Literary Blog Hop: Arrrgh

Thursday, December 09, 2010

No, it's not about pirates.

Literary Blog Hop

This week's literary blog hop, hosted by The Blue Bookcase, asks the question:

What is one of your literary pet peeves? Is there something that writers do that really sets your teeth on edge? Be specific, and give examples if you can

To be honest, I don't have a lot of literary pet peeves. There are stories that bother me, or thematic material that bothers me, but not usually literary devices that bother me, if that makes sense. Although if I see affect and effect misused, a vein in my forehead usually starts throbbing.

Probably the thing that has bothered me the most in the past is when a novel turns into a history lecture. You know, you're getting involved with the characters and the plot and loving every minute when you're suddenly thrust into an 80 page monologue about Napoleon. Which is nice, if you're wondering about Napoleon. But I'm usually not.

Don't get me wrong. I like history and I like context. I have noticed on others' posts on this topic that long descriptive passages are a common pet peeve of others. I am actually not this way - I love descriptions of settings and people and long detours into what they're thinking. But I don't like when the history goes on and on.

The two novels I've really experienced this with were Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I really loved both of these books, so this pet peeve doesn't completely turn me off. I've even been thinking maybe I should reread those passages to increase my knowledge of history. BUT I don't think they belong right in the way of the narrative.

For some reason I can't get the blue highlighting out of the way from Christina's prompt. Oh well, consider it decorative.


  1. That is understandable, it can be distracting from the story if it's not done well.

  2. Hey, nice decorative blue highlighting. :)

    War and Peace is like that too, but I was so intrigued with how he thought and wrote that I didn't really notice. I need to give Les Mis a shot.

  3. I agree, too much background can kill a story. I'm reading a travelogue at the moment and I think there is also a little too much historical background. Those are the moments when my mind starts to drift. The rest of the story is good, though.

  4. Yes, agreed. It can be overwhelming. Stick to the story, authors!

    Here's my post on literary pet peeves:

  5. I'm a new follower! (Sorry...forgot to include this in my previous post....)

  6. Have you read Anna Karenina? If not, you might consider never picking it up. Pretty much the whole novel. Although I tend to dislike the history lesson, I really liked that particular title.

  7. I read a Japnese novel like that recently, this was a really good book but the flow of it ground to a halt at one section & I was treated to a history of Buddhism (or that's how it felt) I understood that it was part of the characters thought process, it just came across a bit dry & dusty when compared to the rest of the book.


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