I read a lot. At least I try to read a lot. Last year I read over 60 books. Which compared to others is minuscule. I recently came across a post where people were planning on reading upwards of 250 books this coming year. Cue my own personal jealousy. So maybe I read some. I digress.
I love to read. The story on the page unfolds into a lovely movie in my mind. I can imagine the actions and emotions of the characters. I swoon and cry. I suffer and cheer for joy. Now occasionally I come across a book that I do not want to finish. I came across one recently that I sat on for two days debating if I should finish it or not. I started to feel guilty for wanting to put the book down just because it wasn’t my favorite genre. “I’m just not that into military romance,” I thought. Is that a good enough reason to not read a book? How do you decide if a book is worth finishing?
My mom and my sister will both power through a book that they don’t like. They have that can do, never quit attitude. Over the years I have found that powering through a book I dislike to be fruitless. Most of the time I would stop reading all together, because I had to finish that book that I hated. Six months would pass and I wouldn’t read a word. I have since given myself permission to dump a book. If I don’t like it, I don’t finish it.
As I meditated on the book I was considering putting back on the shelf I came to an awareness that I have a list of reasons why I will unceremoniously dump a book. So hold on tight. I will list my petty reasons for breaking up with a book.
I hate the characters. I have read books where I absolutely hate the main characters. Whether that hate stems from my own immaturity or they remind me of certain people in my life is immaterial in the moment. I have been in the middle of a novel wishing the main character would die. This is a huge sign that this book is not for me.
Lack of chemistry. Where are all the pipettes? Just kidding. I enjoy romance novels. It is the majority of what I’ve read during the last few years. A lack of chemistry between the two main characters in a love story will absolutely kill it. Why are they having sex now? They just met. The author felt the need to communicate to the reader that one of the characters doesn’t go sleeping around with just anyone, yet they didn’t build up the relationship. They are just having sex for sex sake. A forced love connection just doesn’t do it for me. If i wanted to read a sex scene without connection I would read erotica (which I enjoy on occasion). So unless it is an erotic story, I will toss a romance aside if the – well – romance isn’t there.
Lack of editing. I like to read self-published authors. They have creative control. The books are cheap. Some need to be edited. By just about anybody. A neighbor, a writing group friend, someone online, or you cat. And I’m not talking about typos. I read through many typos. Oh so many typos. Typos I forgive. Story inconsistency however takes me out of the moment. A wolf shifter is now a bear shifter. Or a medical doctor is totally down with learning a patient they only met once is a magical being. Note: I realize that it might be asking too much for a fantasy story to have believable reactions, but that is what I’m looking for in a well developed book. The reactions have to match the backstory. And be consistent.
Poor formatting. Ebooks are popular. I have a kindle unlimited (KU) subscription. I read more ebooks than physical books these days. I find wonderful authors that I will gladly pay full price for their novel through KU. And some authors have terrible formatting for their ebooks. I once picked up a KU book that had 8 lines of text per page. That is not an exaggeration. I repeat: THAT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION. I spent more time swiping pages than reading text. I put that book down. I will not try to read it again. Bad formatting. Either the author was trying to scam KU by creating extra pages in an attempt to get paid more or they didn’t take the time to format the book. There are a number of how-to sites and other self-published authors that would gladly point a new author in the right direction for formatting.
Historical Fiction. I know this one is SUPER petty. And it is a true “It’s me, not you” scenario. I have a problem. I am working on it. I read a historical romance or mystery and will let my anger take over. “That is not how people were treated in that century. Didn’t you research this?” OR “I hate how people were treated then. Why am I reading about this backward society?” I have to prepare myself before I start reading a historical fiction. If not I will dump that book for being too actuate or not actuate enough. I know. Petty. I’m working on it.
So after careful consideration and meditation I finished the book. It didn’t fit the above criteria. And overall I enjoyed that novel. And plan to read the second in the series. Just not anytime soon. So here is hoping that the guilt that comes with putting down a book will decrease as I use the criteria above. Cross your fingers I don’t add a number six.
So have you ever broken up with a book? Why or why not?