1. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Laying Down a Book to Rest in Peace

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Manav, Mar 17, 2011.

    When do you decide you don't want to continue reading a book? What are the factors that make you say, enough is enough?

    Pointers:

    - Opening hook is do or die.

    - Until I start flipping and counting the pages.

    - First few chapters.

    - At least half in the hope of finding a diamond in the coal mine.

    - Read till the end to see how terribly one can write a book.

    Edit: I think it will help our writing if we know why a book failed to arouse our interest. So, people PLEASE ELABORATE! Any particular example of books you have stopped reading, and why, will be helpful.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I don't get the MC quickly only time I read further than a few pages in those conditions is when I am reading it for an assignment or a reading group - then I do usually finish. The two exceptions I absolutely could not get through are Perfume and Catcher in the Rye.
     
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  3. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    - At least half in the hope of finding a diamond in the coal mine, or try to at least get to half way, but if I get to the point where I'm cringing just at the thought of reading on, I don't bother. Which is how things got when I tried to read Needful Things by Stephen King. TOOOOOOOOO much waffling going on and not enough story.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I don't think I've ever stopped reading a book because it's bad. I mean, I pretty much only pick up books that I know I'll like, so there's never been an occasion where the book's been totally unappealing. Some are better than others, but I've never had to stop. I do, however, tend to read a few chapters of even really great books, then put them down for a few months, then pick them back up later. It's pretty rare that I actually read one book beginning to end continuously.
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I have difficulty with books that just plod along, and there's no promise of them getting better. Some of the books from "THE PEOPLE OF THE ....." series by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear were like that, but I pushed through them anyway. They do have what some may consider to be a fair amount of info dumping, but since they are based on turning what really happened with ancient native americans into a fictional story, there's a lot to explain. They are also written by archaeologists. It was always worth pushing through, despite the plodding, and I always felt enlightened on the other side.

    Other than that I have to say, I can usually make it through pretty much any book. I just adapt the reason I'm reading it, I guess.

    Sorry about the rant on my favorite series
     
  6. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    First two or three pages if I don't like the writing technique.

    I'll read twenty pages or even more if the problem is I don't like the story.

    Thus, I can usually finish a well written but boring short story.
     
  7. joelpatterson
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    joelpatterson Member

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    The "laying down" thing is all part of the natural cycle... it's the "never picking it up and opening to the bookmark again" which is the curiosity, and that happens because the engagement the storyteller is supposed to be fostering in you, the reader, has faltered.

    I was a rabid, maniacal Thomas Pynchon fan in my youth, so I got "Against the Day," hoping it would offer his trademark devious perspective on the whole of the 20th century-- the reviews even said so!-- but halfway through, I was still waiting for a break from the boorish, hackneyed stylistic headache-inducing treadmill he was dragging me along on... I didn't hurl it into the fire, or nothing, but I did close it, never to open it again.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I can forgive bad writing skills if the story is gripping and fast-paced. I won't read it if it's boring, or if nothing happens, or if it doesn't have enough of what I want (i.e. a "horror" novel that only has one or two scary parts in the whole thing, ditto with romance, etc)
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the author is trying to sound smarter than he/she is and teach me lessons, or if I keep picturing the author with a self-satisfied smirk on his/her face while typing what I'm reading. In either of these cases I'm made aware of the writer rather than being swallowed up by the magic of the story itself. I opened the book to become engaged in a story and I odds are I don't care one bit about the author's ego.
     
  10. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I don't tend to make conscious decisions when laying aside a book. I abandoned Mary Poppins because I was in the middle when I had to leave to be with my family, and then I just didn't open it again. A Stainless Steel Rat is Born is still sitting in my car because I didn't bother to grab it or clean out the car since I got back. I was listening to "One" on the drive back, but haven't taken a long enough trip to stick it back into the tape player since I had to switch to music on the last 3 hours of the drive.


    I think it's more that the story can't get me back after I interrupt myself.
     
  11. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    ^True.

    I read pretty much anything that guets in my hands. Good writing or bad, if the story engages me, I'll read it. I just find myself struggling with the classics. Dostoievski's The Idiot is sitting on my bedside table for over three months now. Maybe it's just me, but I find the classic's writing style harder to read. Dostoievski is "layed down" in oposition to Vampire Diaries that is "back on the bookshelf to dust away". Although the latter is easy, summer reading, I didn't get engaged, therefore put aside.
     
  12. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I hit a wall of dialogue - esp if the talk is accented - before I'm truly engrossed, there's every chance I'll put it down. (Though many books are simply not started if a skim reveals a lot of yakking of the country bumpkin sort eg Steinbeck/ Faulkner who are said to be pretty good I understand ;):))
     
  13. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a thing about finishing books, even if I don't like them. I dislike not finishing things. Consequently, the only time I stop reading a book midway through is when I get really busy and forget that I was in the middle of reading something. Even then, I usually stumble across the book on my bookshelf after life has slowed down and finish it.
     
  14. Untold
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    Untold New Member

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    I usually stop reading when the reading is very monotone. Sometimes the excessively long paragraphs that drone on and on make me easily lose interest.:rolleyes:

    The only other time I stop reading is when I don't want it to end. I read all of the Narnia books only to stop half through the last book because it gave me a lonely feeling to know that the characters and world that I grew to love were going to end.:(
     
  15. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    I feel this way too, athough I don't stop to read because of it. What I do is try to read it slowly, savoring it as much as I can. The ending of the Harry Potter series made me sad for days. Lol
     
  16. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's boring I don't read it... the end :p
     
  17. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the book isn't good enough to keep me reading, you know in the way "I really wanna keep reading"-way, I sop reading it, if I'm not intentionally reading it just to study it style and storytelling.
     
  18. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    the first 20 pages are crucial, if the MC really annoys me attitude- or character-wise i put it down, even if the plot sems too boring or cliche-y or if it sounds like a story that has been told a thousands of times already. When i start reading and dont understand what it is about, maybe it just starts without making you understand where you are and who your dealing with and why.... I am such a critical reader, it is really hard for me to find a book i really like and that grips me. i have begun at and put down too many books lately because the whole thing doesnt catch my interest even a little. And i have a problem with most of the books and writers that are the most popular, i find these kinds of books soooo boring. They might be literary fenomenons but i cant bring myself to finish them! it makes me feel really stupid.
     
  19. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I think it will help our writing if we know why a book failed to arouse our interest. So, people PLEASE ELABORATE! Any particular example of books you have stopped reading, and why, will be helpful. I think I'll stick this in the original post.

    spklvr, tell us (and find out for yourself), how a book bores you?

    Surprisingly I have always finished reading every book that I have picked up, even when some bored me to death. This is mainly because I sort of blamed the boredom on my naivety, and I carried on reading. How can a published book be bad? Silly, but that's my argument. And I am glad I did that, because some books really introduced me to some wonderful style of writings. One example is Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. The first few chapters took me three weeks or so, the rest I finished in about a week. This book is also magical fantasy type (the chars have unnatural abilities and powers, and those are very integral to the plot), which leads us to my dislike for such genre fiction. I hated those books (sorry guys :)). Even the blurb at the back of such books made me sick, but I forced myself to read them and now I am able to appreciate many aspects of writing that is highlighted in those books.

    Okay, let me stop my rant here, but I would really like you to rant in your replies :)
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me it is as simple as I don't identify with the characters and the story wasn't exciting enough to allow me to forgive it.

    I have too many books I actually want to read or reread without reading the ones that don't grab me. I don't have the put it down and forget option it is very rare I will read a book that slowly usually finish it in 24 hours. Never more than a couple of days.

    With Perfume and Catcher in the Rye I just felt miserable when reading them they were depressing. I couldn't push past the fact I hated them despite reading more than half of both of them. I managed Thomas Hardy which gives me a similar feeling for school but I feel his story and plots are better he also drew better characters.
     
  21. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I stop reading when a book literally bores me to sleep several times, and I just can't keep going.

    The only time I make an intentional decision to ditch a book is when I come across glaring factual errors that ruin the book for me. I can't think of a recent example, but as I've said in here a few times, you can't expect to know everything about everything, so, if in doubt, make sure you do the legwork to verify your facts, and have someone who knows the field in question read it over.
     
  22. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually I finish the book I start. Well sometimes. Sometimes I give up within the first few pages and sometimes I will read up until about 50 pages til the end(twilight I think. lol) and forget all about the book and don't bother to read it.

    But for the most part I try and finish the books I start. Though that could take anywhere from months to days to years... But I'll finish them eventually. Hopefully.
     
  23. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    something i read said that suspence is created by raising questions and delaying the answers. i think the books i put down fail in raising interesting enough questions for me to keep reading until the answer is revealed. or questions i frankly dont give a damn about because they have failed to make me care about the MC enough to stay interested in what happens to him/her.
     
  24. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are so many things that can make a book boring, and sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what it is. I think what bores me the most is when a story is dragged out endlessly. The manga One Piece being the best example I can think of at the moment. The first stories, and the beginnings of archs are all so entertaining, and the consepts of them sound awesome. But they never end! I decided life is too short for boring stories.
     
  25. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    positive:
    1. If I can connect with the character.
    2.If I can picture the scene
    3. The story grabs me.

    negitive:
    1.relate to well and want to throw the book across the room.
    2.to depressing with no signs of hope, or so bad only a miracle or writer's
    divine intervention can save them.


    My favorite author wrote a book about bullies and a school that allowed the bullies to reign, the mc was beat up and went home, mother bulied him for not standing up to the bullies.
    She wrote it so well I wanted to throw it across the room, instead I closed it and returned it to the library the next day special trip.
     

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