Sometimes I read painful tropes and bookish turn-offs that make me want to dive into the Marina Trench* and EAT A RAW LIVE OCTOPI** instead of suffering through them. Yes, this is slightly dramatic. But, hello?! I am a writer and a reader. And when one surrounds themselves with storytelling they’re prone to say wild things.***
* I am, actually, aware that there’s probably no octopi in the Marina Trench. I just wanted to say Marina Trench. So I’m good now, thank you.
** I hate seafood. Why am I talking about seafood? Do you see the pain I am threatening myself with here?
*** No? Just me? SHUSH I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.
I’m writing a list of bookish things I’d like to quit…so I’m doing a mixture of bookish turn-offs and tropes I dislike and just all round random things that turn me into a pineapple of rage and destruction.
I have also posted about 10 Bookish Turn Offs before, but it was ages ago and pfft, who even remembers what I posted about in January? Not me.
This Week’s Prompt: Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit
1. ROMAN-INSPIRED FANTASY WORLDS
You will find me going “Nunnnngh” if I catch a book promising a “vicious and brutal Roman-esque” fantasy. PLEASE STOP. WE HAVE HAD SO MANY. Plus these supposed “Roman” fantasy worlds only ever zero in on the brutality of the Romans. What about their genius?!? Romans didn’t JUST stab people’s eyeballs and invent Caesar Salad. They built roads and plumbing systems and art. They invented delicious food. They had a GREAT army that had such genius strategies no one could beat them for so many years.
Let’s just agree they did more than burn things, eat bread, and stab people, okay?! BOOKS. DON’T FAIL US WITH JUST VIOLENT GRATIFICATION. We demand more! Or, well, I demand more. Because I am demanding.
2. WHEN A CHARACTER IS SUPPOSEDLY “NEFARIOUSLY EVIL” BUT THEY’RE TOTALLY NOT AND ALL THEY DO IS CUDDLE CUTE PUPPIES.
Maybe I am just a cold hearted pineapple troll, but, when a book claims to have characters who have turned to “the dark side”…those characters need to ACTUALLY BE DARK. I read too many books with assassins who don’t kill anyone and villains who only fight other villains, aka end up being heroes. Yes, they can cuddle the puppies…but how about either a) not pitching the book as “dark” or b) actually having the characters have questionable morales?!?!
3. WHEN A BOOK DOUBLY UNDERLINES THE DEFINITIONS OF “BEAUTY”.
It actually surprises me when I pick up a newly published book and it STILL is tramping the whole “definition of beauty” is. You have to be: tall, flawless skin, blue eyes, big boobs, so many muscles, blonde, and oh don’t forget those perfect athletic skills. WHO MADE THESE STANDARDS?! Because I’m about to throw a fruit salad in their face.
I get that this is the “old way” and a ton of books will voice these uneducated opinions — but new books have no excuse!! I still read books where “geeks” are “remade” into supermodels before they’re deemed hero material. While I do love Spark…I’m still angry about the heavy emphasis on physical beauty.
4. WHEN THE COVER IS BEAUTIFUL AND THE BOOK IS NOT.
Is this a book trope?? Can I count it?? OH WHATEVER. I DO WHAT I WANT. Needless to say this is always a gargantuan disappointment. How dare you mislead me with your beautiful cover and your boring insides, you squid of a book.
5. WHEN THE BOOK PROMISES SOMETHING AWESOME BUT LEAVES IT ON THE BACK BURNER.
Dragons are the most common squibble with this. Why do books declare themselves dragon books and then…not have very much dragonishness in them!?!? What is this?!?! DO YOU WANT TO BREAK MY HEART WHILE I’M STILL YOUNG AND IMPRESSIONABLE? This also happens when assassins don’t assassin or thieves don’t steal stuff or kings/queens rise to power and don’t deal in politics.
Mostly I’m ranting here because A Dance With Dragons is the 5th Game of Thrones book I’ve read and there are like no dragons in it. WHAT IS THIS LIFE.
6. WHEN THERE IS NO CAKE.
Books with no cake are disappointments to everything and everyone and, oh gosh, I need to take a moment to compose myself after even thinking about this horrible letdown
7. WHEN BEING A SHY AND QUIET PERSON IS “FIXED”.
Because it’s not a thing that needs to be fixed! You CAN be quiet and you CAN be shy and you CAN live a happy life and do awesome things. I read so many books where the shy person finds friends and finally “gets a life” and…no?? Friends are nice. And shy people can make friends. But having friends does NOT turn said person into an extrovert. If a book introduces me to an introvert and by the end they’re an extrovert, I feel angry and sad for the character — because they’re not living for themselves. They’re clearly changing for others. WRONG AND WRONGER.
8. WHEN A BOOK IS PRAISED BECAUSE IT’S “DIVERSE” AND NOT BECAUSE IT’S A GOOD BOOK.
I will say this and I AM NOT ASHAMED! Diversity is important and books need it — but I also think we can get a little crazily over-the-top about it. To the point where I see diverse books being promoted more, purely for being diverse, and NOT because they’re well written amazing books.
9. WHEN RETELLINGS START OFF BY SAYING “THE ORIGINAL WAS WRONG”.
Well. RUDE. When I read a retelling, it’s usually because I LOVED the original. And then this little twitchy upstarting retelling says “But the original was stupid and I am everything”…I just want make turn said book into a paper hat.
As much as Splintered is my favourite book ever and aaaaall the stars, I’m still annoyed that it kept underlining that “Lewis Carroll got it wrong”. NO.
10. WHEN THE BOOK ISN’T WRITTEN BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER.
Agh, this is just a disgrace. Whyyyyy aren’t all the books by Maggie Stiefvater??? WHY.