I Don’t Like Books that Make Me Feel Stupid

I’m 200 pages into a book that came highly recommended (no titles here, remember I don’t say negative things about other people’s books).  It is beautifully written.  The settings are picturesque, the fashion is couture, the characters are model-quality exquisite.  Some readers love to immerse themselves in that kind of detail; wrap themselves in mental images of every character’s hair texture and style of underwear (okay…so I’m exaggerating a little).   

While I can recognize the gorgeous language, there are some things about this book (and others I’ve read that I also won’t mention) that make me crazy. For instance:
  • I hate reading a book with a translation dictionary at my side. If I wanted to read French or Latin, I’d pick up a textbook. 
  • I don’t like reading books with no frame of reference.  I’m not Wiccan.  I’m not into the Occult. I don’t frequent fortune tellers.  I’m usually pretty good at picking up nuance, but if you give zero explanation, I have to resort to guessing or google.  And if I have to stop to look something up, I’m not that engaged in the story. 
  • Some stories are nonlinear for a reason.  I haven’t figured out what the point of all the past/present vignettes are in this particular book and it’s frustrating. 
  • When I’m a few hundred pages into a book, my mental plotline should have more than two points.  Seriously.
  • And if this is a love story, I should be able to identify who the freak is in love! 
Now I’m off to go do some detective work.  I have to figure out why people like this novel beyond the pretty sentences.  Wish me luck. 

9 Comments

  • prerna pickett

    lol, love the title of this post! And I totally agree with you. Both with not mentioning specific titles when you don’t like a book ( I only review books I enjoyed out of respect) and with the feeling stupid. I recently read a book with a great premise, but the writing was so over the top. I understand you went to an Ivy League school, and could probably write circles around me with all your knowledge, but please stop using words that no normal human would in every day life. I really don’t want to feel stupid, or sit with a dictionary. I understand that it’s important to use language that highlights your writing, but sometimes people go over the top, and it really annoys me. I hope you find a more enjoyable book next time.

  • Tracey Neithercott

    I completely agree about the whole frame of reference thing. I especially feel this when I’m reading a paranormal or myth-based book and I have no idea what the creature’s supposed to be or the myth behind it. Sure, everyone knows about vampires and werewolves, but some of these other creatures are new to me and I can’t picture them if I have no idea what they are.

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