guess. And no, I never did get past the first page of Ulysses…


The “Ten things I hate to see in a book” meme… — 8 Comments

  1. 11) reading long descriptions of characters that involve their history, medical background, training and blood type, only to find that the bloody author kills him off in the next chapter.

    That’s the main reason why I never read a single Tom Clancy book EVER AGAIN.

  2. 1. Done that! *blush*

    2. Can’t believe people still do that.

    6. Yeah, that’s *too much* realism for me. And goes with 5.

    10. Lol! Isn’t Ulysses supposed to be “the best book ever written?”. I have a copy (was free) than I keep to show people when they say fantasy isn’t as good as the classics. Or just to bring out to have a laugh.

  3. I don’t mind dream sequences that are there for a reason and which readers know are dreams…but fooling them – in books or on TV – has always seemed a bit underhand to me. And usually purposeless.

    The mirror-shiny surface thing used to be good. It’s just once of those handy things that has been done to death.

  4. I have seen the dream thing done right. ONCE. The great cartoonist Carl Barks, author of the finest Donald Duck comics, once drew a story which – he must have realized – had a somewhat excessive ending (the super-rich Uncle Scrooge built a whole stairway on the side of a mountain, made of gold coins), so he changed the ending to be a dream. The reason it worked is that he did not make the final revelation linger, but moved on the story to a joke ending: “Uncle Scrooge had a penny left over, and when he offered to spend it for a soda, I knew I was dreaming!” Not much of a joke, of course, but essential to move the story’s ending away from the cliched “Oh, it was only a dream” moment. The point is not to linger portentously on a cliche’ as if it were anything significant.

  5. I totally agree with you on number three. Horrible isn't it? And aren't pictures almost the same with mirrors because they show what you look like? Didn't Shale look at his picture once?

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