Well, it's another Tuesday, so it's time for another Top Ten list. Today's topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is book turn-offs. We talked previously about things which make us not want to pick up a book, but this week we're discussing things that annoy us or make us consider shutting the book rather than continuing on. Here are some of mine:
1. Cheating: I can't root for a character who is unfaithful to their partner. This also applies to most love triangles (since it's hard to be in love with two people without cheating on one or both of them).
2. Lack of consequences: Of course, not every teenage girl who has sex gets AIDS, and not everyone who tries drugs will die a horrible death. Still, certain lifestyles have consequences, and it irks me to no end when characters (especially teenagers) take dangerous risks but nothing negative results from them. (This rant brought to you by the time I flipped through some Gossip Girl novels at my old job.)
3. Improbable knowledge: This especially bugs me with teenage characters. Even a precocious character should be given a level of knowledge that is realistic. There was a scene in a Robert Sawyer novel in which two 15-year-olds discussed why Tim Hortons restaurants don't have an apostrophe in the name. Seriously, what kind of teens know/care about this?
4. Unnecessary/graphic sex scenes: There are ways to portray intimacy that don't read like a Harlequin romance novel. I try to avoid books that are full of sex scenes, so it annoys me when a graphic one shows up out of nowhere.
5. Bad grammar or bad writing: This is what editors are for. Use them.
6. Weird/improbable names: Okay, so I'm a name nerd, but it bugs me when the characters are all 25 and older, but have names that are popular right now. One outlier is fine, but if a group of characters my age are named Isabella, Mason, Jackson, and Addison, I'll be tempted to throw the book across the room. A good author will do research on names from the period to make the book seem authentic. I also have only so much patience with weird names in fantasy.
7. Last names/first names: This is kind of weird and it's mostly found in thrillers, but it really bugs me when all the male characters are referred to by surnames, while women are referred to by their first names. This irked me so much reading The DaVinci Code.
8. Overly detailed or technical (to a point): This phenomenon was epitomized by Stieg Larsson. Thrilling series of books, but no one cares about the details of Lisbeth's computer. It also applies to clothing/brand names. I understand dropping brand names to show the character is wealthy, but I don't need to know every detail of their ensemble.
9. Unhealthy relationships: I can handle this if the author is obviously trying to show that the relationship is unhealthy. I can't do unhealthy relationships that are romanticized. (I'm looking at you, Twilight.)
10. Unlikeable characters: I have to like someone in the book to get into it. This is why I almost didn't finish Vanity Fair. I couldn't really stand anyone, with the slight exception of Dobbin.