Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-Offs That You Encounter While Reading

Hey y'all. Top Ten Tuesday's a meme hosted by Broke and Bookish's blog, and this will be my first post in this meme-dom.

This week's topic is on what turns you off while you're reading a book. I can think of a few... 

1. Because bad people are bad, and boringly bad  

I'm as bad as my aim.

I noticed it for the first time in some fantasy novels, when the explanation given for why the villain committed cruel acts essentially boiled down to "Because he's evil" (Eragon, chapter 42, paragraph 25). 

Yeah, okay. 

I look for characters that aren't single-minded, but a lot of powerful villains in fantasy tend to obsess about conquest and domination.

2. Black-and-white view of the world 

No space for ambiguity here.

You're either good or evil. Whenever I come across a YA novel that seems to polarize characters on either end, it becomes less about characters and more about values. Am I being implicitly fed a message of "Be this way, or your life will suck"? Allegories can be good reads, but they also run the risk of sounding preachy. 

3. True love at first sight  

Source: RandomBuzzers

I liked the 1990 remake of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes because the movie rationalized their quick attraction with each other with the influence of drugs. They died before they could have the chance to try to "live happily ever after," so sure, why the hell not. Attraction at first sight is fine, but mutual love at first sight comes across as lazy to me. 

4. Unnecessary love triangles  

Relationship stories that are centered around a love triangle are okay with me because I know what I'm getting the moment I crack open that book, but it's annoying when a love triangle is forced into a story that doesn't need it in order to create extra drama. Love triangles are everywhere in YA now... 

5. Novels with a secret religious agenda 

The people were screwed, but then God saved the day! I have come across some religious characters that I've liked, but I don't appreciate going through a secularly-marketed fantasy novel and then finding out that it was a 100,000-word religious tract. :( It's disappointing, especially if the story was a good read until I hit the religious punchline(s)

6. Filler scenes/dialogue/monologue 

It happened in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it happened consistently throughout Fifty Shades of Grey. Plodding through several hundred pages of word fodder isn't my idea of fun. I want to experience the story with the characters, but filler scenes don't really do much to get things running. No wonder characters are rarely shown peeing or pooping in books. 

7. Deus ex machina  

Dose X Machina

Last-minute miracles that come out of air and usually make no sense.

8. Lack of character conflict

That's cute, but I wouldn't read 300 pages of cuddling.

I read a book like this and it was boring. Everyone was nice and understanding to each other, which was fantastic for them and pointless for me. 

9. White is the default race

In a lot of books the default race is white, and some authors tend to perpetuate this assumption by describing non-European characters by their races. In City of Bones, Cassandra Clare describes most characters by their physical features but points out an Asian couple sitting in the club, which implies that everyone else was White, because otherwise she would have said something like, "Oh, check out that White couple sitting in the corner."  

What I prefer is that either everyone is identified by their race (Europeans rarely are, unless race is the focal issue of the piece) or no one is, unless a character mentions a specific detail or so. I like it when characters are described by their actual physical features so that I don't just resort to mental stock images of racial stereotypes when trying to envision characters. 

10. It's okay to be a controlling creep as long as you're hot 

Would these look less creepy on a hot girl? 

If Edward Cullen were a shriveled-up, pasty (oh wait), and smelly kid who perched on the edge of Bella's bed every night, teenagers wouldn't be swooning over him; they'd be recoiling in alarm and demanding a restraining order for poor Bella.

This also reminds me of Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera (2004) as the Phantom. His character is supposed to be hideous beneath the mask, but teenagers swooned and moaned about how they would have totally chosen the Phantom because the he was way hotter than Raoul. I wanted to pull my hair and yell, "No, that's just the actor! The Phantom is actually ugly!" Or maybe they're just into that sort of facial deformity/scarring. 

Speaking of teenagers swooning over the Phantom based on looks, I just came across a bizarre transcript of a forum discussion on the topic... Click here to check it out.  

Here's a line from that transcript:

the phantom was soooo sexy! i'd do him! 



Thank you for reading!

What turns you off when reading a book?


  1. I don't like filler scenes, either.

    1. Yeah, those have no point in them. :-\ Feels like they're just there to fulfill a word quota.

  2. The underwear thing is creepy. you def. made your point there. Yes I went through the I love the phantom phase but I understood it was the actor. I didnt really like how young he was portrayed as because I remember him being older.Its my 3rd fav musical.

    The hidden religious agenda i can understand. I honeslty never thought of Narnia as being religious till later on in life. I am currently reading Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson. There is def. religious concepts in it but, they are right out in the open. I think it depends on the book and how religious they make it.

    nice list, i only thought of 4 this week,.


    1. That underwear is creepy on so many levels...

      I went through that phase too, mostly because I identified with his loneliness. Oh dear, he was supposed to be older? :O I know he's supposed to be at least as old as her dad or something. o_O I love that musical. The songs are so beautiful. My fave song was "Past the point of no return."

      I liked Narnia a lot, and I don't really mind it having religious undertones because it didn't feel like C.S. Lewis was trying to convert me. It would've been a different story if he had put Narnia as a secret realm created by God/Jesus, who transforms into a lion. That'd be lame. The book Life of Pi also grapples with religious concepts too, but I enjoy religious debate as long as I'm not being spoon-fed a particular mindset.

      Thanks, I started with 6 at first.

  3. Love this list!! The things I agree with you most are 3, 7 and 8. I've came across some books that had all three of them. Complete. Disaster.

    Btw, those Edward Cullen panties are beyond creepy. Just looking at the picture makes me gag. =_='

    Iva @ Way Too Hot Books

    1. All three?! >_< Like you, I've read a few that induced book-flinging tantrums.

      Let's just say that the Edward face is well positioned on those panties...