These four things REALLY annoy me in books

Now with delicious, delicious gifs!

I was going to link to a bunch of examples but then I ran out of time and also I don’t think it matters all that much. This is just general stuff that annoys me, and they can be found in lots of books.1

1. Horrifying descriptions of sexual acts/women doing the sexual act/women in general, usually written by a dude and in a “literary fiction” book starring another dude as the protagonist.

What is it with lit fic “heroes” describing their significant others in ways more suited to a serial killer? A lot of times the female characters are only there to help the “hero” on his journey of self-discovery or whatever, and de-humanizing them during sex scenes makes it even worse.

Women are people, not literary fantasies. I’m not interested in reading about the Great White Male Awakening, especially if he shits over every woman in the book along the way.

2. Murder mysteries where the detective is (usually) a dude and the murdered person is a woman, and the victim has usually been brutalized/murdered in an over-the-top way.

It’s not just a murder, it’s a SENSATIONAL murder. She can’t have just been killed, oh no. The murder dial’s gotta be turned up to 11!

This annoys me because a) every murder mystery is dialed up to 11 nowadays, which is (perversely) boring, and b) the implication is that it wouldn’t be as thrilling of a mystery if the victim were a man murdered in a brutal way. Dead men on book covers don’t sell as well, especially if they’re actually wearing clothing.

3. When there is a romantic element in an otherwise exciting book, and the romance makes the characters act stupid in ways that SHOULD have got them killed.

You see this sort of thing in slasher films, like when the two leads stop running from the slasher to have life-affirming sex. It’s like the killer decided to go on a smoke break while the leads were getting busy.

I suppose it’s some sort of symbolic thing(?) but I don’t care. If you’re escaping from a crazed madman with an ax, don’t stop in the middle to get it on! Sheesh.

4. When really old paranormal creatures are mentally equivalent to a human teenager so it’s okay for them to date human teenagers.

Nothing’s gonna convince me that a character’s paranormal status has delayed their emotional development enough so it’s not creepy that they’re in lust with a 16-year-old– which makes it very difficult for me to enjoy paranormal romances. Would you be cool with a teenager dating a 60-year-old human if he dressed like Justin Bieber and liked Cartoon Network? No! You’d have concerns.

Fantasy books (mostly) require not questioning everything to death in order to work, and yeah, there’s the whole romantic fantasy thing as well. Alpha heroes are alluring! I understand that part.

But it still skeeves me out when it’s not even questioned within the context of the story. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, either! Just mention it.

You can totally have a hot romance and address the issues of age and experience and power and so on between the people in the relationship. Just look at Buffy and Angel!


I’m not trying to harsh on anyone’s buzz here, y’all. If you like paranormal romance slashers with naked dead women on the covers and the dudes who have sex with them talking about how their nipples looked like candy corn or whatever, that’s TOTALLY FINE.

What things in books are annoying to you?

Note: this post was edited for clarity and such on August 8, 2014.

  1. I’ve actually had the majority of this post written since last December! DECEMBER 2011. I waffled on whether I should post it or not but if you’ve been reading my blog for even a little while I think you’d already know this stuff annoys me. I’ve just never put it into one place before. Ha!
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16 Comments

  1. Haha, I love those gifs. My main annoyances in books are things like prologues and endless descriptions of clothing. I am bothered by sensationalistic murders, but then I don’t read those books. :)

    • I don’t mind prologues, really, except when they’re completely in italics. WHY. I ALREADY KNOW IT’S SEPARATE FROM THE REST OF THE BOOK. I don’t need special fonts to further differentiate it! UGH.

  2. Three cheers for gifs!

    Have you read TEETH, a vampire anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling? Most of the authors deal specifically with the way vampirism freezes someone time, basically making them a perpetual teenager (if that’s what they were when they were turned). It’s not specifically a romance anthology, but it does have a lot of relevance to the whole idea of vampires who just can’t grow up.

  3. I’ve stopped reading crime fiction purely because of the violence against women. Not to mention the women who exist *purely* to be killed and tortured. No way. Mysteries I can do, but crime, no.

  4. Nipples like candy corn? Hhahahahaha

  5. I mean I would not date a high school person, and I am so many decades less far removed from high school than a vampire. So I don’t know why people keep doing that! It wouldn’t be any fun! Kids in high school are so EXTREME about everything.

    • I HOPE it’s because they’re mentally the same age as a high school kid so it’s kind of okay? But, like, even in the case of Buffy, Angel definitely wasn’t high-school minded and while Buffy was more mature than most of the other kids her age, she definitely wasn’t an adult. So that part’s gross! But they were equal in other ways, which makes it (almost) okay again. Yeah.

  6. The WHOLE pediaphile thing in paranormal books gross me out *coughtwilightcough*
    I stay away from crime books with male detetives/female victums. Though if you’d like, I’ll gladly recommend some murder mystery series that you may like. Just leave a note on my blog, yes?

  7. Yes! *fist bump* Number four makes me think that you’ve read Anna Dressed in Blood. :-) If a dude was to tell me that my nipples looked like candy corn, I would have to slap his ass. The protagonist would have to be really stupid not to do the same thing.

    • I have not read ADIB but I kind of think I won’t like it even IF the covers are pretty neat. I got the audiobook for free, though, sooooo. Hmmmm.

  8. I love the gifs too, especially the last one – definitely captures my feeling on the twilight-esque romances that have become so popular lately :)

    • Cannot WAIT until the Twilight-esque romances fade more into the background, at least for YA romances. I really want more sci-fi stuff, only that’s getting some weird body-related ownership stuff that’s possibly even more problematic than sexy vampires are.

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