This week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Why would you stop reading a book? Too long, wrong genre, bad language, not what you expected, or something totally different?
I had to think about this, because I rarely stop reading a book once I start it. Partially that’s because I’m pretty judicious about what books I pick up to begin with, and (maybe more so) partially that’s because I have a lot of trouble stopping midway through a story. I’m a completist–I like to read entire series, or every book a favorite author wrote, and I have a hard time stopping partway through even a story I don’t like.
Sometimes, if a book is really bothering me, I’ll very deliberately finish it anyway–because I can close the book and be done with it, while a half-finished story tends to linger in my mind in a very bothersome way.
So when I do quit a book, it tends to be because the style or narrative is not at all what I was expecting, to an extent that I’m actively not enjoying the reading. I’ve noted several unfinished books on my list of books read, and a couple were surreal to the point that I couldn’t get into the story at all (though one was philosophical and the other was just TOO silly), one turned out to be experimental poetry I couldn’t make any sense out of, one was far more violent than I had expected, and two were just flat boring. And then there was one that made me so ANGRY with the clearly abusive relationship presented as romantic that I quit on page 65 in genuine fear I would throw the book across the room if I kept reading.
The most recent book I quit (which will remain nameless) I might yet go back to…it was by an author I like a lot, there was a promise of a masked Robin Hood figure and I really expected to like it–but it was in a quasi-medieval setting, and something about the grinding poverty and the utter lack of life options for the heroine just really depressed me. And it’s not like I haven’t read other books with those elements, or people in far more immediate crises, and I was guessing life would eventually turn around…but I wasn’t willing to wait for it and be depressed in the meantime. I might have picked it up on an off-day, though, so I may yet try it again…
So much for me! What causes you to drop a book halfway through?
5 thoughts on “Blog Hop: Quitting a Story”
Same with me. I have to finish. I want to know what happened. And if it’s a series I usually need to complete the series. My Hop
Bunnita @ Worth Reading It?
What a wonderful answer. I love your detail and well-thought-out reply.
I rarely quit either, but I have. I actually quit two books last week because of the sinister content and offensive content. No way was I going to read those.
Thanks for your reply. My full answer is at the link below.
My Mailbox Monday
I’ve quit only two books in the last 2-3 of years of reading, so I don’t do that very often, either. One was a “classic” by John Steinbeck, “East of Eden,” which I just found offensive in terms of the values of the characters. I read about the first third and then decided I’d had enough. The other was “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary,” by Susan Elia MacNeal, which is apparently part of a series. I just found it poorly written. It didn’t live up to the premise of a young woman working for Winston Churchill in war-time London, with too many characters and sub-plots and not enough character development, so I quit it. But usually, even if a book isn’t fabulous, I’ll read it to the end.
East of Eden. I could cry. I wish I could have quit that one, but it was for school. Then it turns out I had the wrong summer reading list all along and I didn’t even have to have read it. I still hold such a resentment for that book and for Steinbeck.
These days I rarely quit a book halfway through, more like a few pages in. This is for a variety of reasons: not what I expected from the cover blurb, poor writing or poor editing not initially evident from the first page or two, an accumulation of cliché-ridden passages (to name a few).
Some books I stall on, perhaps because the prose is dense, or — more likely — I am dense, and I put them aside with the intention of picking them up at some future date (though increasingly I suspect that may be never); such is the case with Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies, for example, worthy I’m sure, and perhaps a little lost in translation, but I found it tedious.
A few I struggle through very reluctantly. Such was the case with The Longed Tales (reviewed at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/155368033?book_show_action=false) which in the past I would have discarded after the first couple of paragraphs. But I’d just embarked on a policy of reviewing every book I’d begun, so I completed it to the bitter end and granted it a mixed notice, determined to find something positive to say about it. It’s not a policy I imagine sticking to religiously though.