No Thanks, My TBR List is Long Enough

no thanks round red grunge stamp

This week, we’re asked to name the types of books we dislike.

I generally stay away from anything that involves explicit gore. So that includes horror, a lot books set in war zones, and the gritty mystery/suspense books. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s because there’s so much horror in the news that I choose not to read about it for leisure. I’m not particularly a fan of paranormal stories, but I’m not sure if I dislike them as much as I’m not comfortable thinking about zombies, ghosts, and extra-terrestrial beings.

There isn’t much else that I won’t indulge in reading from time to time. Mystery, suspense, memoirs, travel books – I love them all. I remember a short time (before I started writing) when reading romances bothered me. And then I realized it wasn’t the genre I disliked, it was the rather common device used by some big-name authors in which the big strong hero basically abuses the heroine for half the book. That’s not romantic to me. Fortunately, there were enough others writing strong yet likeable heroes that I kept reading the genre.

But there’s another kind of book that I dislike reading no matter what genre, and sometimes it’s hard to identify these books until you start reading them. Put bluntly, I dislike any book that’s not well-written. With self-publishing becoming easier and more popular, it seems that I’m finding more and more books that should have had more fine-tuning than it got. I have several friends who have self-published, and I know that they put in considerable effort and pay reputable editors to make their books the best they can be. But every now and then I’ll read one that contain one or more of these annoying traits:

Books that contain glaring grammar and punctuation errors. I was asked to read and review a book for an author who said she couldn’t afford to pay an editor. After reading it, I wanted to tell her she couldn’t afford not to. Publishing a book is putting yourself in the public eye. If I’m playing in a concert, I take care with my appearance and prepare by practicing my music. I don’t want to sit on the stage and play a bunch of wrong notes. If I’m speaking to a group, I prepare my presentation and rehearse it ahead of time. I try to anticipate questions that people will ask. I research and double-check my facts to make sure what I’m saying is accurate and up to date. So why would I want to release a book that hasn’t been read and re-read by people who are trained to catch errors that readers will inevitably find?

Stories that don’t have a compelling central conflict. They don’t go anywhere and don’t hold my interest. I read a book that had an interesting premise: a groups of quilters had a deadline to complete a certain number of quilts in time for Christmas. I assumed that something would happen to complicate things and put the quilters’ project in jeopardy, but that didn’t happen. The quilts were all completed in time, with no problems. One of the quilters fell in love and her romance progressed just swimmingly. I was bored silly. I think sometimes people confuse a premise with a conflict. Life for our characters should not be smooth sailing. Even in fairy tales, there’s always the villain, whose job it is to keep the hero from finding his way to the princess.

Stories with a premise I can’t get behind. When I read a book, I generally finish it, even if I don’t like it. But there was one that I could NOT make myself finish. It was about a young west coast city girl who’d been told she was born in Texas, so she assumed she could move there and become a wrangler. Really? I’m supposed to be sympathetic to a girl who’s that naïve? I’ve read other books with premises that were strange, but this one was the most bizzare. 

So these are the things that make me dislike a book, regardless of genre. What makes you close a book and stop reading?


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in Patricia Kiyono, reading preferences, TBR List and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to No Thanks, My TBR List is Long Enough

  1. I have such a difficult time with spelling mistakes in books. I usually ignore them because I realize that it is easy for one or two to slip through the cracks but there were a few books that obviously had not been through an editor. The first chapter was filled with mistakes that were very easy to see, including messing up the character’s name. I deleted the book from my Kindle before I even got to the second chapter. I admit that I have skimmed reviews to see if there was mention of lack of editing.

    Lack of conflict would be boring. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book without some conflict.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Misspelling a character’s name would be a dead giveaway that not enough eyes read through the manuscript! Like you, when I read a book that bothers me with one of the above problems, I look at reviews.


  2. You about covered most of my pet peeves. Badly edited books are the worst,I agree. There are so many bad ‘vanity presses’ out there that will just take people’s money and not do a thing but bind the books for a terrible price.I had a horrible experience with the book of a young woman I h ave known most of her life here. Her book is terrible, with repetitions, mistakes in redundant paragraphs, no spelling and grammar corrections, plus her story is just plain silly and obvious. She did no research to back up an outrageous claim, and she kept describing poeple and things in the same manner again and again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Knowing the author makes it more difficult to give a negative review or feedback! Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and hope they hear the complaints elsewhere.


  3. Joselyn says:

    Poorly edited books is a huge pet peeve. I try to give them time to see if the story carries them, but quite often it does not.

    Editing is a hard job and it takes a lot of practice to catch the problems without stifling the author’s voice. I’ve had editors that rewrite every sentence, and editors that miss typos on the first page. Both ends of the spectrum are frustrating.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jeff7salter says:

    As often happens, you’ve written a column that almost exactly covers my views on pet peeves. And, again, I’m tempted to snatch your text and slap my own name upon it for my Hound Day post. Alas, I shall not (but it’s tempting).
    We differ somewhat on the type books we prefer not to read however. And I guess I’ll explore that a bit on Thursday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s