Blog Hop: Quitting a Story

book blogger hopThis 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

  1. 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.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

  2. dianem57

    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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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 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.

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