Hey everyone! So last week, a bookish homie of mine (hey Mel!) tagged me in a post where she expressed her disdain for the printed stickers on books…and of course, I commiserated because WHOOOOOOOOO likes those things throwing off the esthetics of an otherwise beautiful book cover?! So in Mel’s comments, she was saying that I should write a post about these little symbols that have become the bane of our bookish existence and I thought a post about bookish pet peeves would work and here we are now, lol!
I don’t know about y’all but I got a fair share of pet peeves and I have a feeling that there are more but the ones I list are enough for now with some commentary to go with. So let’s get into it, shall we?
Stickers that aren’t stickers on book covers: I need to know WHO thought this was a good idea because I got a bone to pick with that person. I remember when I saw a book club “sticker” on FireKeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (which you ALL know I’m obsessed with) and flew off the handle…like I completely lost my ish. First of all, it feels like a Columbusing of the Author’s work & a defiling of the cover illustrator’s art. I get that it was picked for a famous book club or a netflix adaptation but isn’t that what emails, press releases and book tables are for? Why does it need to have these ugly little circles on it? Why does it need to be marked by some rich [redacted] person/company in order to validate it’s publishing?! Clearly, the publisher saw something in it and thus, was worth putting out into the world! People should be able to have the choice of whether or not they want the stupid stickers on their books so they should actually BE stickers that could be removed. They could print a number of stickers and at check out, they could be asked if they want a sticker or not…give a book mark, give them a discount card for the year that is applied only to the book club books, send an extra email…anything but permanently printing an eye sore of a logo onto beautiful covers! To Be Honest doe, even if the cover was the book with the title & authors name in Times New Roman, I STILL wouldn’t want to see the logo printed onto it because it distracts from the book title & the author’s name.
I don’t know about anyone else, but unfortunately for me, my eyes go right to those logos and I don’t even care about them! I could care less about a famous person’s opinion on a book I want to read, especially if I had planned to purchase it before they ever announced their choice (which, I clearly wouldn’t know because I don’t pay attention to most celebrities *gasp*). Case in point, I spoke relentlessly about FireKeeper’s Daughter long before it came out and on pub day, it was announced that it was a ____ book club pick for that month and that all the covers had that logo on it (thankfully not mine because I got mine from MacMillan) *sucks teeth*. Lemme stop talking about this because there are other pet peeves to get to.
Books that are dinged up in some way: OK, so this is where my bit of OCD comes out and the likelihood of me baby Hulk smashing becomes a higher probability. I have the tendency to inspect books before I purchase them and I always try to find the book with zero or the least dings on them. Y’all know how sometimes the dust jacket has creasing on the edges, fraying on the spine or bends on the pages…yea, ALL OF THOSE THINGS drive me crazy and it’s why I dread ordering books online because I DON’T know the condition it will come in despite being new (I’m not a used book buyer…this may be elitist of me but I don’t give myself much luxury so let me have this please), you have zero clue what has happened between the warehouse then bookstore/handler to your place…and the way USPS be wildin’ these days, they can eff your stuff up too! There may be a live recording or two where I’ve received a book that’s a little damaged & I had to hold myself together to keep from looking like a head exploding emoji out in these e-streets. I like to GET and KEEP my books in mint condition.
Dog earring pages & writing in books: To me, this is defiling a book and I will straight up call you a savage to your face. In undergrad, I remember having had purchased a used book (only time I would do such a thing but it’s also undergrad and new textbooks typically cost you your first born, at least one organ and a small blood sacrifice) and when I went to read it, a previous owner had highlighted AND written in it! I gasped and internally screamed in an unpleasant way! They weren’t even HELPFUL in their highlighting either! It scarred me for life. I ended up inspecting books when I could from then on! If I want to remember a quote, I use a highlighter sticky tab so I don’t have to desecrate the book by highlighting or writing in it. Also, dog earring pages is dead wrong…use a bookmark people! If I don’t have a bookmark or lose mine (which has happened & it hurt), I use whatever I could find like an old receipt or a tissue…I WILL NOT DOG-EAR! It’s a violation of the books people!
Spoiling Books For Others: I said all I had to say in this post and I will leave it at this… DO NOT SPOIL A BOOK, IT IS RUDE! I will end friendships and physically fight people who do it. DASSIT!
Borrowing books and not giving them back: I DOOOOOO NOTTTTTT lend out my books because I don’t want to have to hunt people down. People love to borrow ish and conveniently “forget” to give it back and you know what? Homie don’t play that! I will come for people if they even ATTEMPT to take one of my books so I rather just buy people their own copies (which I have done in the past) then lend them mine. Its not just that quite a few are autographed or special edition as much as it is that I have trust issues and definitely don’t trust people with my books (don’t pull a “but I thought we were friends”…nah homie, if we were, you would know better, lol)! If you want to borrow a book, go to the public library because mine is CLOSED!
Comparing books that are in no way related: This is a phenomena that I seriously DO NOT understand, especially when it comes to POC authors books. There was actually a tweet recently about this and I responded to it because it baffles my mind. Quite literally, for DECADES the same books got churned out and there was zero outrage about it but now that there are more books by Authors of Color, there are all these comparisons to be made. No, this book by this Black author is in no way like this book by this AAPI author. Sure, the same tropes are used in most books but just because the same tropes are used doesn’t mean that they are THE SAME/Carbon-copied. Folks are seriously outchea getting all Stretch Armstrong trying to make these baseless comparisons. These people are seriously trying to disjoint themselves making these wild a$$ reaches. To people who make these sorts of claims, just because you may not try to distinguish us on the street because of skin color, eye shape or whatever, doesn’t mean you can do the same to our stories. I assure you, they aren’t the same and these authors aren’t copying & pasting each others work.
Whitewashing Characters & Story lines: I see this the most with character art. Once, I reached out to an author genuinely baffled because their character is described as dark skinned in the book but the character art had the character looking like an auntie who used bleaching creams religiously! What is up with that? I completely agree that art is subjective but there are integral aspects to characters that should be kept, no matter what. Sure, there are variations on skin colors but COME ON, if the character looks two shades away from white or paled because they’ve been trapped in a dark basement for years, then there is something seriously wrong here. If an artist has doubts about the shade of darkness, well, take one more step & holler at the author and I’m sure they will guide!
As for story lines, its pretty adjacent to changing the characters skin colors, demeanors or their colloquialisms (I like that word) to make them more “digestible to the masses” is a big NO NO (I’m sure you know the “masses” I’m talmbout). There are things very specific to cultures, regions, faiths, etc and those nuances shouldn’t ever be watered down or made more European, it’s just disrespectful. Just say no to Colonizing POC authors stories…it’s time to read our stories for what they are and represent because POC have been doing it for works that never meant to include us for as long as we can remember and it’s wrong to try to alter things that don’t need it.
Whew Chile, I had to get all-ah-dat that off my chest. I have a lot of bookish pet peeves (I’ve accepted my quirks) but these are some of the biggest ones. Honorable mention goes to people who talk to you when they can see you are reading, especially when you are getting to a good part; that really grinds my gears but I’ve gone off enough about the ones above!
Do you have any bookish pet peeves? Are they the same as mine or you got some others? Share them in the comments here or on social media because I love talking to others about their bookish pet peeves/quirks so I don’t feel so alone here in these book world streets! You can find & follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve seen some book art accurately portraying the characters! Sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Love, Peace and Hair Grease Y’all!