Author Topic: What makes you stop reading a book?  (Read 10596 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30648
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2014, 10:29:58 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.

Dindrane

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15395
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2014, 11:13:45 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).


AzaleaBloom

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Help, I'm stepping into the twilight zone...
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #47 on: April 01, 2014, 11:28:44 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.

Piratelvr1121

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11048
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #48 on: April 01, 2014, 01:20:14 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. :)
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

cabbageweevil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1082
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #49 on: April 01, 2014, 01:29:59 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.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12969
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #50 on: April 01, 2014, 01:40:11 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.

Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13820
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2014, 01:42:47 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.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

cabbageweevil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1082
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2014, 01:43:59 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  :) ...

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30648
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #53 on: April 01, 2014, 01:59:34 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

cabbageweevil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1082
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #54 on: April 01, 2014, 02:14:01 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.

cabbageweevil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1082
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2014, 02:26:11 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.

Elfmama

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6158
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #56 on: April 01, 2014, 06:25:20 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. 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's true. Money can't buy happiness.  You have to turn it
into books first.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Elfmama

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6158
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #57 on: April 01, 2014, 06:50:27 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.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 06:55:46 PM by Elfmama »
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's true. Money can't buy happiness.  You have to turn it
into books first.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Arila

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 782
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #58 on: April 01, 2014, 06:56:54 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!

JeanFromBNA

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2284
Re: What makes you stop reading a book?
« Reply #59 on: April 01, 2014, 07:01:14 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