Novel Thoughts: Being a Picky Reader Sucks

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on February 26, 2014 | 17 Comments



Being a picky reader sucks 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book that everyone else loved, and ended up hating it. I feel like I’m almost always the black sheep compared to the majority of the population. Sometimes I really feel like I’m missing something that made them like it, but sometimes I wonder: Am I just too picky?

Here’s a few examples:

  • I don’t like most romance. If it’s not written a certain way, I’m not going to like it. (I had a discussion about this a couple weeks ago)
  • I need extensive world building (sci-fi & fantasy). If I have any questions at all about a world, then to me it’s not done right. I want to know everything there is to know about it!
  • I have trouble connecting to most characters. The writing has to be very special for me to feel true empathy with characters, and to tell you the truth it doesn’t happen much anymore. I need feels, man! If a book gives me no feels, it’s not going to get a good rating.
  • I can’t read anything historical. Even the thought of it makes me sleepy.
  • I only read certain genres. Anymore, I feel like I’m not interested in much besides sci-fi and fantasy. I have trouble branching out, and when you stick to the same genre aaalll the freaking time, it starts to all feel the same after a while. But I just can’t get into most contemporary or paranormal romance.
  • I can’t stand most love triangles. I can count the number of times a love triangle has worked for me on one hand. 9 times out of 10, they just piss me off!
  • I need originality. If a book feels exactly the same as the last 6 books I read, I’m going to struggle keeping my attention focused on the book.
  • I like to be surprised. It seems like these days not much of anything surprises me in fiction. In fact, I can usually call things before they happen. Perhaps because when you read/watch as much fiction as I do, things start to seem predictable? 

I’ve actually had people ask me why I read a book if I’m not going to like it. 


YOU CAN’T TELL FROM THE SYNOPSIS WHAT THE BOOK IS GOING TO BE LIKE. See all those criteria up there? Unless there’s a label on the book that says “CAUTION: Contains love triangle” or “CAUTION: World building is mediocre” HOW am I supposed to be able to know that stuff?! I can’t just read a book and like it for the idea of it. I need too many things to be done a certain way. I’m also a really tough rater. I don’t give out 5 stars easily.

“Well, then why aren’t you more selective?”

Actually, I am selective. Normally, I only want to read sci-fi and fantasy. Either way, I only pick up a book if it sounds interesting to me. If I read something I normally wouldn’t like, it’s only with good reason (i.e. someone whose opinion I trust liked it). Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. It just depends on the book. The point is, you have no way of knowing what the book is truly like until you read it. Sometimes a synopsis can be misleading! And to tell you the truth, when people ask me that, I just want to tell them to f*ck off. Do you really think I would pick up a book with the intention of hating it? Really? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Jessi (Geo)

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17 responses to “Novel Thoughts: Being a Picky Reader Sucks

  1. How can you know you don’t like a book if you haven’t read it? That’s such a strange question to ask someone.. There is no way to know that, unless it’s a genre you don’t enjoy or there is something specific in the blurb you know you aren’t going to like.

    I don’t think I’m a very picky reader, although there are a couple of your points I agree with. I don’t like most romance either, because I always feel that it overwhelms the plot. I enjoy a good world-building and think it’s vital in fantasy/dystopian books. Most love-triangles bore me too. BUT, if there are other aspects in a book I truly love, I’m still able to enjoy the book and look past the things I dislike.

    Originality is always a good thing, but I don’t mind if it’s not. The same with surprising twists, predictable doesn’t have to be a bad thing for me.

    Disconnection with characters most of the times end up in a bad rating or a DNF. I think it’s very important to feel something for them. If I don’t care whether they live or die, that’s not a good sign :p

    So, sorry for the long comment, haha.

    • Right?! Yeah, sometimes I can look past those things, depending on what they are and how bad they are. If a predictable book is well written, I can enjoy it. And yes, it’s a very bad thing when you don’t care if the characters live or die! I hate those kinds of books :(

  2. Are you me? You sound like me. This is getting freaky.

    Although I think, to a certain extent, being a more picky reader is just a matter of getting older and reading more. The first time you read a cliche it’s new to you and you either don’t know or can overlook the problems attached to it; then 10th time is when it starts getting infuriating. If you read enough books, you inevitably start seeing those patterns and wanting something that was as new as those cliches were the first time.

  3. I know exactly what you mean! I feel like I’ve been reading SO many books lately that are just “meh”. Somewhere between 2 and 3.5 stars.. not that 3.5 stars is *bad*, but I’m sick of mediocre/okay/meh/”kind of good” reads. I want to be wowed!

    I honestly feel like authors should at least know by now that love triangles and insta-love suck. If you include those in your book, you’re practically committing a crime.

    • Ugh, right? I’m sick of them too. After Ignite Me, I had a huge book hangover, but then I read The Sea of Tranquility and that was the first one since Ignite Me that I loved! All the rest (like Elusion; I see you just posted that, I’ll have to see how our thoughts compared) were just….meh.

      They really should!

  4. I definitely agree with you, Jessi! I only like specific genres and it takes a certain kind of historical book to actually even catch my interest and make me like it. Everybody’s different and a lot of people are picky but in different ways. Like it’s so hard to like the same kinds of things and I rate most books 3 stars or even less just because you never see original books anymore, or it’s similar to at least 10 other books out there.

    Omg I hate when people say, “You should know what books you’re going to like and books you aren’t going to.” I mean, misleading summaries happen, and a lot of the time a summary isn’t going to come out and say,

    “She’s been leading a life of high school teenage-ness until she finds out that her family runs from a long line of werewolves. Suddenly she’s thrust into a world of powerful werewolves and some other things that make werewolves seem creative.

    Also, btw, there’s going to be a really cheesy love triangle, insta-love, predictable plot twist, and a super annoying main character because she’s selfish and annoying. Enjoy!”

    Like it’s so hard to judge from JUST a synopsis and a few reviews if you read a book early. Most of the times a synopsis can be really deceiving and not hint at the questionable parts of the book. Ugh, fantastic post, Jessi! I totally agree! <33

    • I’ve noticed that you haven’t had many 4 or 5 stars lately! It’s such a shame :( It just feels like many books are cookie-cutter. It’s hard to stand out when there are so many books in the world!

      Bahaa, I love your synopsis! “and some other things that make werewolves seem creative” lolol!!! If only they sounded like that, then you would KNOW not to touch it!

      That’s why I’m kind of scared to read books that have like, 3 reviews! Because what if they were just rating high because either a) they’re friends of the author or b) they don’t want to mess up the average rating??

  5. I agree with so many of your points! I have to have world building too. Sometimes, I feel I do give out my 5 star ratings too much. Then, I realize I’ve just been reading really great books! Guess I have lucked out so far this year.

  6. Agree, it is definitely hard to be picky. I noticed I’m getting more picky the more I read. When I only used to read like 30 books a year, I seemed to like them all. Now that I’m reading more like 100, man I’m tough on these suckers lol

  7. I’ve definitely gotten pickier with time. I hand out 4 and 5 star reviews less often than I did even 6 months a go, and something I might have rated up before, I tend to rate down now.

    I don’t know if I’ve just been exposed to so many great reads that my bar keeps getting raised, or if I’m just not good at reading between the lines and seeing what synopsis’ are hiding things I know I’ll dislike.

    But really though. Do people honestly think I pick up a book to read, intending to hate it?!

  8. Haha wow that’s so dumb. Of course you wouldn’t read a book if you thought you weren’t going to like it! And you can’t know until you actually read it what your response to it will be…sometimes I hate books I think I’m going to love, and sometimes books surprise the hell out of me in a good way! That’s part of the fun of reading.

    It does sound like you’re pretty picky, but I guess it’s just what you like. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re enjoying the hobby! And I definitely have certain things that I’m not a fan of either.

  9. The more I read the more picky I feel about books. I keep wondering if my reading obsession is ruining my joy of reading sometimes??? I think the number one problem for me is that if I didn’t read so much I would notice the similarities of books and get pissed off. Because there are plenty of books that I read that I am certain I would have liked if I hadn’t already read 5 books with the SAME thing going on in them. The first book I read with that plot gets 5 stars and then it goes down from there until I’m throwing the book across the room!!

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