Top 10 Tuesday — Book Turn-Offs

25 Apr

The topic for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday was a bit daunting for me. I like all genres and have a pretty high tolerance for pain when it comes to books. I almost never give up on a book, but persevere to the bitter end. LOL! So I really had to think about what makes me mad or at lest irritated with a book. Many of the things on my list are just petty little annoyances; one or two will make me put a book down. To check out book turn-offs for other bloggers, click HERE.


Top 10 Book Turn-Offs

Covers that don’t match the character descriptions. If a hero is always gazing into the amazing emerald eyes of his lady love, then please don’t feature someone with sapphire eyes on the cover. Just saying.

Descriptions of geographical locations that don’t match reality. Locations of streets and landmarks shouldn’t be tampered with. Don’t make a major interstate run east to west when it runs north to south.

Typos, lots of typos. I’m not sure what the culprit is when a book has an inordinate amount of typos (editor, author or autocorrect), but it takes me immediately out of the story.

Repeated phrases. Give your characters several actions, not just one — over and over again. One character repeatedly forked his hair. I assume he had a nervous habit that made him run his hands through his hair. I had images of him sticking silverware into his head. 😉

Characters that won’t talk to each other. Some books create tension by having characters misunderstand another’s actions/words/motives, but will not ask for clarification. Communication really is key in a relationship, especially for a frustrated reader.

Non-gender specific names. I know this is petty and shows my advanced age, but I get confused when all the characters have names that would be best used for surnames. Give me an Abigail and an Adam, not a McSweeny and Strait.

Hard to pronounce names. If a book is set in a far off historical time, it is of course appropriate to use names of the time. And fantasy novels probably do need names with an exotic feel. But if King Ythopud shows up, at least provide a pronunciation guide.

Cliff-hangers. While I am pretty tolerant of loose threads in a series, do not, I repeat, do not end with a cliff-hanger if you have no intention of writing book 2!

Bad language. I’m not including occasional mild profanity, but the hard-core stuff. Use of F-bombs will make me close a book.

Bad theology. Whether it is CBA or ABA, a book that promotes itself as inspirational should be consistent and accurate. I am harder on Christian fiction, because it should be especially sensitive to portraying God’s truth. If it’s not scriptural, I will probably put that book down.


What about you?

What is your book turn-off?


6 Responses to “Top 10 Tuesday — Book Turn-Offs”

  1. Suzanne Sellner April 25, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    Being an English teacher, I have little tolerance for blatant errors in grammar–subjects and verbs that don’t agree, incorrect pronouns, etc. I’m tolerant of a few typos, but multiple errors distract me greatly from the story and spoil it for me. I liken it to sitting down to a gourmet meal in a nice restaurant and having a cockroach scamper across my plate.

    • rbclibrary April 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

      LOL and eww, Suzanne! 😉 I hate when I make grammatical and typographical mistakes on the blog. I cringe sometimes. They seem to sneak in no matter how many times I read over a post. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Paula April 25, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    I soooo agree with you turn offs. My pet peeves are the unpronounceable names ( you’re trying so hard to pronounce it in your head that it takes away from the story) or two characters that have similar names– so you forget who is who. And — the one about repeating phrases over and over— where’s the creativity? And the not voicing things and making the other character guess what you REALLY mean, and mis- interpreting what the other character means because he won’t open his mouth and tell her because he’s too timid and doesn’t want her to mis-interpret? See oxymoronish!! ( I made that up)!
    Not really a turn off but I DO notice if the character’s description doesn’t match the cover model!
    How about anachronistic? Would this character really have these political and social views in this time period? That’s what turned me off of Murdoch Mysteries on TV! I mean, yes, your character might have been a pioneer of a cause but don’t impose modern, political correctness on historical characters. This kind of goes along with being Theologically sound! Enough of my soapbox! Love your list!

    • rbclibrary April 25, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

      You are right about anachronistic elements. Not sure I see much of that, although some historical fiction characters may have very modern viewpoints. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Barbara H. April 25, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Bad language or explicit sexual scenes are the biggest turn-offs for me – I have abandoned more than one book for those reasons. I agree about bad theology in Christian books. I usually keep reading just to see if someone in the book is going to realize it’s wrong and correct it, but if it’s obvious the author really is promoting something false, I’ll probably drop it. Funny about the names. 🙂 I’d add not to make characters in one book have similar names – it gets confusing (One book I read had two or three characters’ names that started with K, and I think two were even more similar – Kari and Karen or something like that. I kept getting them mixed up). I’ve thought that about communication, too – I know misunderstandings are part of the plot and part of life, but it gets to me when the characters won’t talk to each other about it.

    • rbclibrary April 25, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

      I should have included sexually explicit scenes too! The miscommunication bothers me in movies as well. It seems to be a common thing for romances, which may explain why that is my least favorite genre. Thanks so much for your input!

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