I’m one of those people who don’t finish every book they start reading since I don’t want to spend time on something I’m just not enjoying. Here are three things that usually make me put down a book. Let me know if you share any!
When I read, I prefer to read every paragraph once. When the author writes things that are inconsistent and vague, I have to check back because I can’t understand what’s happening.
For example (no straight out from a real book):
“John fell down. He stood up and looked at the doormat. When he came to, he wiped his shoes on the doormat.”
Yes, the language is horrible, but the point is: What happened to John, exactly?
Did he fall down, get up, lose consciousness for a moment and then wipe his shoes? Or did the author intend to write that John fell down, stood up and wiped his shoes? Or perhaps John fell down, lost consciousness, came to and wiped his shoes?
Too many options. One time it’s an acceptable mistake, I suppose. When it happens again and is coupled with other irritating issues, I’ll pass.
2. Love at first sight
It’s not usually too hard to tell who the main character is going to fall for, especially when reading a book with a “romance” tag. Romance as a genre is pretty notorious for including love at first sight, but even that can be taken to an absolute extreme.
I don’t mind if Jane sees John and thinks “wow, there’s something intriguing about that man!” and then goes on to find out everything about him.
I kind of mind if Jane randomly encounters a scary monster and thinks “wow, he’s the most gorgeous, sexy piece of monster hunk I’ve ever seen and my stomach is filled with butterflies!”
When encountering something scary, most of us would probably try to get away from the situation and not think straight instead of stopping to gawk at how beautiful the eyes of the monster are and how much depth there is in his stare.
Jane can see those pretty eyes and incredible depth at a later time, once she’s figured out the monster isn’t there to harm her. Before that it just sounds so silly I’m going to pass.
3. Formatting and grammar
Okay, this is a boring one. English isn’t my native language and I know a few typos and grammar errors slipped into my published books as well, so I’m pretty tolerant.
Pretty tolerant means that I realize we’re all human and that one “too” instead of “to” isn’t a deal breaker yet. If it keeps happening every couple of pages or even every couple of sentences, that’s a different story.
Also incorrect formatting annoys me in Kindle e-books. If you’re publishing a book for Kindle, you should at least test to see that it displays correctly. I’ve seen anything from two empty lines to no empty lines between paragraphs — even in the same book (and those two-liners aren’t scene breakers either).
I hope this post didn’t sound too much like a rant! I’ve just been looking for something to read on my Kindle and I’ve already abandoned four books, all after one or two chapters, even though they had interesting plots, good premises and mostly 4-5 star ratings. Maybe I’m just picky.
Do you finish every book you start to read? If not, what makes you put down a book?