One that I’ve noticed recently is hammering crude and poorly constructed references to save you the effort of writing a decent story, or to give what is otherwise an enjoyable yarn some kind of aura of literary worthiness. I can’t decide whether I hate the laziness of pretentiousness more. Probably the pretentiousness because I would have enjoyed a good yarn more than a lazy book.
However, I’m being lazy in answering this question, because I’m not sure how much I would have enjoyed the books I’m about to name and shame regardless of the sledgehammer referencing. They just made them that little bit worse for me.
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Seriously, how crudely can you reiterate that you want us to see the protagonist as a Pip like character? Pretty crudely, just make sure that you refer to Great Expectations at least once per chapter and invite us to draw comparisons. The parallels don’t work and it just seems silly.
Twilight. Bella may have read Wuthering Heights but Meyer is no Emily Bronte. What’s that? There’s going to be a love triangle involving a narcissist, a control freak and a man with animalistic tendancies? Yeah, still no great work of literature and definitely no great love story.