Author Topic: What makes you stop reading a book?  (Read 10965 times)

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JennJenn68

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2014, 04:03:58 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.

daen

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2014, 04:23:44 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.

Sirius

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2014, 04:36:33 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. 

Petticoats

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2014, 05:34:58 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.

magicdomino

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2014, 05:43:51 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.


Cherry91

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2014, 05:58:17 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.

AmethystAnne

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2014, 07:09:14 AM »
I'll try 2 times, but if I fall asleep both times, I'll give up on a book.

cicero

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2014, 07:48:38 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.

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cabbageweevil

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2014, 09:31:28 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.

123sandy

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2014, 09:43:08 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!

Ms_Cellany

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2014, 09:48:35 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.
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lowspark

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2014, 09:59:33 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.)

Sophia

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2014, 10:06:59 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. 

  • Morally repugnant
  • When I realize I don't give a poop about what happens with anyone in the book.

Otherwise, not only will I finish the book, I will finish the series. 

TootsNYC

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2014, 10:21:15 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.

Ms_Cellany

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Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2014, 10:26:41 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."
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