Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.  It's been a few weeks since I last participated, but I just can't pass up this week's topic: Top Ten Bookish Peeves.  My list includes anything related to books, from the content to the cover.  And away we go!

A new caption.  I appreciate the cuteness.

1.  Stickers.  You know how some bookstores like to put stickers on books and those stickers refuse to come off cleanly and then you're left trying to find a way to wash the gooey residue off your book without damaging the pages and it's been weeks and you haven't even gotten to page one because you're so busy trying to make is look pretty and why god, why do they do this to me?  Barnes & Noble is pretty good about not destroying their products - their stickers are like window clings and come off cleanly - but nearly every other bookstore does this and I hate it.  I also include publisher stickers in this, like when Oprah decides that she likes a book after they've printed a trillion and it's too late to put her seal on the cover so they make up for it by using a sticker.  If it's not part of the actual cover, I don't want it there.  Phew, I've been wanting to say that for years.
2.  Movie covers.  That's lovely that the book has been made into a movie, but that does not mean that I want Nicole Kidman staring at me from the cover of my copy of The Hours for the rest of my life.  I saw a copy of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro that just had the DVD cover.  The back of the book actually had the movie's rating and everything.  Seriously?!  I will go out of my way to not buy books with movie covers, which usually means refusing to buy them in the store and then forgetting to order the appropriate copies online, meaning that this tendency has prevented me from reading many a book.  Good work, book cover designer people.
3.  Eyes.  I abhor most of what authors have to say about eyes.  No they are not the window to one's soul, that sparkle is just a reflection, and you can not look into somebody's eyes (plural).  Your eyes track together; therefore, you can only look into eye.  What is meant by this trite and unimaginable imagery is, I believe, expression.  The wrinkle or widening of the skin around one's eye can tell you something about their feelings but other than that, tears are the only way the eyes can express emotions and even they don't spring out of the eye itself.  Biology, people.  Leo Tolstoy did this constantly in Anna Karenina and it drove me up the freaking wall.
4.  Blurbs.  Don't get me wrong, I like reading the blurbs on the back of the book.  But when they only focus on a tiny bit of the novel or provide some very specific detail that doesn't happen until the last chapter that leaves you wondering for the entire book when it will happen, that is what I like to call a failure.  A brief summary of the main plot points and/or characters without giving away anything crucial is what we're looking for.  The blurb on the back of my copy of Silas Marner is so ridiculous that I feel the need to share the first line: "This story of redemption through is one of the most perfectly constructed novels ever written; it fulfills almost all the requirements of the ideal narrative."  It goes on to list every quality of the novel that makes it admirable yet except for the first four words we hear nothing about the novel itself.  Who thought that this was a good idea?  And what exactly are the "requirements of the ideal narrative"?  Subjective and useless.
5. Books whose contents don't live up to their covers, AKA misleading cover art.  I'll admit it: I'm a sucker for a good cover, but I've been burned.  The quality of the cover and the quality of the content should be directly correlated.

Okay, I only hit five but I think that my lengthy rants should make up for that.  Forgive me?  What are your bookish peeves??


  1. As a librarian I'm afraid I am guilty of your anti-sticker thing. I, unfortunately, have so many stickers that I seem to always have to put on the books. Sorry.

  2. I hate uninformative blurbs! My copy of To Kill a Mocking Bird just says how amazing the book is, how it won a lot of awards and has sold a lot of copies. That's snazzy and all but kind of failing as a blurb.

  3. One of my peeves: the editions of books that have 4-5 pages of blurb-testimonials telling us how great the author's previous work is, how lauded this particular book is, etc. Put a pertinent blurb or two on the back cover, or at most give me a page of testimonials. Anything more than that I'm going to ignore anyway, and it's a waste of paper.

  4. Thanny, you reminded me! How could I forget?! The blank pages at the beginnings and ends of book! I HATE those. Why are they there? So that we can rewrite the books or just to laugh at forests? Blargh.