#ShelfLove reading challenge: Read your own library!

I’m all for a good reading challenge (despite last month’s utter failure with, well, all of my reading challenges…), so when I discovered the #ShelfLove Challenge, I knew I had to jump on board.

You see, I must admit: I’m a bit of a book hoarder.

While some people prefer only new books, I tend to gravitate towards used books. Books with character. Books that have be previously read and loved. Even books with notes written in the margins!

I’m also fairly frugal, so books are my big indulgence after paying for rent and groceries. So, the more books I can buy for my dollars, the better… which definitely biases me towards used bookstores and reading books from the library.

But I also just love books, generally, so whenever I set foot inside a bookstore, I feel compelled to leave with at least one book – if not a whole stack.

Throw in a membership at PaperbackSwap, where you can set up wishlists that will automatically grab all the books you want, and you have a book hoarder’s dream come true.

At least, until you run out of room to physically shelve all your books… or don’t even own any bookshelves, due to some poor planning during various moves!

So, it’s time to clean out my To Be Read pile and get serious with my reading. I’ve made piles of all the books I haven’t read yet on my coffee table (and yes, they are tottering!), and I’m going to be working my through them, throughout the year, according to the different monthly challenge themes proposed by Second Run Reviews, ChapterBreak and Bookworm Brandee.

The theme for March is book tropes that get on your nerves, and boy, do I have plenty of those!

Shelf Love Challenge 2016

As covered in a previous post, some of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to reading are misspelled words. Whenever I see them onscreen in my Kindle app, I will highlight them in orange – that’s how annoying they are. The more orange you see on a page, the worse the book is, and the more likely I will be to simply delete it from my reader.

But when it comes to annoying tropes, I have a few of those as well.

For one thing, I really hate the tendency of romance novels (and erotic romance, as well) to paint female leads as clumsy around their Mr. Right, even when they are perfectly in control at every other time. It just pisses me off that women who are otherwise in control of their emotions – and their bodies – somehow start tripping over their own feet when that special someone is around. Not only is it boring and predictably, it’s also insulting. Yes, I get mushy when I see my husband. Yes, his smile still lights up my day. But do I start falling all over myself? HELL NO!

Furthermore, if a dude is going to turn my legs to jelly, he’s going to need to put forth a lot more effort than simply sending a smirk my way.

Which brings us to annoying trope #2: Smirking Dudes.

For the love of smiling – and even smizing (that’s smiling with your eyes, as per America’s Next Top Model) – please stop with the smirking!

This applies to female characters, too, but I am totally over the smirking bad boy. A smirk is not the same thing as a smile. And a smirk is not something I would want to see on the face of a dude I wanted to fuck, because it implies that he is mocking you. When I want to wipe a smirk off someone’s face, it’s usually by teaching them a lesson – and not in the bedroom.

Finally, this is a trope that I hate across all genres: Dreams.

I don’t care whether it’s the ending of a book (“It was all just a dream!”) or just an irritating aside: I hate reading about characters’ dreams!

For one thing, the dream sequences typically go on way too long. For another, they rarely make any sense – or worse, you can instantly recognize them as dreams, with overly heavy-handed meaning slopped carelessly about. But the worst thing about dreams is that after the author shows us what happened, instead of simply leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions, they then want to have the character discuss the same damn dream with another character, pondering what it might mean!

Just jab a couple of forks in my eyes, because dreams are almost never done well, and nearly always make me want to bleed out of my corneas. If you must include a dream in your book, here’s my expert advice: skip writing the dream sequence entirely, and instead have your character summarize their dream in one sentence or less. Get in and get out, or don’t do it at all.

So, what are some of your biggest book trope pet peeves?


  • Bookworm Brandee

    I’m so happy you’re joining the #ShelfLove Challenge! And I completely agree with the clumsy and the smirking…oh, and the dreams! *ha* I read a book a few months ago with a dream sequence at the very beginning…*ahem* interesting way to start a book….