Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Name Snob by an Ex-Name Snob

Hi everyone! It’s nice to be back on the island again.

Today I am going to talk about what a ridiculous book snob I was (hope I’m not anymore!).

Book covers grab our attention- they’re supposed to. Then the blurb is supposed to reel us in, hook, line and sinker. Of course this isn’t always the case- some book blurbs just don’t appeal to different readers. For me, while the book blurb might be appealing and the cover had my interest…if the characters had a name I didn’t like I simply would NOT read the book!

For instance if the hero was named after my ex-boyfriend who dumped me, stomped on my heart and danced away on my ex-BFF’s arm I really, REALLY didn’t want to see his name in print ANYWHERE. Least of all in a romance story getting nookie!

So books with ex-boyfriend names were OUT. This actually really sucked because when you’ve had boyfriends with common names often found in books it really begins to narrow your reading field. This for years kept me from reading authors like Lori Leigh, Lisa Kleypas and Lori Foster.

But books with ex-boyfriend names weren’t the only books I would reject upon reading the blurb. I also rejected books with stupid character names- no matter how good the blurb sounded. I can’t begin to count the times I picked up “Dark Lover” by JR Ward in book stores only to put it back down because the character’s name was “Wrath”! That to me was the most ridiculous, stupid “hero” name I had ever heard. I think I looked at and rejected this book for over two YEARS, because of the hero’s name! Then finally some wonderful bloggers told me I had to read it and I would get used to the weird names.

I broke down and bought the book, forced myself through the first few pages rolling my eyes at the vampire names until the characters began to grow on me. Eureka!! The characters were so endearing that I was finally able to overlook their bizarre names and enjoy the books. This was a major breakthrough for me because it was the first time I went against such a strong feeling of dislike to try the book anyway.

Years before I grumbled over the simple and boring (to me) name of “Harry Potter” to see what all the rage was about. I kept thinking the kid needed a more spectacular name- he was "the boy who lived" for goodness sakes! He survive a vicious attack by a horrible wizard...he was special...amazing and he had one of the most bland boring names I had come across. I was of course being my usual character-name-snobbish-self and raised my nose in perfect snobbery fashion at such a name. But...(and there's always a but isn't there?), I pressed on (like the martyr I thought myself to be) and two chapters into “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” I was ready to enroll my children in Hogwart’s School of Wizardry!

So you see, I was a terrible name snob once upon a time. And it was causing me to miss out on some terrific books. I will still get a first reaction to some names in a book blurb, but I now quickly stifle them and recall that this name snobbery has caused me to turn down great books for years only to 'discover' how great they are years later. So "once a snob always a snob" is not true! I've given up my name snobbery for good! *happy smile*

Have you ever done this? Has a character’s name in a book caused you to discard a book even though the cover and blurb appeal to you?


Michelle Greathouse said...

Wonderful post MsM. :)

I can't read a racy romance book that has characters that share their name with my children - that just icks me out. LOL

I have been fortunate - so far only having come across one series where the name is the same as my daughter, but it's not that racy - and the spelling is different, so I was okay.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle!
That's another one I forgot, but you're SO right! I can't read books that have the names of my children - or my parents for that matter! LOL



Heather D said...

No, I can't say that I have turned down a book due to character names. So far I haven't ran across a book with my daughter's name in it and spelled the way I spell it... MaKayla and I spell it Michaela. My son on the other hand has a very common name Cody, I doubt I can get around that one especially if I am reading a Western.

LesleyW said...

I do find some character names off putting but if the story as a whole is excellent I can overlook them.

I have read books with worse names than Wrath. I think the more ridiculous the name the better the story has to be as a whole to carry that.

Lea said...

Excellent Post Ms. M.!

And great to see you on the Island. :)

I've never been affected by the names of characters but sometimes a name will provoke a memory or thought with respect to someone I've know. I don't think I've ever not read a book because of a name though. It's more scenarios or themes in romance that will turn me off and I think sometimes I miss out on a good read because of that.

Looking forward to tomorrow's post Ms.M.!

Unknown said...

I’ve never had a name turn me away from a book. I have shunned many books because they have a love triangle (I just can’t stand them! Someone almost always ends up hurt) and I have a feeling I’ve missed out on a few good books because of that.

I did get really excited once when I saw my name in a book by an Author that I like. It was for a support character and it was spelt how I actually spell my name. Which I have never seen anywhere else before!

Dr J said...

Don't know that I have ever refused to read a book because of goofy names, but I do admit to thinking sometimes: "Where in the world did they get these names?" It seems some authors find Dick and Jane a little common so we have to have the exotic. There are times I am not initially sure if it is a man or woman. Oh well . . .

Tracy said...

Great post Ms. M! I'm glad you're slightly getting over your snobbishness about names - that would put a damper on reading so many!

I hate books with hard to extremely odd names. I know it sounds ridiculous but if the name has too many syllables or is has an odd pronunciation it throws me out of the story whenever I come across it.

Suzy said...

I'm an omnivorous reader--I read everything, and am not put off by names, settings, plots or genre---but I AM set on my ear by MISSPELLINGS AND BAD ENGLISH !! Coming across a "there" when it should be 'THEIR' will set my teeth on edge like biting down on a piece of tinfoil! Isn't there somebody in that 'village' that it takes to produce a book that's tasked with preventing just this sort of thing?? Why aren't they doing it??!??

Great post, MsM!!

MsM (Elizabeth Jules Mason) said...

Thank you ladies for the comments and shared thoughts!



Unknown said...

Hi MsM!

LOL, great post! I've read blurbs where the hero or heroine had a name that I abhorred or the names are so commonly used that I couldn't stand to read around book using that name. But, this doesn't always stop me, lol, because I'm wishy washy. If it's a stand alone by an author I like, I may leave it to the last to read. Kay Hooper writes several paranormal thriller series (similar to Charlaine Harris") that I really enjoy. She has a couple of stand alones that I thought I'd pick up too, After Caroline, being one, but I'd read so many with the name Caroline that I left it for one of the last of her's that I read. It was pretty good, not a good as the Bishop series, but good, and I wasn't going to read it because of "Caroline". Live and learn.

Dottie :)

ElaineG said...

I agree with you about the names of your children or parents....BUT, I had to get past it cause my son? Michael and my dad?, very common and I had to get past the ick factor....but it took awhile. Especially since I read a LOT of m/m lol!

When I was younger and reading het, I used to scour books looking for a heroine named Elaine......I don't think I ever found one, and my teenaged self was devastated lol! I kept reading about Susan and Amanda and Sophia thinking: "why can't Elaine get the boy?"

Great post MsM! I never really realized I was a used-to-be name snob...guess we all go through that in one way or another :)

MsM (Elizabeth Jules Mason) said...

Hi Elaine! I believe Jude Deveraux wrote a historical romance with a beautiful heroine with your name. But I can't think of which one at the moment - or maybe it was Johanna Lindsay...?



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