Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Makes You Stop Reading?

As I’ve read many wonderful books (and several less than stellar ones) the last month or so, I found myself pondering on what makes a really good book—and what makes a reader decide to discard one.

I can easily list a few things that are deal-breakers for me with books.

#1 Children in real danger- I love YA books and like exciting adventures with kids in them, but if you have a phsyco-killer and have them kidnap a child so they can do horrible things…I’m done. I read for fun, and I spend far too much time stressing over my own kid's safety. I don’t want to worry about imaginary kids too.

#2 Bad writing – If the writing is so passive or cliché that I can’t get into the story, then I’ll give up 50 pages in or so.

#3 Predictable- I’m fine with knowing the girl gets the boy at the end, but I tire quickly when the storyline is all a set-up for the guy to convert or something. If I know the end before I get there, what’s the point of reading.

#4 Superfluous sex scenes- If a book has bedroom scenes, they better have a good reason other than just throwing it in there. I’ve tossed several books where the whole thing turned out to be a weak plot sprinkled with racy scenes. I read for a good story, not for cheap thrills.

What are deal-breakers for you? How many pages in do you read before you chuck the thing?


Canda said...

I usually read 4-5 pages before I'll even buy it.

Wendy Swore said...

I can relate to that, Canda. I love the "look inside" feature on Amazon. It's a great way to know what you're getting into.

Mike Keyton said...

I've got as far as three chapters. The last book I gave up on was a China Mievelle book on an alternative London with origami men. I just didn't see the point in it.

The book I'm persevering with because I downloaded it for free on my Christmas Kindle is 'The mystery of Edwin Drood' by Dickens. But hells bells, its laboured and unduly slow. I just want to see if I can stab a good guess who the murderer is because as you know Dickens never finished it.

Wendy Swore said...

Mike, I didn't know that about that book. We had to read David Copperfield in 10th grade and I thought it was cruel and unusual punishment at the time. I've yet to pick up another Dicken's book. Maybe someday...but there are so many other books on my to-read list. You'll have to let us know if you guess the end.

Mike Keyton said...

Actually Drood does have a strange, hypnotic pull that makes you want to read on. And it leaves you genuinely disappointed that you never find out 'who-dun-it.' There are flashes of beautiful writing and sheer comic genius. but the over all impression is that this is more draft than finished product, unless Dickens was getting lazy in his old age.