Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Things Getting in the Way of Reading.

I could probably just say REAL LIFE and leave it at that, but that wouldn’t fill up a top 10 list! So here we go — some specific reasons why I never end up reading quite as much as I’d like to:

1. Work. I mean, this one’s obvious. If only I had those extra 8 – 10 hours to do with as I pleased… just think of all the books!

2. Family time: Not that I mind! I love spending time with family.

3. Streaming: Netflix, I see you! I love my streaming habits, so I don’t regret the time I spend devouring good TV.

4. Blogging: It’s true — time spent blogging about reading means time not actually spent reading.

5. Jigsaw puzzles: I’ll go a month without taking out a puzzle, but once I start one, I’m pretty obsessive about working on it until I finish.

6. Other puzzles: I also have a subscription to New York Times games, so every day I need to do the daily crossword, the mini, Spelling Bee, and more.

7. Chatting with friends: Again, not that I mind! I usually listen to audiobooks during my walks, but that’s also a good time to catch up on phone calls and check in with people. Can’t do both at the same time.

8. Driving with others: Driving is my other prime audiobook listening time, but obviously, can’t do that when I’m giving someone else a ride.

I can’t really think of anything that truly gets in the way, so I’ll wrap up with:

9. Sleepiness: I always read in bed… but there are days where I just can’t stay awake enough to concentrate and have to give it up. Silly things like needing to sleep interfering with my reading habits!

10. Bad lighting: Just an occasional annoyance, but I can’t stand settling in at a coffee shop for a quick reading break, and then not being able to see the page in front of me!

What gets in the way of your reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Turn-Offs


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.

This week’s theme is Top Ten Book Turn-Offs. A few months ago, I wrote a list of the Top 10 Words/Topics That Make Me Run For The Hills, which focused on all the reasons why I wouldn’t pick up a book in the first place. This week’s theme is a bit different: There you are, happily reading a book, when — boom! — you come across a topic, a character, a situation that is just a total turn-off, and turns a decent reading experience into a big “ugh”, “argh!”, or “oh, yuck”. (I have the vocabulary of a four-year-old, it would seem).

My top 10 book turn-offs are:

1) Designer name-dropping: When the labels on the characters’ clothing become more important than the plot, I’m out.

2) Magic in a non-magical world: More specifically, magicians. Magicians drive me batty. I love magical/fantasy worlds, with great world-building and where the magical elements have rules and make sense. I can’t stand books set in our world that feature magicians who can just do… whatever it is that they can do. Magicians in non-magical worlds always leave me feeling that all stakes have been removed — since the magician can do anything, then nothing is really a risk and there’s no situation that someone can’t escape from… BY MAGIC. Just no.

3) Unnecessary grossness: Okay, I’ll read a good thriller or horror story, but that’s not the kind of grossness I mean here. Here’s a recent example: In a book that I enjoyed recently, I almost walked away early on after reading a scene in which the main character not only has a horrible hangover and is quite sick, but in which the author seems to feel the need to describe quite vividly what that being sick looks like. Yuck. (It was a good book and I’m glad I continued, but still. Yuck.)

4) “Successful” people who do stupid things: I just don’t buy it when a billionaire CEO sends inappropriate emails, repeatedly, without more than a passing concern that it’s maybe not a good idea to carry on that way. (See: Every single email sent by Christian Grey in 50 Shades.) (Yes, I read 50 Shades. And yeah, maybe it’s a bit weird that it’s the emails that bothered me, out of everything in the book. But this is my list, and I’m sticking with it.)

5) Stalkerish/controlling behavior presented as romance: I’m sure we can all come up with examples of this. A guy who shows up uninvited in your bedroom, has to know who you’re with 24 hours a day, makes decisions for you to keep you “safe” without your consent — that’s not romance, and I’m sick of books — particularly YA books — pretending that this is somehow ideal, swoon-worthy male behavior. It’s not.

6) Too many characters introduced at once: This is a pet peeve of mine. Give me a chance to get to know who all these people are! When a group of friends or family members is introduced at the same time — on the same page or even in the same paragraph — it becomes difficult (sometimes impossible) to keep them all straight, and I find myself having to constantly go back to try to figure it out. Having to ask “wait, which one was that again?” while reading is not a good thing.

7) Not finding out until the end of the book that it’s part of a series: Those dreaded words: “To Be Continued”. This makes me so mad. If the book isn’t going to be complete in and of itself — you know, with a beginning, middle, and end in between two covers — then I want to know about it up front. There’s nothing worse than getting to the last 20 pages or so of a book and realizing, “Wait a minute! How can the author possibly wrap this all up in the amount of space left?” — and having to face the fact that you’ll be left hanging until the sequel comes out.

8) Coincidences that are just unbelievable: Tons of fiction plots are driven by coincidences — but they have to be more than just slightly plausible in order for the story to work. I read a novel last year in which one woman kills another in a car accident on a deserted country road — and it turned out that they were both from the same town, hundreds of miles away, and both just happened to be on this particular road in the middle of nowhere at the very same time. I didn’t buy it for a second, and it totally detracted from the impact of the story.

9) Unnecessary love triangles: Love stories can work without a third wheel. I was so thrilled recently while reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (great book!), when what I thought was being set up as a love triangle turned out not to be, at all.

10) Too many or too right-now pop culture shout-outs: It can be cute when current TV shows, movies, or bands get mentioned in fiction, if the reference feels appropriate to the story — but sometimes the reference feels so NOW that you just know it’ll come across as totally dated within five or ten years. For example, I’m reading a book in which a character is described as looking like Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy. Okay, that totally appeals to me — but will someone reading this book in 10 or 15 years get that at all?

What turns you off in a book? Have you ever completely walked away mid-book because of one of your reading turn-offs?

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