I am sure there are many bookworms out there who, like me, have a list of what annoys them as a reader. Their pet peeves, so to speak. I did a quick search on Google before writing this post, and found that almost every result I found spoke of how writing styles, character inconsistencies and flaky plot lines were among the biggest cause for annoyance to readers. I myself get annoyed at all of these things, but I wanted to make a blog post about the things that people do to their books that irk me. It has been a running joke in my family for quite some time now, the little list of things that make my eyes twitch when I see people doing them.
Dog-eared pages: probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to how some people treat their books. I just don’t understand why people can’t simply put a piece of paper in the book to mark their page. I normally use a proper bookmark that I’ve had for years; I prefer the look of a bookmark to a spare bit of paper. But I understand that nice bookmarks can be expensive to buy, particularly if you’re like me, and have a terrible habit of misplacing things. That still doesn’t excuse you from turning down the corner of a book! Use a random scrap of paper, or make your own bookmarks. I used to sometimes make D.I.Y bookmarks using the corner of an envelope, and then decorate it. They’re fun to make, and you can personalise them. Girls, you can even use a spare bobby pin as a page-marker. Just please stop dog-earing your pages.
Breaking the spine: this is a pet-peeve I’ve actually mellowed out on. It used to make me cringe every time I saw a book with a broken and cracked spine, books that had been forced open so wide they actually make a little crackling noise when you opened them, where you could see the white lines of paper appearing through the cover. I never used to buy used books because it annoyed me so much if they had a cracked spine. Maybe it’s just that I’ve became more frugal with my money, but I’ve been buying more and more used books recently. Obviously I pick the ones that are in the best possible condition, I’m not a complete convert. But I don’t get as sad anymore when I see a book that’s had its spine broken. I guess I think it adds a little bit of character to a book now.
Writing on a book: acceptable only when a book is being used for educational purposes, as far as I’m concerned. I used to do it myself when I was writing out key notes, especially for English Literature. But I always, always did it in pencil, because pencil could be erased. Anything permanent wasn’t allowed near the page. I let someone borrow a book from me once, and when she returned it to me I discovered on my next reading of it that she had decided to test out the quality of a pen on one of the pages. Needless to say I was furious, and it still annoys me anytime I think of it, or re-read the book. To make matters worse, it was my favourite book.
Trying to engage me while I read: why do people do this? Honestly, why do people try and talk to me when I’m trying to read a book? I mean it’s not difficult to tell I’m reading. I’m holding a book in my hands, and my gaze is directed at the page. That should be a universally recognisable symbol for “don’t talk to me until I set my book down”. But for some people, apparently not. I think some people actually see it as a challenge. How many times do they have to interrupt my reading before I finally give in and set the book down to talk to them? It’s why I hate having to take my lunch at the same time with anyone I work with. It isn’t that I don’t like my colleagues; it’s just that I don’t want to appear rude by pulling out a book and ignoring them for a full hour. It’s different using my phone while I’m with them, that’s seen as socially acceptable these days. I don’t mind being asked one or two questions while I’m reading, just please don’t try and engage me in conversation.
And there you have it! The little list of things that annoy me as a bookworm. To be fair, I have improved. It used to be I would never eat or drink near a book. Now, tea and biscuits are among my favourite reading companions. And surely I can’t be the only one to get annoyed at all these little things now can I?