BOOKISH THINGS I’M A GRINCH ABOUT

This weeks topic is a light hearted discussion about petty things we hate in books! I have plenty of those and had heaps of fun writing this list of bookish things that turn me into a grinch. I predominantly found my ‘issues’ were based upon certain books or inspired by certain books.

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5.  CARICATURES

Something that really takes me out of a book is lack of emotional connection to its characters (or main protagonist.) This largely happens with characters that lack authenticity, personalities or, rely on caricatures.

NERVE by Jeanne Ryan is a prime example of this. I felt the author was trying really too hard to make her characters sound like teenagers using cliché for example. As well as this too much time is spent telling the reader what a typical Capricorn her protagonist is (“Recklessness is not part of my personality. Shy, hard-working, loyal, all those boring Capricorn traits, that’s me.”)

4. SLANG (COLLOQUIALISM) 

This might coincide with my previous hatred, but clichéd slang or popular trends seem to arise when authors are trying too hard to make their characters sound or act like teenagers. It doesn’t really appeal to me ever.

I find this in a lot of Jennifer L. Armentrout books. I do consider the fact that most books I read are by American authors, but I don’t know how much of a difference that makes.

3. BAD AUDIOBOOK NARRATORS

This one is short and simple, when the voice of a narrator doesn’t match it’s protagonist, it really grinds my gears. I give slight exceptions to audiobooks with multiple point of views, but it still aggravates me a tiny bit.

My first example is the Ready Player One audiobook whereby Will Wheaton, a 45 year old man is narrating as Wade Watts, an 18 year old boy. It just doesn’t work for me.

Another example is The Handmaids Tale audiobook read by Johanna David, a 70 year old British woman narrating as Offred, an American woman in her thirties. Don’t get me wrong, both are good speakers, just not well suited for the characters or context of their respective roles in my opinion.

2. (TOO-MUCH) EXPOSITION

This kind of fits in the with “show and don’t tell” rule of good writing. I pretty much loathe any time I feel like I’m being ‘told’ to much by a character, instead of the author attempting to illustrate something too me.

1. STUPID CHAPTER TITLES 

This made it to number one because it’s certainly the most pettyish thing anyone can get grinchy about.Or maybe it’s just because the example that came to mind is a book I thoroughly dislike for more than it’s pathetic chapter titles. But nonetheless, I get real grinchy about it. That book would be Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. The last line of Chapter 12 was “teach me to hide my colours.” Then the title of Chapter 12 was ‘Hiding Emotions’. And look, I know it’s extremely petty, but I can’t explain the hatred I have for silly titles!

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Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

Todays discussion is a Top 5 Wednesday topic where we’ll be discussing favourite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or are by LGBTQ+ authors. Here is a link to the group if you’d like to participate in any discussions.

I’m really excited for today’s discussion, as I haven’t done a T5W in a while. But I’m also really excited because as a queer reader, I get to talk about LGBTQ+ books.

Of course I had to cheat this week and recommend a little over five books – so hopefully there will be something for everybody looking to get into LGBT+ fiction.

Highly Commended –  If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

The protagonist, Sahar is so thoughtful and I loved following her stream of conscious  Although this book features some mature themes, I do think it’s accessible for a variety of audiences. This book discusses the religious and political aspects regarding homosexuality in Iran exceptionally well.

Honourable Mention – None of The Above by I.W. Gregorio 

The exposition of intersexuality by Gregorio was great. The author does a great job of immersing the reader into Kristen’s shoes, so the reader experiences everything alongside the narrator. More over, the way Gregorio personified her characters was great. I remember it being just a little bit juvenile for me, but other than that it was a great read.

5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The most polarizing aspects of this book are the writing style, the main protagonist Aristotle and also the plot or lack thereof. However it absolutely captivated me and I loved reading about Ari and Dante’s budding relationship, it was very sweet and heartfelt. This book is both racially and sexually diverse and the representation of Mexican culture and the family dynamics was particularly great.

4. Jerkbait by Mia Siergert 

An incredibly heartwarming read that deals with a plethora of heavy subjects such as suicide, homophobia and gender stereotyping. Tristan is such a likeable narrator, and watching his relationship with his twin Robbie blossom was one of my favourite aspects of the story. Whilst the story is in Tristan’s perspective, the author also excellently illustrates Robbie’s tragic story unfold through Tristan’s eyes.

3. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson’s heavy metaphorically induced writing style made me quite nostalgic about Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me Trilogy. Initially I felt very alienated by it, but as I got to know the characters and essentially became apart of their complicated relationships – I couldn’t help but love this story. In a dual then and now perspective, Nelson illustrates heartbreaking moments between the twins and their journey to reconciliation.

2. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Of all the books I’m recommending to you today, this book is most definitely the tamest in regards to subject matter. It’s a cute, fluffy juvenile read, that felt really modern and I truly believe you can’t go wrong with it if that’s what you’re looking for. The progression of story was great as well. I can’t describe it to you other than how natural it felt. The author manages to construct really meaningful relationships between Simon and his friends and family and also Blue via emails. Also, the book was overall laugh out loud funny.

1. Cam Girl by Elliot Wake (formerly Leah Raeder)

Elliot Wake is one of my favourite authors. He has a hard-hitting, raw prose that is also beautifully lyrical. This book also deals with a lot of societal issues that I really appreciated and is both racially and sexually diverse. Wake is a transgender author, and has other LGBT+ related novels such as Black Iris and Bad Boy.  A lot of his work I would say is relatively dark and mature.

Thank you so much for reading my T5W list. If you have any LGBT+ books to recommend me please let me know in the comment section!