maybe it’s me, but…



As I was scrolling through the virtual shelves the other day in an effort to spend some of my b’day e$, a couple of things struck me about my book buying habits.

First, and this will be no surprise given my obsession with the bloody things, if there’s no book cover I ain’t buying it.

The second light bulb went off after I’d read a blurb and thought ‘nuh uh, gurlfriend’.

The problem… the character names.

Tell me; how the fuck can I engage with a book when I can’t even pronounce the damn name of one of the protags??

For example “do me harder, however-the-hell-you-say-it” doesn’t really allow me to connect with the fantasy, ya know.

Does this bother anyone else? Or are you all sane??
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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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26 Responses to maybe it’s me, but…

  1. Usually what the protag's name is a WTF name I give him my own name in my head like John or Tom.

    Sometimes I think the authors just put letters together and think it sounds like a name.

    Houelds- see made up a new name for my next book. Take me Houelds now!!

  2. JenB says:

    Covers are usually irrelevant to my book purchases. Names won't keep me from buying or starting a book, but in extreme instances they have kept me from finishing a book. Like Kate, I tend to rename badly-named characters. The ones that really bother me are fantasy and sci-fi names, especially the ones with billions of apostrophes.

    But I would never claim to be sane. 😉

  3. Kris says:

    Katiebabs chook: I'm not sure if I give them new names. Hmmm, I'll have a thunk about that.

    “Sometimes I think the authors just put letters together and think it sounds like a name.”

    Hell, yes, especially as Jen mentions in fantasy and sci fi.

    “Houelds- see made up a new name for my next book. Take me Houelds now!!”

    And you pronounce it how???

  4. Who-Elds. As in Houelds you sexy man ho take me hard and fast.

    Sounds like a Dr Seuss character now that I think of it.

  5. Kris says:

    JenB: “Covers are usually irrelevant to my book purchases.”

    Well, thank God, you're not claiming to be sane cos that's just all kinds of wrong right there. 😉

    As I said to KBC, I don't think I rename characters, but in some of the fantasies that I really, really want to read I do work out in my head how I think the name is pronounced.

    Now ask me how pissed off I get when that book is adapted into film and I find out that I've been wrong all along. *pouts*

  6. Kris says:

    KBC: Ya know that's just begging for a knock-knock joke…

    Knock-knock

    Who's there?

    Who-elds.

    Sorry, but I don't know an Elds?

    Not Elds. Who-elds.

    Who's Elds? Look. I'm telling you the guy doesn't live here.

    etc, etc

    Quite entertaining for those of us with the sense of humour of a 12 year old boy.

  7. I have a 12 year old's humor it seems. LOL

  8. Sean Kennedy says:

    No matter how many times I hear this, I piss myself laughing.

    Costello: Well then who's on first?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: I mean the fellow's name.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The guy on first.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The first baseman.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The guy playing…

    Abbott: Who is on first!

    Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.

    Abbott: That's the man's name.

    Costello: That's who's name?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

    Abbott: That's it.

    Costello: That's who?

    Abbott: Yes.

    PAUSE

    Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?

    Abbott: Certainly.

    Costello: Who's playing first?

    Abbott: That's right.

    Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

    Abbott: Every dollar of it.

    Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The guy that gets…

    Abbott: That's it.

    Costello: Who gets the money…

    Abbott: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

    Costello: Whose wife?

    Abbott: Yes.

    PAUSE

    Abbott: What's wrong with that?

    Costello: Look, all I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The guy.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: How does he sign…

    Abbott: That's how he signs it.

    Costello: Who?

    Abbott: Yes.

    PAUSE

    Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.

    Abbott: No. What is on second base.

    Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

    Abbott: Who's on first.

    Costello: One base at a time!

    Abbott: Well, don't change the players around.

    Costello: I'm not changing nobody!

    Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.

    Costello: I'm only asking you, who's the guy on first base?

    Abbott: That's right.

    Costello: Ok.

    Abbott: All right.

    PAUSE

    Costello: What's the guy's name on first base?

    Abbott: No. What is on second.

    Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

    Abbott: Who's on first.

    Costello: I don't know.

    Abbott: He's on third, we're not talking about him.

    Costello: Now how did I get on third base?

    Abbott: Why you mentioned his name.

    Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?

    Abbott: No. Who's playing first.

    Costello: What's on first?

    Abbott: What's on second.

    Costello: I don't know.

    Abbott: He's on third.

    Costello: There I go, back on third again!

    PAUSE

    Costello: Would you just stay on third base and don't go off it.

    Abbott: All right, what do you want to know?

    Costello: Now who's playing third base?

    Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

    Costello: What am I putting on third.

    Abbott: No. What is on second.

    Costello: You don't want who on second?

    Abbott: Who is on first.

    Costello: I don't know.

    Abbott & Costello Together:Third base!

  9. Tam says:

    Sean wins for longest post ever. 🙂 And one of the most humerous.

    I tend to gloss over the name if I'm not sure how to pronounce it although I did read one recently where I wasn't sure if it was a long i sound or short i and I swear I said it both ways in my head every time I read it. I think it was a Greek name and maybe fairly common in Greece but I think when a name is unusual you should have at least one situation in the beginning of the book that explains it. He goes to an appointment and they call his name “Mr. XXX Smith” and he goes “No, it's Mr. YYY Smith.” Then I'm good to go.

    It's never stopped me from buying a book but it can be annoying

  10. Sean Kennedy says:

    Heh, Tam, that wasn't even the whole joke. I had to cut it down!

  11. Kris says:

    KBC: You and me both. 😉

    Sean: An oldie, but always a goodie. LOL!

    Tam: It's even better live so if you get a chance go check out a recording of it. It's hilarious.

    “I think when a name is unusual you should have at least one situation in the beginning of the book that explains it.”

    Me too, although immediately afterwards I'm always 'well, you wouldn't have had to do that if you weren't be a pretentious git of an author, dickhead'. You may have noticed that I'm not nice that way.

  12. Ingrid says:

    Fantasy names are the worst. Even is there is an appendix with pronunciation I don't read it most of the time or only afterwards.

    French looking names sounds french, english english, german german etc.
    Like in the Protector, the one guy is called Soren, it surely lacks a double dot there. To me it looks like he is sore all the time while I am almost sure he only is at certain times.

  13. Kris says:

    Okay, major weirdness. I just visited the DA blog, which I haven't looked at for about 3 months and did so now for reasons of procrastination, and they have a poll on this exact same topic. Spooky!!

    Ingrid: Yep, although I have to admit that I do love a good glossary almost as much as I do a map. I ADORE maps.

    “To me it looks like he is sore all the time while I am almost sure he only is at certain times.”

    But not as sore as Mason was. 😉

  14. Jenre says:

    I always find it disconcerting if there is a name which I can't pronounce in my head. Every time I read it then I'm pulled out of the story and it puts a distance between me and the character.

    I read a book not too long ago where the hero had a four letter name where the two middle letters were the wrong way round from what you'd expect (no, I can't remember the name or the book – brain like a sieve). My brain just kept reading it the way I'd expect it to be rather than the way it was written and I did wonder why the author had named the character like that.

  15. Ingrid says:

    Maps are good. I read a fantasy m/m last friday and it could have done with a map.

    Names are weird anyway Jen as I am dutch.

  16. Mumma J says:

    Jeez Sean, Abbott and Costello!!!

    I nearly wet myself laughing. I'm sure I actually saw that on television!!!

    I scared the bejeebus out of my little red cat!

    Names mmmmmmm…

    Well, I have tried to give characters (with wierd names) different names but it doesn't work. I keep going back to try to pronounce his/her name! I usually do what you do Sissy, just use my own pronunciation until I maybe hear someone else use the name.

    BUT when I hear your way of pronunciating some words Sissy, I just smile inside…

  17. Sean Kennedy says:

    I love the updated version as well: Slappy Squirrel at Woodstock…

  18. Tam says:

    That's funny Sean. I haven't seen Slappy Squirrle in a long time. A pleasant way to start my Monday with a smaile. 🙂

  19. Tam says:

    Smaile? what the hell is that? Smile. Let me try again.

  20. K. Z. Snow says:

    Wow, Sean, you have one prodigious memory. Norton's been sucking the VM out of my computer; may I borrow some of yours?

  21. Lea says:

    LOL, even when I'm sick as hell you make me laugh Kris.

    If I can't figure out the name I try and look it up – however with sci-fi and fantasy that usually doesn't work out. If the story is good I make up a new name.

  22. Kris says:

    Jen: “Every time I read it then I'm pulled out of the story and it puts a distance between me and the character.”

    That's it exactly, Jen. It's very hard to connect with a character when every time his names comes up int the book you're raising an eyebrow.

    Ingrid: Maps rock. 🙂

    Mumma: Geez, Mumma do you have to tell everyone how badly I suck at pronunciation.

  23. Kris says:

    Sean: Funny. I remember watching that Aunt Slappy skit back in the day. God, I'm getting old.

    Tam: That is the Monday version of a smile.

    KZ: I could say something rude about sucking, but I won't. *G*

    Lea: You don't have a chest infection or anything do you cos I don't want to be responsible for you dying while have a cough/laugh fit. 😉

    You're a maker-uper of names too?? I seriously need to start doing that.

    I never thought I would say this but weird names almost make me long for the let's name our kids after 90210 and Bold & Beautiful characters. Almost.

  24. Tracy says:

    I'm always yanked out of the story as well when there's a name I'm not sure how to pronounce. Even if I've decided that I'm going to say it in a certain way I always stop and go over different ways of saying it. I'm a dork, I know.

  25. Ingrid says:

    I think I have the advantage of English not being my first language. There are still words that I not know how to say properly. So a name here and there doesn't bug me.

  26. Kris says:

    Tracy: I must be a dork too. LOL.

    Ingrid: As Mumma has already pointed out there are words I still don't know how to say properly.

    Hmm, maybe I can use the fact that I speak Australian English as opposed to English English, American English, etc, etc. Hey, whatever works, right. 🙂

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