University started again this week and university means homework, which is basically my way of saying that I’m drowning in it. Honestly, if you want free time, don’t study math (but math is awesome, so maybe you still should 😉 ). Anyway, the homework situation means that I don’t have much time to blog, so I thought I’d give you something simple and hopefully less wordy this week: here are a few of my bookish pet peeves. I’m not going to be focusing on anything content-related, just some physical things about books that annoy me to no end. Publishers out there, please stop doing this!
#1 Books in a series that don’t match
My bookshelves suffer from this quite a lot and it never fails to drive me nuts. The reasons for the books not matching are quite different. First, there are the cover changes. For some reason, someone decides a book needs a different cover and then refuses to print the rest of the books with matching covers. This hasn’t happened to me that often, but one of the more recent examples I can think of is Cinda Williams Chima’s Shattered Realms Series. The first book, Flamecaster, has an absolutely beautiful cover that matches the books in the Seven Realms Series, but the following two books have absolutely hideous covers that seemed to have been ripped off from Throne of Glass. Not everything needs glaring people with weapons on it, marketing people! I loved the old cover style, but the new ones… Why did you do it? However, at least in this case, the books are still the same height and the spines look similar. What bothers me even more is when this isn’t the case. Most often, this happens when I own the first few books in a series in paperback (I prefer to buy them in paperback because they’re cheaper that way, and buying cheaper books means that you can buy more of them). Then the next book is released in hardcover. Of course, I could technically wait until the paperback comes out, but if it’s a book in one of my favorite series, I need it right away! However, why can’t publishers just make paperbacks and hardcovers in one series the same height? This worked perfectly well with the Kane Chronicles – I own The Red Pyramid in paperback and the rest of the series in hardcover, but they match perfectly! Also, the mismatching thing happens a lot when I order books from amazon, because for some reason, amazon does not always send you the edition that you actually ordered. For that reason, I own several series where half of the editions are US editions and the other half UK editions, which, of course, don’t match in either cover or height. However, an even worse travesty is when one country produces paperbacks in different sizes (I’m looking at you, Queen of the Tearling trilogy and Falling Kingdoms series!). It looks terrible when one of the books is suddenly twice as large as the rest, even though they are supposedly the same edition. And there’s no good excuse for doing it, since the books are still technically of the same format… Worst, however, is when all of these things happen at once. The prime example for this are my copies of the books in the Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry. None of them match. They all have different covers, different heights, and different formats. By looking at them, you can’t even tell they’re part of the same series.
#2 Pictures of people on the cover, especially people’s faces
If you want to make an ugly book cover, using a photograph of a person is guaranteed to do it. I don’t know why it annoys me so much. I don’t really mind if there are illustrations of people on the cover, so I don’t think it’s because it stops me from imagining for myself what the character looks like. Somehow, there’s just something about this that makes a book cover absolutely hideous…
#3 Movie tie-in editions
Most often, these are particularly horrible because they suffer from the people-on-the-cover syndrome mentioned above. But even for those books that don’t do this, I still don’t like the movie editions much. Usually, they have glaring words on them that this book is “now a major motion picture” and the cover is about a million times uglier and less creative than the original. Plus, I don’t see why you need them. Anyone willing to read the book is smart enough to recognize it without the movie cover.
#4 When the book’s front cover doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the book
This is also something where I wonder who on Earth had the stupid idea to start this trend. What is the point of leaving that strip at the edge of the cover? I really don’t like this, though I also can’t give you an objective reason why. I just think it looks ugly.
#5 Stickers on the cover
I don’t think this one needs much explanation – who wants an ugly sticker saying something like “now a major motion picture”, “50% off”, or “bonus content inside” covering up the pretty cover underneath? And if you’re too lazy to remove them properly (that is, with a hair dryer – trust me, this works!), they leave a nasty residue on your book.
#6 Fake Stickers
While stickers are annoying, at least you can remove them if you want to. The fake sticker, however, is the truly devious evolution of the sticker – it’s printed onto your book, so there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Whhhhyyy? Why do this?
Yes, I do agree that footnotes provide really interesting background information. The problem is, though, that I always feel compelled to read them and when I do, I get torn from my reading flow. This is especially horrible when the footnotes aren’t on the page itself, but somewhere in the back of a book. But even if I just have to glance down, it really interrupts the narrative for me. Couldn’t this information just be put in an appendix or integrated in the story somehow?
#8 When fantasy books add the map later on in the series
I love maps! They’re super interesting and I always study them really closely while I read so that I’ll know the geography of the countries I’m reading about. However, if the first book doesn’t have a map, I start laying out things in my own head instead. Then, suddenly, in about book five, the publishers decide that a map might have been a good idea after all. And then it looks nothing like how I imagined things! I have to either ignore the map (which I don’t like because it’s now canon) or reimagine everything I read about earlier. Please, publishers – can’t you just include your map from book one onwards?
#9 “Unique” fonts for words that were created especially for a (most often) fantasy world
This is another thing that drives me absolutely nuts, especially when the fonts chosen are extremely weird and very noticeable. It distracts from the story, making me focus on the way the type is set instead, and it makes these words stick out unnecessarily. Aren’t these concepts supposed to be part of everyday life in this fantasy world? If so, why do they need all the special attention? A slightly less annoying version of this pet peeve is when the words are italicized or capitalized instead. It’s not as bad as the weird font, but still… Is this really necessary?
#10 The spoilery introduction
This mainly happens in classics, and I really hate it. Just because the book is older and I could technically have already heard about plot details, doesn’t mean I want to go into it knowing everything! I can still enjoy the book and be surprised, but the introduction ruins that by summarizing EVERYTHING that happens. If you do need to discuss all these plot details in order to show all your wise literary insight, could you please do it in an afterword? Plus, most introductions, even the spoilerless ones, are usually incredibly boring and could easily be left out…