Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

This week, The Broke and the Bookish are giving us a sort-of freebie week by letting us choose any past topic we want! I’ve been thinking about some bookish pet peeves lately, so I chose this one. Feel free to vent about yours in the comments!

1. Referring to the “dial tone” of a cell phone. This might be my number one pet peeve and it seems that almost every author does it at least once. Let me just say this once and for all: CELL PHONES DO NOT HAVE DIAL TONES. I have had a cell phone since I was 14 years old and never have I had one with a dial tone, and yet it seems I read books all the time that refer to the character’s cell phone not having a dial tone. The book I’m thinking of at the moment is Angels and Demons when Vittoria tries to call the police after finding out her father was murdered, but her cell phone doesn’t have service because they’re too far underground—except Dan Brown puts it as “her cell phone doesn’t have a dial tone.” Well duh. That’s because they have never, as far as I know, had dial tones, and they never will. (Ahh, that felt good.)

2. Not using conventional punctuation, paragraph form, etc. I’m looking at you, The Road. And you, The Castle of Otranto. (But not you, House of Leaves. Your writing was just so completely off the wall that your crazy choices made sense. The others were just annoying.)

3. Fragment-y writing. I realize that this is a style choice and that it is sometimes appropriate and necessary, as in The Hunger Games. But after a while it seemed that every darn sentence was a fragment. I can appreciate it as a style choice to end a chapter or a paragraph with, but after a while reading fragment after fragment can get exhausting. To me, it’s like driving somewhere but stopping short every few seconds. Even if you were only driving around your neighborhood, wouldn’t you be exhausted (and a little pissed off) when you finally got to your destination?

4. This:

5. Wanting (and not being able to) to own every single book ever. I work at a non-profit organization. I love my job, but I don’t make a lot of money. Plus, I have rent to pay, groceries to buy, and student loans to pay back. I don’t get to spend a lot of money on books, but believe me, that takes a lot more willpower than it should. Walking into a bookstore for me is like a kid walking into a candy store: I just want to grab and devour everything in sight. I don’t care if it’s a tiny used bookstore tucked away in an alley or a multi-floor Barnes and Noble. I just want to soak up everything and if it means spending every last dollar of my paycheck, so be it. Maybe one day when I’m making the big bucks I’ll be able to have my own personal library.

6. Reading slumps. Amanda at Dead White Guys wrote recently about being in a reading slump. I too have recently been in a slump, although thankfully for you guys my slump was preceded by a manic OMG MUST READ EVERYTHING IN SIGHT phase, so you will have no shortage of Friday reviews for the next few weeks. At the moment I am somewhat coming out of my slump with the help of Stephen King’s short story collection Just After Sunset, but work is about to get cray cray so I see another loooong reading slump in the very near future.

7. When people say “Oh yeah, I love Harry Potter!” and then you find out they’ve only seen the movies and never read the books. I suppose this could go for any book/series, but for me it’s especially irritating with Harry Potter because the movies made me want to stab something. Yes, I thought they were that bad. No, I haven’t seen either of the installments of the seventh even though I’ve heard it’s better than the others. In fact, I haven’t seen the sixth either and refused to see them in the theater after being dragged to the fourth with my friends and hating my life. Maybe one day I’ll watch the seventh but I will forever boycott the sixth after hearing that they burned the Burrow. Why would they do that?? What possible reason could they have to change the plot so drastically? Why, why, WHY?? *breathes* I’m okay, I’m okay…but seriously. No. You do not get to call yourself a Harry Potter fan if you have not read the books. You just don’t.

8.  Not being able to read on my commute. I drive an hour to and from work each day. This means that I don’t get to read while I drive. As someone who is not a particular fan of audiobooks, this means two full hours of my day are wasted. Thankfully, this won’t be a problem anymore in about a month, when we move further south so that I won’t have to drive so far to work, but I’ve spent this whole year lamenting the fact that I can’t take public transportation/ don’t have a chauffeur who could drive me to and from work while I stretch out in the back and read.

9. People who ask, “Why are you reading that again? Haven’t you read that [x] times already?” Yes, yes I have read this book 14 times. But that is because I love it. (And yes, I would marry it if I could.) Don’t you have favorite movies that you could watch over and over? Or favorite video games? Or something? If you don’t, I am very very sorry for you. But please don’t undermine my love of rereading with your own insecurity at not loving something enough to want to read/watch/play it over and over again.

10. When books end at their climax. This is okay for books that have sequels (i.e. The Hunger Games, Divergent). But for books that don’t—I’m thinking specifically of Cell by Stephen King, for anyone who has read it—it’s enormously frustrating and feels like a cop-out from the author. As a reader, I need closure. I don’t like when I’m left hanging. I am definitely one of those people who needs a few pages of “and this is why everything ended up okay” at the end—even if they don’t all end up okay, I need to know.


Whew! I feel better now! What irks you most when you read?

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46 thoughts on “Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

  1. One time, a friend and I were talking about how ridiculous it is, when people claim to be crazy Harry Potter fans without having read the book; a girl interrupted us, and told us that the movies were just as good and one saves a lot more time watching the movies than reading the books! I felt like crying…!
    Great list! I actually hadn’t noticed the dial tone-thing in Angels and Demons, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m very irritated…

    • I would have felt like crying too!! Somehow (to me, at least) the movies just don’t have that universal quality to them, you know? Also, I’m just absurdly attached to the books…

      Glad you enjoyed it! The dial tone thing is something that has bothered me for a long time. I realize a lot of authors might be older but if they have any experience at all with cell phones they should know that they don’t have dial tones…

  2. I think I may have to go turn on my cell just to actually listen for a dial tone. I have never, ever thought of that before. Now that’s going to be on my list. 😀 Also, MOVIES ARE NEVER SUBSTITUTES FOR THE BOOKS AAAAGGGGGHHH. …and I’m done now. 😛

    • Haha! Sorry to give you another pet peeve! Gotta love when someone points out something annoying that you never noticed and then it bothers you forever…so…apologies!

      And yeah, the book/movie thing is a big one as well. My sister is a mostly non-reader (although I’ve gotten her to read more recently with The Hunger Games) and has not read HP, but has seen some of the movies…that in itself I think is a small blasphemy, but at least she doesn’t go around saying she’s a HP “fan” 🙂

      • Trust me, my number of pet peeves is already very large, it’s just another on the pile. 😛
        You are not a fan if you haven’t read the books. That’s just a fact. Thankfully, I seem to only know readers, so I’ve never had to tell someone that to their face. because I would. XD

        • I would too! I had a friend in high school who, while she was a voracious reader, used to wait for the LOTR movies to come out so she could see the movie before reading the book, so the book “wouldn’t spoil the movie.” I’ve never read LOTR myself (nor have I seen the movies), but I still definitely saw something backwards about that…

  3. I am sooooo with you on the dial tone thing. i complain about it every. single. time. Finally- someone else who noticed!! They still do it in movies too, which is dumb.
    Anyway, I love your list. A++. Thank you for sharing 😀
    Here is my Top Ten!

    • YES! I’m so glad to finally find someone who noticed too!!! I haven’t noticed it much in movies but I can see where that would be more of a dramatic device–in a book, not so much.

      Thanks for stopping by and for following!

  4. I completely agree about Harry Potter!!! I feel like saying, “you just lowered your IQ about 10 points by admitting you are too dense or busy to read a book.” ::tiny soapbox:: it saddens me that our culture is starting to value non-readers like it’s a joke. Read a book, expand your knowledge, do something creative today!

    • Seriously! And it’s not like Harry Potter is an especially high reading level…I can see not wanting to commit yourself to Ulysses (I mean, seriously, who would actually want to do that) but unless you have some devastating learning disability or crippling ADHD, I should think reading HP would be a breeze.

  5. Thank you, I think you’ve read my mind on every single one of these. The dial tone, not being able to read while I drive, and movies will NEVER replace books. EVER. Another example is the Hunger Games. Everyone says “I love the Hunger Games!” and they haven’t even read the books! Ughh I want to hit those people. Anyways, great list(: I 100% agree with you on all of these hahah.
    -Raechel @ Backwood Reviews

    My TTT

    • Thank you! And yeah, I can see the “I love The Hunger Games” thing getting big, too (and definitely irritating!). That one does irk me for sure, but fake Harry Potter “fans” just make me ragey.

  6. what a great topic! and i agree with soooo much! especially the part about harry potter “fans”, but not about the movies…which i love. and about the burrow being burned…it truly made no sense because it was alive & well in the final movie & there was no exposition as to how and why that was. huh. ~dixie

    • Thanks! I suppose we can agree to disagree on the movies–I admire the way they were made and directed (and of course the special effects were just incredible) but I sort of wish they had been done more Game of Thrones style so that we could see everything that J. K. Rowling intended.

  7. Lol! Love your list. King did that not-a-real-ending thing at the conclusion of The Dark Tower series too! And I never used to like audiobooks – and have a 2 hour total commute – but I just had to try different books until I found that fast action, YA type books are the best for me to listen to on audio. Now commuting (and chores) are a bit more interesting.

    • Good to hear! I know I’ll have to try them someday but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s just so hard for me to pay attention to something I’m hearing without also reading along–I’m totally a visual learner. Anything I hear just goes in one ear and out the other. That’s why I carry around a notebook with me at work so when someone tells me to do something I can write it down!

  8. Great list! I’ve never heard of the cell phone dial tone thing, but wow, how do you miss something like that? And yeah, the punctuation in The Road was a bit annoying but it was tolerable because the book was so short. If every book was like that, I’d have a problem. And yes, what’s wrong with re-reading? It’s acceptable for people to watch movies over and over but somehow reading is a waste of time? What’s up with that?

    • Ugh exactly. My parents always used to ask why I was reading whatever book for the whatever-th time and my thought always was, “Well, I’m not asking you to buy me MORE books, am I??” (Which I admit I still did a fair amount, but nowhere near how much I would have, had I never reread any of my books!)

    • Ah yes, I can identify with that. I hate when you drop a book and all the pages get bent–or, even worse (perhaps THE worst) you manage to stuff a book in your bag with the non-bound side facing up, and then try to stuff something ELSE in there and bend up all the pages 🙁 I’m getting sad just thinking about it…

  9. I threw a pillow at the TV when I watched The Half-Blood Prince. That was just in the first 10 minutes when they had Harry chilling in a muggle coffee shop waiting for Dumbledore like the world’s most wanted dark wizard wasn’t publicly known to be out and about.

  10. I completely understand wanting to buy every book in sight. Used bookstores are even worse for me. I am also with you on rereading. Who doesn’t want to revisit something you loved again and again?

    • Yeah! Even though my boyfriend wasn’t super into Harry Potter like everyone else (that’s probably WHY he wasn’t into Harry Potter, haha) he at least read the books before seeing the movies, and made sure to catch up on them before getting the seventh. Sigh. I just don’t understand some people!

  11. I never noticed that about my cell phone! Ha! I read this post and opened mine up to have a listen. No dial tone! What an idiot I am. I would never have noticed that mistake in a book. 😆

    • You’re not an idiot! 🙂 It’s just one of those silly nitpicky things I notice but that happens to bug the crap out of me…I think the first time I read something like that I too opened my cell phone and was like, “Hm, no dial tone. Wonder why they wrote that.” And then people KEPT writing that and it made me a little ragey. =P

  12. This is an immensely awesome post. If I could live without it I would present you with my heart on a silver tray, especially for #5, #6, #7 and #8 (I love to read on the train/bus; I can concentrate on my book much better and for a much longer period of time when I’m simultaneously getting somewhere, which is probably a side-effect from my growing up in the We Must Multitask age).

    As for #7, I am not a rabid Harry Potter fan but thank you for agreeing with me that the movies are awful. I know there’s quite a lot of internet people who agree with us, but I encounter so many people in real life who thought the movies were good and frankly, that freaks me out a little bit. They are not good from an adaptation viewpoint and they are not good from a cinematic-quality viewpoint (the acting! the acting!). The visuals are nice but– okay, yes, I’ll stop this right here, but, just, thank you. Lovely post!

    • Awwww thank you! And thank you especially for agreeing about the HP movies–the acting is DEFINITELY lacking but what irks me the most is how different everything is from the books. Sigh. I wish they had done it Game of Thrones style and done a short TV series or something.

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