To begin with I should remind you that I am a librarian, so many of my bookish pet peeves relate to the way that patrons treat books. I recognize that most of you don't think about books the way that I do. Please bear with me.
1. Not following typical literary conventions! Gr.r.r.. I get really irritated when an author does not use proper punctuation, grammar, spelling and so forth. I am currently reading a book that uses no quotation marks around the dialogue. Argh. It makes it so hard to read.
2. Dogeared pages. Please, please, please use a bookmark instead of turning down the pages.
3. Bending back a paperback so far that it breaks the book's spine so that it can be held in one hand. If a person buys their own books, they can treat them how they want, but with not library books.
4. Using food or gum wrappers as bookmarks. Many of these products have dyes in them and they leech into the paper causing stains.
5. Water damaged books. Or, since I live in the Seattle-area, coffee stained pages. In the Pacific Northwest most water damage, even slight water damage, will cause the book to mold. Ugh.
6. Long books which clearly should have been edited down. Sometimes books are necessarily long but other times it seems that they just didn't have a good editor. As much as I love the Harry Potter books several of the books were just too long.
7. Repeating facts or statements throughout the book. I often feel like an author insults my intelligence when they repeat facts already introduced earlier in the text.
8. Not returning/renewing library books, especially when they are several weeks overdue. I get it that sometimes one forgets or wants to keep the book a few extra days. But why do students keep books for months past their due dates, even though we have given ample notices?
9. Characters with similar names. I hate it when I have to create a character chart just to keep track of the people in the book because the names sound or look the same.
10. Book covers that don't take into consideration the tastes of teenagers. My classic example of an unfortunate book cover is the hard cover for Dairy Queen by Murdock had a picture of a cow wearing a crown. Teenagers in my area are not attracted to books with farm animals on the cover! The paperback version of the book corrected that error.
What are your bookish pet peeves?
I held a discussion with ten kids from my high school library club about bookish pet peeves. Here is their list:
1. Publishing errors -10/10
2. Not following literary conventions - 10/10
3. "Perfect" characters - 10/10
4. Long passages of dialogue without hints who is speaking -10/10
5. If they own a series, all books must match (hardcover, paperback, editions) - 10/10
6. Dogeared Pages -9/10 (one kid confessed he does this to his own books, but never a borrowed book)
7. Movies made from the book being vastly different - 8/10
8. Writing or highlighting in books - 5/10
9. A library book having a missing page - 5/10
10. Unpronounceable names or very similar names - 5/10 (several of the kids just finished reading Things Fall Apart by Achebe, so had strong feelings about this pet peeve!)