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This is an anything goes day for Armchair BEA so I’m going to talk about my pet peeves in books.

1.  Series that start book 2 (or 3 or 6) right up with no recap of the previous story

Dear authors,

I know that you have been living this story in your mind for years.  I know that you know these characters inside and out.  But, I’ve read a whole lot of books since the last time I encountered these characters and I don’t remember the names of the minor characters or what the major characters were talking about at the end of the last book.  I’m feeling good if I remember the major characters’ names.

A little recap would be nice.  You have options.  You could have a prologue to recap.  You could work major details into conversation in the first chapter.  You could have a character list before the story starts with a quick sum up of who they are and why they are important.  I’ve seen them all done well and unobtrusively.

This seems to be mostly a YA issue.  I read urban fantasy series and they do a great job with this.  With YA if I haven’t just read the previous book, I’m off to Wikipedia to figure out who these people are.

2.  Spoilers in the book

Everyone knows to look out for spoilers when reading about books but lately I’ve been blindsided twice by spoilers INSIDE the books.  These have both been nonfiction.

In one the pictures in the middle of the boom gave away the death of a major character.   I know that is the easiest place to put pictures but if you are going to do that then maybe put the at the end.

The other book was about a midwife in Africa.  In the first few pages it actually said this story was above her life until she died in childbirth.  That’s a huge thing to giveaway at the start of the story.  I never read the whole book.

What about you?  What makes you crazy about books?

6 Replies to “Armchair BEA – Bookish Pet Peeves”

  1. THE RECAP THING. AGREED. Ugh. My personal pet peeve is naive characters. Like something happens and YOU figure it out about 4 chapters before the actual character. GAH

  2. I have mixed feelings about recaps at the beginning of books. If I read books back to back and the recap is basically just an info dump, I can find that annoying. But if it’s been a while since I read the previous book and there’s just nothing to help me reorient myself, I can feel pretty lost. For those cases, Recaptains often helps since they summarize books with sequels. It’s very helpful 🙂

  3. Great topic. Along the lines of #2, I hate when publishers put spoilers in the summary for the book! I’ve seen this to varying degrees, but it’s always something that isn’t revealed in the text of the book until much later… meaning the author probably didn’t want it revealed until then.

    Also, when the summary and/or marketing material is purposely misleading just to sell more books. I mean, I know that’s their job… but how about getting the book into the hands of the right readers, instead of selling more copies up front but getting terrible word-of-mouth in the process.

  4. I agree with the first one. Sometimes I have waited a year or more for the next book. Sometimes I will reread previous books right before waiting for a new release, but most of the time, I don’t have the time to do that. And in a year, I have read over 100 books.

What Do You Think?