(because as nice and vacationy as it was, it just didn’t look like my blog when I came here. I had to switch back.)
Animal cruelty; insufferable whining; obvious political hectoring; extreme creepiness; obvious religious hectoring.
I have absolutely no problem abandoning a book with any of these. Just this weekend I 86’d a romance I’d had my eye on for two months when the author decided to have her already-dull heroine abuse a horse. Granted, there’ve been books with animal cruelty I’ve stuck with (The Godfather) because they were otherwise good. But if I’m already dithering and KNOW that I have several other tantalising prospects waiting in the wings, then it’s curtains for you, horsekiller.
I notice this stuff more now that I’m getting more and more serious about finishing AND marketing my current book. Not that it’ll be finished for a great while, mind you. The thing is, though, I’m just writing the story I want to read. I know that not everyone wants to read what I want to read and that this won’t be for everyone. One of my fun little side games with myself is to picture just who is going to quit my book at what place.
My husband and sister are both nuts. They’ll never quit a book. I keep telling them that the ratio of one’s life expectancy versus the number of unread books out there is so pitiful that it’s a SIN to keep reading something you don’t enjoy. They keep telling me that it’s a sin to not finish what you start. Sometimes I say something wisenheimerish like “bank robbing, kidnapping babies, murder” just to prove a point. Other times I tell them I’d have felt more like I was sinning if I kept on reading that dreadful Philip Pullman book instead of stopping at the first sign of being held prisoner to his anti-Christian raving disguised as poorly-written* fantasy. I just can’t grasp the idea of not putting aside a squicky or boring or bad book.
As I get older I’m getting better about starting out down the right road, though. Before I’ll read a book I check it out on Amazon and Goodreads. The trick is to read at least two negative reviews. You’ll get a better feel for what others see as the pitfalls of the book. If their pitfalls sound like your idea of pitfalls, you’re better off not reading it at all. Of course the book I abandoned yesterday WAS panned by several people for the exact reason I dropped it. But it sounded otherwise like what I was looking for and it was free. (Worth the price, I might add.)
Now I’m reading Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. I’m not very far into it, but I’m enjoying it. I could do with out his incessant (so far) ranting about the uselessness of Catholicism. But I figure the Catholic church has weathered bigger storms than one guy’s Science Fiction books. At any rate, I don’t see myself abandoning this one.
Here’s where I’m torn. I want to ask “so, what books have you abandoned?” or “what would cause you to abandon a book?” but I don’t want to sound like those pedantic book club discussion questions I keep stumbling on. Nor do I want to sound like the person who wrote my High School World History book. But I am curious. So if you want to tell me in the comments I will be very pleased.
Although you probably already abandoned this post.
* I’ve been following a blog conversation where several people are declaring that Phillip Pullman’s books are examples of masterful writing. I feel sort of bad for not seeing this; I couldn’t see past his agenda from the first 40 pages, and that’s always a sign to me of bad writing anywhere other than a blog, where agenda-setting and defence is generally the purpose.