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Season 3, Episode 7

Our Biggest Reader Pet Peeves

October 28, 2021

On this episode, avid readers will be able to relate as Charity and Breea discuss their biggest pet peeves for books. Book recommendations for Middle Grade and YA readers.

Titles Mentioned in This Episode

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Charity 0:01 Welcome to the Planet Book podcast. I'm your host Charity.

Breea 0:06 And I'm your host Breea.

Charity 0:07 We're youth librarians with the Springfield-Greene County Library District. On each episode you'll hear us talking about our favorite tween and teen books. Thanks for joining us today. On this episode, we're talking about reader pet peeves. I feel like this kind of is in line with our reader confessions episode.

Breea 0:24 Absolutely.

Charity. 0:25 So I am really looking forward to getting into this with you, Breea.

Breea 0:30 Yeah, let's do it. Let's start off with the first pet peeve of mine. And I think I've talked about this a little bit in previous episodes. But when Goodreads reminds me how far I am on my reading goal. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. So I was never a big Goodreads person; not until I actually started working for the library. And you know, all the cool librarians are on Goodreads.

Charity 0:58 They are. They all are.

Breea 1:01 I had to join it too. And I actually love the website itself. I love being able to scroll through what my friends are reading, what my coworkers are reading and put it on my to be read list. And I love having a reading goal. But I am so, like, competitive. And so I'm like, oh, I've got to meet this by the end of the year. And it's like I've talked about in a previous episode. Last year, I did not meet that goal. And it was hard for me to go on Goodreads, just to look at other people's reviews or to add things to my to be read list because in the corner, in the left hand side corner, especially when you're on the computers instead of your phone. It's like, hey, you're five books behind schedule. And I'm like, I don't need that attitude from you Goodreads. I'm trying my best over here.

Charity 1:51 That's right, Goodreads. We don't need your judgment.

Breea 1:53 We don't need that.

Charity 1:54 I totally feel you. A coworker and I were having a conversation just this week. And she was like, I'm 19 books ahead on my Goodreads challenge. And I looked at mine, I'm like five or six books behind. And it does feel like, if you're a huge reader, it does feel like a lot of pressure to, like, keep up with it. And so oh yeah, I'm feeling bad. So it's like, I'm in the middle of reading lots of books, though. So it's like, you know, in a few days, a week or two, I'm gonna be way ahead as well.

Breea 2:20 I do a lot of well, at least this year, I'm doing a lot of graphic novels, and manga series. And so I'm one book ahead and I'm like, yes, I've got a little bit of leeway there.

Charity 2:32 It feels like such an accomplishment. How many books do you set for yourself?

Breea 2:36 I try to be realistic. And so this year, because I pitched so high last year, I'm giving myself 40. And the reason I set it kind of lower is so that when I go past it, I'll feel even more accomplished.

Charity 2:54 That is probably good strategy. I like to really challenge myself and I set my highest goal yet. I set 121.

Breea 3:02 See, I don't want it to be daunting. I can't do that. I have to be like, okay, I can manage that, 40. And then like every year, or at least my goal every year is to like just add a little bit more. Actually, last year, I added too much. And I was like okay, let's backtrack, because I got really ambitious and then the world turned on its head for a little bit.

Charity 3:24 Right.

Breea 3:25 And then it was way too ambitious. So--

Charity 3:27 For sure. I might feel differently at the beginning of next year and whether or not I meet this goal, we'll see. My favorite feature on Goodreads though, is where you can match up with your reader friends and see like what percentage you are alike. I don't think we're friends on Goodreads.

Breea 3:45 Oh man.

Charity 3:46 But we should be and then we can see what our percentage would be. I think it would be low.

Breea 3:49 Probably we'd be like, oh, yep.

Charity 3:52 We don't have anything in common as readers.

Breea 3:53 There's Charity.

Charity 3:56 Well, my first pet peeve that I wanted to share, and they all kind of have to do with just things that I read. My biggest pet peeve is when they start killing off a lot of big characters in a book. And so a couple of series came to mind when I thought of this. And that's the Hunger Games and the Maze Runner series. I can't remember which book it, if it was book two or three in Hunger Games, and I don't know which one it is in the Maze Runner but like they just start killing off big people. Like, no. What are you doing? I hate that. It just frustrates me.

Breea 4:26 I know in Hunger Games. I think that's the third book because that's the last one and that's when everything kind of hits the fan there.

Charity 4:34 I think you can move a story forward without killing off a bunch of your main characters that you've come to love.

Breea 4:41 I think sometimes it becomes an easy out like, oh gosh, I have to make an emotional appeal now. What can I do? These characters that I built up for my readers for so long; let's just rip readers' hearts apart by just killing them off. I think it becomes like an easy out for an emotional appeal. So, like it'd be way better to, like, see these characters actually develop and come into their own instead of being like, and they died.

Charity 5:12 Right, right.

Breea 5:13 The end. That was their character development.

Charity 5:15 Exactly. Agreed.

Breea 5:17 Okay, so my next pet peeve is, we had talked about borrowing books before. So something that drives me nuts is when a friend lets me borrow a book and they're like, oh my gosh, I love this book. I can't wait for you to fall in love with this book. And they hype it up. And then I read it, and I'm like, I am going to have to tell my friend I don't love this book. Or lie my way through it, and vice versa. So if I lend my friend one of my favorite books, oh, my gosh, I can't wait for you to read this. It's so good and they come back and they're like, I didn't care for it, or I didn't finish it. It just deflates you, like, you're just like, I know, it's one person's opinion. But I was so excited to share this book with you. And you just were like, very passive about it. And I loved it.

Charity 6:12 I'm reading two books right now; I should say listening, a couple of audiobooks, that some friends recently suggested to me. And the description, like, they both sound really interesting, but one of them I've already quit. And the second one, I think I'm gonna have to quit it.

Breea 6:31 Oh, no.

Charity 6:32 And I'm gonna have to see that second person anyway, like, I'm going to see them and they're probably going to ask me. And so it's like, I haven't decided, do I be honest and say, oh, it wasn't really for me. Or if I just fake my way through it and be like, yeah it was all right.

Breea 6:44 Yeah, my friend. I'm looking it up just to make sure I got this right. Yeah, my friend recently lent me the book Jackaby. I think that's how you pronounce it by William Ritter. And that's like a series that she loves. And she knows how much I love Sherlock Holmes. And she's like, it's like a female Sherlock Holmes. It's so cool. Like, you're gonna love it. And I was not feeling it. And I almost felt like there was something wrong with me. I was like, I feel like all the elements are there. But something's just not sticking the landing here. Like, I'm not clicking with this. And it was really embarrassing for her to be like, well, what did you not like about it? And maybe like, I don't know, like, you're right. I should love this. But I can't tell you why I don't.

Charity 7:32 Yeah, I've definitely been in that spot too where it's like everyone around me loves a book, especially if they're other librarians. And it's like, oh, yeah, we love this book. And then if I didn't like it, I just think oh, my God, like, am I just not smart enough? Did I miss something? And what am I not getting? Am I not highbrow enough to appreciate this?

Breea 7:52 Different strokes, different strokes for different folks.

Charity 7:56 Right. Different strokes. All right, my next reader pet peeve, and this covers I think a lot of middle grade, some middle grade titles, is when they get too preachy. And my example of this is Wonder that came out several years ago. And I liked that story, but by the end of it, it's like, okay, I get it, like bullying is bad. We should treat everyone the same. Like, stop. It just really feels like she's beating you over the head with those ideas. It's like you don't have to. Kids are smart, they get it. And it just felt so so preachy to me and heavy handed. I don't think I can even read anything else by her at this point.

Breea 8:38 It's like what my creative writing instructors always said in class where it's way better to show instead of tell and there is a point. And that's something that I feel like sometimes middle grade is really bad about is like, we need to tell our readers exactly what the lesson and the moral should be in the story. So that they don't just think, oh, that was a really good book and leave and are not changed by it whatsoever. But you know, it's like you said, those middle grade readers, they're way smarter than, you know, sometimes we give them credit for. Like they understand and especially if you're doing a great job as an author, like showing the situation and illustrating it, and that you're pulling on those heartstrings because your readers are connecting with those characters, they're gonna know. Absolutely, they're gonna know. You don't need to be like, and the moral of the story is do not bully people.

Charity 9:40 Yes, very much feels that way sometimes in books where it's like they may as well just say, here's the main lesson, the big lesson you're supposed to take away, and I just can't stand that moment. I bet there's some kids out there who feel the same way. Breea 9:52 Branching off of that, and I know that we talked about this before. I'm going to keep saying that because I like to piggyback off of what we've had conversation-wise in past episodes. But this is in the same vein where it's like when writers emphasize like, hey, this character is a girl, and she's really, really awesome. And she can do anything that the boys can do. And you should love. I'm like, you could just tell the story with a female protagonist, and I'm gonna get that same impact. But because you keep emphasizing that aspect, it's driving me nuts.

Charity 10:33 Yeah, I think I've read some YA titles that tend to do that. And it's like, we get it. She's strong and brave and different. Yes.

Breea 10:41 And we love it. We love to see it. But you can just show us, just show it to us. Okay, so my next reader pet peeve is, kind of goes along the same lines of my last one, but I'm gonna expand upon it. So when I'm the only one who's read a certain book, and I am so excited with it. And like, I'm like, oh, my gosh, mind has been blown. I need to talk to someone about this, and no one else around me has read it. And I'm like, in a field by myself with my feelings. And I'm like, I guess I'll talk to this wall because no one else understands me like, and I just start bubbling up. And then, you know, after a while, you start to forget about what all happened in the story. And you still have that love for the book. But you know, we forget the details. And it's like a year or so later, and your friends are like, hey, I finally read that book and wants to talk about it. And you're like, well, now, I can't talk about it as thoroughly as I want it.

Charity 11:44 Right, right.

Breea 11:45 Because I've forgotten the details. Has happened way too many times. The most current one that's happened to me is like my friend and I have been really invested in the Raven Boys series. And there was a spin off and I think it's called Call Down the Hawk. And it was from one of our favorite character's point of view. I was so excited and I read it so quickly and was ready for her to talk to me about it. She's like, oh, I haven't gotten that book yet, and I haven't read it. And to this day, she's still working on it.

Charity 12:19 Oh my goodness.

Breea 12:20 And I read it, like, a year and a half ago. And I'm like, please. Now when you finish it, I'm not gonna remember a thing.

Charity 12:29 Yeah, again, I feel like if you're a reader, you have experienced that too. And that feeling of like, you've read this book that you love so much, and you're super excited about and then you don't have anyone to talk about it with? It's almost like painful, for me.

Breea 12:41 It is.

Charity 12:42 It's like, you know, so we really need a reader community--

Breea 12:49 Especially if it's like a sad book, like if it's super sad, and you're sitting there and you're in your own pool of tears. And someone's like, what's wrong, and you're trying to explain it? And it's like, kind of like explaining a scary dream where someone's like, yeah, that sounds pretty bad. And you're like, you don't understand you weren't there. You didn't experience it with me.

Charity 13:14 Oh, gosh I feel your pain, Breea.

Breea 13:17 I'm glad someone understands.

Charity 13:19 We have each other, we have each other. Alright, so my next reader pet peeve. And this is just kind of a general one, and it encompasses so many things. But I just really can't stand books that have the same old tired tropes in them. And for anyone listening who is not sure what a trope is, it's just kind of a common theme or cliche that happens in books. So like, in YA, especially in fantasy, it seems like and I think we talked about this before. It's almost a trope now to have that strong female protagonist who's gonna, you know, she has to fight and you know, she's gonna lead her people and save the kingdom.

Breea 14:02 And also have, like, a love triangle.

Charity 14:04 Yeah, there's got to be a love triangle, you know. So there's some urban kind of books with an urban feel, and Poet X is one of those. And so like books in that setting, it's like, I know, you know, you're gonna have a lot of slang. There's gonna be graffiti described at some point, because you can't have an urban setting without graffiti. And it's like those things just-- sometimes I'll read a book with a lot of those. And I'll think what would this story have been like if you had just not included those? Like, what? It's an easy way to move through a story. But again, I think sometimes readers are, especially young readers like kids and teens, are underestimated. I think they're more sophisticated sometimes. Then authors and publishers give them credit for and so that's one of my big ones. It really turns me off.

Breea 14:49 And I think a lot of times, it kind of goes back to what we were saying about it being an easy way out, like authors have read this kind of situation before and it's like, oh, this worked. I have a similar situation. Or I could put a similar situation in my book and have it work using my own methods. And also it's like it is a tried and true way, like you said, to move the story along. And sometimes that's hard to do is to put one foot in front of the other as a writer. And so it's understandable, but I think it's also a first draft move. Like you're just trying to get your words down on paper, and then afterwards, it's like, well, how can I spice this up should be your next thought instead of no that works. That's good, right?

Charity 15:37 Yeah. kids and teens. They deserve better than that.

Breea 15:42 Okay, so my next pet peeve is when a series is drawn out until it's stale. Oh, so the one that I was thinking of is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I know. Okay, but hear me out, hear me out. So I love the first three. I love Uglies, Pretties and Specials. And then we got to Extras and I was really excited to see Extras come forth. And I was not feeling it anymore. Like there was a new element to the story, where there was a ranking system in the society, but I felt like there was such a good solid conclusion in the third book that I wasn't sure why we were still going. I understood that there was like a new plotline, like, some new characters, but the old characters were also kind of like appearing and being discussed. And then there was another one that just not too long ago came out by Scott Westerfeld. Oh, what was it called? I don't remember. But I remember being like, ah, I love this author. I love Scott Westerfeld and I picked it up. And once again, it was in that same world and I was like no, just move along, like the first three were solid. Sometimes even when a series gets drawn out too long it kind of like, I don't know, for me, it kind of spoils the other ones that you enjoyed so much. But like that might just be me where you just kind of like have to shut down and be like, no, the series ended here. This is where I choose to end the series. No books happened after this point in this series.

Charity 17:24 We're coming to the end of our time, and I think we might just have to agree to disagree on this one, because I really liked that series.

Breea 17:31 Like, all of them?

Charity 17:33 I enjoyed all of them. So I didn't have that take on it. But that's okay.

Breea 17:39 We'll talk about it more.

Charity 17:40 Oh, gosh, I love talking books with you, Breea. It's just the most fun.

Breea 17:45 It's so good.

Charity 17:46 Well, let's do it again.

Breea 17:47 Sounds good.

Charity 17:48 Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Planet Book podcast. Check out the library's website at the for these and other great book recommendations and follow us on Facebook for the latest news and events. This has been a production of the Springfield-Greene County Library District. Thanks for listening.

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