Top Ten Tuesday- Top Bookish Peeves

image from that artsy reader

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I love all kinds of books and stories. There are very few things in a book that annoy me so this Top Ten Tuesday challenge may prove difficult. I feel I should add a disclaimer- I would love to finish writing my book one day and apologise if any of my peeves end up in my unfinished book!

Ridiculous age gaps.

I’m not talking about an age gap of eight years in a couple or fifteen or even fifty. No, I’m talking about an age gap of about 100 years or more. Usually, it is some guy who has been turned into a vampire a few centuries ago or an immortal being about five hundred years old who falls in love with a young person. What do they have in common- especially if the younger person is their teens? I don’t care how young they look, someone who is that old will have a lot of baggage and experience and that is going to put a downer on any relationship.

Soulmates ( aka the one, fated mate, mate, etc)

There are so many great stories out there where there is so much drama, action, intrigue, and then suddenly the soulmate appears and a very forced romance ensures. Sometimes a soulmate gives a story an extra layer but more often than not it is an excuse to create a sense of strong connection without any of the work that really goes into building a relationship. Perfect when said soulmate is abducted, in peril, close to death to push our main character to act.

Books in the present tense.

I’m not sure why books written in the present tense annoy me but it just does. Some authors can do this really well and it works with the story like the Hunger Games. But most of the time it feels like the character is just narrating what they are doing or thinking instead of telling me their story.

Dead Child syndrome

I don’t mind crime thrillers where the main story is about a murdered child or the books that show how parents cope with the loss of a child. However I really dislike the books that kill a child or two to shock a reader or to make a character more sympathetic, to create dramatic tension,to justify a character acting a particular way or just to shock the reader.

Graphic descriptions of violence without a content warning 

I like any graphic violence off the page, my own imagination can fill in the blanks, but I know everyone is different and some would rather read this. A simple solution would be to indicate this on the cover, so I can be prepared to skip a few pages. But deep down, I must admit to wondering- Do we really need such vivid descriptions of violence?

Unpronounceable fantasy names

Usually seen in high fantasy including names without vowels, polysyllabic names with about ten syllables, names with apostrophes eg Kyqd’yf

Women in historical fiction acting out of keeping for the times

I like strong, independent women but unfortunately, this is a recent trend. So, when a woman in medieval times can fight off men with Karate moves or can overtly and confidently speak her mind in a room full of powerful men to influence politics and isn’t the queen- I need to have context. How is she able to do this and why hasn’t she been tried for witchcraft or locked in a convent? Dorothy Dunnet does this well. Her women are strong, powerful, physically capable but we know how and why they can do this.

Dystopian Fantasy where the women are still downtrodden

There are far too many dystopian books where women are still unequal, without rights, treated as breeding machines, have no voice, converted into robots, etc. In fact, whenever I think there aren’t any more ways a person can imagine a way to degrade or erode women’s rights any further, out pops a book with a new way.

Book series that don’t have an end to the main story

I love book series and become invested in the stories and the fate of the characters, so I find it incredibly frustrating when a series remains incomplete or when the series continues but with resolution to an important subplot or secondary character.

Random points of view (POV). 

I don’t mind a first-person POV or a third-person POV or many POVs in a book but I really dislike it when books suddenly add in one chapter from a random POV from another main character or secondary character and then we never see their POV again. I find this more frustrating when the random POV character’s voice is interesting and their story so much more fascinating.

Am I just nit-picking or are some of these peeves on your list too?

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday- Top Bookish Peeves

  1. To go with your dead child trope is the dead parent trope. It seems that YA is full of books where the main character has only one parent because the other died at some point. This year I’ve read at least four books with a parent who died before the book and another where the dad wasn’t in the book anywhere, and the mom died before the third chapter.
    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!


  2. These are all great! Unpronounceable names make me a little nuts, because having to stop and try to sound them out totally distracts from immersion in the story. And yes about women in historical novels acting inconsistently for the time! It’s fine if they do, if there’s a reason and if the reactions around them are reasonable for the time (like Claire in Outlander), but otherwise, it feels too unrealistic and is yet another distraction.


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