I hate to “drop” a book. My mother would say it is because I am a little OCD. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I admit I like to finish what I start. Part of that is an obsession, but part of it is a curiosity. It’s like watching a bad movie. Through the first half, I think “it has to get better.” Then, through the second half, I think “well, I’ve come this far.” There’s another dimension to my reading now, which is that I have set a goal of how many books to read in a year through Goodreads. Dropping a book means I wasted that time.
But, despite all of this, I dropped on book last year and now have dropped one this year. Both were books that friends recommended…however most of what I read is recommended by someone. That’s how I find new authors. I partly feel like a failure because I couldn’t finish. There’s another part of me that feels bad because I know what it’s like to write a story. The author wasn’t being lazy. They just didn’t capture me. But both books I dropped are fairly popular, which means they were liked by many others.
Yet, I started wondering what makes me drop a book. I came across three top reasons.
1. Writing style: it’s interesting to me, but if an author has a similar writing style to my own, then I typically don’t like it. I’m not sure why this is exactly, but I think it boils down to I am my own worst critic. I am constantly editing my work, striving to make it better. You’d think if I saw a writing style like mine, then this would be justification that it works. But…I guess I’m a little too critical for my own good.
2. Characters: I have to like the characters I’m reading about. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have to relate to them (although I recognize some of my favorite novels have characters who are very similar to me). But, they can’t annoy me. They also can’t act stupid. In the book I just dropped, she was chasing after someone who had made it clear he didn’t like her. No outside sources were driving them together but she was “pulled toward him.” She started doing things I thought were silly and then I found myself rolling my eyes at her. I can’t be irritated.
3. Plot development: my number one reason for dropping a book is plot development. It has to make sense. It can’t have holes and, to a certain extent, it has to be realistic. I can’t find myself saying “that would never happen” or “that character would never act that way.” I know this is weird because I read fantasy, but people should still behave like humans and events should still fit in the laws that are defined for the world.
What are killers of books you read?