False starts

I’ve been trying my hardest to finish reading a book that’s worthy of reviewing here, but it’s been hard work lately. I’ve started, and stopped, reading close to half a dozen books over the last week. All of them had interesting premises, interesting ideas, great prologues in some cases, and yet they all fell flat. The characters were too stereotypical, the dialogue was bland, the scenes were too heavy in mundane details, and the writing? It wasn’t great.

Now, I’m all for emotion, character and depth, but if you get a couple of chapters into the novel and still wonder what the point is, you know that something is amiss. There seem to be a lot of books around lately that have lots of irrelevant detail in them. I’m firmly of the belief that just because you have more words than you get when writing a short story, doesn’t mean you squander them on things that are unimportant.

I pushed on and finished a couple of books, purely because I wanted to know what happened at the end, unfortunately, the pay off wasn’t worth wading through the bad writing. And these are books put out by publishers, small-mid sized publishers, yes, but still, they have gone through the ‘gatekeepers’ and come out the other side.

I get that some people like these kind of books – good for them, there are a lot out there to choose from! – but for me, I need something I can really sink my teeth into.

Thankfully, I am now back to reading some excellent books, and I’m looking forward to getting some more reviews up in the near future. But I am interested in your opinion. At what point do you give up on a book? How long does it have to capture your attention? How interested in the outcome of a story do you need to be in order to continue despite the barriers of not great writing and awfully cliched characters?

I’ve declared a detox from terrible novels, and have decided that from now on I will give a book 5 chapters and if I find my Irritation to Enjoyment ratio is further towards I than E I’ll be putting it aside and moving onto the next one.

Sometimes, it’s just not worth it.

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4 thoughts on “False starts

  1. I cant give up on a book…no matter how naff it is .I have to finish it..it drives me crazy..I find myself tuting or shaking my head all the way from start to finish.but I still have to finish it..I wish I could break this annoying habit..ELiza Keating

    • Hi Eliza 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I used to be like that, until recently, with so many bad books. I only have so many hours in the day, and I think I need to spend those reading good quality books 🙂 Hope you find a way to overcome the habit!

      I guess if you keep reading, there is obviously something to the idea. I hope that there are many wonderful books to read in your future 🙂

  2. I used to be one of the people who couldn’t give up on a book… Then I started working at the library and just had TOO many coming in that I wanted to read. Now, for the most part, if I’m not hooked in the first page (normally the first three sentences) I don’t stick around unless it has an awesome premise/heavily recommended. Even then, after the first few chapters? I’m done if it hasn’t caught my attention yet.

    I don’t have a lot of reading time, and I have a huge waiting list for books to read… Makes me be much more choosy about what I stick with these days.

    • Gosh, working in a library, with so much to choose from, it would be impossible not to become a choosy reader! If you have any recommendations, feel free to pass them along 😉 Always looking for more good books!

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