Monday, November 19, 2018

Ramblings from the Stacks - Bookish Pet Peeves

Today I want to talk about bookish pet peeves.  And I don't mean plot pet peeves (though the big three are love triangles, secret children, and massive coincidences that solve the mystery) I mean pet peeves involving an actual physical book.  I've been getting a lot of books from the library lately and I used to basically live in this little used bookstore right off campus in college so I have lots of experience with used books.  99% of the time that's fine.  Sure the spines might be a little more floppy, the edges of the page might be a bit yellow and there may be a crinkle or two but that doesn't keep me from enjoying the book.  However, every once in awhile something happens that makes me pledge to either switch to strictly ebooks or only buy new books.  Here are a few examples:

1.  A Strong Smell - I don't mean a good old book smell I mean a not book related knock you over kind of smell.  I once got a really hard to find Agatha Christie reference book off of the used books on Amazon.  I was so excited when the package arrived that I ripped it open and then almost immediately fell over.  I swear the cigarette smoke smell just about jumped out and punched me in the nose.  The book lived in the garage with a fan on it for about a month before I gave up and ended up finding another copy.  I also somehow brought home a book from a used bookstore that I'm pretty sure spent most of its life in some kind of restaurant that used a lot of onions.  These books just weren't readable.

2.  Writing That Obscures the Text - I don't really love writing in a book but it drives me crazy when it's over the text or words are crossed out.  A few weeks ago I checked out a book from the library and ALL the cuss words were scribbled out.  I don't require profanity in my books but the scribbling out was so distracting that I ended up returning the book essentially unread.

3.  Underlining/Highlighting Text - This is pretty similar to my issue above but I find underlined or highlighted text so distracting!  I end up completely pulled out of the story and end up focusing on what was underlined and the possible reasons why.  

4.  Massive Mass Market Paperbacks - I don't seem to see this as much anymore but I always hate those massive paperbacks that are as thick as they are all tall.  They're impossible to hold (I have teeny tiny hands though so maybe it's just me) and are just so unwieldy I end up giving up on them.  Paperbacks should have a page limit before they have to transition to trade paperback size.

5.  A Loose Binding - Now I don't mind a broken spine.  In fact I've bought books where the spine is so broken you can't even read the title anymore.  However, when I go to turn a page and the page comes out in my hand I'm officially done.  Interestingly enough, this particular pet peeve seems to be genetic as the Tornado loses his mind when this happens with a library book!  No matter how much he's been wanting to read the book he can't continue to read it.

What are your bookish pet peeves?


  1. Cigarette stench and dampness are two things I can't put up with in a second hand book. I won't buy a book with writing scribbled all over the pages, or underlining and highlighting, as that would be too distracting for me. If people choose to do that to their own books, that's fine but I don't want to buy that copy! I also won't buy anything where the pages are loose and falling out as it would bug me sideways and there is no way to know if all the pages are still there!

  2. I hate tiny print and cover copy that gives away too much or compares the book to some bestseller it does not resemble at all. . .

  3. Oh, you really nailed it. I have bought books, and other items, that have a strong smoke smell and it's awful. Money wasted. And someone crossing out cuss words in a library book?!!
    That's criminal in my opinion. Seriously, it's not their property and they have no business doing that. If you are offended by cuss words then they should get off their high horse and return the book. Choose your authors carefully.

    Wow, you got me on a rant!

  4. These are all good ones! Really small print is something I find annoying. I also hate when I order a new book and it comes messed up. Bugs me big time!

  5. Great post. I hate when I get library books and there are crumbs or any kind of food between the pages. I find that disgusting which is why I love borrowing ebooks so much. Before ebooks, I hated borrowing from the library for that reason.

  6. Ugh I'm with you on strange smells and loose bindings especially. And every once in a while I get a library book that is just kinda nasty. I mean don't eat over the books people haha! So yeah... I look library books over pretty well now before checking them out.

  7. Yes, yes, yes! Stinky books are not good. I also can't deal with books that have crumbs falling out of them from the previous reader's lunch. Yuck! Writing and highlighting can be too much to deal with as well.

  8. My pet peeve lately has been used books from Better World Books that aren't identified as previous library books, especially the "used very good" rated books. To me if a book has library stamps in it and stickers on the cover it isn't "very good" no matter how great shape it's in. I won't buy the books noted as previous library books, so it ticks me off when they arrive that way. I also hate it when the black marker ticks on Book Outlet books are on the top of the pages so you can see them on the bookshelves and not on the bottom. 😑

  9. Ugh when books smell... that's the worst. I've had to return books to the library without reading them because of the smell on many occasions.