Things that make me go hmmm…

I know this happens to all of you too. You’re reading and an author makes a reference. You get the reference. You think it’s amusing. You give it a little, “Heh,” and read on only to find out the author doesn’t think you understood and begins explaining the reference, in several sentences, and you’re no longer, “Heh” but “Grr.” That. Actually, the book which contained this annoying bit turned out to be pretty good and I ended up liking it in the end but it annoyed me so much I felt the need to mention it.

So, tell me. When you’re reading, what makes you go hmmm?

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8 thoughts on “Things that make me go hmmm…

  1. I had a similar reaction with Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I enjoyed it, but he had a habit of explaining what had just happened, sometimes a paragraph ago, as if the reader would be too thick to understand what they just read.

  2. I like historical or scientific tidbits thrown in. I don’t like it when the author repeatedly describes characters by referencing actors, politicians, musicians, etc. Indicates a lazy author.

    • Agreed. You can give a character provenance without making them friends with every famous person of the era. I like research and the details it adds to a story, but I don’t want the info dumps to show an author did research.

  3. Hahahaha, I felt this way so much when I was reading Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs. I got the jokes about the names already! She didn’t have to beat them to death to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. (Partly because, like, I got it; and partly because, it’s just not that important to the story that the reader pick up every single allusory resonance.)

    • Exactly. I’m fine with authors making references, if a reader gets the reference, great, if they don’t, great too. Don’ beat me up with the explanation though.

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