The ‘I Messed Up’ Book Tag

Today’s tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and is called the ‘I Messed Up’ book tag!

A Character Appearance You Misread or Imagined Differently?

I’m terrible with character appearances. Which might be very problematic, because I could completely miss that a character is e.g. a person of colour. Because I want to read more diversely, I try to pay attention to this, but it is still too easy for me to skim over those descriptions. On the other hand though, if it’s so easy to not spot, maybe the author should’ve tried harder to make it more obvious.

Having said that though, that’s no excuse for e.g. whitewashing characters. Whenever I see Inej drawn as a white woman or Nina as a skinny girl, I age twenty years.

Anyway, as for character appearances I completely misread, I have to go for Juliette from the Shatter Me series. I imagined her as this very short girl of colour, but that’s not at all what she actually looks like in the books.

A Character Name That You’ve Been Pronouncing Wrong?

Once again, I pronounce so many character names wrong. It is very hard to know how they have to be pronounced though. Even the most simple names, like Matthias from Six of Crows, I mispronounced. That’s because some Belgian kids are also named Matthias, but the pronunciation in English and Dutch is different.

An Overused Trope That Is Your Guilty Pleasure?

When books feature female friendships, the female side-character is often much more confident than the main character. She is beautiful, flirty and sex-positive. When those characters are appreciated and not being ‘slut-shamed’, I absolutely love them! In contemporaries, those girls will be bullied or be the bully, but fantasies often treat them much better.

A Cliché Character That You Like Better On Screen Than Reading About?

I think characters who are sarcastic. I’m sarcastic, but when I read about such characters, I often find them plain rude.

A Word Or Phrase That You Learned Because of Its Use In Books?

Since English isn’t my native language, I’ve probably learned much new vocabulary while reading. Though I can’t think of any words or phrases in particular. Thanks to the book community, I’ve also learned so many new words, such as ‘gush’, ‘ARC’, ‘haul’, etc.

Have You Ever Read/Not Completed A Required Reading Book For School?

As an English teacher who wrote a thesis on books which can be used in the classroom, it is probably not best to admit that I have trouble finishing required reading. Even in college, I didn’t read all the books I had to discuss for my English courses. One of the books I had to read was Pride and Prejudice, but I couldn’t finish it. I don’t enjoy classics and especially not romances.

How You Ever Skipped (Or Wanted To) A Chapter From The Point Of View Of A Character You Weren’t Interested In?

Yes, but I’ve never actually skipped them. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I struggle reading about characters I do not like. Even when they are intentionally anti-heros or even villains, I will probably not like the book because of it (hence why I didn’t finish Vicious by V.E. Schwab or You by Caroline Kepnes).

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is one of my favourite books, though I didn’t enjoy reading about Alfred. Thankfully, those chapters were very short.

Have You Ever Cancelled Social Plans To Read A Book?

Honestly, I rarely have social plans. Some people might find this sad, but I’d rather stay at home and watch TV or read a book than go out. That’s just not my cup of tea.

(scheduled on 30 January 2017)

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8 thoughts on “The ‘I Messed Up’ Book Tag

  1. Swetlana says:

    Pronounciation is probably my biggest problem when it comes to character names, because I tend to do it the German way – which did help with names of places in Ketterdam actually (but then I also studied Dutch for 3 years in high school).

    I never actually imagine what characters are supposed to look like, I am not that kind of reader to be honest. Which is probably also why I had no idea what Nina’s body was supposed to look like, so I wouldn’t even know have known that people were drawing her wrong.

    When it comes to people of color, I find that authors often just throw in a line about someone being tan and you’re reading it like ‘Can you be more specific here?’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea ϟ romweasley says:

      I speak Dutch and I still mispronounce the names in SoC, but perhaps that’s because Bardugo is American? Matthias is a very common name over here, though it’s pronunciation is completely different in English.

      I completely understand what you mean. Actually, I don’t imagine a real person while reading, but a “blurry outline”. Especially when a character’s description is written too late, it’s hard to change the image I already have in my mind.

      And yes, when authors say “character X has olive skin”, that doesn’t bring any clarity, because it’s unclear whether we should imagine them as people of colour or just tanned white people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swetlana says:

        Oh yes, the olive skin is on my list with a person being tan.. that doesn’t tell me anything at all. Like what am I supposed to be imagining here? Books should come with illustrations more often! That would help me so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. pucksandpaperbacks says:

    I really agree with you, I read Contemporary as my go-to genre and it’s not always touched on in terms of appearance. I love descriptive characters because then I know them more and can imagine them. If I’m reading a Contemporary, most likely I won’t be able to tell you that it’s diverse unless that’s a focus of the plot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Green Tea & Paperbacks says:

    Ohh I loved this tag! I have the same problem with names. I always pronounce names that are used in The Netherlands in Dutch too, like Matthias or Nina or even my own name, haha. And I feel the exact same way about sarcastic characters! It’s hard to pull that off well in a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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