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Is there anything you "hate" about reading?

The Green Dragon

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1millhold
Nov 14, 2011, 12:18pm Top

For example, I'm currently reading War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk. It is a brick of a paperback book at over 1300 pages. The pages are so freaking thin, that they are always sticking together to the extent that I have to interrupt my reading to get the pages to separate so I can continue reading.

I find this extremely annoying, and it is making me *almost* want to quit reading the damned thing. It is so distracting, and I begin worrying in the middle of reading a page whether this page is going to turn or stick!

How about you? Do you have any pet peaves about reading?

2ErisofDiscord
Nov 14, 2011, 12:24pm Top

That I can't read while doing Geometry homework. :(

3Athabasca
Nov 14, 2011, 12:27pm Top

I hate where paperback books are so badly bound that you have to break the spines to see what's written on the edge of the page to the centre of the book. (There's a technical term for that part of the page, that I can't remember!)

That and waiting a year for the next in the series!

4ErisofDiscord
Nov 14, 2011, 12:29pm Top

Ditto on your last sentence, Athabasca!

5Grammath
Nov 14, 2011, 12:29pm Top

Yes, not having enough time for it.

That, and abridged audiobooks. Who thought those were a good idea?

6Rozax
Nov 14, 2011, 12:29pm Top

Not being able to find a comfortable position in bed. Sit up, lay down, lay on belly, can't lay on side without obstructing one eye, and no matter which way I turn, my hands get cold. I'll need to purchase a pair of "reading gloves", or something.

7saltmanz
Edited: Nov 14, 2011, 12:30pm Top

@3: That would be the "gutter", I believe.

I hate books that use light ink (often because they have thin pages) which makes them hard to read by dim light.

8Athabasca
Nov 14, 2011, 12:58pm Top

>7 saltmanz: Thanks Saltmanz, I couldn't remember the term - or maybe I didn't want to admit how much time I actually spend in the gutter! :0)

9ErisofDiscord
Nov 14, 2011, 1:01pm Top

#6 - Try fingerless gloves. I get the same problem and so does my mom, so we both wear nice fingerless gloves. They leave your fingers able to turn the pages, but you keep most of your hands warm.

10nhlsecord
Nov 14, 2011, 1:56pm Top

I hate being in the gutter too, and having cold hands and sore fingers. And now I get sore arms because if I'm not wearing bifocals I have to hold the book out a fair distance which is actually not too uncomfortable, but when old Pip decides she wants my lap she curls up right where the book is comfortable. That means wearing bifocals and holding the book at whatever angle the bifocals and the light work together.

And, of course, I can't move the cat. She purrs like the rusty old machine she is and I don't want her engine falling out onto the floor.

11Busifer
Edited: Nov 14, 2011, 2:07pm Top

Lack of time would be high on my list, as is bad typography and the irritating practise to take the pages as set for the hardback and then just shrink them for the paperback, which makes the type too small to be easily read in combination with wrong line height etcetera etcetera consequences.

Waiting for ages for sequels is also vastly irritating. I enjoyed The name of the wind but when part two failed to emerge as promised, twice, I just lost my interest. I have not bought The wise man's fear and am not about to either, not anytime soon, despite originally having placed a pre-order on it.

For a positive experience I love the way the Reamde trade paperback is made (I have not seen it in hb, btw) :-)

12saltmanz
Nov 14, 2011, 2:17pm Top

@ 11: I have the Reamde hardcover, and gotta say I hate the raggedy-edged pages. They look neat on a page-by-page basis, but I dislike the "sawtooth" look they have when taken all together, and they make riffling through the pages impossible.

13Busifer
Nov 14, 2011, 2:26pm Top

#12 - Oh, the trade paper has uncut edges too, and I rather like it. Might be that my first real aware "book as an object" experience was the first Swedish LoTR edition (my father's, but they have long since migrated to my shelf), which had those same edges, and some of that feel ;-)
The trade paperback has a soft feel to it, making the book a nice tactile experience - thick, yet easy to handle. A book that thick and big in hardback is just awkward. But my edition is a treat, if you ask me!

14RowanTribe
Nov 14, 2011, 2:31pm Top

Busifer, I totally understand the not liking to wait, but if it makes you feel more charitable towards the author, his mom got diagnosed with cancer and then died, and his father got diagnosed with the same cancer - right after Name of the Wind was released. In likewise sad news, we just found out (October) that his dad's cancer has returned, and so there may well be a delay on the third one also.

My dad died of cancer himself, and you know what? I can wait a bit longer for a reason like that. It isn't like JRRM who spent his time happily writing other things and just letting his series hang unfinished until HBO waved a hefty royalties check at him and forced him back to the table.

And I hate hate hate raggedy deckle edges! They are so pretty to look at on the shelf, but when I'm going back and trying to find my favorite passages, I can't flip through the pages the right way! They're so pretty, but yeesh!

15Sakerfalcon
Nov 14, 2011, 2:42pm Top

Can't stand deckle-edges either! Fortunately, very few UK books have them. A friend with a background in publishing told me that they are a sign of extra quality in a publication - well I'd rather do without it!

I lament the fact that I can only swap between books, not read them simultaneously. As it is, my tbr piles will take years to decrease.

16tottman
Nov 14, 2011, 3:10pm Top

I love the deckle edges. If given a choice, I'll always pick them over the cut edges.

I do hate it when the writing in a paperback gets too far into the gutter. I have to tilt the book back and forth to read it, because I refuse to break the spine.

17Busifer
Nov 14, 2011, 3:16pm Top

#14 - I had absolutely no idea. I don't follow author gossip or blogs much and definitely am understanding. Still, fantasy is not my favoured genre and Mount TBR is enormous and it wasn't so much the delay as such as the time it took for book two to get published that made me lose interest.
Perhaps I'll pick it up, but again - maybe not.

18RowanTribe
Edited: Nov 14, 2011, 3:35pm Top

#17 - Totally understand. I've got a reading list about a million miles long myself, and goodness knows if I'll ever get to some of the "sounds interesting but not really in my favorite genres" reads.

I just have heard too many times about people writing off authors ONLY because they take too long to get stuff published, and sometimes (not very often) there's a reason that I feel makes a difference.

Sadly, I've started noting whether new books are slated to be part of a series or not, and if they are, they go straight to the list, and I don't even bother to look into them until the series is all out. It saves me so much frustration that way!

ETA - I suppose that even gets us back on topic! Hah! Things I hate about reading - waiting for a series to get finished so I can read it!

19Fred_R
Nov 14, 2011, 3:37pm Top

Copious numbered footnotes that keep you flipping to the back of the book—sometimes just about every page. And of course I can't NOT read them.

20cosmicdolphin
Nov 14, 2011, 4:07pm Top

Yeah. Too far into the gutter annoys the hell out of me as well.

These days Deckle Edge is largely an affectation to make the books look more attractive (well to some people anyway), often for 'deluxe' paperback editions (i.e. the 'Hey lets give it a deckle edge then add another couple of bucks onto the price' hipster editions'). It can be annoying for page turning in some cases. Personally I don't care for it.

21millhold
Nov 14, 2011, 4:27pm Top

Wow!

All this reminds me that I also don't care for Deckle Edges. (I know it's supposed to make the book look like the ones you used to have to take a paperknife to before you could read, but we don't have to do that anymore, so give over already.)

AND I don't like the books with the printing so close to the gutter that it looks like you can read from the left side of the left hand page to the right side of the right hand page, without a break, but you know it won't make sense, so you have to really stick your nose into the gutter, or break the spine--neither of which is a good option.

AND waiting so long for the next in the series!

22Busifer
Nov 14, 2011, 4:37pm Top

I value design afterthought, that someone has bothered to make a mundane object look nice. If it also behaves/handles nicely, so much the better. So I hereby admit that my life is filled with nice-designed ladles, electronics, cookware, furniture... even if it is more expensive than the plain basic, and fully functional, generica. Because my brain is more content if it has nice things to look at.
Books are no exception.
The sheer feel of Edward Tufte's books about information design...

I'm a geek, that way :)

23maggie1944
Nov 14, 2011, 4:40pm Top

I just hate that my eyes do not work as well as they did and I get tired when reading, and have to quit. I used to spend all day Saturday just reading but that no longer works for me. Oh, Dang!

Deckle Edges, I like.

Waiting for series: don't do it.

24majkia
Nov 14, 2011, 5:13pm Top

See, almost all those reasons are why I have an ereader!

25ErisofDiscord
Nov 14, 2011, 5:30pm Top

Meh. I like the feel of paper.

26Choreocrat
Nov 14, 2011, 5:35pm Top

Deckle edges are not cool. They don't contribute to my reading experience at all. (And now I know what to call them).

I dislike trying to read outside with the wind blowing the pages everywhere. GIven that some of my prime reading time is on buses and walking to and from bus stops, it really gets in the way.

27bluesalamanders
Nov 14, 2011, 5:39pm Top

I hate, hate, hate cliffhangers at the ends of books.

It's not a tv show, when the cliffhanger will be resolved next week (or at worst, in a couple of months). A cliffhanger ending to a book makes me angry, not anticipatory, and if I know a book has a cliffhanger I mostly just avoid it. If I run across one unexpectedly and the next book isn't out, I usually end up not getting the next book because I don't have pleasant memories of the last one.

28cosmicdolphin
Nov 14, 2011, 6:18pm Top

I may not like Deckle Edges but I sure as hell like 'Fore Edge Painting' If you've never come across these, check it out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/sets/72157604427640836/ Here is Gallery of Fore Edge Paintings from Boston Public Library.

or Google it for even more examples.

29nhlsecord
Nov 14, 2011, 7:03pm Top

Oh #28, I like that a lot! A new thing for me to add to my When I Get Rich list.

30Rozax
Nov 14, 2011, 7:09pm Top

I suppose this isn't just reading, but it annoys me when the cover art doesn't match the story. Anyone have a good example of this? I'm pulling a major blank, and I'm too lazy to rifling through my bookshelves for a bad one. Though, I could site a vintage Star Wars poster. Going by this alone, I'd expect some space-lovin' somewhere in the film. I also found this fun blog, Judge a Book, which is all about book covers.

31majkia
Nov 14, 2011, 7:23pm Top

I thought the cover of The Black Prism was an example of cover art that was entirely misleading as to the book.

32Severn
Nov 15, 2011, 1:22am Top

Typos. Talk about throwing you out of sync with the world you're in.

Unnecessary adverbs. They drive me INSANE. To the point I'll cross them out with black pen. I don't need to know if so and so said something 'tenderly' or 'puzzedly' or 'compellingly'. Fume.

The weight of a trade paperback in my bag when I have an umbrella, water bottle, wallet etc etc to carry as well.

@30 - Rozax, that's another beef of mine also. A great example of this the cover for this book, one of my favourites:



Things wrong with this picture:

1.The protagonist, Mara, is a brunette. I don't know who is is standing in her sacred garden but it sure isn't her.
2. That rock? That rock is sacred and intended to be picked up by hand. Unless there are any giants around to do the lifting that thing isn't going anywhere.
3. Those towers behind her don't exist. The story is based on ancient Japanese culture - down to flat, single storied estates with sliding paper doors.
4. A hedge surrounds the sacred grove - not a forest as seen here. It's also supposed to be a smallish area, not a bloody park.
5. The pool is supposed to be tiny, surrounded by fruit trees. Given that an assassin jumps out on her from one of these trees, that's definitely not Mara standing there - unless the assassin's really an ape-man thing with great swing powers, able to fly over from those distant trees.
6. The brazier is meant to be no taller than her waist. Definitely not taller than her, given that she plunges her hand into the hot ashes at one point.

Hey, at least the artist got the white robe correct.

33bluesalamanders
Nov 15, 2011, 6:15am Top

32 Severn - Hah, that's pretty bad. Those kinds of things irritate me, too. When there's a clear description of something in the text ("a purple faceted gem set in a gold bezel") and then the cover turns it into something weirdly different (an irregular chunk of purplish rock. does the artist even know what facets and bezels are??). Especially when there's no reason for it not to be done right, aesthetically speaking.

I also get annoyed when the cover art not only doesn't match the book, but doesn't make any sense. For example, this? Isn't armor:

34hazeljune
Nov 15, 2011, 6:23am Top

I hate not having enough time in my day to read.

It also bugs me when, for example on the back cover they give heaps of praise for another novel by the same author.

35Busifer
Nov 15, 2011, 6:53am Top

#30 etc - I too dislike it when covers are in discord with the story.

An example is the bubblegummy SF books by Elizabeth Moon whose heroines Ky Vatta (Vatta's War series) and Heris Serrano (the Serrano series) both are described as "dark-skinned" and "everyday" but inevitably are depicted as bosomy and light-skinned.

36sarjah
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 6:58am Top

Not having time ~ though that isn't a problem at the moment :-)

I blame my need for glasses on reading ~ I hate it when I read for awhile and then I can't focus my eyes on object across the room

I get annoyed when a writer I don't like does a praise blurb for an author I do like ~ My best example of this was Paolini doing some kind of review/praise for a Terry Brooks novel I was buying

I am not a fan of dust jackets. They do nothing but get in the way, fall off when your trying to read the book, and get crinkled and then I'm sad cause the pretty artwork is messed up.

I hate it when the brand new shiny hardcover novel I just purchased falls apart on the first reading

Oh, almost forgot - movie covers, not ok. The girl in A Time to Kill looks nothing like Sandra Bullock

37reading_fox
Nov 15, 2011, 11:20am Top

Bad typesetting/copy editing. Very common in ebooks these days. Where thewordsallrunontogether, or the ' becomes a£ or there characters have been badly OCR'd and it is impossible/guessing game to work out what was meant. None of which is the author's fault - all these are errors that have crept into the publishers works. Strangely I'm not so fussed by occasional poor grammer, spelling or prose - providing it is only occasional, and doesn't impede the flow too much.

Cliffhanger s- definetly.

Series delays - kind of, I can understand, but still gets annoying

worldwide variances in release dates. I want it NOW, I know its available the whoel internet (ie america) is talking about it, I can give you money for it, just bloody sell it to me and get with this modern age thing.

Plot holes/ failures of logic, and inconsistencies. Hard to think of specific instances, but Harry Potter using the death magic curse might fit. Everyone else in the entire series had them described as anathema, never to be used even when the going gets tough. Harry uses them, no-one even remarks upon it. Villains leaving obvious gaping holes in their plans for world domination, that sort of thing.

Extra chapters from other books (even by another author) stuck at the end, so by feel I have at least 100 pages more to read, but then the story ends, and the last 100 pages are something completely different. Not quite so bad when it's a trailor for the sequel, but even glossarys get annoying sometime when I want more story. Combined with a cliffhanger it is just irritating.

38ErisofDiscord
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 12:00pm Top

#37 - Harry Potter used the death magic curse - you mean the Avada Kedavra?

39tottman
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 12:25pm Top

>37 reading_fox: I totally agree on the typesetting issue. The most egregious example I came across with this was a kindle version of a paperback book that was apparently hastily converted, and they neglected to put in the section breaks. You're reading along and all of a sudden the "voice" changes and you realize you've switched between sets of characters and have to go back and reread now that you know who is speaking.

>36 sarjah: Also agree on dust jackets. I always take off the dust jackets when I start to read a HC book and then put it back on when I finish. It's probably not good because the oils from my fingers aren't good for the book, but I can't stand the sliding of the dust jacket and the inevitable crinkles/tears to the jacket. This way, at least the jacket stays pristine.

40saltmanz
Nov 15, 2011, 1:08pm Top

I always take my dust jackets off before reading, and I don't begrudge them that. To me, the dust jacket is to look pretty and protect the the book while it's on the shelf.

41MyopicBookworm
Nov 15, 2011, 2:21pm Top

a kindle version of a paperback book that was apparently hastily converted, and they neglected to put in the section breaks

I am grateful for another reason not to buy one of these dratted newfangled electronic pseudo-book thingies.

42DeusExLibrus
Nov 15, 2011, 2:40pm Top

Deckle edges and I have a love/hate relationship going. I also hate how SLOW I read. I've tried training myself to read faster, but I still do the same alternate between reading in my head and reading out loud in a whisper I did when I was in grade school. Its almost totally unconscious and it drives me nuts. I'm going to have to third (or however many its been) the waiting bit. I think that's true of anyone with a favorite series though. I'm on the edge of my seat for the next Dresden Files case book.

43Rozax
Nov 15, 2011, 5:50pm Top

32 and co: I agree; typos are rather unforgivable. That's what editors are for. I commented in another thread that The Harper Hall trilogy is one of my favorite reads of all-time, and that I read them especially when I'm feeling down. The next time I read them, however, I will have a pen in hand to correct all the mistakes I came across.

Out of desperation, I'll almost forgive authors mincing the words "thus" and "hence". They are not interchangeable. Sure, their definitions are similar, but so are the words "happy" and "glad". A character can be described as inherently happy, but glad isn't an inherent state. As for thus and hence, I'm happy to see that my computer's dictionary makes a distinction:
thus: as a result or consequence of this; therefore
hence: as a consequence; for this reason
You can use therefore as a test word. If it makes no sense, don't use hence. If it makes sense, chances are that thus is useable.
"The building was finished early, thus allowing us to paint before winter."
"Traffic was awful, hence my tardiness."
So why can't authors get this straight?

My other grievance is use of the word can't versus cannot. I'll use a simple sentence to illustrate my grief: "Can't we go?" Too often, when authors, for whatever reason, do not want to contract this word, the sentence becomes, "Cannot we go?" This is wrong and it sounds like an L2 speaker rather than an author who's (supposedly) mastered the language. The question should be, "Can we not go?" This goes with other negative contractions: "Didn't we go?" and "Did we not go?" "Shouldn't we go?" and "Should we not go?" But I digress.

Back to book covers! I've heard some sticklers (not here) complain that this never happens in Dragondrums.

My apologies for posting such a large image.

True, this never happens, per se, but it is representative of what happens in the book. Piemur becomes a drummer, Impresses a queen firelizard, explores the Southern seaboard, and I could hazard a guess that the tree behind him is the one that saved him during one of the Threadfalls. If it isn't, why knock the tree? Who says any of those rocks are in the story?

If they want a good example of an unrelated cover, I'd direct them to Severn's grievance at 32. Bluesalamanders (33) is pretty bad, too. I hate it when artists want to make a woman's "armor" sexy. I can hear the argument:
"Of course it was low-cut! You think we could send her into battle without cleavage?" as she lay dying from an arrow through the heart.

44pwaites
Nov 15, 2011, 5:52pm Top

Cover art tends to be my biggest pet peeve. At worst it drives people away from a wonderful book. It should not be weird, ugly, conflicting with the descriptions, bad artwork or be strongly directed towards a certain group of people when everyone would find the book enjoyable. I'm mainly thinking of the tendency to aim books toward either teenage girls or teenage boys - almost never both.

So often, I feel like I could do a better. If not on the technical side, I could at least read the book and make the cover match...

45jnwelch
Nov 15, 2011, 6:07pm Top

Amen to that. The worst covers often are for sci-fi or fantasy books. I have to mentally ignore them to enjoy the book. You're right about certain kinds of young adult books, too. At worst I'm embarrassed to be seen reading a book with a particularly awful cover in public, and I don't get embarrassed easily.

46cosmicdolphin
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 9:17pm Top

For Those People Complaining about Covers:

One Blogger Rejigged/Photoshopped a bunch of the covers for fantasy read when younger, *warning this does contain a couple of swear words on the covers*/Potentially NSFW, but it is so dead on:

http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2008/10/20/mgk-versus-his-adolescent-reading-...

http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2008/10/21/mgk-versus-his-adolescent-reading-...

http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2008/11/03/mgk-versus-his-adolescent-reading-...

Funny as all hell.

I Particularly like 'My Little Pony Goes to war' :-)

47Jarandel
Nov 15, 2011, 7:20pm Top

I hated it when local publishers cut up books upon translating them. Your typical doorstopper, especially in fantasy series, usually gets chopped into 2 or 3 books.

Well, they still do it, and I still hate it, but since for several years now buying the original language book over the internet has never been easier, I no longer have to deal with it.

48DeusExLibrus
Nov 15, 2011, 7:22pm Top

The Golden Compass cover is so true! The series is everything Narnia is, except Lewis manages to write Christian allegory without bashing you over the head repeatedly with the religion hammer.

The Marion Zimmer Bradley and Stephanie Meyer covers are absolutely classic. I love the Arthurian mythos, grew up with it alongside Narnia and Redwall. Unfortunately, Bradley's retelling suffers the same problem Pullman's series does, ie the story gets subsumed by the message, and the message is a freaking mallet whacking you over the head repeatedly.

Those are the only ones I could identify, but it did kind of get me interested in what hte others are. Could someone maybe post a cheat sheet?

49nhlsecord
Nov 15, 2011, 7:43pm Top

I love the Frank Herbert cover :) and the GG Kay cover makes me wince (I can't remember if I finished that one or not). Those are all terrific!

The bad cover that comes to mind for me - and I do pay a LOT of attention to covers - is the Honor Harrington book, Field of Dishonor, that has her looking like Michael Jackson.

I still say "Thank God for Michael Whelan's covers".

50Jarandel
Edited: Nov 16, 2011, 10:04am Top

> 48

Part 1
1. Edding's Malloreon spoof as it clearly mentions.
2. Chronicles of Pern, ditto.
3. Song of Ice and Fire. Fun one, guess the otherwise good local translation I've been reading attenuated the swearing somewhat, or maybe it's just that for most people our m*** word isn't as loaded as the f*** one.
4. Dragon on a Pedestal (Xanth #7) by Piers Anthony (Thanks Morphidae)
5. Original Riftwar books. I think it's the cover for Silverthorn or a Darkness at Sethannon.
6. Golden Compass.
7. Sword of Shannara.
8. Sword of Truth series.
9. Wheel of Time. Nice one.
10. Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Ooooh, easily the most spot-on of the lot for me.
11. Dune. Maybe a comment on the remainder of the series being less stellar than the first. Still liked them a lot so can't really agree on this one though.

51Jarandel
Edited: Nov 16, 2011, 10:06am Top

Hmm, a few here that didn't really make it to getting known and noticed by me in this batch.

Part 2
1. Herald of Valdemar series.
2. The Sword and the Chain (Guardians of the Flame #2) by Joel Rosenberg (Thanks Morphidae)
3. MYTH Inc. Link (Myth Adventures #7) by Robert Aspirin (Thanks Morphidae)
4. Harry Turtledove's alternate history wars I think, not sure about title.
5. Saberhagen's Books of Swords.
6. ?
7. Elric. Hmm ? If I had to describe Elric's alignement, Lawful Evil probably wouldn't be it.
8. The Drizzt the Dark Elf books.
9. Mists of Avalon.
10. Last light of the Sun
11. Twilight. This one wins my seal of approval for this batch :D

52Jarandel
Edited: Nov 17, 2011, 9:19am Top

Part 3
1. Foundation.
2. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.
3. Lensman.
4. Thraxas (Thanks Choreocat)
5. Dragonlance. *Chuckle*
6. Farseer.
7. Stranger in a strange land
8. ?
9. Star Wars.
10. A Canticle for Leibowitz. Lulz. Best cover in this batch.
11. Neuromancer.
12. The Illuminati trilogy (Thanks Choreocat)
13. Ender's Game.
14. Eragon / Inheritance.
15. Princess Bride.
16. 2001 Space Odyssey.

53Marissa_Doyle
Nov 15, 2011, 9:29pm Top

#46--Brilliant! Loved these...

54Busifer
Edited: Nov 16, 2011, 1:28am Top

#45 - Agreeing with every word and sentiment!

55Severn
Nov 16, 2011, 5:19am Top

For all those embarrassed by covers - yet another good reason for an e-reader. Heh. To be fair, covers seem to be improving these days.

And those were hilarious...thank you!

56Morphidae
Nov 16, 2011, 6:40am Top

>50 Jarandel:
#4 Dragon on a Pedestal (Xanth #7) by Piers Anthony

>51 Jarandel:
#2 The Sword and the Chain (Guardians of the Flame #2) by Joel Rosenberg
#3 MYTH Inc. Link (Myth Adventures #7) by Robert Aspirin

57Sakerfalcon
Nov 16, 2011, 7:44am Top

>46 cosmicdolphin:: Awesome! I love that if you look carefully at the Robert Jordan cover, the snark continues into the little oval by the title . . . nice detail.

58jnwelch
Nov 16, 2011, 9:55am Top

Thanks, cosmicdolphin! Very funny. And thanks Sakerfalcon for pointing out the additional snark.

59JPB
Nov 16, 2011, 10:29am Top

A blog dedicated to bad covers: http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/

60jnwelch
Nov 16, 2011, 10:33am Top

Ouch! Great (or should I say awful) examples.

61Sakerfalcon
Edited: Nov 16, 2011, 10:56am Top

>59 JPB:: I look at that site every day, it's hilarious. Not recommended while eating or drinking, however ;-)

62monohex
Nov 16, 2011, 11:11am Top

Geez, am I the only person here who likes pulp sci-fi and fantasy paperback covers from 1950-1980? I've picked up books precisely because I thought the artwork on the cover was awesome. I'd read the plot summary and a passage from inside to confirm whether or not I'd buy it, but several books drew me in with their covers. What can I say? I love pulp art.

63tardis
Nov 16, 2011, 11:48am Top

Covers often amuse me. Like the day I sat down on the bus, hauled out my current book, Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer, featuring a jaunty skeleton with a top hat on the cover, and realized that the woman I sat down beside was reading the Bible and looking a bit askance at me :) Oh, well. At least she didn't try to make me see the error of my ways - I had that happen once.

I love a lot of the pulp art too, Monohex. Especially the 50s/60s stuff. *nostalgic sigh*

64Esta1923
Nov 16, 2011, 3:48pm Top

I do not like scenes from the movie as cover (especially one that wasn't in the original book!)

65monohex
Nov 16, 2011, 4:34pm Top

Agreed there, Esta.

66littlegeek
Nov 16, 2011, 11:30pm Top

I hate those "reading group guides" they have in some books these days. It was bad enough to be asked leading and obvious questions about books when I was in school, I don't need this as an adult.

67Choreocrat
Nov 16, 2011, 11:38pm Top

In part three, the missing ones are 4. Thraxas, 12. The Illuminati trilogy

68GirlMisanthrope
Nov 17, 2011, 1:23am Top

1. I hate my decaying eyesight. Blast!

2. I hate that I'm not burning calories when I sit there for hours enveloped in a great story.

3. I hate that I can't read in a car or on a plane as it makes me queasy. (I fall asleep during audiobooks)

#66, agreed about the reading guides. And they put them in super-fluffy chick lit, too? Uh, why??

69Severn
Nov 17, 2011, 5:33am Top

@66 - I know right?? Awful, just awful. Hate them.

Another thing I realised I hate today is when one is reading quietly at work a colleague invariably sees me and thinks 'Oh look she's reading, I'll go talk to her!!'

'HI!'

Me - inner sigh. Blah blah blah.

I have 15 precious minutes on my break and I do NOT want to be talking to you thank you.

70Magentawolf
Nov 17, 2011, 8:53am Top

I hate Trade Paperbacks in general, and specifically books that are /only/ published in Trade sizes.

A: They're too large for reading outside-the-house.
B: They're generally 50%+ more expensive then a standard paperback.

71Sakerfalcon
Edited: Nov 17, 2011, 9:39am Top

>70 Magentawolf:: Even more than regular trade pbs, I hate the relatively recent extra-large trade format (not sure what the techical term would be). They are the same size as hardbacks and almost as heavy, but without the advantages of durability that a hardback has. These mutant paperbacks have become very common in the UK over the last year or two; used to be it was a format exclusive to airports, where you could get this kind of paperback edition of select titles before they came out as paperbacks in regular shops. Now they are everywhere - gah!

72saltmanz
Edited: Nov 17, 2011, 10:58am Top

@72: Well, trade paperbacks are generally identical to hardcovers, just with different (cheaper) covers and binding. I've seen pictures of what you're talking about, though; they're somewhere in size between a trade paperback and the smaller mass market paperbacks. The copies of Toll the Hounds and Return of the Crimson Guard in this pic are, I believe, of this format (note the standard-sized MMPBs in the back.) I actually think they look kinda neat, like the paperback version of a book club edition.

73saltmanz
Nov 17, 2011, 10:57am Top

Personally, the new size I hate is the "B format" or whatever they're calling them mass market paperbacks that are the exact dimensions of your standard MMPB but an extra inch taller. The new Dresden Files and Jack Reacher releases come in this format, and they do not fit on my shelves with my other MMPBs!

74RowanTribe
Nov 17, 2011, 2:25pm Top

Those suck. I've heard from several people in the industry that supposedly they were designed especially to make reading easier on people, and to be more ergonomic.

I hate them. They're tall and narrow and clunky and awkward, too tall for my purse, and too thick for a pocket, and now my continuing paper-back series don't match!

(Yes, I'm one of those people. - I hate when my serieses don't look consistent all the way through.)

75sandragon
Nov 17, 2011, 3:23pm Top

I'm with Rowan. It bugs me when there is suddenly a change between books in a series when it's been consistant before, whether it's cover design, size or format.

76saltmanz
Nov 17, 2011, 4:11pm Top

Same here.

77hazeljune
Nov 17, 2011, 4:33pm Top

I dislike lots having to read out loud, this needs to be done at times, as my husband is visually impaired, plus hard of hearing, so I have also to make sure that my volume suits.

78Severn
Nov 17, 2011, 5:03pm Top

@74-76 - same. I loathe it, and it happens all the time.

79NorthernStar
Nov 17, 2011, 6:06pm Top

I also hate the trade paperbacks and larger format MM paperbacks. I want a paperback to be portable and fit on my shelves! And why do the airport bookstores almost exclusively stock only hardcovers and trade paperbacks? Those are the last things I want to take on a plane! Even if I wasn't already close to the newly reduced weight limits.

80Bookmarque
Nov 17, 2011, 6:16pm Top

Wow, such hatred for the tpb. I love them. Slim and well-proportioned, portable and comfortable to hold. Less tatty and weirdly shaped than mass markets.

But, what do I hate? Hmm...deckled edges come to mind. Ig.

81BABowers
Nov 17, 2011, 6:37pm Top

There are a number of things that can bug me when I read. I agree with the getting comfortable in bed at times, especially with books that are awkward sizes (tpb). My biggest issue is usually having to wait on the next book in a series. I always want to find out the end, I get impatient, and waiting sometimes over a year for that next step along the story can be such a pain.

82saltmanz
Nov 17, 2011, 7:02pm Top

I like TPBs because they're of higher quality than MMPBs, but far cheaper than the hardcovers. MMPBs have price, portability, and kindness to shelf space going for them.

83barney67
Nov 17, 2011, 7:55pm Top

Yeah, I like the trade paperbacks much more than the mass-market paperbacks, which have small fonts, ink that smears, and small inside gutters so you have to break the spine to see the words near the middle of the book. Much better quality.

84DaynaRT
Nov 17, 2011, 8:54pm Top

Hate decked edges. I really, really don't like how most books smell either. Also not a fan of photographic book covers for fiction.

85madpoet
Nov 17, 2011, 9:03pm Top

I read a lot of 18th and 19th Century classics. I hate it when the author includes an untranslated sentence or passage in Latin (bad enough) or Greek (impossible!) At least have a footnote...

Also, I've tried to read with my 8-month old baby on my lap, but it's impossible: he eats the pages. Sure, it's cute, but it's kind of distracting.

86tottman
Nov 18, 2011, 12:30am Top

I also like the trade paperbacks. I avoid the MM paperbacks if at all possible but agree that the tall MM paperbacks are a travesty.

One of the things I hate is when a page with a map or writing on it is glued to the front of a HC book. I like the inside cover and back cover to be blank.

87Choreocrat
Nov 18, 2011, 12:40am Top

85 - Yes! When I did research for my Ancient History classes in high school, I realised there was an expectation that anyone researching history must know not only Latin and Greek, but also French, German and Italian. All of the quotes were given without translation. Luckily I could fudge French and sort of Latin, but the others were lost on me, and Babelfish wasn't around, let alone Google Translate...

88Meredy
Edited: Nov 18, 2011, 1:15am Top

About certain books? Yes, there are definitely some things I hate.

But about reading itself? I guess the only thing I could say I hate is that it doesn't work for me the way it did for Dr. Seuss: I can't do it with my eyes shut. (It's bad for my hat and makes my eyebrows get red hot.)

89Sakerfalcon
Nov 18, 2011, 5:03am Top

Connected to change of format part way through a series (super annoying), is when covers change part way through. Eg. Game of thrones. I liked the first cover with the wraparound of Jon Snow against a winter landscape. Then the next 2 mmpb had a similar style of painting but squeezed into a teeny tiny box on the front cover. Then by book they had changed over to abstract design covers. Sigh . . .

>72 saltmanz:: I had my terminology mixed up! The format I described that I hate is obviously properly called a trade paperback. The format you describe as between a tp and mmpb in size, I do like, and is very common in the UK; I had always thought this was called a trade paperback. I learn so much from LT :-)

>73 saltmanz:: Don't think I've seen those B format pbs in the UK yet, but I'm sure it is only a matter of time.

90hfglen
Nov 18, 2011, 2:32pm Top

Not about reading in general, but the non-fiction book I'm ploughing through at the moment:

Quote from picture caption: "... this false-color image ...". The illustration is in black-and-white, thereby losing the point completely.

91DesBelle
Nov 18, 2011, 2:42pm Top

I hate when a book I'm reading has a blaring grammar mistake.

Also, I agree about the cold hands while reading.

Oh and e-readers!!! I will hopefully never ever have to get one!!!

92DeusExLibrus
Nov 18, 2011, 3:06pm Top

Count me in on reading in bed. Sitting up leaves me too far from my light source, and laying on my side or stomach, which gets me close enough gets REALLY uncomfortable after a couple minutes.

93sandragon
Nov 18, 2011, 4:33pm Top

I have lovely memories of reading for ages on my stomach when I was a kid. Now I can't do that for even short periods without getting a stiff back and sore elbows.

94Bookmarque
Nov 18, 2011, 4:44pm Top

you need a reading light that clips to the headboard (if you have one). Solved my reading in bed woes. Now if I could get a big can of Cat Away, I'd be all set.

95MerryMary
Nov 18, 2011, 5:10pm Top

I have that problem too.

Oooo, purrrrr, I love you... here's my head, bump, bump bump...here's my butt...here's my head...here's my butt...knead, knead, knead...(having calculated to a nicety the distance between my face and my page)...I think I'll sleep HERE...thump. What? Why are you making those funny noises, Mommy?

Every night.

96susiesharp
Nov 18, 2011, 5:20pm Top

>MerryMerry thats sounds like every night at my house too!

97DeusExLibrus
Nov 18, 2011, 5:56pm Top

94> Bookmarque: Except for when you don't have a headboard, which is the situation I find myself in.

98MerryMary
Nov 18, 2011, 6:24pm Top

A head lamp? I live alone, so there's no one to laugh at me. Except when my sister visits. Then she laughs herself into exhaustion so she can sleep.

99Bookmarque
Nov 18, 2011, 6:34pm Top

DeusExLibrus - suction cupped to the wall???

100sandragon
Nov 18, 2011, 6:36pm Top

Wall velcro!

101nhlsecord
Nov 18, 2011, 6:45pm Top

Fun conversation :)

I hate when there's too much thinking things over in a book. I think authors do that because the publisher says "Make It Bigger!". They go over all the clues, or they go over all the signs that somebody loves them, or all the ways they can get killed - Oh, that last one can be interesting.

102DeusExLibrus
Nov 18, 2011, 11:58pm Top

99> I actually kind of like the head lamp idea.

103hfglen
Nov 19, 2011, 5:45am Top

#102 it works a treat when you're camping.

104Sakerfalcon
Nov 19, 2011, 8:11am Top

>101 nhlsecord:: Or the author over-describes an action. I just read a page-and-a-half long description of the heroine putting on a pair of riding boots. (Not sure I will finish that book!)

105nhlsecord
Nov 19, 2011, 3:52pm Top

#104 I hope they didn't describe each beautiful pearly toe and lovely curve of the legs going into the boots.

Now, if there was a long description of a wonderful meal, or great clothing or mansions or exotic locations, I could forgive that easily, and I might even read it twice ;)

106hazeljune
Nov 19, 2011, 4:50pm Top

I am getting to hate thick books.

107ErisofDiscord
Nov 19, 2011, 8:56pm Top

I hate book trailers. They are either really lame or they don't match the book. For example, the one they did for Fallen, a teen gushy angel love story (I just hate the depiction of angels in YA lit, but oh well). I don't like that book, but I watched the trailer for fun, and on behalf of the author, I am insulted.

1. The main dude isn't hot.
2. The main character is supposed to be blonde, not brunette.
3. They got the meeting place all wrong.
4. The lady who greeted Luce was supposed to be nice.

The only book trailer I've liked has been for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - talk about freaky. But anyway, why do book trailers have to be so awful? Is it that hard to get details from the book right, pick up a hot looking male actor and create something that will make me want to read the book? I've seen YouTube fanmade trailers for books do better!

108DeusExLibrus
Nov 20, 2011, 1:28am Top

ErisofDiscord: Seconding the book trailers thing, though more because I think the idea is just plain retarded than anything. Its apparently impossible to do a decently accurate trailer for a MOVIE, so why should a book be any easier?

109ErisofDiscord
Nov 20, 2011, 1:55am Top

I've seen some really awesome trailers, so I can understand it for movies, but on the most part, book trailers are really lame. You can partially judge a movie by the images in a trailer, because the things shown in a trailer appear in the movie. But you can't get a book just by the book trailer, because books are made of words, not movie scenes.

There is one other book trailer that I am obsessed with, though, and that is Maggie Stiefvater's book trailer for The Scorpio Races - the reason I am enthusiastic about it, though, is because the author did the artwork and the music for the trailer herself. I'm glad she did. The publishing companies do a real crappy job for the most part. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tojCn2Y41ig It doesn't tell you anything about the book, but it is so darn pretty. :)

110Busifer
Nov 20, 2011, 12:57pm Top

I like trade paperbacks, and have done so since I first encountered the format. The larger format often is better designed and typeset than MMPB's, which often enough are horrible, with typefaces so generic and bland and so maltreated it's almost impossible to discern one typeface from another. Also, MMPBs are often "stiff" while TPBs often have a more "soft" feel, speaking of tactile impressions. As a result of this they don't break their backs as easy.
I really do hate when it's impossible to read a book without breaking its spine :(

Then, I have been known to lug around bricks like Cryptonomicon in my bag. I never buy a new bag without a careful investigation of it's ability to hold all the stuff I carry (which is somewhat voluminous).

111Severn
Nov 20, 2011, 4:16pm Top

@110 - ahahahah same! My bag is huge. And I have little pockets for all kinds of things. Like one little pocket on the side carries two eco-shopping bags that roll up. You never know when you'll have extra things to carry.

112Sakerfalcon
Nov 21, 2011, 7:23am Top

>110 Busifer:, 111: Whenever I buy a new bag, I always have to check how many books will fit inside; if it is too small for even a mmpb I won't buy it!

113Morphidae
Nov 22, 2011, 7:25am Top

>95 MerryMary: Made me giggle.

Sometimes I get the dog hanging her head over the top of the book, "Whatcha doing, Mom?" or the sitting between me and the book. But it happens rarely enough that it's more cute than anything else.

I hate that my library has drastically cut the number of books we can check out or have on reserve - from 100 to 30! 30!!!!!!!!!!!!

114MerryMary
Edited: Nov 22, 2011, 8:56am Top

The inhumanity!

ETA: Suppose they're calling it "The Morphy Rule"? ;-)

115Morphidae
Nov 22, 2011, 9:07am Top

116foggidawn
Nov 22, 2011, 9:42am Top

#113 -- Obviously, they're doing it because they like you and want to see you more often! ;-)

117Morphidae
Nov 22, 2011, 10:03am Top

My biggest issue is that I often put a reserve on a series book that isn't going to be published for many months in order to avoid being on a HUGE waiting list. If I can get in when they order the book, I'm usually within the first 25 or so. But this means I have a relatively large list on reserve.

RIGHT NOW, I have 20 on the reserve list, 9 of which on On Order rather than in circulation.

118MerryMary
Nov 22, 2011, 12:30pm Top

Seriously I see the problem, and I hope it doesn't cramp your style too badly. (You did know I was but gently teasing, right?)

119hfglen
Nov 22, 2011, 1:27pm Top

#113 You're lucky. We get 7 (yes, seven), though this doen't count reserves -- when your reserved book turns up, you return an existing book.

120Morphidae
Edited: Nov 22, 2011, 1:34pm Top

>118 MerryMary: Oh yeah. :)

I was just whining more. Or whinging as the case may be.

It won't cramp my style TOO badly as check outs (while still down to 30) are counted separately.

121ErisofDiscord
Nov 22, 2011, 1:52pm Top

Are you talking about reserved books from the library?

122Esta1923
Nov 22, 2011, 2:34pm Top

I have trouble thinking of how to respond to good friends who want to lend me books I KNOW are not for me!!

123Morphidae
Nov 22, 2011, 3:22pm Top

124Severn
Nov 22, 2011, 4:21pm Top

@ 122 - oh yes. Same. I take them home, read two pages, and then they sit on the shelf, looking awkward, for a few weeks until I hand them back with a 'I did try, I just couldn't get into it sorry.'

125Busifer
Nov 23, 2011, 9:32am Top

#122 - Same here, definitely recognises this one.

126RowanTribe
Nov 23, 2011, 9:34am Top

@ 122&124 My family-in-law is really bad about that. It's worse when it's not a loan, but a gift. My InLaws know I like reading, so they always buy me books for birthday and Christmas - but they don't bother to find out my taste or what I currently want.

So I get dozens of these literary doorstoppers that I'll never touch short of killer insomnia, or a paperback copy of something that I like, ... but I already have three of (hardcover, hardcover reading copy, paperback lending copy) so I don't really have shelf-space for yet another. Sigh. I'm slowly getting them weaned onto bookstore gift-cards.

When lending is concerned, I usually have the opposite problem of people wanting to borrow books I'm currently reading. NO! My Book! No Touchy!

127Sakerfalcon
Nov 23, 2011, 10:56am Top

>126 RowanTribe:: My ex-in-laws were like that too, only they never bought paperbacks (thought they were too "cheap" to give as gifts). I think they thought that by ignoring my tastes they would convert me to theirs.

128Rozax
Edited: Nov 23, 2011, 1:19pm Top

26 & 27: My family, in-laws included, is pretty good about books. They're just a little sketchy on everything else. I built a ThinkGeek wishlist to help them, but four years running, they've ignored it. At least my in-laws confer with me before purchases. Last Christmas, they made a donation in my name to a local animal shelter.

129justadcomics
Nov 26, 2011, 10:54pm Top

I cannot stand the unfortunate trend in recent years of poor editing. One pet peeve is when an author overuses the same phrase. For instance, John Ringo in the last few books of his I read kept using the phrase "he admitted." Everything was "he admitted." Nary a "he allowed," or "he acknowledged," noooo. How about breaking open a thesaurus??? It got to the point where I stopped reading the one series he had. You could tell he was cranking them out as fast as he could and the editing was abyssmal.

130kassetra
Nov 27, 2011, 4:06am Top

The paper in a mmpb. I can't stand touching it. It's like it's a freak compound meant to pull out every last drop of moisture out of my hands until they crack and fall off. I tend to also get horrific paper cuts by turning pages -- on the top edges of knuckles, between the fingers, just painful painful.

And a book with more than 300 pages has no business being a mmpb, because the spine will break and the covers will fall off.

I was soooo happy when I discovered tpb -- because they use nice paper, usually.

For a while, one of my relatives would give me used/second-hand science fiction books (no idea where he got them) that had the worst cover art -- always (always) a cookie-cutter blond buxom half naked chick wielding some kind of 'ray gun' on the cover, the only difference in the books were the colour of her 'clothes' and the 'pose' she struck -- when the story was about aliens or other planets and the hero was a guy...

131Rozax
Nov 28, 2011, 2:26am Top

129: I wonder if that has anything to do with the advent of the internet. Since the average person doesn't give two hoots about grammar, punctuation, or spelling, why spend as much time editing? Those of us who care are probably in the minority.

131: I was just jumping in to complain about paper cuts. I've never received a paper cut from an e-reader.

132Busifer
Nov 28, 2011, 4:08am Top

#131 - Lack of editing and riser of internet use is unconnected. Instead it is the greed of the publishing houses that is the root of this evil. First they fired half of their editors and forced cookbook editors to edit genre fiction. Then they fired those too, because they too cost too much.
This attitude towards editing was enabled by the fact that there's now very few book-people in control of publishing. Instead there's the stock market, who demands ever higher profit margins and don't care a damn about the quality of the product.

I've also heard that US publishers got brought by oil companies, so those could write off their losses - a pure economic/tactical move. So now - according to these people - US publishing is controlled by the oil companies. Which would explain why they thought editors wasn't needed.

Mind you, this is not political. I'm not taking a position - just stating the way things are. Only a few authors can afford their personal editors, they depend on someone traditionally employed by the publisher. With those gone they have to rely on friends and spell-check. Not always a good combination... :(

133cosmicdolphin
Edited: Nov 28, 2011, 6:45am Top

Busifer:

I'm not aware of any of the large publishers owned by oil companies.

St Martins (Which Includes TOR) is owned by Holtzbrinck
Harper is owned by Rupert Murdoch/News Corporation
Random House is owned by Bertelsmann
Simon and Schuster is owned by CBS
Penguin Books is owned by Pearson
The Former Time Warner Books (including Little Brown) was purchased by Hachette Livre (the French Company) and became Hachette Book Group

Between these 6 are most of the major U.S. imprints, I don't see any oil companies around. Also IIRC Holtzbrinck is not on the stock market because it's a privately held family company.

It's certainly plausible that the Publishers have had to cut costs and laid off copy editors, or are using lesser quality contract staff/interns. This is probably more to do with economic climate, and the current significant change in the market, which is having a financial knock on effect, rather than Publisher Greed. I think like most companies out there they are doing what they have to do to survive. Certainly the Publishers aren't singling out copy editors to cut costs. Many sales staff have been laid off. Random House has been disposing of it's real estate Assets. It sold it's headquarters, rented it back, and then began sub-leasing to save money if I remember rightly, so there is a much bigger picture here.

The industry will settle down to it's new level eventually. But now is a time of upheaval.

134Busifer
Nov 28, 2011, 6:55am Top

I don't know about this but an US author who I know often says that the oil companies buying into the publishing business was a huge setback. Perhaps she uses "oil companies" to mean "stock market interests" but I have always understood it as literal. The imprint publishing her books are part of Penguin and while the corporate entity that it is a part of is Pearson someone own Pearson and it is these people she's referring to, as far as I know.

The gist of it is, anyway, that since the publishers became imprints of large corporations with a wide variety of interests focus is no longer on publishing but on generating profit to owners, meaning cutting everything that look like an expense (like editors).

There's nothing wrong with generating a profit. This is something a healthy business should do. But when they generate profits and still cut expenses, to make the profit even bigger, and the end result is a faulty product I think they have gone too far.

Anyhow, being with that as it may editors are still not that usual any more and that - not the internet - is the cause of all these badly edited books out there. Because authors have always relied on editors to wean out the inconsistencies, the repetitious use of words, etc.

Without them much of that bad writing ends up in front of our eyes.

135maggie1944
Edited: Nov 28, 2011, 8:07am Top

I think the publishers problem you are discussing is reflected in many, and increasing numbers, of industries. Smaller businesses are not able to keep up with the insatiable appetite for profit, evidently over all other values, demonstrated by capitalism today. It appears to be a world wide problem.

That said: I do think this is a political discussion and probably is best carried on Outside. http://www.librarything.com/groups/outside

136cosmicdolphin
Edited: Nov 28, 2011, 8:38am Top

I'd be interested to see what the make up of Pearsons shareholding is. Though I know the Libyans own a few percentage points. Basing the current worldview on the word of a single author, wouldn't work for me.

I think it's down to particular publishers/owners what the focus is, profit or quality, and the balance of the two. So it's on a case by case basis, even with the multinationals. I heard direct from staff at TOR that they are mostly left to get on with it by Holtzbrinck, although it's suggested that they collaborate with other Holtzbrinck companies (for example TOR did an anthology together with NATURE magazine). Although Holtzbrinck may be different because they are family owned.

I think the self publishing/electronic publishing boom is contributing more to bad writing ending up in front of people. When I worked in the Bookselling Chains, we had one book placed in front of us, that I think had 20+ errors just in the first page alone. It certainly wasn't the only book we saw like that, there were many. I haven't seen a large scale publication dip to that level yet.

You could argue that in one sense Rozax is right, but for the wrong reasons. The internet has been an enabler to electronic publishing boom, which has less filtering than the traditional publishing route, and therefore you will get a much lower quality level, from an editing point of view (if there is editing at all)

Publishers have been owned on and off by other interests for decades so that's not a new phenomenon. One complaint I heard here was about copy editing for John Ringo books. Now he publishes through BAEN, which is again privately held, and not on the stock market.

137JPB
Nov 28, 2011, 10:34am Top

I am of really mixed mind about publishing.

I think - in essence - that the existence of middle-men and middle-women between creator and consumer creates levels of control and profit that add little value.

Imagine a world where everything was self-published on something like Amazon. Word of mouth would spread the good word about good books. Grammar that was poor enough to distract from reading would be called out - and there wouldn't be anyone filtering the material - why should editors decide what I should read - or music distributors decide what I hear? My earlier consumer life from the late 1960s until 2000 had far fewer choices available to me than it has now, and the increase in choice is a good thing.

Maybe people could - gasp - HIRE editors to edit their books, at a per-read/per-page rate? The best editors could command good salaries, and a freelance editing market could open up.

Again, as a person who, in the 80s and 90s saw too many books by too few authors on the bookstore shelves, I don't think the loss of publishers and editors is a bad thing - by ANY means.

138Busifer
Nov 28, 2011, 11:15am Top

#137 - I think we're headed that way but I'm also sure that a decade or two later there will be a new middle-man - just not a publisher, but some kind of broker. Because no one can sort through all the stuff that will gets published the readers will need to lean on others for guidance and quality assurance.
But that's just me.

#136 - I don't base my worldview on that one author's opinion. I just mentioned her opinion of it in passing. The editor part, which was may main point re decline in quality, I know for sure. My family has worked in or with publishing, in Sweden, for a couple of generations now - my generation is the first in about a 150 years that doesn't, some way or the other (we're mainly cybercollar workers).

Otherwise I agree with maggie. If this debate is to continue it should move Outside.

139Sakerfalcon
Nov 28, 2011, 11:43am Top

What I hate about reading is when I finish the book I have taken to work, and so have nothing to read on my commute home. I usually try to bring a "back-up" book to prevent having to read a discarded newspaper. (It's dark by the time I leave work so no point looking out of the window)

140Death_By_Papercut
Nov 28, 2011, 3:29pm Top

Typos, neck aches...and reading makes me sleepy if I'm not recently rested...and I hate it when you spend valuable time on a book because it starts well but then it ends poorly...

141Rozax
Nov 28, 2011, 10:55pm Top

129: This just reminded me of crutch words or phrases. Anne McCaffrey was fond of "waggling" fingers, and several books have our protagonists licking juices from their fingers. I don't understand the finger fixation, but there it is.

When we were in elementary/middle school, my brother and I read the Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice series. Dave Wolverton wrote the first one, then Jude Watson/Judy Blundell took over. I never noticed, but my brother complained about how "the lightsabers were a blur" in every one of her books.

142Busifer
Nov 29, 2011, 7:21am Top

After a while you notice that every protagonist by a certain author share certain features, across series or books. I have only read two of Elizabeth Moon's series but in both of them the male interest of the heroine (in one of the series - two different heroines) has hazel eyes. In C.J. Cherryh's books there's an abundance of red-headed or blond people, plus they seem to eat eggs way out of proportion. Jon Courtenay Grimwood used the same sex scene in multiple books and I was so pleased when it didn't feature in his latest.
At some point it starts to get ridiculous, even if it's not worthy of the word "hate".

143Sakerfalcon
Nov 29, 2011, 7:30am Top

>141 Rozax:: I guess the bubbly pies on Pern were very juicy! I always wanted to try one of those, they sound yummy :-)

144ArmyAngel1986
Nov 29, 2011, 8:14am Top

I hate that I can't combine reading with any of my other hobbies (except traveling, as long as I'm not the driver). No reading and quilting/rollerblading/etc for me.

Also, not to fan the flames or anything, I'd like to offer this blog post by author Ursula Vernon: http://redwombatstudio.com/blog/?p=4854 on why she loves her traditional publisher.

145suitable1
Nov 29, 2011, 1:02pm Top

Too many books, not enough time.

146sandragon
Nov 29, 2011, 3:41pm Top

Rereading a book that I loooved as a kid, to find the suck fairy has gotten to it.

147maggie1944
Nov 29, 2011, 4:51pm Top

Sandragon, I have whole genre of books that the Suck Fairy has gotten, but good. For example, I can't even crack open a self help book any more and I used to be addicted to them. I guess I have helped myself as much as I needed help.

148kassetra
Nov 29, 2011, 7:54pm Top

ohhhh sandragon... the suck fairy has gotten to many of my books and there are just some I can't bear to part with, even if they do suck now. (The rest have been removed from the library... and I'm still removing some...)

149Magentawolf
Nov 30, 2011, 6:44pm Top

After unearthing a (second) copy of Surface Detail, I'll add that I hate accidentally buying the same book twice. I'm very absent-minded, and I've taken to consulting LT on my phone to make sure I'm not double-dipping.

Unfortunately, there's still a stack of books that I've donated to a local charity. :(

150Busifer
Dec 1, 2011, 2:41am Top

On the other hand there are worse books than Surface detail... ;-)

151Booksloth
Dec 1, 2011, 5:39am Top

That I can't read while travelling - planes and trains are okay but cars and coaches just make me sick; I so envy those of you who can do it.

152Sakerfalcon
Edited: Dec 1, 2011, 6:33am Top

>151 Booksloth:: I hate that too. As a child I would always try to read in the car, thinking "I'll stop before I feel sick". That worked well . . . eventually my parents had to search me and confiscate any books from my person before car journeys!

153Rozax
Jul 26, 2012, 8:19pm Top

I hate how I never have time to read a book when I bring it with me, but the moment I'm caught without a book, I wish I'd remembered it.

154Choreocrat
Jul 26, 2012, 10:01pm Top

152 - Why would you want to confiscate books for a car journey? Surely that would be a good way of making sure you're quiet and entertained.

155MerryMary
Jul 26, 2012, 10:13pm Top

Cleaning puke up out of the back seat gets old after awhile, I should imagine. Right, Sakerfalcon?

156hazeljune
Jul 26, 2012, 10:37pm Top

I hate not having time to read !!!

157Sakerfalcon
Jul 27, 2012, 6:51am Top

>155 MerryMary:: Exactly!

158mysterymax
Jul 27, 2012, 8:21am Top

My pet peeves:
. bad editing
. type that is too small, too light and too cramped to read
. books by my favorite authors that are ONLY available as an ebook -
. book jackets with only blurbs and no idea of what the book is about

159maggie1944
Jul 27, 2012, 8:29am Top

I hate it that I have to put down my books to eat, pee, walk about and do other unfortunately essential life activities.

160hazeljune
Edited: Jul 27, 2012, 5:25pm Top

I hate books that are tooo thick, there is no need to write books that are soo long!!

I also hate it when the back cover gives great praise for another book written by the same author and not enough on the one that it being read..

161GeorgiaDawn
Jul 27, 2012, 6:48pm Top

hazeljune - I agree about some books being too long. There are books that I hate to see end, but there are also those that could have been told in far fewer pages.

162millhold
Jul 30, 2012, 1:25pm Top

Amen!

163Rozax
Aug 2, 2012, 6:04am Top

*cough*Wheel of Time*cough*

I, too, have a problem with really thick books, especially when they're bound in a flimsy paperback.  It's going to turn into two volumes with age, so they might as well sell it as such and spare us the grief!

That could be another first-world grievance.

164Britt84
Aug 2, 2012, 12:04pm Top

I hate it when I'm reading a really good book, and I'm really into the story and totally caught up in it... And then it ends :( And it leaves you with this sad, empty feeling that it's all over...

165Rozax
Aug 2, 2012, 5:07pm Top

It always saddens me when a book I like is no longer in print.

166mysterymax
Aug 2, 2012, 9:18pm Top

- or only available in mass market paperback...

167Rozax
Aug 3, 2012, 2:25am Top

That, too!

168clamairy
Aug 3, 2012, 10:11am Top

I hate that my vision is going. I can read fine when I don't have my contacts in, but then I can't see clearly a foot past my nose. Cheaters only help so much with mono vision contacts. I'd need two very different strengths in my right and left lenses.

169JPB
Aug 3, 2012, 11:10am Top

#168 This is one reason I never wore contacts. I'm always taking my glasses on and off, and have ever since I got them, depending on the situation. (And yes, I have 'bifocals' - or whatever the 'no-line-on-lens' variant is called)

170jenniebooks
Aug 3, 2012, 11:40am Top

when ideas are not clearly explained so reading some books are pointless.

171JPB
Aug 3, 2012, 12:44pm Top

What I hate most about reading is all those words rushing into your eyes. Depending on the font, some letters of the words, especially "w"s and "m"s - those sharp ends of the letters can hook on the iris of your eye and create a small rip in it, as they enter your head.

172mysterymax
Aug 3, 2012, 1:13pm Top

>171 JPB: oh good one!

173barney67
Edited: Aug 3, 2012, 1:53pm Top

I can't stand that books are so much longer than they used to be. I attribute this, for one thing, to lack of editing.

When I say "editing," I mean something more than running your manuscript through a spell checker. There is line by line editing, for grammar and whatnot, but also the more complicated process of asking, "Is this part necessary" or "Can this be told in a briefer way" or "Has this point been made to death?" I don't think any substantive editing goes on anymore by the author or at the publishing house. If I'm going to spend my precious, dwindling time with a long book, it better be something substantial (say, a work by Churchill). I'm not going to read fantasy doorstops. The longest book I've read is Cryptonomicon at over 1000 pages, but Neal if you want me to read anything else by you, you have to cut things down.

It seems that for most books, fiction or nonfiction, 300+ pages is the norm. Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby and The Old Man and the Sea all come in paperback at about 200 pgs or under. Are you telling me that today's authors are so precious that they can't eliminate anything from their books? Is every word and passage necessary? Every scene, every character? Are their words are so much more vital than the efforts of Salinger and Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who accomplished what they wanted to in so much less space?

I'm a huge fan of Gene Wolfe but in On Green's Jungles, 20 pages from the end of a 400 page book, he was still introducing new characters. And that was part two of a trilogy, which itself was part of the 10 (12?) volume Solar Cycle stretching from the early 80s to the early 2000s. And he expected me to remember everything from one book to the next…

The situation is much worse in nonfiction. There was a biography a few years ago of Charles Schulz. It was 800 pages long (and got many negative reviews). 800 pages for Charles Schulz? Maybe for Lincoln or Churchill, but not for the author of Peanuts…

An example of a good, well-written, well-edited book is Steve Martin's Born Standing Up. It is a memoir about his years as a standup comedian. It's not a confession. He tells us neither how he lost his virginity nor what kind of cereal he eats. He makes his points precisely and then moves on. The sentences are quite eloquent. There is no wasted space. It is a funny, moving portrait of a certain period of time. Martin has written for The New Yorker, so I would not be surprised if someone from The New Yorker had a hand in editing it. At one time The New Yorker was the place to go if you wanted to be a writer, and they had a serious reputation. This was way before the Tina Brown years. Anyway, Martin did a very fine job.

Another book that I think near perfect is Dickens's A Christmas Carol, which is ironic considering that all of his other books are very long. A Christmas Carol wastes no time, every sentence tells. It is a masterpiece of storytelling, brevity, and precision. A profound book by a serious artist and craftsman.

174hazeljune
Aug 3, 2012, 5:23pm Top

A friend of mine presented a book he had just written to his editor, this person said cut it down from 600 pages to 300, a big shock to the author, however after much cutting it has been done, let's hope that this will help, with the publishing.

175bluesalamanders
Edited: Aug 3, 2012, 6:25pm Top

I can think of a lot of books that could easily have improved with a hundred pages cut, but cutting half the book seems extreme! I hope he was able to hold the integrity of the story together with that much taken out.

176hazeljune
Edited: Aug 3, 2012, 6:40pm Top

175-- He (my brother) said that it was very hard, but he took the editor's advice as he has great respect for him as a published writer himself. Also the book is aimed at the Young Adult readers, a long book may not attract them!!!

177MerryMary
Aug 3, 2012, 6:54pm Top

Maybe the part that was cut can be the seed of a second book.

178bluesalamanders
Aug 3, 2012, 7:07pm Top

176 hazeljune - 600 pages is long for a YA book, but there are plenty of 400-500 page YA books these days. I'm not suggesting it was bad advice, since I haven't read the book, I just hope it had more to do with tightening the story and wasn't just "the book is too long, slash it".

179maggie1944
Aug 3, 2012, 8:55pm Top

I may be in the minority here but I like a good, long book. I like 500+ pages. I like to dive into a story, with complex characters, and many streams of story to follow. I do not read for the sake of good literature, I read because I want a good story. I do not like short stories, and I guess you might have guessed that!

180sandragon
Aug 3, 2012, 10:03pm Top

I like long books as well, and have several waiting for me to find the time to really sink into and enjoy them. Unfortunately I don't seem to have the time these days and more often than not I have been selecting shorter books to read for faster gratification. It's been easier to get into shorter books and to keep track of events and characters.

181hazeljune
Aug 3, 2012, 10:25pm Top

180..I am with you!!

182Rozax
Aug 3, 2012, 10:32pm Top

I still fantasize over the length of Robert Jordan's books if he were forced to cut out all the sniffing, shifting, glaring, sniping, smoothing, hissing, tugging, spitting...

183Sakerfalcon
Aug 4, 2012, 4:42am Top

I like long books if they are long for good reason - as Maggie says, complex characters and a many-stranded plot. I agree with Rozax that the Wheel of Time series is a perfect of example of books that are long for no good reason. New plotlines were thrown in at random, new characters added rather than making the (many) existing ones grow and develop . . . I too had to stop reading them, which is a shame as the first couple had so much promise.

184Choreocrat
Aug 4, 2012, 5:01am Top

There are definitely times I like a good slow-burn on a book's build up (i.e. making you go "oh, just kiss already!", or leaving you with so many tantalising clues but no clear answer until you say 'of course!'). I've really enjoyed some books that read like a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But it has to be continuously building; dead space is definitely annoying. They're like a long work day.

185Britt84
Edited: Aug 4, 2012, 6:47am Top

It sometimes seems like fantasy authors are just having a game of 'who can write the longest book/series', and are just increasing the length for no other reason than just to make it more lengthy...
But indeed I do like long books if there's plenty of stuff going on and it stays interesting...

186jillmwo
Aug 4, 2012, 8:01am Top

I must have missed this thread when it first launched so I have only just discovered everyone's (quite understandable) gripes. Personally, my pet peeves include:
--books by favorite authors that are *not* available in electronic form (Ursula K. LeGuin, I'm looking at you!)
--book sellers who tell you something is in hardcover when what they really mean it's in that dreadful plastic library binding
--books that are too long. Sometimes my life is such that reading a book all the way through is a major achievement. At times like that, 300 pages is too long! I want books like Agatha Christie's older work - short and readable in an afternoon. Note to lurking publishers - the regency romances that you used to put out were ideal "read in a single sitting" books.
--books that are too short. Dear authors, really? 150 pages? You couldn't have spent some time and fleshed your world for me a bit more? (The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi s an excellent example of this.)
--CHEAP PAPER STOCK. This is a serious one for me. Dear heaven, if you can't afford to produce a book with anything better than newsprint, get the &*% out of the business. It's an embarrassment to the industry. (Conversely, this is why I love the Calla Editions titles. They are beautiful, heavy, quality books the way Nature intended books to be.)

I'm sure there are more than will occur to me but this is what I could immediately muster at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.

187C4RO
Aug 8, 2012, 8:36am Top

A new book arrived for me from amazon last week. It's Maphead and the edges of the pages are uncut! My lovely hardback book just looks scruffy and (I am aware this is utterly childish) I don't want to read it anymore- I didn't realise I had such a strong view that trimming is important!

I also get mildly annoyed when I cannot get series in a set by matching cover/ art/ edition. I have 1/6 of the Patrick Tilley Amtrak Wars wrong edition and it bugs me- but I can't justify to myself to buy another.

188Marissa_Doyle
Aug 8, 2012, 11:43am Top

I wonder if this is just me...I've been reading more on my e-reader this summer, and hate the fact that I don't seem to retain what I've read as well as I do if I read a physical book. I tend to have a strong visual memory and remember where in a book events take place, so I wonder if that's part of it? It'll stink if I need to start going out and re-buying books I've already downloaded for my Nook... :(

189jillmwo
Aug 8, 2012, 9:41pm Top

Marissa: There are various studies out there that suggest pros and cons associated with reading digital content on dedicated e-readers. One theory about retention is that the brain may be so befuddled by the flash of the screen refresh when you turn the page that it interferes with memory. Other studies don't find any correlation between the screen refresh and retention. Other theories suggest that it has to do with screen size and the way your brain holds on to the image of the page and remembers. Most people don't read books on their smart phone screens (although it can be done.)

So the short answer to your query is that we need more research before we'll know for sure. Best buy those print volumes as a back-up!

190maggie1944
Aug 8, 2012, 9:48pm Top

I think I am becoming an equal opportunity forgetting person: doesn't matter if it is ebook or RL book, I do forget a lot of what I read But there are still some that are unforgettable! Life by Keith Richards, I'll not forget. and it was an ebook.

as you say: more research

think I'll go do some right now

LBJ book is RL, hard to hold, it is so fat, I'll have to go sit on my bed and hope I stay awake for a bit

191Rozax
Aug 12, 2012, 12:25am Top

I'm miffed that I can't read a book and watch something at the same time.  I'm reacquainting myself with Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (what cheese!) and reading Steve Jobs' biography.

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