Lately I haven’t finished too many books. I have even thrown some out, deciding that they are no longer for me or that I’d rather use the space for other books or something else entirely. Mostly I don’t finish books at the moment because my concentration is bad or my mood is just all the way down in the cellar and reading ist not enjoyable.
Sometimes though, it’s straight up the fault of the book. There are things in books that I don’t like and that make me put that book away, never to be picked up again. Here you’ll find a list of things that I really don’t like to see in books.
1- Unlikable characters
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like that. A book can have the most amazing descriptions, a great plot idea and an amazing writing style. All of that goes down the drain when the main character is a douchebag. Or a jerk. Or a bitch. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it here. If the main character is annoying or unlikable, I won’t continue reading the book.
Sometimes I feel a bit sad about it, just because the main character ruins a really good book for me. The most prominent book that applies to, that’s in the forefront of my brain, is Born at Midnight. I really liked the book as an idea. I just didn’t like the mc Kaylie and her boy troubles. Or either of the boys she was “in love with”. I didn’t like how she behaved and how she handled everything and how she treated others. Funny thing is that I really liked some of the side characters and the enemies-to-reluctant-allies-to-lovers approach they had going on and I would have read the shit out of that series if those had been the main focus of the series. As it was I didn’t continue the series. Too bad when a bad mc ruins a book for you you might have otherwise liked.
2- terrible writing style OR TOO MANY POVS
These two usually go hand in hand for me or at least feel like these problems have the same gravity. If the writing style reads like a fourteen year old writing an essay – no offense – I put it away faster than I can roll my eyes at it. I know that writing is hard. I mean, it’s hard to write this post and I surely have never managed to write a book and maybe I never will. But I don’t want to read books that make me feel like smashing my head against my desktop every two sentences.
Too many POVs are a deal breaker for me too. Which is probably why I love books that are written in first person. While I get that somethimes you really wanna show what another character is thinking – heck, I sometimes would love to know what is going on in this or that side character’s head – it’s better done with meassure and not applied too freely. One or two or even three are enough. I don’t need nineteen changes of viewpoint. Which I have encountered in a MG book a couple of years back and I’m not kidding. I counted and it really made me want to tear my hair out.
3- bad pacing
I think pacing is really important in books. I usually like fast-paced or mid-paced books. Slow-paced books are okay, if i already know it might take a while. What I really cannot stand is books that are all over the place with their pacing. Books that start slow, have a slow middle where nothing happens and then everyhting happens all at once and nothing makes sense and your head is spinning and you’re just sitting there thinking “Excuse me, what now?”. Also books that start fast and suddenly have nothing happening at all for the rest of the story.
I don’t like racism in my books. And I don’t only mean white on black racism. I don’t like racism in general, be it against Latinos or Asians, Natives or Whites. Nobody is better than somebody else because of the color of their skin. Not a white person better than a black person and not a black person better than a white person. And I don’t need it in the books I read.
Of couse there is always historical racism. It happened and it makes sense to address it in some settings. And it still happens today. That doesn’t mean I need to read about it all the time. That doesn’t mean that the author needs to beat me over the head with a stick to tell me that the world is bad and racism or sexism exists. Which brings me to my last point of this post.
5- I’m being preached at
Look, I’m not stupid. I know there are issues. And I know that some things really have to change if we want to continue living in this world. I don’t close my eyes and pretend that it doesn’t exist if I can’t see it.
I enjoy learning things when I read a book. I’m happy to see things through another person’s eyes. I love to close a book and feel a little more humble or a little more informed about a certain demographic issue.
What I don’t need is a lecture. I don’t want to read a book that makes me feel like I am stupid and a horrible person, not worthy of walking this earth, for not being aware of this or that. I don’t want books to make me feel bad about myself.
Do you agree with my list? Do you have things to add? Come and chat with me!
I totally agree about that last one especially! I hate being preached at in a book. I’m a little more forgiving of it in non-fiction books, but even then I want to be taught, not preached at.
Yeah, it’s really the worst. I don’t want to be made feel dumb or ignorant. I’m just here to have a good time. 🤔
Yes! My biggest complaint about being preached at in non-fiction is that I have picked up the book to try to learn / be better. I don’t need a guilt-trip… I need education.
I absolutely agree with your list. I recently DNFed a book that was a mix of an unlikeable main character and racism and too much preaching. The main problem was it kind of advertised to be a fun scifi book (with all the weird science stuff that entails), but it was too focused on the mc, who was super unlikable so I barely liked the story.
Oh, no. That sounds dreadful. What book was it? I hope you got something to combat all those icky feelings. 🤗
It was The Space Between Worlds. I was reading with a few other people for a scifi book club, and surprisingly we all felt about the same about it 😅
I wholeheartedly agree with all of these except number four. I don’t mind racism in historical fiction if it exists in the background. I’m not a fan of “issue” books where the focus is on the racism and how people are treated poorly, etc. But if it’s just a facet of the setting and comes up now and then, I’m fine with it.
#1 and #5 are probably the biggest reasons I DNF books. If I hate a main character, I will immediately put the book down and nope out of there. I also don’t want to be preached at. Oh, and another thing that makes me DNF books is plots that make no sense! If these really random, extremely convenient things keep happening for no apparent reason other than they need to for the plot, I’m out.
Yeah, I actually feel the same way about those issue books. I don’t need to be preached at. I know racism is bad. I meant more those kind of books where the racism is just overdone. Where you can basically feel that that’s the author’s own opinion. 🤔
Ooooh, didn’t think of plots that make no sense. Luckily I haven’t encountered that in a while.
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