Top 5 Wednesday: Least Favorite Trends

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

As a reward for not killing anyone at work this week, (yet), I wanted to sit down and do a T5W — I don’t know if I’ve ever actually done one of these myself, but I love watching/reading other folks’ lists. I also love to complain, so this week seemed as good a week as any to start 😉

  1. Everything is Automatically a Series. I don’t hate series as a rule, but I am exhausted from the onset knowing that every book I pick up is undoubtedly going to be the first in a series — often when the story or world itself doesn’t call for one. It makes me wary to pick books up knowing what a commitment I am signing myself up for. What’s worse, things that I desperately want a sequel for are stand-alones! What’s the deal?
  2. Violet Prose for the Sake of Violet  Prose. (Arguably, violet prose is inherently for the sake of being violet prose. But I think y’all know what I mean). I am being especially picky here. As a reader, I actually like prose that leans violet. Leans. Too simple and I have a hard time not classifying it as juvenile, but when I see the “strings” of “overly poetic” prose I’m equally dissatisfied. I don’t know who re-popularized this in YA specifically (though I have a few guesses…), but someone is going to have to tell them eventually that no matter how far they stretch their metaphor, it just doesn’t make sense.
  3. Magic Eyeballs. You know — the kind that change color in the light from fierce yellow to Lake Como blue, the ones that can communicate complex concepts independently of the rest of the face they sit in, the ones that tell you “I am the fated soul mate you seek.” Those ones? I’m kind of over it. Sometimes their eyes are just green, sometimes they’re just really puffy because they slept funny, and sometimes (sometimes) people find it in them to communicate with their mouths or hands or some other way instead of with their eyeballs. Related to this are characters who have a mysterious mind-meld-y connection, which also prevents them from having to communicate…because they already “know.” It just seems lazy to me, like a way to avoid building up trust and rapport between characters the way humans actually have to do in real life.
  4. One Line Reviews Instead of Blurbs on Book Covers. I’ve heard a few people talk about this recently, so I know I’m not alone. But where are the disappearing book blurbs going? Unless you have someone like the Pope or the Ghost of Carrie Fisher mooning over your book, is there really a reason for the entire back cover of a book to just list one line (sometimes only even one word!) reviews on it at the expense of telling a potential reader what the actual book is actually about?
  5. Bizarre Discussions of Mental Illness in Fandom This is clearly fandom specific, more than related to any one specific book or publisher. In fact, I see this more with shows and movies than books, but it’s still a trend I’m seeing more frequently on tumblr so I’m going to include it. I think this is a weird deviation or side effect of intra-fandom pushes to stop “woobifying” villains in series; if these characters are “headcanon-ed”  to be mentally ill in some way, not only are fans not “woobifying” them by loving them, but fans are also helping “diversify” the characters of any given media. I have enough problems with this that I have a post in mind to unpack it fully, but to keep it brief:
    1. I am a person who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, and psychotic episodes. The only time I ever see that reflected in canon or fandom is when it’s projected on a villain to “explain” their usually horrible or canon-ly unjustified/indefensible actions. Moreover, it is only these “scary” mental illnesses that are used in this capacity by fandom at large, which adds to the stigma that I have to deal with in real life as a real person with these real issues.
    2. You can love a villain who does bad things for bad reasons, for many reasons. Maybe they are also the funniest character in a novel, maybe they are the most interesting because they have a backstory you yourself relate to. You don’t have to try and wrestle your own cognitive dissonance by parading them in fan spaces as “clearly mentally ill,” “obviously BPD/SPD/etc.” There are ways to like villains and morally grey characters without being an asshole.
    3. (I don’t know if this needs to be clarified or not, but erring on the side of caution: this is different to when mentally ill fans of media connect with a character on a level they also feel their illness on. For example, one of the more persistent examples of this behavior I see on tumblr is labeling Kylo Ren as Borderline. It happens that many Borderline fans I know [and myself, to a point] do project onto this character for a variety of reasons — but this is inherently different than using a mental illness as an “excuse” to stan a character, especially by neurotypical fans).

Whew! That was cathartic. What if all I ever did on this blog was bitch? Would that be okay?

(What do you mean that’s all I do already?)

Anyway! Thanks for reading through my first Top 5 Wednesday. I’d love to know what your least favorite trends are so we can commiserate. I’ll be back Friday with some swatches and things from a recent Colourpop order I made, just to shake things up a bit. I hope everyone’s week goes well until then!

*The T5W Goodreads group is linked above, and also here. T5W was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey, and I think Sam from Thoughtsontomes also mods it now. Thank you both!*

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4 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday: Least Favorite Trends

  1. I totally agree with all of them, especially the series one. I’ve found myself tending to not read a book lately when it’s part of a series just because I simply want to read a story, be done with it and then move on. I don’t need 294 more books about the same characters.
    Great post!

    Like

  2. Dear god, I’m agreeing wholeheartedly with everyone’s lists this week!
    Everything automatically being a series is the worst darned thing. Sometimes I read a book and think “Wowee, that was an awesome standalone!” and then I look on Goodreads and it’s just been announced that it’s going to have four sequels, a spin-off series, a colouring book and a graphic novel adaptation. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ALL OF THAT!
    But authors who write standalones focus on making you care strongly for the characters in a really short amount of time, so you can’t help but love them and want to read more from them. If series authors did that in the first installment, it would be a joy to continue on with the series.
    Phew, rant over – whoops!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahahaha this is the place for ranting! I saw a lot of people raise this same issue, though; there’s reason to be upset! It just seems like a cheap attempt to “cash in” or “milk” a story to its *absolute* limit. I think series are hard because authors can take for granted having time to flesh out characters and whatever but don’t always consider readers unwilling to commit to taking that journey with them if they aren’t hooked enough from the start. It’s definitely frustrating especially if they follow the same general plot/structure that novels in a genre are prone to do! (Also, “a coloring book and a graphic novel adaptation,” I am cackling!! 😀 )

      Like

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