Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: ArztWolf on March 31, 2014, 11:35:16 AM

Title: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: ArztWolf on March 31, 2014, 11:35:16 AM
Since we already have a "reading pet peeves" thread for things that just annoy you in a book, how about a thread for things that make you completely STOP reading a book?

For me its:
1. Too much angst
2. Love triangles that take over the plot in a non romance book.
3. Forced scrabble
4. Mary Sue/Larry Stu overdose

So what are yours?
Title: Re: What makes you put a stop reading a book?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 31, 2014, 11:36:52 AM
5. Boring! Yesterday I started a mystery book and didn't make it past the first chapter.  I could see the plot coming a mile away (widowed cop's teenage daughter becomes the next victim of a serial killer), and all the characters, exchanges, etc., were so formulaic.

Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: readingchick on March 31, 2014, 11:41:35 AM
If the subject matter is over my head, I'll stop reading. I remember when my book club had to discuss The Crash of 1929 by Galbraith (I think I got the title right; mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa if I didn't). I tried to read it. I honestly did. The subject matter just didn't float my boat.

Another book I had to stop reading was Twilight. I just couldn't get into it.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: JenJay on March 31, 2014, 11:51:14 AM
When I realize I'm glancing at the bottom of my kindle to see what percentage of the book is finished and thinking "Ugh! I'm nowhere near finished." That's when I'll go online, read a spoiler about the ending, and call it good. Life is too short to waste time slogging through a meh book!

(I should add, this usually happens because the plot hasn't progressed in ages, every character is annoying, or the whole story is so boring I just don't care anymore.)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 31, 2014, 11:52:14 AM
When I realize I'm glancing at the bottom of my kindle to see what percentage of the book is finished and thinking "Ugh! I'm nowhere near finished." That's when I'll go online, read a spoiler about the ending, and call it good. Life is too short to waste time slogging through a meh book!

This is one thing I don't like about the Kindle. It's harder to flip through and read little chunks here and there to speed the whole process up.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: JenJay on March 31, 2014, 11:53:43 AM
When I realize I'm glancing at the bottom of my kindle to see what percentage of the book is finished and thinking "Ugh! I'm nowhere near finished." That's when I'll go online, read a spoiler about the ending, and call it good. Life is too short to waste time slogging through a meh book!

This is one thing I don't like about the Kindle. It's harder to flip through and read little chunks here and there to speed the whole process up.

True. I usually just hit the button 4 or 5 times and skim. Still talking about that? Keep going...
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on March 31, 2014, 11:54:10 AM
When I realize I'm glancing at the bottom of my kindle to see what percentage of the book is finished and thinking "Ugh! I'm nowhere near finished." That's when I'll go online, read a spoiler about the ending, and call it good. Life is too short to waste time slogging through a meh book!

(I should add, this usually happens because the plot hasn't progressed in ages, every character is annoying, or the whole story is so boring I just don't care anymore.)

Agreed!  Sometimes I don't even care enough to look up the spoiler. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Harriet Jones on March 31, 2014, 11:56:55 AM
Writing style -- overly wordy/flowery prose is a huge turnoff.  I've put down quite a few fantasy-type novels after reading just a couple of pages because reading them feels like the literary version of slogging through mud.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: barkingmad on March 31, 2014, 12:00:11 PM
Bad writing, bad editing, glaring factual errors, lack of research and just plain lousy writing.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on March 31, 2014, 12:10:25 PM
Nonfiction writing: glaring errors of fact.  I started reading a true crime book written from the viewpoint of one of the survivors.  But the survivor had died back in the 1960's, but he had spent an hour telling his son what had happened, and that was the main source of the research for the book.  But for a man who spent only an hour talking, he crammed a ton of detail.  There were explicit details: what he ate the first night he arrived at the farm (murder site), what he was thinking and feeling, and on and on and on.

That loud snapping was the sound of my credulity giving way.  No way.  Either the son made it up, or the writer made it up, but this narrative has been embellished.  And if you made this up, where else did you stretch the truth?
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Firecat on March 31, 2014, 12:24:42 PM
Unbelievable stupidity on the part of one or more characters. I tried to read Game of Thrones, I really did. Twice. And then I got to the part where one character goes to another (who is Character A's worst enemy in the world, and Character B has already been shown to be totally ruthless) and says, essentially "Oh, hi, Worst Enemy who hates me and my entire family. I've found out this devastating thing about you. And I'm not going to tell anyone else. I'm going to trust that you're going to meekly run off into exile and never bother me again."

That's when I put the book down and walked away. Because, Dude, if you are that stupid, you deserve what's coming, but I don't have to read about it...

There was other stuff, too, but that was the point where I was like "OK, I'm done."
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Coralreef on March 31, 2014, 12:25:59 PM
1 -  Endless descriptions.  I'm reading Verne's' 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.  When it gets to the description of the different types of fish, sea plants, and others it gets annoying fast.  I'm close to letting it go and watch the movie.  It will save me from the classification into families, genus, species of each and every critter for pages and pages on end.  Not to mention the dates and histories of every single European sea captain that sailed into the unknown (not to mention the relationships between these explorers and characters that never have anything to do with the story). 

2 - Useless information.  I don't need to know the name of the boyfriend of the waitress who served coffee to a fourth tier character that dies in the third paragraph of chapter 2.

3 - Point of view that shifts around too much.  Change of POV between chapters, yeah, no problem.  Every second sentence?  No...

4 - When the main character is annoying and rude.  The character of the little girl in the Golden Compass comes to mind.  When you're cheering for the side of evil, there is something wrong with the hero.  Main character doesn't have to be perfect, but outright despicable?

5 - When in the middle of a cliff hanger, the main character's magic / incredible knowledge comes up with absolutely no foreshadowing or explanation.  We're on chapter 12 of 17 and you're telling me now!?! 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: PastryGoddess on March 31, 2014, 12:31:48 PM
4 - When the main character is annoying and rude.  The character of the little girl in the Golden Compass comes to mind.  When you're cheering for the side of evil, there is something wrong with the hero.  Main character doesn't have to be perfect, but outright despicable?


Are you talking about the His Dark Materials trilogy, or the book based on the movie?  Cause the movie sucked.  But I love the books
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: rose red on March 31, 2014, 12:36:05 PM
When I need a dictionary to read; the author is trying to prove how smart they are rather than focus on entertaining the reader (I'm talking about mainstream novels here).

In the same vain, when the author makes up words but is not skillful enough that the reader can keep track/understand. It's no fun to keep flipping to the glossary (The Harry Potter books have made up words, but I understand completely. On the other hand, I couldn't get through three chapters The Black Dagger Brotherhoods books.)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Slartibartfast on March 31, 2014, 12:40:36 PM
The longer I've been a writer, the more I notice craft issues when I'm reading.  There's an author I used to LOVE who was my favoritest author in the whole world - and then I learned more about writing, and I realize she head-hops (changes point of view) ALL OVER THE PLACE.  One sentence will be something only the heroine could know, then the next sentence is the hero's internal thoughts, then the next sentence is how the heroine's cheeks feel warm . . . I can't read her anymore  :-\  I do read a lot of self-published ebooks, mostly from author friends and friends-of-friends who say "my book is free on Amazon today!" - and yeah, there are differences between self-pubbed and small-press-pubbed and traditionally published, in terms of editing and prose quality.  Not universal, of course, but I find myself giving up on a lot more ebooks than I do with paper copies.

My other big bugaboo is consent issues.  I may be on the pickier end of the spectrum when it comes to this, but I absolutely can't stand situations where one character is forced into something nonconsensual and then it's treated like no big deal.  Sometimes this is obvious - rape PTSD shrugged off as something that the hero can cure the heroine of via lots of scrabble - but often it's more subtle.  The hero kissing/groping the heroine even though she's given no outward sign of wanting it, even though we the readers know she does.  One half of a couple unilaterally making decisions for the other half, and it's presented as totally normal or desirable to have in a relationship.  Situations where one partner (usually the heroine) honestly has no ability to walk away from the budding relationship because of external circumstances, so the hero's overtures feel sleazy instead of romantic.  Unfortunately, these issues usually only crop up once I'm halfway into the story  :-\
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Mikayla on March 31, 2014, 12:41:52 PM
Just for grins, I started making my way through my housemate's romance collection, and apparently I am not a fan.

The last book I gave up on had no plot.  I crashed and burned on page 140 when I realized that I had just read 135 pages of back-and-forth between the male and female who had instant attraction.   There was a lot of plot potential, but if you're halfway through and nothing has happened, it's time to wish them well and get on with your own life!

In a more general sense, I have no tolerance for bad writing or editing.   I also loathe superfluous subplots.

Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Kariachi on March 31, 2014, 12:46:49 PM
1) Bad grammar and/or formatting. Not even the desperation of a fangirl and crackshipper can get me through bad grammar. I've read stuff with meh grammar, but bad grammar is an automatic no.

2) Braindead characters. If they are well and truly to dumb to live, I don't want to read about them, go away.

3) The plot that never ends. I started one book, I swear to the gods it could have been easily stretched into a trilogy. At least. Once we hit the fourth point where it could have been split off into a small book, and been better for it, I just gave up.

4) Predictability. At least try to surprise me, please. And if you're not going to surprise me, at least make it interesting.

5) Boring. If I can put down the book and not remember a single thing about what I just read, I'm not gonna pick it up. If it isn't interesting enough to keep my attention longer than each individual word, not happening.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on March 31, 2014, 12:49:02 PM
If I don't care what happens next.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Dys on March 31, 2014, 12:49:51 PM
I try not to fling books at the wall when I read them on the ipad, but the main reason I'll quit is as per Dorothy J Heydt "I don't care what happens to these people".
I also can't keep reading if I'm itching to give the protaganist a good slap and tell them to grow a personality. I get that authors want readers to identify with the characters, but bland, limp, spineless, whiney... sorry, sorry...I'm having flashbacks.

I mostly read sci-fi and fantasy, but I have limits with regards to convenient handwaving to skip over plot holes.

If I dont want to stay awake just a bit longer to see what happens, there's a good chance I'm never going to pick it up again.

Dys
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Amara on March 31, 2014, 12:51:40 PM
Boredom and/or filthy language.

I have no idea why people laugh loudly at such language used by comedians (what happened to actual funny stuff?), or why it is used so often by so many writers. Is it that we are losing interest in the limitless land of words and prefer to use a mere dozen or so for all situations? If so, count me out.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: alkira6 on March 31, 2014, 12:54:31 PM
When reading the book is like reading the "begat" section of the Bible. Yes. I'm looking at you Game of Thrones.  Please just introduce people naturally instead of giving a complete genealogy and history.

Having a stupid/self centered character as the her/heroine.  Aside from the horrible, horrible writing, the characters of Edward and Bella in Twilight made me want to cleanse the earth with fire to keep them from reproducing. I actually and to finish reading the whole series even after rejecting them because I was on the book committee for the library and we all had to read the teen lit for levels of appropriateness.

Poor writing in the sense of sentence structure, subject/verb agreement, and compound/complex sentences (see Twilight, 50 shades of gray, so forth).  Please use a 1. Thesaurus, 2. a dictionary 3. and online help site such as the Perdue writing lab.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 31, 2014, 01:34:28 PM
4 - When the main character is annoying and rude.  The character of the little girl in the Golden Compass comes to mind.  When you're cheering for the side of evil, there is something wrong with the hero.  Main character doesn't have to be perfect, but outright despicable?

Are you talking about the His Dark Materials trilogy, or the book based on the movie?  Cause the movie sucked.  But I love the books

POD to PastryGoddess. I recommend pretending the movie doesn't exist. And I love the book, and I liked that the main character was kind of challenging. However, I can see how that would definitely be a "your mileage may vary" situation as to what flaws one could put up with. Me, I really dislike the trope of "great at her challenging job, but stinks in her love life" for women. I usually don't even pick up a book if that's how the summary describes the main character.

I've stopped reading books, like Game of Thrones, Roma, and even Lemony Snicket and Redwall, because of the constant bad things happening to people. I also tried really hard to read Wicked by Gregory Maguire, the Wizard of Oz riff; I just couldn't finish it, it was too grim and abstract and philosophical, really no fun at all.

I've also passed on a couple of books when they got kind of gross--too much mention of bodily fluids or scatological humor, even if it made sense for the group of characters. One was a kids' series that was kind of Addams Family-ish, with pets who were technically dead and decomposing and so forth.

I also don't like books (especially kids' series) where the group is stocked with check-off-the-box "types"--the jock, the brain, the clown, etc.--and they're each a different ethnicity, not because that's interesting or realistic, but because the author wants to hit all the corners of the focus group chart.

Another book I gave up on because it was supposed to be set in 1910 or so, a historical soap opera, but all the characters' attitudes and behaviors felt way too modern. They should have just been modern people in a social circle that liked dressing up in old-timey clothes and riding in horse-drawn carriages.

I also don't like narration that is meandering and overly folksy. I actually have trouble even with classics like Mark Twain in this regard. It feels very smug to me, like you're assuming the audience knows you're so awesome that you don't have to prove yourself to them with a focused story. Maybe actual Mark Twain can get away with that, but few others.

With non-fiction, the topic can be presented in a dull or confusing way, or be pitched over my head, or have too much abstract philosophical stuff (when it's about chemistry or something like that).

I try to finish the book I'm reading--I don't usually read more than one book at a time. But sometimes I look over at the book and think about reading it, and then I'm like, "You know, I should probably go clean the toilet." Or basically anything other than read the book. That's when I think, maybe I should just give up on this one.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: guihong on March 31, 2014, 01:34:50 PM
1. Violence towards animals (1984 was an exception)
2. Too violent
3. Factual errors (but I watch Reign?  ::))
4. Lots of dialog when I can't figure out who is speaking or to whom (Lord Jim, where it seemed half the book was set in Jim's thoughts and angst)
5. Long pages of description (I finished Moby wingadingdingy, but a great deal of the book is about whaling.  Moby doesn't even show up until the last 1/4 of it)
6. Long pages of the author's pontifications (example: War and Peace.  I "finished" it, but admit to skipping most of Tolstoy's opinions and sticking to the action)
7. If the plot seems to take forever to get going (almost any Thomas Hardy novel)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: MyFamily on March 31, 2014, 01:36:38 PM
Bad stero-typing - there was a cozy mystery series that I was borderline about - the heroine is a New York Jew who moves to Nashville; the last book in that series that I tried to read, I couldn't do it - it was trying way too hard to make the protagonist sound like what someone outside of New York would expect a New York Jew to sound like, and instead just came across as incredibly offensive.  Another novel (different author) had a lesbian character who couldn't say anything nice about any males.  Yes, there are women who hate all men, but it was clear that the reason she hates all men is because she was a lesbian. 

False or mistaken facts printed in fiction books.  One was where someone ate some cake, had what appeared to be an allergic reaction and died - the 'pretends to be a real detective' said something like it couldn't have been a real allergic reaction because there were no peanuts in the cake - ignoring of course, that people can be deathly allergic to the eggs, milk, and fruit that was used to make the cake (that one got a letter from me sent to the author, who said something about how she was only saying that to help the story along, of course she knows about allergies - sorry, I'm glad you think it helped the story along, but you look like an idiot and I think your character isn't that smart either).  Or when they identify a real school or museum but put it in the wrong city.  Just bugs me and shows that you don't care enough about your work to do even a smidgen of research.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 31, 2014, 01:45:43 PM
For nonfiction books: Reading like a textbook, or just being incredibly dry with no emotion whatsoever.  It makes it really difficult for me to slog through it. 

For fiction? Mary Sue/Larry Stu, though I don't encounter the latter quite as much.  I remember when I was reading the Twilight books, I was working in an office and another girl was reading the same book I was (New Moon) and threw the book across the room about the same time (not in the office, at home, we learned this by discussing it in the office) but for different reasons.

Her reason? She was mad at Edward for leaving Bella the way he did. Me? I was fed up with the whole relationship. Though maybe that doesn't count. I did pick it up and keep going but only cause I was promised it got better.  ::)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: jaxsue on March 31, 2014, 01:51:20 PM
What makes me stop reading a book? If it's badly edited (looking at you, self-publishers!) to the point that I have trouble finding a sentence that isn't riddled with errors. Also, if the book's set in a historical time period, but the hero/heroine is not racist/sexist/whatever-ist at all, and holds completely modern POV's.  ::) I can suspend my disbelief, but only so much.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: rose red on March 31, 2014, 01:51:34 PM
I put the book down when the characters prove to be unpleasant. When violent is mistaken for "strong." I read a book where the "heroine" (even Bella would think she's a total Mary Sue) slapped the hero and the reader is suppose to think she's strong and sassy. All it did was make me think the guy is an idiot for not charging her for assault. Also when a character is mean and hateful and has contempt for other characters who are nice, but we are suppose to think that character is "strong" and "kick-butt" and the nice character is wimpy and weak.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Allyson on March 31, 2014, 02:01:59 PM
When it is so incredibly predictable that I can call the plot twists chapters ahead, and when they try to convince the reader that no really, this is shocking and a surprise. Heroine is pulled between two men, one of whom is nice and normal and the other is growly (supernatural in some way if it's paranormal) and jerkish, constantly telling her she wants him. If the book was written in the last 5 years she'll go with the second guy undoubtedly.

Along the same lines, trying so hard it's laughable. It seems now that every single male romantic interest in a paranormal book has to do that growly "MINE, never will another man touch you" thing, which is supposed to be romantic, but unfortunately I have now seen so very many times that it's just funny/ridiculous to me.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Library Dragon on March 31, 2014, 02:25:57 PM
Quote
4 - When the main character is annoying and rude.  The character of the little girl in the Golden Compass comes to mind.  When you're cheering for the side of evil, there is something wrong with the hero.  Main character doesn't have to be perfect, but outright despicable?

I was just thinking this during my lunch time read.  I'm currently reading "The Serpent's Tale" by Ariana Franklin.  Oh my!  The lead character is so obnoxious.  She has so many axes to grind I don't know how she has time to solve crime let alone practice medicine. 

I adore Flavia de Luce.  She's spunky, quirky, and takes crazy dangers, even for the 1950s.  (I understand the lack of concern for a child biking all over the countryside. I grew up in a come home when the street lights come on philosophy.)  But, she's looking at the world through the eyes of a pre-adolescent girl, not a well educated adult. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Two Ravens on March 31, 2014, 03:03:40 PM
For me, it's the casual use of violence. If the hero/heroine feels that punching someone in the face is a perfectly acceptable response to being insulted/hearing something they don't like, it's an instant turn off. I also feel that way about TV shows.

When it is so incredibly predictable that I can call the plot twists chapters ahead, and when they try to convince the reader that no really, this is shocking and a surprise. Heroine is pulled between two men, one of whom is nice and normal and the other is growly (supernatural in some way if it's paranormal) and jerkish, constantly telling her she wants him. If the book was written in the last 5 years she'll go with the second guy undoubtedly.

Well, this was also the plot twist in Pride and Prejudice, so it's hardly limited to the last 5 years.  ;)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: JennJenn68 on March 31, 2014, 03:03:58 PM
Anything with flowery "Look, Ma, I'm writing!" prose.  All of the Harry Potter books come to mind here.  I felt like I was trying to pick my way through an overstocked antique store while reading, just trying to get to the point of a sentence.  An author who does that seriously needs a new editor!  I never got past about the first couple of chapters of any of them.  Egad.

As mentioned by previous posters, predictability is another annoying trait.  Doubly annoying if the predictable plot twist is treated as something oh-so-clever-and-innovative.  (I call it "The Sixth Sense Syndrome".)

And I, too, cannot abide any description of cruelty to animals.  I'll have nightmares for days if I read such things.  My imagination is far too vivid.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: daen on March 31, 2014, 03:23:44 PM
What makes me stop reading a book? If it's badly edited (looking at you, self-publishers!) to the point that I have trouble finding a sentence that isn't riddled with errors. Also, if the book's set in a historical time period, but the hero/heroine is not racist/sexist/whatever-ist at all, and holds completely modern POV's.  ::) I can suspend my disbelief, but only so much.

As (sort of) the inverse of that - I read a number of the Philo Vance mysteries on Project Gutenberg Australia, which were contemporary when written and are now historical. I was surprised a few times by how certain racist/sexist/whateverist POVs did not make an appearance when I expected them to.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Sirius on March 31, 2014, 03:36:33 PM
One thing that's a gigantic turn-off for me is characters that allow others in the story to be rude/walk all over/be viciously nasty to them and they're SO AFRAID to respond the way the situation calls for because of someone else's tender feelings.  There are two series that I've read that are like this:  Mary Dalheim's series about the bed and breakfast annoys me completely because the B&B owner seems more concerned with her mother's feelings that her husband's feelings (if my mother talked to my husband like that she'd be barred from my house for life).  Diane Mott Davidson's series about the caterer annoys me no end as well (if my child talked to me the way the child in the books talks to his mother, they'd be eating off the mantle and/or grounded until voting age.)  Plus, in the caterer series she needed to have a definite Come to Deity meeting with her ex-husband in Book no. 1, but she's afraid to for fear of alienating her son.  Her son is supposed to be smart; can't he see the way his father treats his mother?  I was actually relieved when the ex met his Maker a few books ago, so we don't have to hear about that jerk any more. 

Maybe I get too wrapped up in the books I read. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Petticoats on March 31, 2014, 04:34:58 PM
Technical problems: bad grammar, misused punctuation, mangled sentence structure... and I'm seeing this more and more in traditionally published books (that is, not just self-published). I got maybe three pages into Gail Carriger's Soulless and tossed it aside because Carriger's editor was failing her so blatantly. Good editing is getting harder and harder to come by.

Violence toward animals bothers me greatly, as does violence that seems to be described a little too lovingly. I had to stop reading Pillars of the Earth because of that. And the casual attitude about sexual violence toward women and children in the Song of Ice and Fire series--book 3, in particular--almost made me give it up. I have to take breaks from it. Unfortunately there are still incidents that haunt me--partly because even though I know that those instances were fictitious, that sort of thing is actually happening in the world even today to women and children. I know GRRM isn't condoning these things, but the worldview of that universe, where things like that are commonplace, is really hard to live with for any length of time.

And head-hopping. Gah.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: magicdomino on March 31, 2014, 04:43:51 PM
1.  Not caring about the characters.  If everyone is boring/stupid/despicable, I'm not interested in finding out what happens to them, aside from maybe reading the last page to see if they died.

2.  Plots that don't move.  Many a paranormal or mystery romance has died halfway through because I got tired of skimming through pages and pages of the main characters drooling over each other.  Other books lanquish with a bookmark because the author is so busy describing things in exquisite detail that he/she forgets that the characters are supposed to be doing something.

3.  Poor (or no) punctuation.  I realize that the copy editor is an endangered species, and can forgive a few errors.  However, authors who delibrately drop punctuation come across as pretentious, as well as illegible.  All the Pretty Horses made me want to write notes in the margins just so that I could keep track of who was saying what, assuming they were saying anything.

4.  Depressing books.  This category includes books that are depressing until the miserable main character's life magically improves in the last chapter or two.  If it says "Oprah's Book Club" on the cover, I'm not bothering.

Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Cherry91 on April 01, 2014, 04:58:17 AM
Unrelenting misery.

I read mainly for escapism, and while obviously if everything went right there'd be no plot, if your book can be summarised as "It Got Worse" and it just heaps tragedy after tragedy onto the characters, I'm likely going to stop reading.

There's a fairly long running series I used to love that recently released the synopsis for the next book coming, and now I'm struggling with myself because on the one hand, see the above for an idea of how things go for the main character, but on the other hand, the synopsis for the next book sounds AMAZING.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AmethystAnne on April 01, 2014, 06:09:14 AM
I'll try 2 times, but if I fall asleep both times, I'll give up on a book.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cicero on April 01, 2014, 06:48:38 AM
a lot of what PPs wrote -
*grammar/spelling mistakes/typos drive me crazy.
*lack of development either of the characters or of the plot. things don't move. people don't evolve. it's all very Pleasantville-esque. IOW - boring.
*lack of clarity - when i find myself flipping back and forth too much because i don't know who that person is, or what happened. (especially annoying when using an electronic device)
*historical /scientific mistakes.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 01, 2014, 08:31:28 AM
Perhaps rather an odd and “fussy” thing to be for one, the “kiss of death” as regards a prose work -- but for me, it comes about when I perceive a characteristic of the author’s writing being: cutesy / cloying, cheap-tabloid-journalistic style and attitudes, and putting same across in a manner of sort-of “written-ly” digging the reader in the ribs – “oh, look at me, aren’t I quirky and winsome and just the slightest bit naughtily daring.”. Any more than a tiny bit of of indulgence in this on the author’s part, has me metaphorically shutting the book and throwing it across the room – and probably swearing off ever in future reading anything else by that author.

I don’t know how much sense the above makes – if I try and illustrate it with an example  – the illustration also involves another pet peeve of mine. While recognising that a free press is necessary for a free society, and that those who gather news often display much courage in doing so: I personally find nauseating, the boot-licking veneration and worship which many people appear to bestow on journalists and journalism, indiscriminately across the board. For heaven’s sake, journalists are fallible, often annoying, humans, just like the rest of us: and a good many of them seem to have a bent for becoming highly conceited, all by themselves – the last thing they need, is assistance from the public to become yet more so.

Gregory McDonald’s thrillers / mysteries have numerous devotees, especially those books featuring his journalist / sleuth “Fletch”. I’ve read a few, finding them on the whole too “cloyingly twee” as above, to be very enjoyable – though they had for me, their occasional moments. Cloying-and-twee breaking-point came for me, when quite early on in one of the “Fletch” novels, said hero is on the receiving end of a tirade from an associate (a basically harmless bod IIRC) which ends with the words, “...you bug, you [rather rude word equivalent to 'one who bugs'], you journalist !”  I all but threw-up on the spot; and closed the book there and then; and that's it for me lifelong, so far as Mr. McDonald is concerned. Perhaps I’m too easily irritated by too little; but I’ve done likewise, for similar reasons, re quite a number of authors.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: 123sandy on April 01, 2014, 08:43:08 AM
I enjoy reading series but there comes a point when I just can't stand to read the same character description one more time. I understand new readers find the books but, please, not in every book!!

So far I've stopped reading wingadingdingy Francis, one day I realized that he was still writing teenagers roles when in fact, he had been a teenager in the '30's, so what he had the character do and say made no sense in the modern day.

"The cat who..." In the middle of one of the books I came to the conclusion I never again wanted to hear from Jim Qwuilleran or his $#**$€ cat ever again. Put the book down in the middle of the story and purged the book shelves.

M C Beaton. It's getting to that stage with her books too. The same main character description in every book. Plus the Agatha Raisin character has been in her 50's for so long now I've caught up and am about to pass her. As for the Hamish McBeath character...if I read the word "sibilant" one more time I think my head will burst!
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 01, 2014, 08:48:35 AM
The Sweetie rejects authors who think they're too clever. I'm a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde (the Tuesday Next series). We agree to disagree there.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: lowspark on April 01, 2014, 08:59:33 AM
In addition to some of the stuff mentioned above, I'll add that I listen to books on audio a lot and the reader can really make or break a book. If the reader is bad, no matter how good the book is, I can't finish it.

I usually seek out books "read by the author" as I figure the author is going to be the best reader of his/her own book. Well, that's actually not necessarily true. Case in point: Amy Tan. I've read (physically read) a few of her books and loved them all, but I tried listening to one, as read by Ms. Tan herself. Her voice was, well, I'll just say, it was not agreeable to my ear. I had to stop listening midway through disc one.

Since I listen in the car, I can easily get distracted by traffic and thinking about where I need to go. It happens. I can just rewind as needed. But if I find myself getting distracted a lot, and by thoughts other than what it takes to operate my vehicle, that means the book just isn't holding my attention. I got stuck listening to a book I really didn't like but felt I had to finish because it was for Book Club. I think I actually only heard about 65% of the book as I just quit rewinding when I realized I'd tuned out. (Olive Kitteridge. Why that book won a Pulitzer is beyond my comprehension. There was no plot.)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Sophia on April 01, 2014, 09:06:59 AM
I think I have stopped reading about 6 books in my life.  It doesn't take much for me for me to want to know how it ends. 
I am listening to Scarlet Letter.  Even though I was disappointed to discover I was merely 6/8 way through the book, rather than the 6/7 that I thought I was, I am going to stick with it to the bitter end. 


Otherwise, not only will I finish the book, I will finish the series. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 01, 2014, 09:21:15 AM
Quote
Another book I gave up on because it was supposed to be set in 1910 or so, a historical soap opera, but all the characters' attitudes and behaviors felt way too modern. They should have just been modern people in a social circle that liked dressing up in old-timey clothes and riding in horse-drawn carriages.

Oh, I hate that, too. Dialogue and attitudes that just don't fit with the period.

Most modern "period" or "regency" romance is like that. Honestly, it's just bad soft-core porn.

There's a detective-story write that I started to like, and gave up on when I realized that she was writing the books simply so that she could scold the Victorians about their vices, prejudices, and, well, their Victorian attitudes.
Anne Perry. I still am sort of grieving for the loss of what could have been a great series.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 01, 2014, 09:26:41 AM
Quote
Another book I gave up on because it was supposed to be set in 1910 or so, a historical soap opera, but all the characters' attitudes and behaviors felt way too modern. They should have just been modern people in a social circle that liked dressing up in old-timey clothes and riding in horse-drawn carriages.

Oh, I hate that, too. Dialogue and attitudes that just don't fit with the period.


I threw aside a Regency romance where a duke said "Okay."
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 01, 2014, 09:29:58 AM
The Sweetie rejects authors who think they're too clever. I'm a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde (the Tuesday Next series). We agree to disagree there.


I love Terry Pratchett, but I can see her point--that he thinks he's too clever.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Dindrane on April 01, 2014, 10:13:45 AM
It takes quite a lot for me to not finish a book, in part because I'm kind of choosy about what I'll pick up to read in the first place. Often, the bigger test for me is whether I have any desire to read the book again, since there are a lot of books I've read once and never had the slightest inclination to reread. But all the books I actually like, I have at least the desire to reread should I come across the book again (since I do read a lot from the library, and so don't own all the books I've enjoyed).

But for me, the number one thing that makes me stop reading a book is when I stop caring about what happens to the characters. That can either be because I don't like them, the plot is boring/nonexistent, or because I just don't give a good d*** about the people in the book. I used to keep reading such books anyway, but I finally threw up my rhetorical hands and gave up when I was assigned Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy in high school. I just could not make myself finish that book, even though it was required reading, because I realized that I hated all the characters and wished they'd go jump in a lake.

The number one thing that makes me not want to read additional books by the same author is messing with me at the ending. Thomas Hardy is the standard bearer for this for me, because of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. That was another book that was assigned for a class I took in college, and I did finish it. But I wanted to fling the book out the window when I got to the end. It's one of those books where the basic plot is "bad thing happens to heroine through no fault of her own", then it gets a little better, then worse thing happens, then it gets a little better, then even worse thing happens, until finally by the end, the heroine is left in her misery. And in the case of Tess, the "hero" (who I thought was a thoroughly annoying character) gets all virtuously mopey about said misery even though he was directly responsible for causing a good chunk of it.

So given Tess and Return of the Native, I am never picking up another Hardy book ever again, and nobody can make me.

Another thing that will make me not want to read a book again, and be wary of a particular author, is plots that depend upon someone being Too Stupid to Live. Or where basically the whole plot depends upon a situation that would be resolved after a 5 minute conversation (which often goes hand in hand with one or more of the main characters being TSTL). Julia Quinn is a romance novelist who I actually think is quite a good writer, but a couple of her earliest books follow that model. It's fortunate for me that I read those earlier books after reading (several times) most of her later body of work, which is quite enjoyable and features books that don't depend upon that particular plot device. So I can still read and enjoy other Julia Quinn books, and just pretend that the ones requiring that particular plot device don't exist.

Beyond that, I have a pretty high tolerance for language and grammar issues, if the plot is otherwise interesting and they don't make the book unreadable or impossible to understand. I'm fine with predictable plots if, again, they are interesting and I like the characters. I actually like my happy-ever-after endings so much that I really do read a ton of romance novels, just because I know that's how they'll all end. Some are pretty awful (and I read those, when I read them, more because the Scottish-Laird-Pirate-with-a-heart-of-gold or whatever character who is tamed by the spunky-but-nurturing heroine that shows up a lot in historicals can be quite hilarious). But some romance novelists are actually pretty good writers, and mostly produce very enjoyable books (albeit with rather predictable plots).
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AzaleaBloom on April 01, 2014, 10:28:44 AM
I used to absolutely love the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown.  I would reserve them at the library before they'd even come in.  Over the years, though, they became increasingly more political.  The last one I read - and this goes back several years - I had to put down after two chapters.  It was obvious she was using the books to promote her political views, with the plot being thin and useless.    From the reviews I've read, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 01, 2014, 12:20:14 PM
I started off enjoying the Stephanie Plum series (One for the Money...) not cause the writing was all that great, but they were amusing.  But man, after a while it seemed like it was the same story, different criminal every single book.  I got so tired too of her bouncing back and forth between Ranger and Morelli. 

When I started reading the Harry Potter series I took a break after the third book cause it started to get a bit tiring, but I think one of my cousins encouraged me to try the fourth book and I got interested again. :)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 01, 2014, 12:29:59 PM
The Sweetie rejects authors who think they're too clever. I'm a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde (the Tuesday Next series). We agree to disagree there.


I love Terry Pratchett, but I can see her point--that he thinks he's too clever.

I'm with Ms_Cellany's Sweetie, re both.  I myself find Pratchett feeble (very many people whom I respect, love his stuff -- fair do's), plus I get the impression that if his head were any more swollen, it would explode.  The only one by Fforde which I ever tried, struck me as, really, just a non-work -- "silliness from another planet".  I'm probably just too hard to please, fiction-wise.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: VorFemme on April 01, 2014, 12:40:11 PM
David Eddings (and his wife, Leigh) were able to take a whole pile of clichés, memes, tropes, and the like and turn them into fairly well written books that were fun to read.

Granted, the clichéd farm boy who turns out to be the pivotal character and destined for greatness has been around since, oh, mythological times.  So, if it isn't the oldest plot device in the literary tradition - it has to be CLOSE to it. 

Eddings & Eddings did nothing new, per se, but the various books are amusing and I always wanted to know what happened next.  Just because there were clichés on every page didn't mean that event were predictable - I knew pretty much were some characters were going to end up - but the writers had them take adventures on the road that weren't quite as predictable as the memes, tropes, and clichés might have led me to expect.  The deft hand of an experienced pair of writers (one of whom was also apparently a gifted editor - his writing dropped a notch after she died) made a HUGE difference!

The books were not deep philosophical treatises, but they were original, good, and FUN to read so you'd know what happened next.

Christopher Paolini tried to do the same thing with Eregon.  At the age of fifteen, the first book was fairly good for an older writer, delightful for a teenager as the writer.  But he didn't get the editing and training that he needed to develop as a more mature writer.  His trilogy turned into a quadrology (might be the wrong construction - but three books still dragged into four).  I've never been able to finish #4...maybe this summer, on the beach...?

It was a pity that such a good start turned out quite so over-supplied with plots, characters, and so forth - so that the story suffered.

Rather like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time - no matter how minor the character, he seemed to want to give them a plot thread of their very own...and the books got denser & denser with plot threads without resolving enough of them for their to be progress in resolving the main story.  Rand got lost in the rest of the story arcs....sometimes a whole book would go by (and they are thick books) without more than a chapter or two of Rand's story working through to the next plot point.

I gave up around #6 or so...it's too bad that he died and someone else is having to finish things up - but if he were still writing that series of ten books, it would be past 15 by now and looking like 20 books...with a good chance of ending up 25.  It might work for the publisher & the writer, but more the readers might be tired of it before then....

Laurell K. Hamilton - Mary Sue & wish fulfillment - or possibly bragging about how good an imagination she has - I skip pages at a time to see what happens NEXT that doesn't involve either Anita Blake or Merry Gentry playing what we refer here as "scrabble".  I no longer bother to pick up the next book as it comes out - I wait until the number of holds at the library goes down - it does make for fun reading on vacation - but not something that I want to discuss with other readers.  It's the equivalent of a candy bar - not good for your diet, your waistline, or your teeth - but a guilty treat once in a while.

Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 01, 2014, 12:42:47 PM
I have only ever not finished one book.  Nathanial Hawthorne's 'House of Seven Gables'.  When he was still describing the dingdangity house on page 50, I tossed it.  And at that point, stopped reading the so-called 'Classics', for the most part.

I've been buying a lot of free/cheap books for my Kindle lately.  I expect some errors but some of them get really bad.  I'll finish the book and delete it, rather than save it.  I do have to remember to go into 'Manage my Kindle' one of these days and delete the archive so they are actually off the reader.

Some books that other people absolutely hated, I read through in short time frames.  I understand their issues with some of them but those just don't bother me enough to put it down.  And I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to violence, profanity, etc. 

But the one thing that really bothers me in a story written in today's timeframe?  When a character smokes and it is made out to be a sexy thing to do.  Drives me bonkers because it makes me find that character decidedly unsexy.  I haven't sworn off particular authors, yet, for this plot device but I am getting close.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 01, 2014, 12:43:59 PM
I threw aside a Regency romance where a duke said "Okay."

Trying frantically here, for justification for the author in this...  Among the suggested derivations of "Okay", are its perhaps coming from a Choctaw phrase; or a phrase from one or another West African tongue; with approximately that sound, and conveying generally affirmative-and-concurring sentiments.  Could the duke have, in his youth, served in some capacity in the then American colonies and / or the American War of Independence, and in the course of same (perhaps, himself, interacting with Choctaws or slaves from West Africa) picked up the expression "Okay", then making its way into American English?

Possibly the duke liked this neologism, and it became his personal quirk to use it when back in England in later years -- despite nobody back home having any idea what he meant by it  :) ...
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 01, 2014, 12:59:34 PM
I threw aside a Regency romance where a duke said "Okay."

Trying frantically here, for justification for the author in this...  Among the suggested derivations of "Okay", are its perhaps coming from a Choctaw phrase; or a phrase from one or another West African tongue; with approximately that sound, and conveying generally affirmative-and-concurring sentiments.  Could the duke have, in his youth, served in some capacity in the then American colonies and / or the American War of Independence, and in the course of same (perhaps, himself, interacting with Choctaws or slaves from West Africa) picked up the expression "Okay", then making its way into American English?

Possibly the duke liked this neologism, and it became his personal quirk to use it when back in England in later years -- despite nobody back home having any idea what he meant by it  :) ...

Except that the first written use of OK or okay was in 1839, per m-w.com (Merriam-Webster has the U.S.'s most detailed and extensive documentation). The Regency period ended in 1820.

Verbal use almost always predates written (there's debate about whether this term was around verbally before it appeared in print), but the term was U.S. based, and would have been around in the 1830s. About a decade later.

http://theweek.com/article/index/242717/where-did-the-expression-ok-come-from
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 01, 2014, 01:14:01 PM
... I finally threw up my rhetorical hands and gave up when I was assigned Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy in high school. I just could not make myself finish that book, even though it was required reading, because I realized that I hated all the characters and wished they'd go jump in a lake.

The number one thing that makes me not want to read additional books by the same author is messing with me at the ending. Thomas Hardy is the standard bearer for this for me, because of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. That was another book that was assigned for a class I took in college, and I did finish it. But I wanted to fling the book out the window when I got to the end. It's one of those books where the basic plot is "bad thing happens to heroine through no fault of her own", then it gets a little better, then worse thing happens, then it gets a little better, then even worse thing happens, until finally by the end, the heroine is left in her misery. And in the case of Tess, the "hero" (who I thought was a thoroughly annoying character) gets all virtuously mopey about said misery even though he was directly responsible for causing a good chunk of it.

So given Tess and Return of the Native, I am never picking up another Hardy book ever again, and nobody can make me.

Hardy is notorious here in his own country, too, for being literary-wise, an extremely miserable so-and-so. It seems universally reckoned, that his very worst-and-miserablest novel is Jude the Obscure -- people are warned against it, as a pretty-well guaranteed wrist-slitter.  He has a counterpart in this, in his slightly-junior contemporary and compatriot A.E. Housman.  Both very strongly identified with particular regions of England: Hardy with his "Wessex", the south-west of the country, especially Dorset; Housman with Shropshire, some way further north.  Basically Hardy's forte was novels; and Housman's, poetry; both took in the main, a very non-cheery view of the world, and the human condition generally in their respective beloved patches of England.  Some of their more frivolous, and irreverent, English fellow-writers -- especially those born later in the nineteenth century -- took the mickey out of them and their pervading glumness, something cruel.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 01, 2014, 01:26:11 PM
I threw aside a Regency romance where a duke said "Okay."

Trying frantically here, for justification for the author in this...  Among the suggested derivations of "Okay", are its perhaps coming from a Choctaw phrase; or a phrase from one or another West African tongue; with approximately that sound, and conveying generally affirmative-and-concurring sentiments.  Could the duke have, in his youth, served in some capacity in the then American colonies and / or the American War of Independence, and in the course of same (perhaps, himself, interacting with Choctaws or slaves from West Africa) picked up the expression "Okay", then making its way into American English?

Possibly the duke liked this neologism, and it became his personal quirk to use it when back in England in later years -- despite nobody back home having any idea what he meant by it  :) ...

Except that the first written use of OK or okay was in 1839, per m-w.com (Merriam-Webster has the U.S.'s most detailed and extensive documentation). The Regency period ended in 1820.

Verbal use almost always predates written (there's debate about whether this term was around verbally before it appeared in print), but the term was U.S. based, and would have been around in the 1830s. About a decade later.

http://theweek.com/article/index/242717/where-did-the-expression-ok-come-from

Ah, well -- I was desperately clutching at straws, and am roundly refuted.  Ms_Cellany is fully justified in throwing the fiction work concerned, into oblivion.

I have anyway always personally liked best, the explanation of OK as per link -- "trendies" having fun with semi-literate abbreviations such as OK = "oll korrect", and then the 1840 election and the "Old Kinderhook" business.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Elfmama on April 01, 2014, 05:25:20 PM
I try not to fling books at the wall when I read them on the ipad, but the main reason I'll quit is as per Dorothy J Heydt "I don't care what happens to these people".
AKA "The Eight Deadly Words."

Quote
If I dont want to stay awake just a bit longer to see what happens, there's a good chance I'm never going to pick it up again.

Dys
That's my personal criteria for weeding.  If this book is on my shelves, there's a bookmark partway through, and I don't have the vaguest idea what it's about, out it goes. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Elfmama on April 01, 2014, 05:50:27 PM
Quote
Another book I gave up on because it was supposed to be set in 1910 or so, a historical soap opera, but all the characters' attitudes and behaviors felt way too modern. They should have just been modern people in a social circle that liked dressing up in old-timey clothes and riding in horse-drawn carriages.

Oh, I hate that, too. Dialogue and attitudes that just don't fit with the period.


I threw aside a Regency romance where a duke said "Okay."
"Okay" is extremely hard to purge from one's everyday speech or writing. It's so extremely useful. 
: fairly good : not very good or very bad
: acceptable or agreeable
: not ill, hurt, unhappy, etc
: used to ask for or express agreement, approval, or understanding 
: used for emphasis at the beginning of a statement

 I finally gave up, knowing that one or more would probably sneak past me unawares.  Then I could go through with a find/replace and catch them all in the end. Because a non-modern use of "okay" bugs me just as much.

And on a similar line, phrases that rely on concepts that the historical background  does not support.  Someone can't "run out of steam" in a medievaloid fantasy, if steam power hasn't yet been invented! 

I tangled with my editor over the slavery depicted in my books.  Because the protagonist had been a slave, she thought that he should be a rip-roaring abolitionist.  He wasn't. He didn't like it, but the concept that a land could exist without it was just not something he could imagine. No one in that place could have.  It just an accepted fact in that world.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Arila on April 01, 2014, 05:56:54 PM
I had never stopped reading a book (that I had chosen to read -- assigned books don't count!) until recently. I had really enjoyed the first 3 or so books in the series, but the next, much hyped, book came out and suddenly it read like amateur fan fiction. The main characters were spending pages and pages in cutsey dialogue instead of advancing the storyline. I liked the characters, but I just wasn't interested in a long, drawn out, "Here they are again!!!!" goo-goo scene. I never did make it through that breakfast!

It's pretty disappointing to me, because I still sometimes think about the storyline and where it was going -- was going to be interesting!
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: JeanFromBNA on April 01, 2014, 06:01:14 PM
Quote
Another book I gave up on because it was supposed to be set in 1910 or so, a historical soap opera, but all the characters' attitudes and behaviors felt way too modern. They should have just been modern people in a social circle that liked dressing up in old-timey clothes and riding in horse-drawn carriages.

Oh, I hate that, too. Dialogue and attitudes that just don't fit with the period.
(snip)

Sidebar:  When I first saw the latest cinematic iteration of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley, the dialogue felt like nails on a blackboard to me.  An unmarried young woman during the Regency period would not have stomped her foot and screamed, "You can't make me!" at her parents.  :P
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: poundcake on April 01, 2014, 08:01:20 PM
I could have written all of Dindrane's post.

I, too, rarely don't finish something I've started, but two things that have stopped me are the "Eight Deadly Words" about not caring what happens to the characters, and horrible writing and/or editing. This is why I gave up on "Twilight" after the first hundred pages. Even mentally re-writing the sentences to improve them didn't make the characters less dull. And I'll usually soldier on through anything to find out what happens.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Coralline on April 02, 2014, 03:09:57 AM
I had to stop reading Bryce Courtney's books because in every single book of his that I read the strong female character would get raped. And in some cases die because of it. I really liked his stories, but couldn't handle knowing that it was inevitably coming up at some point.

Also, I recently read a murder mystery where I hated the main character so much that by the third chapter I was really hoping she'd be taken by the serial killer. I've blocked it out of my mind, it was so awful.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 02, 2014, 04:12:53 AM
Oh, I hate that, too. Dialogue and attitudes that just don't fit with the period.

I threw aside a Regency romance where a duke said "Okay."
"Okay" is extremely hard to purge from one's everyday speech or writing. It's so extremely useful...

And on a similar line, phrases that rely on concepts that the historical background  does not support.  Someone can't "run out of steam" in a medievaloid fantasy, if steam power hasn't yet been invented!


I too find modern attitudes and viewpoints incongruously transplanted into past eras, exasperating; but re use of language and figures of speech, there's an opposing "take" which I feel has some validity.  I personally tend to be more annoyed by extremes of what I think of as "pishery-tushery" or "writing forsoothly" (archaic language, no matter how correct for the period) -- where they are extremes -- than by technically-misplaced modern language or concepts. I value the perspective that overall, human nature has been the same throughout history, and human reactions to the majority of daily life, likewise: I'd rather have characters from past centuries, rendered as talking more or less in the English I'm familiar with from today -- with even a modicum of modern figurative language ("running out of steam", or even "being switched-on") -- than the author knocking themself out to make the characters talk in a, to me, unfamiliar and grotesque manner; or tying themself in knots to find "contemporary" figures of speech.  That kind of thing can for me obscure a bit, the characters' being basically humans, with a lot in common with us their descendants -- can give a slight impression that the author is trying to write about aliens.

For me, feeling hit in the face by too-energetic attempts at what described above, can be irritatingly distracting from what's going on in the story. Georgette Heyer always grates on me, just because of the (meticulously researched) Regency slang and idiom in which she makes her characters converse -- I just find it weird and awkward and a distraction: would be more comfortable with "neutral" more modern-type speech.  Facetiousness aside -- I feel that though the Regency duke saying "Okay" would have slightly jolted me: I'd have been inclined to give the author a pass for that.  It could have been for me more irritating, and disrupting to flow of story, if the erudite author had had him saying an authentic-for-the-time equivalent.  If that were something like, say, "eftsoons", or "I strumple your moggin", I'd have to pause at least a moment to take the new expression on board, and check from the context that it meant basically, "okay" -- I just don't need annoyances like that when reading fiction for fun.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Pioneer on April 02, 2014, 08:41:48 AM
I started off enjoying the Stephanie Plum series (One for the Money...) not cause the writing was all that great, but they were amusing.  But man, after a while it seemed like it was the same story, different criminal every single book.  I got so tired too of her bouncing back and forth between Ranger and Morelli. 

When I started reading the Harry Potter series I took a break after the third book cause it started to get a bit tiring, but I think one of my cousins encouraged me to try the fourth book and I got interested again. :)

Piratelvr1121's post could have been written by me!  HP#3 was hard the first time, but my kids encouraged me to keep going.  And we still refer to HP#7 as "Harry Potter and the Absurdly Long Camping Trip."   We were also enjoying the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events at about the same time.

Stephanie Plum.  Agreed.  Then something even worse happened; earlier writings of Janet Evanovich were re-released.  I don't even borrow them from the library any longer, much less pay for them.

I read this thread yesterday, then downloaded a free book last night.  Two pages into the story, I was reminded of eHell, but heck, it was only 97 pages and I needed a "help me fall asleep fast" diversion. No luck.  It had it all; instantly smitten maiden, gorgeous guy who is a total jerk, implausible meeting scenario, gratuitous but mind-blowing scrabble, errors in grammar, syntax, and punctuation.  I'd share the title or author or even character names, but it is 10 hours ago and I can't remember.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: shadowfox79 on April 02, 2014, 09:12:38 AM
The too-stupid-to-live heroine.

I forced my way through a piece of chick-lit in which the heroine did nothing but whine, obsess about shoes, chase the wrong men and get into supposedly hilarious messes which were entirely avoidable, and now I think I've used up all my reserves of patience.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Winterlight on April 02, 2014, 09:14:37 AM
1. Willful stupidity on the part of characters who are old enough to know better.

2. Not caring what happens.

3.When the book needs a translation guide- AKA Black Dagger Brotherhood. I quit 10 pages in when I realized I'd had to look up at least three words per page in her glossary.

4. Bad research. When the author does an online Meyers-Briggs test in the persona of the person she's doing the biography on, out it goes.

 5. Bad spelling, grammar, word use. Although I devoured Barbara Cartland as a teen, she was egregiously bad in this respect. The pre-French Revolution marquis who referred to a "wildcat scheme," the illiterate maid who used words like insipid and cerulean.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 02, 2014, 09:20:18 AM
I started off enjoying the Stephanie Plum series (One for the Money...) not cause the writing was all that great, but they were amusing.  But man, after a while it seemed like it was the same story, different criminal every single book.  I got so tired too of her bouncing back and forth between Ranger and Morelli. 

When I started reading the Harry Potter series I took a break after the third book cause it started to get a bit tiring, but I think one of my cousins encouraged me to try the fourth book and I got interested again. :)

Piratelvr1121's post could have been written by me!  HP#3 was hard the first time, but my kids encouraged me to keep going.  And we still refer to HP#7 as "Harry Potter and the Absurdly Long Camping Trip."   We were also enjoying the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events at about the same time.

Stephanie Plum.  Agreed.  Then something even worse happened; earlier writings of Janet Evanovich were re-released.  I don't even borrow them from the library any longer, much less pay for them.

See, Deathly Hallows didn't bother me as much with the camping as it does to other people.  My middle child has started reading the series and he was looking at the size of book 7 and said "That will take me forever to finish!" I told him it just took me two days cause I stayed up late and read it every chance I got because it was so hard for me to put down.

Lemony Snicket's another series I got tired of and that one I didn't finish. The movie didn't help but then I'm real burnt out on Jim Carrey.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Thipu1 on April 02, 2014, 11:02:18 AM
Although the stories were entertaining I had to give up reading anything by A. J. Santori. 

Nothing in the books was ever dark, it was 'negrescent'.  Nothing was ever light in color or pale, it was 'etiolated'. 

That sort of affectation was like a blacksmith's rasp on my teeth. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Bijou on April 02, 2014, 11:34:20 AM
I usually stay with it. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 02, 2014, 11:59:38 AM
I usually stick with the book but if it is a series, I may not continue on with the series.  This is especially true with my Kindle.  I get the first book for free or 99 cents but each subsequent book is $5 to $9.  I'd have to really enjoy it to spend that kind of money on the continuing books.  But if the freebie had a lot of issues?  I'm done.  Unless a boxed set is released for <$2.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: squeakers on April 02, 2014, 12:15:23 PM

And on a similar line, phrases that rely on concepts that the historical background  does not support.  Someone can't "run out of steam" in a medievaloid fantasy, if steam power hasn't yet been invented! 


Steam power has been around since 1AD... granted it was just an inventors' experimental device type of steam power. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_engine

"Early experiments[edit]
The history of the steam engine stretches back as far as the first century AD; the first recorded rudimentary steam engine being the aeolipile described by Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria.[7] In the following centuries, the few steam-powered "engines" known were, like the aeolipile,[8] essentially experimental devices used by inventors to demonstrate the properties of steam. A rudimentary steam turbine device was described by Taqi al-Din[9] in 1551 and by Giovanni Branca[10] in 1629.[11] Jerónimo de Ayanz y Beaumont received patents in 1606 for fifty steam powered inventions, including a water pump for draining inundated mines.[12] Denis Papin, a Huguenot refugee, did some useful work on the steam digester in 1679, and first used a piston to raise weights in 1690.[13]"


Made-up languages used too heavily, plots that go nowhere and way too much description of the setting are things that cause me to stop reading a book.  Except for Jean Auel's books... I love reading the description of what things might have looked like way back when.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 02, 2014, 12:30:23 PM
TV Tropes has a wonderful section on coffee and no-its-not-coffee-honest (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Uncoffee) in SciFi and other fiction.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Elfmama on April 02, 2014, 12:57:10 PM
1. Willful stupidity on the part of characters who are old enough to know better.

2. Not caring what happens.

3.When the book needs a translation guide- AKA Black Dagger Brotherhood. I quit 10 pages in when I realized I'd had to look up at least three words per page in her glossary.

4. Bad research. When the author does an online Meyers-Briggs test in the persona of the person she's doing the biography on, out it goes.

 5. Bad spelling, grammar, word use. Although I devoured Barbara Cartland as a teen, she was egregiously bad in this respect. The pre-French Revolution marquis who referred to a "wildcat scheme," the illiterate maid who used words like insipid and cerulean.
An illiterate person might pick up words like 'insipid' from her mistress, but I agree, she'd just say 'blue' or 'sky-blue' rather than cerulean.  I just asked very-literate DH, and while he could identify it, he says he'd NEVER use it in conversation.

I change the word use depending on the POV character.  One of them was a 3 - 4yo child, so her vocabulary reflected that.  As a 3 year-old, she didn't know the word 'auction,' for instance, and at 4 described a hideous tapestry as "yucky." 

And while I do coin words, or use the obsolete 'swive' instead of the modern f-word equivalent, it's only a couple of them, nowhere near to needing a glossary!   
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Baby Snakes on April 02, 2014, 02:21:14 PM
A book has to be pretty bad if I can't finish it.  The last book that wasn't finished had too much violence in it, the main character was killing people left and right because he felt it was his place to take out all the "bad" people.  Ugh!

I have tried to read Gone Girl twice now, still cannot finish it.  I cannot stand either of the main characters, they are totally unlikeable nasty people.  I deleted it off my Kindle it was so bad.
 :P
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: poundcake on April 02, 2014, 03:25:26 PM
The too-stupid-to-live heroine.

I forced my way through a piece of chick-lit in which the heroine did nothing but whine, obsess about shoes, chase the wrong men and get into supposedly hilarious messes which were entirely avoidable, and now I think I've used up all my reserves of patience.

This is why I left the Shopaholic book on the plane.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on April 02, 2014, 05:12:01 PM
In terms of anachronistic language, I have to admit I love the Falco books.  I have no idea if it is authentic ancient Roman slang (and I don't think the author knows herself), but it just sounds right.

There was another thread about books we hated, and I don't even remember the title or the name of the book.  It was a police procedural.  But I hated every character in it.  Unpleasant beyond belief.  And yes, you don't want a Mary Sue, but when your characters are so mean, bitter, angry, and twisted that they should be institutionalized, then you have gone too far.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: VorFemme on April 02, 2014, 08:16:57 PM
I *like* Georgette Heyer - but I was reading her in high school with my mother & sister - I'd just had to read Jane Eyre for literature class - and we all like history...so the historically correct word choice actually fit in with having just read a Bronte novel.

I can see where someone who doesn't like the feeling of being "in period" with the vocabulary at least close to the period correct might be jarred out of the book due to the words being unusual.

And I love the Falco books, the new series starting with his female British protégée, and the First Man In Rome series (Colleen McCullough) was also one that I enjoyed...and waited with bated breath for the next one to be published!
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: gypsy77 on April 03, 2014, 12:54:49 AM
When an author disregards the character they have built over the course of several books, having them do something so completely out of character.

I was reading on my deck, and my copy of Hannibal went flying into the yard over that one.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: oz diva on April 03, 2014, 01:50:32 AM
Unlikeable or unbelievable characters. I tried to read The Dinner last year. It was a best seller apparently, but all the characters were so unpleasant I didn't want to read it.

Sometimes, there's no reason, the story just doesn't grab me.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: iridaceae on April 03, 2014, 03:09:41 AM
When it is just badly plotted. Don't set the characters up to fail. I got instantly irritated at several points in the Wheel of Time book but the one I could not stand was when the characters were told "it's dangerous outside. Don't wander around". Two or three promptly do. No!

Also utterly depressing books- it's why I hate the Game of Thrones books. Happy thoughts? Please. George R R Martin was clearly Thomas Hardy in a previous life.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: greencat on April 03, 2014, 03:43:32 AM
I usually finish books once I start them.  I think the only books I didn't finish were A Confederacy of Dunces - I meant to finish it, but it got eaten, and I wasn't so interested in it that I wanted to go buy another one; and one series that I can't remember the title/author of any more that was so blatantly a rehash of LOTR that I put down the second book in disgust.  I did put down A Prayer for Owen Meany about 2/3 of the way through, but I picked it up again and finished it a few years later.  I was 14 the first time and 17 or 18 the second time...it made a big difference in my ability to handle the subject matter.  That book was very angsty!

Err, so dog drool and plagiarism will make me stop reading a book.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 03, 2014, 05:21:15 AM
In terms of anachronistic language, I have to admit I love the Falco books.  I have no idea if it is authentic ancient Roman slang (and I don't think the author knows herself), but it just sounds right.

And VorFemme writes: "And I love the Falco books, the new series starting with his female British protegee..."

I know of the Falco books, but have never tried them. I don't on the whole, much cotton to the ancient Romans -- am probably far too hard to please fiction-wise !  From the recommendations here, though, Falco sounds worth a look at...
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: HoneyBee42 on April 03, 2014, 06:10:16 AM
I think for me it's the "I don't care what happens next" or when I find myself thinking "just xx pages to go".  If I'm finding it a chore to turn the page, I quit.  At first, I felt guilty (the first book I gave myself permission to not finish was Doctor Zhivago and that was despite the fact that I had read and enjoyed pretty much the entire body of the works of Doestoevsky and Tolstoy).  I even tried watching the movie version twice and fell asleep both times.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Goosey on April 03, 2014, 09:28:56 AM
If I find the mail character repulsive, I won't finish.

For example, I've long forgotten the title, but there was a fantasy novel that began with the main character raping a girl who then commited suicide and her mother cursed him. Evidently she was just so pretty and his animal instinct took over. So, he needs to find someone to love him so his torment ends.

I realized that when I just wanted him to suffer, I shouldn't read the book. All I would be thinking as his love interest grew would be "He's a rapist!! Bet he hasn't told you THAT! Watch out, he can't control his baser instincts!!!"

Plus I hate when people portray men as unable to control their lusts. Of course they can. Implying they can't just gives them an "out" for misdeeds.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Allyson on April 03, 2014, 03:36:21 PM
In general, the "I just couldn't help myself" excuse is illogical. I think of "he insulted my wife, so of course I just had to punch him, instinct took over and I couldn't do anything else!" And the other characters typically either applaud or secretly think this is sexy/heroic. I just think, really, you couldn't help yourself because of the words said? But the person who gets punched is always someone of about equivalent physical ability. If you really 'couldn't help yourself' you'd punch that person regardless of whether they were a 6 year old boy, 90 year old woman, or 12 Marines. If you could not punch those people, you made a choice.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 06, 2014, 02:07:13 AM
Fluffy "plots" with no real conflict.

Boy meets girl. They immediately fall in love - no hurdles to overcome. One of them is usually an orphan, or from an abusive family. The other usually has a large, doting family, consisting of loving parents, siblings, and numerous first cousins. All of whom are ensconced in their own happy relationships. The Big Loving Family accepts the Orphan Partner with open arms. Pages are devoted to the characters' pleasant and fun interactions with each other.

Boy and girl get married in an incredibly romantic and touching wedding ceremony. They find out they are expecting their first child. Cue tears of joy from everyone. The baby is born. More pages are devoted to the main characters' awe and happiness over being parents. The story then ends with the couple expecting baby number two (or three, or four, if it's a particularly long story).

I find those "plots" incredibly boring and unrealistic, and quickly switch off.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AngelicGamer on April 06, 2014, 02:46:29 AM
I threw My Sister's Keeper against the wall and refuse to read the rest after the major twist.  I eventually did but the movie version of that is so much better.  Ugh.

Stop reading a series in the case of Song of Fire and Ice with being horribly depressing.  I read for escapism, like others, and he killed my favorite character in the first book.  THE FIRST BOOK.  I don't care that he died because he's an idiot, I liked him!  Yeah, I read to the end but I'm kind of done.

Breaking Dawn is still unread because I just couldn't.  What did me in was the mind hopping and not everything else wrong with it.  I was considering it brain candy and therefore ignoring a lot of the wrong with it.  Also, on re-reads, I can't read Catching Fire after half way through.  I know what's coming and I HATE it.  This is another case where the movie did much better than the books.

Um... I stopped Outlander because I didn't like the character for some reason.  I can't remember why, it's been so long. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Stricken_Halo on April 06, 2014, 05:40:02 AM
I found a list of the most famous book set in each state, and I thought it would be fun to read all the ones I hadn't previously read. I flew through the first few, but bailed on Interview with the Vampire two thirds of the way through. What the above posters said about repulsive characters is completely true. Nobody is remotely relatable, let alone likable. If someone at all pleasant and normal person pops up, he or she will be vampire food within a few pages. And you don't even get the satisfaction of knowing they'll die in the end.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Thipu1 on April 06, 2014, 10:21:17 AM
I also liked the Falco books.  The language might not have been absolutely proper for Latin but Davis was making Falco and his world at least partly familiar to modern readers.  In my opinion, she did an excellent job. Even my mother enjoyed them. 

On the other hand, we have Steven Saylor's Gordius the Finder books.  The first few were based on actual orations delivered by Cicero in criminal cases. They were inventive and interesting. 

Later on, Saylor became odd.  You do not turn around and make a character we've grown to know and love in several books suddenly become the murderer.  That soured the whole series for me. 

However, I must say that one of the Gordius books had possibly one of the best opening sentences in literature. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Stricken_Halo on April 06, 2014, 12:38:30 PM
Quote
However, I must say that one of the Gordius books had possibly one of the best opening sentences in literature.
Which one? I think I've read the whole series but don't recall a particularly memorable opening sentence.

Quote
Later on, Saylor became odd.  You do not turn around and make a character we've grown to know and love in several books suddenly become the murderer.  That soured the whole series for me. 
Which book do you mean? You don't have to tell me the character, but I'd like to know the book.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Thipu1 on April 06, 2014, 01:16:51 PM
Quote
However, I must say that one of the Gordius books had possibly one of the best opening sentences in literature.
Which one? I think I've read the whole series but don't recall a particularly memorable opening sentence.

Quote
Later on, Saylor became odd.  You do not turn around and make a character we've grown to know and love in several books suddenly become the murderer.  That soured the whole series for me. 
Which book do you mean? You don't have to tell me the character, but I'd like to know the book.

I don't remember the name of the book but the opening line was, 'Pompey will be mightily pissed.' That has to provoke a laugh.

I don't want to introduce spoilers but he did this in several books. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: artk2002 on April 06, 2014, 02:19:48 PM
I also liked the Falco books.  The language might not have been absolutely proper for Latin but Davis was making Falco and his world at least partly familiar to modern readers.  In my opinion, she did an excellent job. Even my mother enjoyed them. 

On the other hand, we have Steven Saylor's Gordius the Finder books.  The first few were based on actual orations delivered by Cicero in criminal cases. They were inventive and interesting. 

Later on, Saylor became odd.  You do not turn around and make a character we've grown to know and love in several books suddenly become the murderer.  That soured the whole series for me. 

However, I must say that one of the Gordius books had possibly one of the best opening sentences in literature.

I absolutely agree on the Falco books. Davis is an excellent historian (read her semi-fictional bio of Vespasian's mistress.)

I didn't like the Saylor books from the very first. Davis introduces historical information without belaboring the point. Saylor couldn't introduce a fasces without beating you over the head with it. It just seemed so forced.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: happygrrl on April 06, 2014, 02:36:08 PM
1. Violence towards animals (1984 was an exception)
2. Too violent
3. Factual errors (but I watch Reign?  ::))

All of these, but the first in particular (I stopped watching a TV series becasue of the first one). And I will admit that I watch Reign also.   ;D
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 06, 2014, 06:42:21 PM
Fluffy "plots" with no real conflict.

Boy meets girl. They immediately fall in love - no hurdles to overcome. One of them is usually an orphan, or from an abusive family. The other usually has a large, doting family, consisting of loving parents, siblings, and numerous first cousins. All of whom are ensconced in their own happy relationships. The Big Loving Family accepts the Orphan Partner with open arms. Pages are devoted to the characters' pleasant and fun interactions with each other.

Boy and girl get married in an incredibly romantic and touching wedding ceremony. They find out they are expecting their first child. Cue tears of joy from everyone. The baby is born. More pages are devoted to the main characters' awe and happiness over being parents. The story then ends with the couple expecting baby number two (or three, or four, if it's a particularly long story).

I find those "plots" incredibly boring and unrealistic, and quickly switch off.

Actually, I find them pretty realistic.

But they're very boring.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 06, 2014, 10:13:47 PM
Fluffy "plots" with no real conflict.

Boy meets girl. They immediately fall in love - no hurdles to overcome. One of them is usually an orphan, or from an abusive family. The other usually has a large, doting family, consisting of loving parents, siblings, and numerous first cousins. All of whom are ensconced in their own happy relationships. The Big Loving Family accepts the Orphan Partner with open arms. Pages are devoted to the characters' pleasant and fun interactions with each other.

Boy and girl get married in an incredibly romantic and touching wedding ceremony. They find out they are expecting their first child. Cue tears of joy from everyone. The baby is born. More pages are devoted to the main characters' awe and happiness over being parents. The story then ends with the couple expecting baby number two (or three, or four, if it's a particularly long story).

I find those "plots" incredibly boring and unrealistic, and quickly switch off.

Actually, I find them pretty realistic.

But they're very boring.

Fair enough. I find them unrealistic, because no relationship is ever *that* perfect. Everyone has occasional moments where they don't like their partner much, or they are feeling resentful, annoyed, and/or overwhelmed. But these characters exist in a perpetual state where they are blissfully in love, and life is wonderful ALL the time. No arguments over who stays home with the baby. No real concerns over finances (or lack thereof). Not even any petty bickering over whose turn it is to wash the dishes!

But I agree 100% that they are very boring.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: TotterGirl on April 07, 2014, 12:36:59 AM
As at least one other mentioned, getting things wrong about the real places I know.  For heaven's sake, Santa Fe is NOT walking from Albuquerque!

Another biggie for me is stupid characters. I quit reading Diane Mott Davidson because the resolution to the mystery always seemed to depend on the main character doing something incredibly stupid!

There are also the usual, don't care about the characters, plot not going anywhere (Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" just about killed me, but I finished it. The man was brilliant, but a storyteller he ain't!), and so on.

One of the big ones for me though is, particularly in romances, mistaking being hot in the knickers for "True Love" ::) and thinking it will last forever.  Give me a break.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Harriet Jones on April 07, 2014, 06:42:30 AM
Another biggie for me is stupid characters. I quit reading Diane Mott Davidson because the resolution to the mystery always seemed to depend on the main character doing something incredibly stupid!

ITA about the Diane Mott Davidson books.  The main character's gotten a lot more Mary Sue-ish, which is a big turnoff.

I've stopped reading books from a particular author because they've gotten too same-y.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Thipu1 on April 07, 2014, 07:35:44 AM
Mary Higgins Clark.  I enjoyed her first book or two but, after a while you could almost predict that X will happen on page 42 and Y will happen on page 96. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Winterlight on April 07, 2014, 09:39:57 AM
That's what made me give up Nora Roberts, Thipu. There weren't so much plot twists as a very well-worn path.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 07, 2014, 09:44:08 AM
That's what made me give up Nora Roberts, Thipu. There weren't so much plot twists as a very well-worn path.

I've stopped reading Nora Roberts because of the number of male characters that smoke and are portrayed as being sexy because they smoke.  It's not every book but it's enough of them that I don't want to risk buying a book I'm going to toss across the room.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 07, 2014, 09:49:06 AM
Kathleen Woodiwiss.  It took three books for me to notice that the heroine ALWAYS gets kidnapped in the antepenultimate chapter.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Dindrane on April 07, 2014, 09:55:48 AM
That's what made me give up Nora Roberts, Thipu. There weren't so much plot twists as a very well-worn path.

I've stopped reading Nora Roberts because of the number of male characters that smoke and are portrayed as being sexy because they smoke.  It's not every book but it's enough of them that I don't want to risk buying a book I'm going to toss across the room.

I've read a lot of Nora Roberts books (and like probably the majority of what I've read), and I've noticed that her books written before maybe the mid- to late-90s sometimes feature people smoking because it's cool and sexy (or just because they do), though it's still not uncommon in books written at that time to have someone who just gave up smoking or never smoked. Her books published after that point, however, pretty overwhelmingly feature people who have quit smoking because it's bad for them, if smoking as a habit even comes up (which it increasingly doesn't).

I also tend not to read Nora Roberts books for the plots. She does have two very distinct types of books, though: one kind has a plot that is at least partially external to the characters (i.e. there's some sort of mystery or villain or something), and another kind has a plot that is entirely internal to the characters (i.e. emotional/relationship issues that have to be resolved). They do get very predictable after awhile, but I find myself reading Nora Roberts books over and over again because I really enjoy her characters. And often, I enjoy the specific way she gets to those very predictable places.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: rose red on April 07, 2014, 10:01:51 AM
I'm tired of picking up a book (say, a romance) thinking it's about two people meeting, fall in love, life happens. Or a book thinking it's about school adventures and friendship...only to have villains, murder, and mystery thrown in.  If I want to read a mystery, I'll go to the mystery section.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: twoferrets on April 07, 2014, 10:07:08 AM
When there is a twist that seems sneaky rather than entertaining-- something that changes a book I thought I liked into something I never would have picked up, had I known.  I was once more or less enjoying a fantasy novel with interesting characters, some intriguing world-building including religion, which is something I love exploring in fictional universes  ("Green" by Jay Lake if anyone's interested)... and suddenly, furries.  Cat people.  NO.

On the flip side, Sherri S. Tepper's "Beauty" has an abrupt flip some ways into the book, and though it threw me the first time I read it, it became and remains one of my favorite books.  But I'm sure some people would hate that book as much as I ended up hating "Green."

Violence against animals will kill a book for me.  If it's a favorite author (Stephen King's "The Dead Zone" comes to mind) I will skip the relevant pages.  And I had a major problem reading "The Once and Future King" for a class once-- a previous attempt ended when I couldn't get past a certain passage which you will know if you've read the book (I don't want to think about it!).
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Dindrane on April 07, 2014, 10:12:54 AM
I also just wanted to add, re: romance novel plots in general. They do tend to be predictable (because the genre dictates that there be a happy-ever-after kind of ending, and that the books be focused on relationship issues at least in part). I, in fact, read so many of them in part because I like that predictability. But I do find that there is an enormous difference between books focused primarily on relationship issues that get resolved in a sort of consistent way, and books focused primarily on relationship issues that only exist because of a contrived set of circumstances or get resolved in a way that is extremely contrived.

Using Nora Roberts as an example, I find that most of her characters' reluctance to trust each other (which is generally the source of the relationship conflict) is realistic enough to not jar me out of the plot. Basically, it ends up being people dealing with realistic, relatable issues because of past experiences or because of their personalities. They spend most of the book actively doing things that will allow them to resolve those issues, and when they fight about them, it's generally in a way that allows you to see both sides of the argument and maintain sympathy with both characters. When they resolve them, it's usually because of realistic, relatable series of events that genuinely address the struggles they were having. And sometimes, they don't resolve them in the sense that the issues go away completely, so much as resolve them to the point where both characters can live with them long-term.

I've read a lot of other romance novels that really, really do not do that. One author that comes to mind is Stephanie Laurens, since I've read a lot of her books. On some levels, I find them entertaining, but her characters aren't awesome, her plots are highly predictable, and a lot of the books have somewhat contrived conflicts. I can't read more than one or two at a time before I have to read other things, because they are just too much like each other. In her attempt to make Regency-era heroines relatable to modern readers, she also makes them highly unrealistic (as characters in general, and as people living in that time period). In trying to introduce conflict into the basic Regency-era plot, she puts up very unrealistic barriers to resolving the romantic relationships. For example, more than one book has featured characters who don't have any particular reason to object to marriage, but strenuously object to it anyway. Resolving that particular conflict requires that they be convinced, often with very intimate liaisons that are outright encouraged by people whose behavior would more realistically consist of doing everything in their power to prevent such liaisons. And, of course, once the conflict is resolved, it never shows up in any fashion ever again (you know this because she writes a lot of series where past main characters become secondary characters).
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: alkira6 on April 07, 2014, 10:51:01 AM
Laura Hamilton with Anita Blake.  What she turned her into makes my eyes bleed.  She took a strong interesting female character and turned her into a blow up doll for the past 5 books.  There is no plot anymore, just sex. 

Really, I have no problem with erotic novels. Really. Her books are an abomination because of what she turned her main character into.  If she had kept her interesting and said as a side plot that she has lots of yummy sex when the mood strikes I would have been all "yeah girl, get your groove on!" but she makes the books all about the sex. Who she's going to have it with, when will she have it, oooooh, look, she's having sex, hey, she just had sex, wow, having sex again, huh?, that must chafe by now.

John Grisham.  He has written the same law novel umpity times now.  The first three were great, the rest have been a rehash with different names. Same  with Robin Cook. They became too formulaic.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Sophia on April 07, 2014, 12:46:33 PM
As at least one other mentioned, getting things wrong about the real places I know.  For heaven's sake, Santa Fe is NOT walking from Albuquerque!
...

That really bugged me about Stephen King's Kennedy book.  He got Oak Cliff sooooooo wrong.  No-name author living in Alaska gets some leeway.  Stephen King with plenty of money to spend on research ... not so much.  I still finished the book, though. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Allyson on April 07, 2014, 12:53:36 PM
Another thing that will have me stop reading a book is when my definition of a 'good ending' is clearly not the author's. For example, a romance novel where the love interest is so obnoxious that him 'winning her over' is not what I want to see--I want to see her give him a boot out the door!
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Morticia on April 07, 2014, 01:45:54 PM
I will stop reading if someone willfully invokes Darwin (usually a clumsy attempt to put the Heroine into suspense-filled danger). The first time I did this was in a Kathy Reichs book. Our genius Phd, with no weapons or weapons training, thinks she knows where the serial killer who is stalking her is. Does she notify the task force that is looking for him? No, she goes off to find him -Alone! Without letting anyone know -Alone! Unarmed - Alone! (with apologies to Sam Kinnison).

I have read books where the heroine inadvertently stumbles into danger, but the amount of stupidity displayed in the above was just insupportable. I tossed the book across the room in disgust.

I have also stopped reading Anita Blake. I think the thing that got me for good was when she stopped caring (hidden for grossness) what form her scrabble partners were in. Just, yeccch.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: alkira6 on April 07, 2014, 01:52:00 PM

I have also stopped reading Anita Blake. I think the thing that got me for good was when she stopped caring (hidden for grossness) what form her scrabble partners were in. Just, yeccch.

Yeah, didn't want to bring  that up but, yeah, no.  I am open minded but not that open minded. Man, woman, toaster - whatever. Animals, not so much.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Corvid on April 08, 2014, 02:02:54 PM
Once upon a time, when I was a young and (relatively) innocent bookworm, I felt obligated to finish any book that I started because, well, it seemed the right thing to do.  Now that I am older and, if not wiser, at least more jaded, I will definitely kick a book to the curb - after a quick skip to the end to see what happens - if it bores or annoys me too much.  I'm fairly tolerant in the main, but there are too many books out there to read for me to suffer through certain irritants.  Probably the biggest temptation for me to chuck a book or a series is when the story, subject matter, or characters become boring or tedious and there are a number of reasons, some already mentioned, that can happen.


Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: violinp on April 08, 2014, 02:13:28 PM
Unrelenting angst that just piles up until your sense of disbelief collapses from too much suspension - South of Broad, I'm looking at you.

Confused books that don't know exactly what they're trying to say - Phantom of the Opera, for one.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: alkira6 on April 08, 2014, 02:24:15 PM
Unrelenting angst that just piles up until your sense of disbelief collapses from too much suspension - South of Broad, I'm looking at you.

Confused books that don't know exactly what they're trying to say - Phantom of the Opera, for one.

Which one? I quite liked the one by Susan Kay.  I mean, you kind of already know how it's going to end already  ;D
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: VorFemme on April 08, 2014, 03:22:43 PM
I will stop reading if someone willfully invokes Darwin (usually a clumsy attempt to put the Heroine into suspense-filled danger). The first time I did this was in a Kathy Reichs book. Our genius Phd, with no weapons or weapons training, thinks she knows where the serial killer who is stalking her is. Does she notify the task force that is looking for him? No, she goes off to find him -Alone! Without letting anyone know -Alone! Unarmed - Alone! (with apologies to Sam Kinnison).

I have read books where the heroine inadvertently stumbles into danger, but the amount of stupidity displayed in the above was just insupportable. I tossed the book across the room in disgust.

I have also stopped reading Anita Blake. I think the thing that got me for good was when she stopped caring (hidden for grossness) what form her scrabble partners were in. Just, yeccch.

She started out with "I will never, ever, ever do THIS" - which led in a book or three to her doing that - but drawing a new line in the sand, as it were.  Lately, it's like Anita says, "well, I've done this - for whatever reason at the time - but I will never, ever to THAT" - which leads to her doing THAT and drawing a new line in the sand....which is the one she'll scrabble all over in a book or two, if not a chapter or two.

And, seriously, the line about the Pope excommunicating everyone who does what she does but it doesn't matter because SHE'S Episcopalian?  Funny the first time, how funny it is goes down every time she repeats it - like dropping off a cliff after the third time.  It isn't funny any more, if you've read the line more than three times.  It's just an entry in the Annoying Bingo Game.  Usually the third, oddly enough.  She might be getting a bit TOO predictable & formulaic.

Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: violinp on April 08, 2014, 03:24:05 PM
Unrelenting angst that just piles up until your sense of disbelief collapses from too much suspension - South of Broad, I'm looking at you.

Confused books that don't know exactly what they're trying to say - Phantom of the Opera, for one.

Which one? I quite liked the one by Susan Kay.  I mean, you kind of already know how it's going to end already  ;D

I mean the original by Leroux, but I have other beefs with Susan Kay.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: iridaceae on April 09, 2014, 04:26:06 AM
Books that meander. No. If a book is novelette or long short story length don't stretch it out. I'll toss it.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AfleetAlex on April 09, 2014, 02:19:24 PM
I'm with those of you who cited animal violence and overly depressing stories as reasons to quit reading. The world is depressing enough! (Then again I love murder mysteries, so there's that!)

Another one that gets me to stop reading is a senseless death, especially of a well-liked character. I tend to take it kind of personally.  ;D  I can't think of when this last happened in a book off the top of my head though.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: greencat on April 09, 2014, 07:00:40 PM
I'm with those of you who cited animal violence and overly depressing stories as reasons to quit reading. The world is depressing enough! (Then again I love murder mysteries, so there's that!)

Another one that gets me to stop reading is a senseless death, especially of a well-liked character. I tend to take it kind of personally.  ;D  I can't think of when this last happened in a book off the top of my head though.

Do NOT pick up A Song of Fire and Ice, the book series that is the source material for the show Game of Thrones.  I swear the author just adds each newly introduced character name to a hat and then pulls one at random to kill off every couple of pages! 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 10, 2014, 09:47:46 AM
I'm with those of you who cited animal violence and overly depressing stories as reasons to quit reading. The world is depressing enough! (Then again I love murder mysteries, so there's that!)

Another one that gets me to stop reading is a senseless death, especially of a well-liked character. I tend to take it kind of personally.  ;D  I can't think of when this last happened in a book off the top of my head though.

Do NOT pick up A Song of Fire and Ice, the book series that is the source material for the show Game of Thrones.  I swear the author just adds each newly introduced character name to a hat and then pulls one at random to kill off every couple of pages! 

At a recent convention, George R.R. Martin was holding a sign that said "Be Nice to Me or Tyrion Gets it."  :-D
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Mikayla on April 10, 2014, 10:54:49 AM
Fluffy "plots" with no real conflict.

Boy meets girl. They immediately fall in love - no hurdles to overcome. One of them is usually an orphan, or from an abusive family. The other usually has a large, doting family, consisting of loving parents, siblings, and numerous first cousins. All of whom are ensconced in their own happy relationships. The Big Loving Family accepts the Orphan Partner with open arms. Pages are devoted to the characters' pleasant and fun interactions with each other.

Boy and girl get married in an incredibly romantic and touching wedding ceremony. They find out they are expecting their first child. Cue tears of joy from everyone. The baby is born. More pages are devoted to the main characters' awe and happiness over being parents. The story then ends with the couple expecting baby number two (or three, or four, if it's a particularly long story).

I find those "plots" incredibly boring and unrealistic, and quickly switch off.

I agree so much with this I barely made it through your post  ;)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AfleetAlex on April 10, 2014, 02:25:01 PM
I'm with those of you who cited animal violence and overly depressing stories as reasons to quit reading. The world is depressing enough! (Then again I love murder mysteries, so there's that!)

Another one that gets me to stop reading is a senseless death, especially of a well-liked character. I tend to take it kind of personally.  ;D  I can't think of when this last happened in a book off the top of my head though.

Do NOT pick up A Song of Fire and Ice, the book series that is the source material for the show Game of Thrones.  I swear the author just adds each newly introduced character name to a hat and then pulls one at random to kill off every couple of pages!

Good idea! I'm sticking with the TV show and I'm far enough behind that I happily get spoiled on who dies so I can be prepared!  ;D
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: magicdomino on April 10, 2014, 03:32:09 PM
It may be best to regard A Song of Fire and Ice/Games of Thrones as a variation of a Shakespearian tragedy:  by the end of the play, all the main characters will be dead.  It's just a matter of who kills whom.  Not that I have any idea of what will be in the last two books, but it keeps me from getting too attached to anyone.   :P
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: EllenS on April 10, 2014, 03:51:58 PM
I'm with you on the unlikeable characters. I love Alexander McCall-Smith and liked the first couple of Dalhousie books, but the one I just picked up I hated her before the end of the first chapter. Arrogant, superior, and zero boundaries. None. I think I must have changed in the last few years, because she never seemed like that to me before.

Bad things done to children. Can't deal.

Inner monologue of insane/psychotic characters. Don't want to know. I can deal with a book that has a serial killer, but I do not want to spend the evening inside his/her head.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: CharlieBraun on April 10, 2014, 03:59:32 PM
I started reading a semi-best seller and the first four pages were all the protagonist. musing about comparisons in the jazz scene, throwing about names of musicians as though they were incredibly common currency and that with an air of "if you don't know of whom I speak, please do not absorb any oxygen in this rarefied space."  (And the topic of the book was not jazz.) 

I finally thought, you know, I'm not Woody Allen and for that, I'm grateful.  And I left it on the plane.

Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 13, 2014, 10:03:38 AM
Fluffy "plots" with no real conflict.

Boy meets girl. They immediately fall in love - no hurdles to overcome. One of them is usually an orphan, or from an abusive family. The other usually has a large, doting family, consisting of loving parents, siblings, and numerous first cousins. All of whom are ensconced in their own happy relationships. The Big Loving Family accepts the Orphan Partner with open arms. Pages are devoted to the characters' pleasant and fun interactions with each other.

Boy and girl get married in an incredibly romantic and touching wedding ceremony. They find out they are expecting their first child. Cue tears of joy from everyone. The baby is born. More pages are devoted to the main characters' awe and happiness over being parents. The story then ends with the couple expecting baby number two (or three, or four, if it's a particularly long story).

I find those "plots" incredibly boring and unrealistic, and quickly switch off.

My brother and I are both keen readers, but with very different tastes, especially where fiction is concerned.  His such tastes are in the main, a good deal more highbrow than mine.  We have an ongoing jesting / teasing scene about this matter: including taking it as guaranteed that more than 90% of the time, any fiction work or author which I like and recommend, he will not like, and vice versa.  He accuses me of being a "wet nelly", wanting fiction works to be (overall, not necessarily just re love / rel*tionships) as characterised in LifeOnPluto's post.  I retaliate by opining that fiction-wise, he is addicted to "misery-porn"...
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Dr. F. on April 13, 2014, 04:01:19 PM
It may be best to regard A Song of Fire and Ice/Games of Thrones as a variation of a Shakespearian tragedy:  by the end of the play, all the main characters will be dead.  It's just a matter of who kills whom.  Not that I have any idea of what will be in the last two books, but it keeps me from getting too attached to anyone.   :P

I can't remember if it was here on EHell or elsewhere where I originally saw this joke; "George R. R. Martin and J. J. Abrams walk into a bar...."

"And?"

"And everyone you love dies."
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: poundcake on April 13, 2014, 08:12:31 PM
Sequels or prequels that completely bungle basic information, and not because it's a different character's perspective or memory or something. This needed to be a drinking game with VC Andrews.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 13, 2014, 08:21:37 PM
Fluffy "plots" with no real conflict.

Boy meets girl. They immediately fall in love - no hurdles to overcome. One of them is usually an orphan, or from an abusive family. The other usually has a large, doting family, consisting of loving parents, siblings, and numerous first cousins. All of whom are ensconced in their own happy relationships. The Big Loving Family accepts the Orphan Partner with open arms. Pages are devoted to the characters' pleasant and fun interactions with each other.

Boy and girl get married in an incredibly romantic and touching wedding ceremony. They find out they are expecting their first child. Cue tears of joy from everyone. The baby is born. More pages are devoted to the main characters' awe and happiness over being parents. The story then ends with the couple expecting baby number two (or three, or four, if it's a particularly long story).

I find those "plots" incredibly boring and unrealistic, and quickly switch off.

I agree so much with this I barely made it through your post  ;)

I have a friend who is trying to be an author.  She's really serious about it, which is great.  She writes hours every day, something like 10,000 words a day.  She edits and edits, and markets herself heavily at conferences.  She just recently got an agent, which is great.

But she was definitely guilty of this in the one book I read of hers.  She seems to set up conflict that happened in the past, and then the current book is all about getting past that previous conflict... but no new conflict actually happens over the course of the book.  It might be a feel-good novel, but I'm not sure it's going to sell, you know?
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AngelicGamer on April 13, 2014, 09:18:32 PM
It may be best to regard A Song of Fire and Ice/Games of Thrones as a variation of a Shakespearian tragedy:  by the end of the play, all the main characters will be dead.  It's just a matter of who kills whom.  Not that I have any idea of what will be in the last two books, but it keeps me from getting too attached to anyone.   :P

I can't remember if it was here on EHell or elsewhere where I originally saw this joke; "George R. R. Martin and J. J. Abrams walk into a bar...."

"And?"

"And everyone you love dies."

I've seen that meme, but with Joss Whedon, George RR Martin, and Steven Moffat.  ;D  I'm trying to think of who J.J. Abrams has killed off recently that I really like and can only think of Star Trek Into Darkness and Person of Interest.

My pet peeve, that I recently discovered, is that someone has to change X (usually looks) in order to get Y to notice him/her.  I'd rather that Y change in realizing just how shallow he/she is, which does happen but only after X has changed. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: PastryGoddess on April 13, 2014, 10:21:03 PM
Sequels or prequels that completely bungle basic information, and not because it's a different character's perspective or memory or something. This needed to be a drinking game with VC Andrews.

You will die...
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: ammyd on April 14, 2014, 12:16:09 AM
Unexplained angst is one of the big ones for me. For instance a couple is talking and person A says something and then out of nowhere with no explanation person B just loses it. They spend days/weeks/months apart to come back together in the end. Except they never really explain why person B flipped. It's just swept under the rug likely with no apology.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: greencat on April 14, 2014, 12:59:43 AM
It may be best to regard A Song of Fire and Ice/Games of Thrones as a variation of a Shakespearian tragedy:  by the end of the play, all the main characters will be dead.  It's just a matter of who kills whom.  Not that I have any idea of what will be in the last two books, but it keeps me from getting too attached to anyone.   :P

I can't remember if it was here on EHell or elsewhere where I originally saw this joke; "George R. R. Martin and J. J. Abrams walk into a bar...."

"And?"

"And everyone you love dies."

I've seen that meme, but with Joss Whedon, George RR Martin, and Steven Moffat.  ;D  I'm trying to think of who J.J. Abrams has killed off recently that I really like and can only think of Star Trek Into Darkness and Person of Interest.

My pet peeve, that I recently discovered, is that someone has to change X (usually looks) in order to get Y to notice him/her.  I'd rather that Y change in realizing just how shallow he/she is, which does happen but only after X has changed.

Although I don't typically read novels where the romance is central to the plot, one of the few times I was watching a romantic comedy and enjoying it got ruined for exactly that reason.  The movie was all about "be yourself instead of fake, it's more attractive!" and then the male character had to give himself a total (and unrealistic) makeover to attract the female character.

On reflection, however, I have decided that this is actually a more realistic lesson to teach people trying to actually date - sometimes, if you want a certain kind of partner (or even a certain specific person as a partner,) you need to make changes in yourself to get that kind of partner, because without those changes, you aren't an acceptable partner to some people. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 21, 2014, 10:00:01 AM
Although I don't typically read novels where the romance is central to the plot, one of the few times I was watching a romantic comedy and enjoying it got ruined for exactly that reason.  The movie was all about "be yourself instead of fake, it's more attractive!" and then the male character had to give himself a total (and unrealistic) makeover to attract the female character.

On reflection, however, I have decided that this is actually a more realistic lesson to teach people trying to actually date - sometimes, if you want a certain kind of partner (or even a certain specific person as a partner,) you need to make changes in yourself to get that kind of partner, because without those changes, you aren't an acceptable partner to some people.

Yeah, I do think there's a certain realism to that. Immediately I thought of, immature slacker who doesn't want to grow up, who finally realizes he needs to clean up his act, take responsibility, get a job, etc.. I mean, as long as he isn't hurting anyone else or mooching off them, I guess he can be a happy slacker his whole life if he wants; but probably, the go-getting, up-by-her-bootstraps law student is not really going to be interested in him, you know?

Sometimes falling for someone can inspire one to change for the better, like living healthier or being more responsible. In fact, isn't there a recent romantic movie (or two) with the line, "You make me want to be a better person"? But, it has to be a deep change, and not just an act one is putting on, or it won't last. I feel like most romances (book or movie) that attempt to tackle this subject do so only in a shallow way.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ereine on April 21, 2014, 10:23:38 AM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Dawse on April 21, 2014, 12:40:33 PM
Monumental idiocy kills it for me. Characters who are a bit dim overall aren't so bad but when a main protagonist in a novel makes a move or decision that makes me want to grab them by the scruff of the neck and shake them, it's over. (David Gemmell, I am looking at you and your characters.) Now, sometimes people do make bad decisions in their lives, I can live with that. But when it's such an overwhelmingly poor choice, and it's done in such a way that it's stupendously obviously a set-up for a future plot line, that's it, bye bye book. I put down Sword in the Storm (which I had been really enjoying) about four fifths of the way in for this reason.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Elfmama on April 21, 2014, 05:08:47 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door? 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: PastryGoddess on April 21, 2014, 06:34:21 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door? 

*Hysterically laughing*
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Eeep! on April 21, 2014, 06:51:39 PM
It may be best to regard A Song of Fire and Ice/Games of Thrones as a variation of a Shakespearian tragedy:  by the end of the play, all the main characters will be dead.  It's just a matter of who kills whom.  Not that I have any idea of what will be in the last two books, but it keeps me from getting too attached to anyone.   :P

I can't remember if it was here on EHell or elsewhere where I originally saw this joke; "George R. R. Martin and J. J. Abrams walk into a bar...."

"And?"

"And everyone you love dies."

hahahaha
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: VorFemme on April 21, 2014, 07:02:07 PM
I heard, from a college professor who had worked with an early "fertility counselor" in his school years, that they had ONE couple come in who had grown up in pious families and their "instruction" consisted of "get married, pray every night, and do what comes naturally".

Apparently they had low drives - because after close to ten years, they had no children and went in to see the doctors about what to do.

Who asked about their s3x lives.  And found that they still regarded THAT as sinful.  They were reminded that they were joined in "holy matrimony" and it was no longer to be regarded as a sin but...well...there was apparently no need for further fertility counseling as their first child came along a bit less than a year later...

I remember wondering if there was a low testosterone issue - because you would NOT expect people who got married around age 20 to have so little curiosity...
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 22, 2014, 04:02:21 AM
Reminds me of a limerick --

Wanting children, a couple once sat
For a course in how they were begat.
When the doctor expounded,
They sat there dumbfounded
And said they could never do that.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Winterlight on April 22, 2014, 09:26:41 AM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.

That sounds like a Diana Palmer where the heroine was a partial virgin. I read this back at 18 and tried to figure out the math behind it.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: AfleetAlex on April 22, 2014, 10:44:04 AM
Is it even possible to be a partial virgin???  :o
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: lowspark on April 22, 2014, 10:51:46 AM
Is it even possible to be a partial virgin???  :o

It's like being kind of pregnant. ::)
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: alkira6 on April 22, 2014, 11:14:46 AM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.

I want to read this because there has to be one hell of an explanation attached to this.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 22, 2014, 11:52:16 AM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.

I once read a book where a young (unmarried) heroine had the man, uh, press up against her (fully clothed) and presumably enjoy himself a great deal... but that was it.  She thought she could be pregnant and was concerned.  His incredulity was hilarious.

As for a person improving himself/herself before marriage... it's definitely an interesting concept.  I think that sometimes it's more compelling if the relationship takes a break while the improvement happens, even if that sometimes doesn't come over so well in a book.

If I remember correctly, in Francine Rivers' "Redeeming Love," the woman is a prostitute (it's a retelling of the story of Hosea from the Bible), and after struggles to leave that life behind her *during* the relationship, she ends up leaving him for a while and getting her life together.  She starts a home for former prostitutes who are trying to escape that life.  Only after she's able to do it herself, is she ready to go back to the relationship.  So the change in herself has to happen separate from the relationship.

I know I've seen it in other books, but that's the only one I can think of at the moment.  Sometimes it's in the type of book where one of the characters meets the other in a particularly desperate circumstance.  The desperate one finds herself/himself too clinging to the other, too dependent on the other for their lifestyle change.  They have to separate, change themselves, and then come back.  But the other person and the relationship are still the inspiration for the lifestyle change and the hope that keeps them going during the tough transition.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Ereine on April 22, 2014, 01:34:05 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door?

The only explanation was that the husband was old and maybe impotent (though apparently he did something that was painful) and the heroine married very young and had no idea about sex. It was very strange.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Allyson on April 22, 2014, 03:14:26 PM
There is a weird obsession with technical virginity in many romances, and sometimes even other genres. The amount of "virgin widows" and so on attest to this. It's a little strange, IMO. So often it doesn't seem to have a point to the character; just the author twisting the plot so that the lead can still be virginal.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: VorFemme on April 22, 2014, 03:51:32 PM
I have heard of a few news stories over the last thirty-odd years where one member of the Happy Couple was widowed the day of the wedding (car accident, plane or train accident on their way to the honeymoon location & they'd gotten cheap seats as they would have gotten there in time to go to bed at a relatively reasonable hour after a morning wedding, or a military member got called up & told to report back NOW, as in, right after the vows were finished or even - get married now & explain where the military member was when the guests got there - or call/send a telegraph that there had been a HUGE change in plans...or something similar - a firefighter got called away from the reception & one or the other didn't live to come back). 

Historically, I'm sure it happened once in a while.  But with all the books needing plot twists, that one has gotten a bit overused lately....more writers & more books isn't a bad thing - I just wish more of them were better writers...

The third time a historical character makes a comment about liking same gender encounters when the historical person was apparently quite enthusiastically heterosexual...or in one or two cases known to be asexual (if the king and his wife vow chastity & the heir apparent is the king's cousin or possibly a younger brother and everyone historically literate has known that was what happened for the last six hundred to a thousand years...changing the personality and history itself is a bit over the top for plot twists). 

Especially as the story does not NEED any hot & sweaty bedroom scenes to be interesting - the historical plot was twisty & interesting already.  Or at least, I thought it was interesting enough...

The kings' advisors (in the cases I'm thinking of) were following him around constantly to beg him to please, please, please, think of his country and get the queen with child, please.  In a third case, he was "almost" monogamous, but with his mistress...not his wife.  His mistress would insist that he go spend time with the queen to provide heirs to the throne because he listened to her.  His wife took no action against the mistress when the king died...a few political advisors who hadn't been nice to her, on the other hand...weren't really very happy with their status when a minor got crowned. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: poundcake on April 22, 2014, 04:06:37 PM
My paternal grandmother was widowed the day of her wedding, so yeah, it does happen, but I know what you mean.

There is a weird obsession with technical virginity in many romances, and sometimes even other genres. The amount of "virgin widows" and so on attest to this. It's a little strange, IMO. So often it doesn't seem to have a point to the character; just the author twisting the plot so that the lead can still be virginal.

This bothers me (although I haven't actually quit reading a book because of it. Yet!), because it all but fetishizes the heroine's virginity. She can't possibly be a fit mate for her romantic interest if she has had any sexual experience at all prior to him. Sometimes not even masturbation. He has to give her her first orgasm ever. He, essentially, gets to create her sexuality. And in most cases, that's not romantic, it's just anti-woman.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Elfmama on April 22, 2014, 06:30:02 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door?

The only explanation was that the husband was old and maybe impotent (though apparently he did something that was painful) and the heroine married very young and had no idea about sex. It was very strange.
I heard one story, about a couple who had gone for fertility testing, and the doctors found out that she was a virgin in spite of their protestations that they "played scrabble" frequently.   Seems that both of them were virgins at marriage, and the husband had no idea that  there were two orifices in that general area... He'd been going after the wrong one!   She'd been told scrabble would hurt at first -- great googly-moogly, of course it hurt!  Urethras are not intended to be used like that. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: VorFemme on April 22, 2014, 07:18:06 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door?

The only explanation was that the husband was old and maybe impotent (though apparently he did something that was painful) and the heroine married very young and had no idea about sex. It was very strange.
I heard one story, about a couple who had gone for fertility testing, and the doctors found out that she was a virgin in spite of their protestations that they "played scrabble" frequently.   Seems that both of them were virgins at marriage, and the husband had no idea that  there were two orifices in that general area... He'd been going after the wrong one!   She'd been told scrabble would hurt at first -- great googly-moogly, of course it hurt!  Urethras are not intended to be used like that. 

Mom told me about that one - the things that people talk about at the hospital in the lab when there's no blood to be drawn or other substances to be tested....

I understand that she got stood up in front of a mirror & the doctor or nurse pointed out where things really were...and her hymen was cut - to give her a day or two of rest to allow healing.  It is rare to have a hymen that covers most of the opening and has only a small hole or two to allow menses - but she was one of the lucky women with that arrangement.  She also grew up in a rather more "religious" than average family who refused to allow women the use tampons before marriage - because they wouldn't be virgins! She might have had more information available to her about why there was so much pain...or her hymen might have been cut before the wedding "for medical reasons".  Apparently for at least ONE time that happened, there was a reason that the urethra was found "first". 

And I spent three nights shuddering at the whole idea - seriously - it was scarier than some ghost stories!
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: Winterlight on April 23, 2014, 09:25:28 AM
Is it even possible to be a partial virgin???  :o

It's like being kind of pregnant. ::)

The author defined her as such because, IRRC, she only played scrabble once on her wedding night and her hymen didn't totally break.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: wolfie on April 23, 2014, 12:49:58 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door?

The only explanation was that the husband was old and maybe impotent (though apparently he did something that was painful) and the heroine married very young and had no idea about sex. It was very strange.
I heard one story, about a couple who had gone for fertility testing, and the doctors found out that she was a virgin in spite of their protestations that they "played scrabble" frequently.   Seems that both of them were virgins at marriage, and the husband had no idea that  there were two orifices in that general area... He'd been going after the wrong one!   She'd been told scrabble would hurt at first -- great googly-moogly, of course it hurt!  Urethras are not intended to be used like that.

I really don't believe that. A urethra will not stretch to accommodate a penis so it would seem to be physically impossible for him to actually have intercourse with it once, let alone frequently. And if he did do it even once then it would have torn open and she probably would have had to seek medical care. I would be willing to believe that they had anal sex instead.
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: newbiePA on April 23, 2014, 01:09:34 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door?

The only explanation was that the husband was old and maybe impotent (though apparently he did something that was painful) and the heroine married very young and had no idea about sex. It was very strange.
I heard one story, about a couple who had gone for fertility testing, and the doctors found out that she was a virgin in spite of their protestations that they "played scrabble" frequently.   Seems that both of them were virgins at marriage, and the husband had no idea that  there were two orifices in that general area... He'd been going after the wrong one!   She'd been told scrabble would hurt at first -- great googly-moogly, of course it hurt!  Urethras are not intended to be used like that.

I really don't believe that. A urethra will not stretch to accommodate a penis so it would seem to be physically impossible for him to actually have intercourse with it once, let alone frequently. And if he did do it even once then it would have torn open and she probably would have had to seek medical care. I would be willing to believe that they had anal sex instead.

Sorry for the giant quote tree, but I agree with above.  This is an old wive's tale.  Not true, sorry folks.  Also, slightly icky to discuss on an etiquette board. 
Title: Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 23, 2014, 02:09:27 PM
I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.

At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
How on earth does one manage that?  One of those super-religious who thinks that simply sharing a bed = "sleeping together" = having sex?  Or a partner who prefers the back door?

The only explanation was that the husband was old and maybe impotent (though apparently he did something that was painful) and the heroine married very young and had no idea about sex. It was very strange.
I heard one story, about a couple who had gone for fertility testing, and the doctors found out that she was a virgin in spite of their protestations that they "played scrabble" frequently.   Seems that both of them were virgins at marriage, and the husband had no idea that  there were two orifices in that general area... He'd been going after the wrong one!   She'd been told scrabble would hurt at first -- great googly-moogly, of course it hurt!  Urethras are not intended to be used like that.

I really don't believe that. A urethra will not stretch to accommodate a penis so it would seem to be physically impossible for him to actually have intercourse with it once, let alone frequently. And if he did do it even once then it would have torn open and she probably would have had to seek medical care. I would be willing to believe that they had anal sex instead.

Didn't we *just* have this discussion on another thread?  And I totally agree, there is absolutely no way they were using the urethra.  Wrong hole, perhaps, but not that one!  Unless she was seriously deformed, that's just not possible.  Old wives' tale, no matter where you heard it.