Ten Bookish Pet Peeves #TopTenTuesday #LetsDiscuss2021

October 5, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Pet Peeves

10 Bookish Pet Peeves

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top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Pet Peeves!

2021 discussion challenge graphic (a blue bird and red fox and wall clock and stack of books graphic)

I’m also linking up with the October 2021 Discussion Challenge.

Yes. I do have bookish pet peeves!
They do affect my reading experiences!

Do you have bookish pet peeves? Do we share any pet peeves?

I realize that these are only my personal preferences and opinions and you may or may not agree. That’s OK. Reading is a personal experience.

*Reviews are linked as available (and may contain Amazon affiliate links).

Bookish Pet Peeves

(in the general order of their annoyance factor)


Heavy Handed Author Agendas

Pointed political comments or agendas are noticeable to readers and are unnecessary and offensive (to me) in an escapist read.

I’m including here the occasional modern thinking I see in historical fiction novels, especially about women’s issues. (***edited to add: a commenter offered the thought that progressive thinking among women was more prevalent than we’ve been led to believe…and I think I agree with this because as an older person I remember when my younger self thought “feminist” thoughts and never voiced them because it just wasn’t spoken about at the time. My annoyance in reading comes from an author’s voice breaking through rather than from genuine actions of the character…..this distinction is subtle (maybe it boils down to “show not tell”), but I can feel it when it happens because my eyes roll involuntarily!)


Excessive Profanity

Profanity of a religious nature is especially offensive to me.

If every other sentence contains the F word, I worry about the author’s limited vocabulary.


No Punctuation of Dialogue

This trend is extremely annoying because the text is so much more difficult to read and comprehend (in my opinion).


Detailed and Graphic Open Door Romance or Crude Humor

Some books need to be more clearly labeled Erotica.


Heavily Character-Driven With Minimal Plot

I need SOME plot, some internal conflict, some evidence of moving forward….in other words, I need a dynamic, round character who grows and develops. Character-driven is hit or miss for me.


Pedantic (Tell Not Show)

Authors, don’t tell me what or how to think or explain what just happened! Trust your reader!


Overly Emotional

I can’t prove it, but I feel like some authors manipulate readers to ugly cry.


Too Long

If it’s long, it better be good! No backstories for the backstories or stories within stories!


Calling It In

Authors that write a book a year without a substantial story to tell mystify me.


Overly Written

Descriptions and details can be overdone! I do not need to know the exact angle of the teacup!

Bonus Pet Peeves!

Authors, please stop using “She released the breath she didn’t know she was holding”….or some version of this! Definitely cringe worthy.

Titles that make no sense in the context of the story or are taken from one obscure line of text.

***I’m afraid now that I’m on a roll and can’t stop!


I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my bookish opinions!
What are your bookish pet peeves?
Do we share a pet peeve?

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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  1. I totally agree, I need plot! I kind of disagree on taking a more modern stance on certain issues in historical fiction, because I think there were a lot more people with progressive views in the past than are often given credit for. I agree, you don’t want to be hit over the head with it, but I don’t think including characters with more progressive views in a historical fiction is a misrepresentation of the past or anything. I once DNF’ed a book precisely because of the lack of punctuation of dialogue, it totally threw me off. And yes, overly descriptive books are totally lost on me because I don’t picture anything in my head anyway!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/top-ten-tuesday-336/

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I appreciate your thoughts about modern thinking in histfic! I see your point…I think more progressive views were discouraged and women had to keep their views hidden. I can see in my reading how at times these views seem naturally revealed in a story and how at other times it appears as an author’s agenda. There’s a subtle difference and I think I’m reacting to the authors voice coming through rather than the views expressed by the women themselves! Maybe I need to edit my post to reflect this distinction! Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

      • No problem! I definitely see what you’re getting at too, you can tell when the author is trying too hard to push their agenda and when it feels more natural for the characters.

  2. I agree with all of these, especially 1 and 2 and 4. I have stopped reading some authors because of liberal use of the F word. It’s too much! Do people really talk that way? Maybe I live a sheltered life, but not my friends.

    • When readers comment on my review and say they never noticed the language, I think it points to a difference in real life experiences…..yeah, my circle of friends don’t use profanity as a part of regular conversation so it’s an assault to my ears. Maybe it’s a generational thing! Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  3. I really enjoyed this and I agree 100% with each one. My biggest reading pet peeve would also be an open and obvious message, particularly one that pushes a certain political/social agenda. Every writer has a worldview and that worldview impacts what they write about and how they execute their stories. But a story should be a story, not a sermon or a soapbox, and I feel it’s a good idea not to mix the two. A related pet peeve of mine would be when authors include “diverse” characters/elements, not because these are essential to the story, but simply to tick boxes off some imaginary “woke” checklist. Nothing will make me DNF a book faster that either an obvious soapbox narrative or phoned in “diversity.” Overall, great list! 🙂

  4. Poor editing is my biggest pet peeve. I read a lot of digital ARCs and I’m never sure if the mistakes I find are ones that will be corrected in the finished book or not. I’ve found a few of them remain in the finished product.

  5. I agree with almost all of these! Profanity and romance are my big ones. I think profanity is overused- especially in YA. But “romance” as a genre should be more descriptive. I totally agree! I don’t love a lot of romance details so if they are open door details, I skip!

  6. Carol, I agree with all of these, especially the open door romance and profanity. Those books usually end up being a DNF for me. Another of mine is bad grammar unless it makes sense in the character’s context. Do even editors not know basic English language usage rules??

    • It’s wonderful to hear from you Debi! Thanks for joining the conversation! Excessive profanity is lazy writing in my opinion and spoils good stories! Maybe it’s a generational thing?! Oops! Is my age showing??!! 😂

  7. I have never minded swearing in books. However, I just read Jay Kristoff’s new release and there must have been the F word on every page. It definitely felt too excessive and unnecessary.

  8. I agree with a few of these. For the language, it mostly doesn’t bother me. I use “colorful” language and am not offended by it. However, there are certain words that I believe go too far. And, you can tell if language has been thrown in just for shock factor, which brings me to one of my pet peeves. I don’t like anything thrown in for shock value, whether it’s curse words, violence, gore, sex, etc. It has to be necessary to to the story or it’s just reaction fodder.

    • That’s a good point! I remember reading a recent release by a popular author and I was quite enjoying the story when suddenly out of nowhere there was sexual child abuse. So shocking and I felt that the only reason to include it was for shock value. I haven’t read her new release because I no longer trust her!

  9. You’re definitely on a roll with this topic! Lack of punctuation or speech tags bug me too – I often think the author is trying to be too experimental.

  10. This is a great list Carol. I think for me, the profanity one is #1 on my list. I can stomach some if it moves the story along, but some books seem to use it for effect and it is used far too much. Punctuation is another big peeve of mine, but I definitely agree with all of these.

  11. A poorly written book packed with cliches, political agendas, and too many tropes is a book I will close without hesitation. While I do not mind tropes and even a few cliches used judiciously and cleverly, my number one no is an author who uses their story to advance personal beliefs. Unless it is a memoir, stay within your story’s world!
    Thanks for sharing your pet peeves. 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting Jaya! Yes…when I come for entertainment and escapism, I don’t appreciate thinly veiled political agendas! Solidarity! 💯

  12. […] I have a few, but probably the most unpopular is that I will DNF a book that has excessive profanity. I think it’s lazy writing. A writer wouldn’t overuse another word like he/she would overuse profanity. As a Christian, religious profanity is especially offensive. When I’ve noted excessive profanity in my reviews, I often have readers comment that they never noticed the profanity. I guess if this is a part of your every day vocabulary, you wouldn’t find it offensive or even notice. Check out Ten Bookish Pet Peeves for more book opinions. […]

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