Have You Ever Disliked a Book Because of One Teensy Weensy Detail?

booksDo you remember the episode of Sex In The City where Carrie is unable to enjoy the book of her writer-boyfriend Jack Bergen (Ron Livingston) because in it, the female protagonist wears a scrunchie—something Carrie found implausible?

That debate is an issue I’d love to get into with you later, but for now, let’s discuss this: Is it possible to dislike an entire book because of one minute detail that rubs you the wrong way? That’d be what you’d call a “Scrunchie Book,” I guess? (Spread the word, let’s try to make “Scrunchie Book” happen!”)

The other day I asked my friend about a book she’d been reading, and she said she put it down after a few pages because the main character “acted like a free-spirited eccentric in front of the lawyers defending her on murder charges, in an era when a woman could be sent to an asylum for less.”

So yes, obviously it’s possible. I’m not sure if this counts, but I refused to read a certain popular, wittily named book because I was positive for some reason that the author came up with the book title first, thought it was hilarious even thought I thought it was stupid, and wrote a whole book about it. (Any guesses as to what book I’m talking about?)

Have you disliked a book (whether you read it or not) just because of one teensy detail? What was it?

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  • Reese

    The series has its ups and downs, and the ending was trashed by Charlaine, but Sookie Stackhouse has the dullest interests and fashion sense. Aside from being distracting, I found it unbelievable that the male characters fell at the feet of someone so plain.

    • Jillian Hall

      Them falling for her so readily kind of gets explained in some of the latter books. I don’t want to give anything away for those who might be interested in them but it has to do with her DNA.

  • Beth Zimmerman

    I put down a Patricia Cornwell book (it might have been the 1st in the series) and never read another of her books. The protagonist, a medical examiner, leaves her young niece alone to go to a crime scene. She had called a babysitter who was “on the way”. I can’t believe that an ME who has seen every type of horrible death would do that. Fire, intruder, kid waking up and wandering off? So stupid I couldn’t read another word.

  • Golgi

    ‘The Unexpected Dragon’ is a fantasy novel about a girl who goes on adventures after her abusive and controlling mother dies. I found the story compelling, I enjoyed her adventures, and in general I found the narrator to be competent, strong and interesting. The thing that sets the book apart, though, is that the main character starts out as an obese girl. I thought it would be refreshing to have a heroine that wasn’t toned and spontaneously athletic. She loses most of her weight as she travels around the kingdom which makes sense: hiking mountains with just a couple crusts of bread for sustenance will do that to you. But there are a few instances of some fairly extreme fat shaming, including when a man (The Hero, the Good Guy, the Nice Guy, the one you are actually supposed to like) refers to her ‘old self’ as basically grotesque, which no man would pursue except as a fetish. The unnecessary undercurrent of ‘lose weight find true love’ has prevented me from actually recommending the book.

  • Chary Hively

    I only read a few pages of 50 Shades of Grey because the main character was just so painfully awkward and the whole situation was just so bizarre and ridiculous to me. Of course I wasn’t very motivated to read it in the first place. I was peer pressured.

    • Noah

      If you ever read 50 shades, you should just leave.

      • Lizze18869

        Have you read 50 Shades? I have and although I didn’t find it that great, I didn’t think it was that bad. And just as a reference point: I don’t usually read romance or smut-type books, I read either Fantasy or Historical Fiction

  • Trobairitz

    I couldn’t get through Intruder in the Dust because I was so distracted by the length of Faulkner’s sentences. Seriously, multiple pages without a period?!

    • Bella Malone

      I read the first two Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer books and couldn’t get past the 30+ word sentences during the sex scenes.

  • Kilburn Hall

    As a B & N author of techno-thrillers and an avid reader since childhood, we all have our little quirks that may not bother other’s but bother us to the point where we can;t tolerate a situation, book, movie, song etc. Sometimes a characters name drives us to the point of throwing the book away, or the long drawn out description of a sunset if we are a lover of action. Disingenuous dialogue b y amateurish authors also make us throw the book in the trashcan. Most of us know, if we are old enough to have some life experience how people talk and how they do not. JK Rowling books drove me crazy because she plaqerized every idea under the sun, then when the kids became young adults she toned down the sexual aspects of her stories rather than have the courage to discuss Dumbledore’s being gay, he died anyway so some discussion of his being gay would have ;lent authority to this character instead of a cardboard cutout.MY point being it’s never the entire work that makes people stop reading, it’s the little things and they could be one page one.. Happy reading!

    • Kelsie

      Err, I’m not going to delve into your other points, but one thing I couldn’t bring myself to ignore: The Harry Potter series is made up of CHILDREN’S books. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they were originally aimed at CHILDREN ages 7-11ish. Maybe JKR could’ve included a little more about Dumbledore’s sexual preferences or something, but any hint of sexuality (someone in someone else’s bed, etc.) would’ve prevented them from being children’s books.

    • Bill Otten

      UH-just how the hell is Dumbledore gay? I’ve read & enjoyed the HP series very much, & I can’t recall ANYWHERE where it even HINTS the character’s “sexual ” preferences?

      • Megan

        J.K. Rowling has stated in interviews that he is indeed gay.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAFjvuWkZ8s

        • Jillian Hall

          Yes but as one of my Literature professors told our class; it doesn’t matter what the writer intended, it is what the reader takes away. Writers can obsess and give back stories to their characters all they want but if it isn’t specifically in the book and boldly stated there, the reader will see the character how they want to see them.

          • Megan

            Ok. All I was doing was just providing a link to show where J.K. said it in an interview. I really don’t care either way.

      • Larisa Baldwin

        JK Rowling said it herself in an interview she did.

    • Jillian Hall

      Kelsie is correct but the sex also does not add anything to the story. Considering the length of her latter books, anything that isn’t necessary to the story line needs to be left out. A lot of what you want to see in the book would have turned away a lot of readers who get bored when the momentum slows down too much because the characters are busy worrying about day to day life. The books were meant to entertain children and I believe they did a great job of that. The fact that they also held a huge adult following doesn’t mean they should deal with so much adult context.

    • Brad Walker

      I’m pretty sure that when I first started becoming aware of the buzz surrounding the Harry Potter series, which everyone was recommending that I read, I resisted starting the first book on the grounds that I was appalled that someone had made the decision (Rowling, the publisher, whoever) to dumb down the title by calling it a “Sorcerer’s Stone.” What the heck is a sorcerer’s stone? No one knows what that is. Do you think Americans are too stupid to know that the proper item, the “philosopher’s stone,” is a legendary alchemical device? Around that time I was traveling a lot with the military and had made a stop in Scotland where I picked up a proper copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” which made me feel so much better about investing my time in reading it.

  • Gwyn

    Most authors don’t “get” archaeology, so they don’t write either the field, the lab, or the people accurately or even well. I usually can’t get past the first chapter or two without wanting to hurl something. (Downside of reading on a Nook: throwing is not satisfying.)

  • Gwyn

    Couple of books mention saguaro cacti or sage in the Mojave Desert. Nope. Not naturally. That’s all creosote bush, part of basic research even pre-Web, and you want me to suspend disbelief on other details? Not if I don’t trust the author anymore.

  • bookstorecat

    I stopped reading a fave mystery series because the main character had an affair with a married man. Not really a minor detail to me, I guess.

    • http://mouthfeel.wordpress.com Ramona_W

      I refused to read the Outlander series because of the infidelity. Doesn’t matter a whit if her husband wouldn’t be born for another x number of years.

  • Saranna DeWylde

    Yep. I had a favorite series I was reading and in one book the hero says, “I’m trying to conversate” and that was it. I was done. I haven’t read any more in the series. I just can’t.

  • brackman1066

    My peeve is when educated characters don’t know things that they really should, or biological impossibilities pop up. In Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth, Alice (a D.Phil in medieval history) has to look up who Cretien de Troyes is. Bzzzt. Sorry, that would have been on her prelims reading list. And while I did finish that one, I put down Michael Crighton’s *Timeline* when a medieval historian went back in time and was surprised by a garderobe.

    Also finished the book, but I chuckled at Zafon’s *Shadow of the Wind* when a character finds out she’s pregnant something like 24 hours after intercourse. Sorry, implantation hasn’t even happened by then..

  • Bella Malone

    I’ve been doing this with my unread books. Mothers that keeps a pregnancy
    secret from a man, a man who finds out he’s a father and starts making
    demands, pet names, the list goes on and on.

  • jcbookmaster

    I won’t ever read a book recommended by Oprah. I read two, one she liked which I hated. And one she recanted on (you know which one) which I loved.

  • Bill Otten

    In horror books, I want the horror to end. I don’t like books where the books ends, but the horror that it is about continues. Case would be Stephen King’s Pet Semetary. The book ended, but the horror didn’t! I like King, but not when books end like that!

  • NotMarkTwain

    AJ Jacobs “The Know-It All” was ruined because he equated knowledge with intelligence.

    John Green’s book “The Abundance of Katherines” was ruined because no one could ever be able to socially tolerate a friend whose best quality was correcting your grammar.

    It’s hard to like Aristotle when so many of his claims were wrong. Granted they were the first of its kind, so yeah, 5 stars for that, but at some point I must judge correctness as well as novelty.

  • Jane Almquist

    A certain extremely popular author who shall remain nameless used the same word four times in a sentence. That did it for me. No more of his books, ever!

  • Jane Almquist

    Then there was the author of time-traveling romances, back when those were popular, who had her character describing the hills around Galveston, Texas. Really? That book became an instant wall-banger and I read no more from her.

  • BbWuf

    An LA Times reviewer wrote of TransAtlantic by C.McCann “But his dependence on fragments stiffens the book unnecessarily and deprives the reader of the joy of what his language, when allowed to stretch its legs, can do.” I AGREE: the short quipped sentences were such a complete distraction to me that I could not continue on to the 2nd half of the novel. Couldn’t do it. Didn’t want to. Distracting. Unnecessary. Third grade. Goodbye

  • Jillian Hall

    It’s not really a small thing in my opinion but incest made me put down an extremely popular book that I was actually enjoying up to that point.

    • Kris Dane

      What book?

      • Jillian Hall

        Game of Thrones

  • Guest

    Repeated use of the wrong word and poor grammer turn me off of a book. Why can’t professional writers use the correct homonym (pour/pore for instance) ? And the editors don’t know the difference?

    • Valerie Stewart

      *grammar

    • http://mouthfeel.wordpress.com Ramona_W

      Nope. I think everything just goes through a spell-checker and to hell with a human being reading it until it gets to the suckers who plunk down their cash.

  • Donna Rivers

    Repeated misuse of words (pore/pour for instance) and poor grammar will make a book unreadable for me. Why can’t professionals get it correct?

  • Valerie Stewart

    I tried reading ‘The Professor and the Madman’ by Simon Winchester. It’s a true account of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. The author used the word ‘very’ 10 times over three pages. By the 10th ‘very’ I couldn’t read anymore. You’d think someone who researched the OED could come up with better vocabulary.

    • http://mouthfeel.wordpress.com Ramona_W

      I hope you’ll give some of his other books a try though. I especially enjoyed the one about Krakatoa and the one about the San Francisco earthquake.

      • Valerie Stewart

        I’ve been thinking about trying some of his other stuff. I liked the subject matter, I just think the word ‘very’ is lazy and no writer worth his salt should use it– especially in a book about the OED! It was off-putting.

  • carol

    I read a book that was 2 pages of story for every 6 pages of explicit sex. I could not read that book cuz the language was rediculous. It would have been nice if the book would have said it was nothing but sex.

  • SeaLaughing

    I get upset when an author doesn’t do enough research, especially when it concerns a region I’m familiar with which the author has clearly never visited. A few years ago, a well-known author wrote a book where the hero & heroine race across Lake Erie in a speed boat during the middle of winter (at night, no less) and all they’re worried about is hitting a log. Since I grew up in the region, I know that Lake Erie is frozen solid that time of year, so it ruined the entire book for me.

    Another book by a best selling author was based on the premise of two snowbound individuals in Asheville, NC. I lived there during my marriage, hiked to the top of the area’s highest mountain, and know that snow is rare—and sparse + short-lived there—so again, the entire book was ruined for me.

    Historical inaccuracies also really bother me; would it really kill these authors to spend 5 minutes online while they look up when the side saddle or the carriage was invented? I was reading a book a few weeks ago where a character from the Middle Ages remarked, “I’m a total cad!” and I had a quiet laugh at the Valley Girl slang before closing the book and never reading another word.

  • Deanna Costa

    I know that A Confederacy of Dunces

    By John Kennedy Toole is “considered a canonical work of modern literature of the Southern United States” and “an American comic masterpiece”, but I deplored the main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, within the first few pages of the book so intensely that I couldn’t read more than the first chapter. He disgusted me and I don’t remember ever disliking a character in a book more.

  • T.A. MUNROE

    I actually BURNED one book because it made me so mad. It was by a popular author. The main character met about a dozen new people by page 50 and introduced herself the same way every damn time. Another time, I was reading a parenting book. The author had to take his son on a ski trip in order to talk to him. At the time, if we could afford to take a kid to McDonalds for a kid date, we were lucky. Didn’t get past the introduction on that one. Humble bragging killed it.

  • Juliet Wallace

    I refused to read the Twilight series because of two reasons: 1.) I was writing a vampire/werewolf novel (minus the romance) at the time the first book was released & 2.) A friend of mine who read it told me the plot and I thought it sounded absolutely ridiculous. I also stopped reading The Haunting because I couldn’t seem to keep myself awake while reading it.

    • Brad Walker

      I tend to quickly lose interest in any vampire story in which vampirism is a disease and not a curse, and in which vampires are sexy. What most vampire writers and readers mistake for some sort of heightened sexual attraction that vamps exude, should more accurately be described as enthrallment. Sort of like raping the mind of the victim to overcome their inherent terror and bend their will to the vampire’s purposes. A good vampire writer should make the enthrallment of a victim feel as creepy and disturbing as hell to a reader. All these sexy vampires wooing teenage girls and whatnot is just silly and wrong.

      • Claudia Rosa Jimenezcastorenav

        Have you ever read Jennifer Armintrout? I hated the love triangle that developed there, but it did have a bit of the vamp enthrallment there. The main character gets changed, by accident (cuts and blood exchange, etc.), and falls in love with a different vamp at one point, one who is (obviously) the good guy. Then she somehow falls in love with the first vamp through the sire bond even though she fights it and still hates him.

    • Aubrey Pedersen Sorenson

      I’ve never read the Eragon series for the simple reason that I wanted to be published at 16 and wasn’t.

  • NERSID KANDIC

    when im out browsing for a new read, i open the book on a random page and start reading it. If i dont get interested i dont buy it and i will never read it. I mean, if the middle of a book is not interesting how interesting the beginning could really be.

  • Sherry Royer

    I won’t read books by a certain popular author because a bookstore owner in Houston told me he was “not a nice person and doesn’t write his own books anymore”. I have put down books written by men when the female characters reflected the author’s hatred of women. I won’t read books whose plots involve child abuse or incest. I worked for 30-plus years in child protective services and I have enough stories of my own.

  • Aubrey Pedersen Sorenson

    I’ve tried to read Wizard of Earthsea, but I can’t do it. The protagonist is so obnoxious to me that I can’t get more than a few pages at a time.

  • Maggie DeMay

    any book that contains the phrase ‘blew out a breath’ anywhere gets tossed. it makes you think the everyone in the book was holding their breathe like a spoiled brat…

  • Michelle Glatt

    I can’t read a book with a horse on the cover. Ever. I know there are some great classics that feature horses…and so do the gobs of people who have decided that to get a little girl to read a book, just throw a horse on the cover and it won’t matter what’s on the inside. ACK!