April 4th, 2013, 08:54 AM
Who is happy to stop reading, and who has to finish?
I used to feel compelled to finish reading a book even if I didn't like it, but I notice lately I'm putting them down if I get halfway through and I feel it's wasting my time.
How many of you are quite happy to stop reading a book if you don't like it? Has this changed for you over time? Does genre matter (i.e. you HAVE to finish SF but you'll throw mainstream at the wall if you don't like it)?
Lately, I have left books unfinished for the following reasons:
- I feel the book is a rehash of other work by the same author with not enough new content or theme to be worth the investment (Pandora's Star, not quit QUITE yet, but I've read the ND trilogy and 1200 pages is a lot to ask..)
- It's non-fiction and I learn so much about the topic in the first half that I feel happy to put it down and read something else (Stalingrad)
- It is so impossibly cryptic and tough to decipher that I'm not having fun (Ulysses)
- I feel the writer is coasting on previous success while using obscurity to hope I wont realise (Fall of Hyperion)
- I just don't care what happens to ANYBODY (Chasm City)
April 4th, 2013, 09:36 AM
I like stories
i only stop completely if there is nothing i enjoy. if there is at least one element i enjoy i keep trying unless it becomes a real chore then i stop after a few tries.
chasm city is one i stopped also. i didnt enjoy a single thing about it after 150 pages. i had to try 3 or 4 times to get through rev space. the writing style really makes it difficult to get in to any part of the book.
i think ive only quit maybe 4 or 5 out of a few thousand. there are quite a few i considered quitting and was really glad i didnt.
April 4th, 2013, 10:06 AM
Live Long & Suffer
I am not happy to stop reading it is more a matter of being angry.
I consider this to be a problem with readers and the publishing industry. After all of these decades and knowledge of psychology we should have a better system of describing books. I tried providing a partial system with archetypes for examples but as far as I can tell no one even evaluated them even though I provided audiobooks.
I learned in grade school that the blurbs are just marketing trying to get the reader to buy. But on this site people say they like stuff and don't explain why they like what they like. I have tried 3 Ian Banks books and managed to finish one but I wouldn't strongly recommend it to anyone. I think his AIs are rather shallow neurotic versions of humans not anything like what I might expect real AIs to become if they can ever be made.
Maybe we need categories of readers and the books need separate evaluations by the readers in each category. Like some people are more interested in excitement than anything else. Some readers like the early Vorkosigan books but lose interest and complain when Miles got romantically involved. But other readers think those are some of the best books.
Last edited by psikeyhackr; April 5th, 2013 at 09:21 AM.
April 4th, 2013, 11:38 AM
Yes, I have this problem: not being able to stop reading once I start. But, I feel it has to do with being a tad OCD and having a high tolerance for mediocre material. Always been this way and I wouldn't ever think about doing this with a SF book, but I will skim a non-SF novel if it sucks.
Originally Posted by spiralguru3d
April 4th, 2013, 11:41 AM
I used to finish everything I read - there have been books out there that got better as they went along (as well as those that got worse!)
These days I finish most things I start: but not as much as I used to. With publishing deadlines, a pile of stuff to read and the pressure of reviews these days, I have been known on occasion to give up.
April 4th, 2013, 01:36 PM
I'm the same, used to finish most books I'd started but now if I get 100 pages or so in and still don't like it I'll put it down for good.
April 4th, 2013, 03:17 PM
it could be worse
I have no problem giving up. But I will give a book a few tries before I do.
April 4th, 2013, 03:52 PM
I am quite the opposite in the sense that i start lots of books - now i have some 30 I could switch among at will - and let them dictate which I will finish first...
April 4th, 2013, 04:08 PM
Yep, no problems stopping if I'm not interested, and pretty much every time I try again (if I do), I still don't get into it.
When there are so many books on the to be read pile, I don't like the idea of plowing through a book I'm not enjoying just to say I've read it.
April 5th, 2013, 02:46 AM
I feel the need to finish a book once I start. I pretty much only read SF and F. I don't consider myself a very fast reader, but I've been lucky, out of the several hundred, I've only encountered 5 or 6 that I thought were REAL stinkers.
April 6th, 2013, 06:23 PM
I read for enjoyment and I don't have time for books I don't enjoy. I give a book 1/3 of the length to hook me. If I don't care what happens after I have gotten that far, then I move on. I will occasionally put down a book if its just too....ugh...... awful for me to continue reading any more.
I am a recent adopter of the Kindle and I love the feature to download samples. They give me a much better idea of whether I will like the book than the blurbs on the back. Its a bit short of my usual cut off point, but 4-5 chapters is usually enough to decide if I like the author's writing style, the characters and the story.
April 6th, 2013, 07:25 PM
I have so many books which I've stopped short of completion. I once felt bad about the practice, but no longer. If a book fails to grab me early on, I'll mark it on an extensive list I keep of where I stopped in a particular book, so that I can return to it later, or not.
There are so many things I need to read, and simply not enough time. If it is something I set aside, yet do have a continued interest in, i'll look for the audiobook version.
April 7th, 2013, 12:10 AM
I've put down a lot of books after just a few chapters.
The first rule any good writer should know is to capture the reader at the start of any book.
I think I was actually taught that in elementary school english class shortly after I learned to read.
My most recent occurance of not being able to finish a book would be R. Scott Bakker's White Luck Warrior.
I had a hard time finishing his first three books but this one really put me off him forever more.
So, yes, I put books down barely read all the time.
Authors should all know the lesson I was taught in elementary school. The first few chapters are the most important of all.
Capture the reader from the start or lose them.
April 8th, 2013, 12:54 AM
I always finish, no matter how badly written a book may be. If I'm interested enough to acquire the work I feel compelled to spend the time to see it through. I don't know if that means I'm patient or that I'm just punishing myself for falling for the cheesy cover art (Again!). That being said, if an author really lets me down I rarely read them again (I haven't read Ursula LeGuin in years); just too many other options out there and I'll never have time to read them all even if I did bail on a book early.
April 8th, 2013, 01:24 AM
It never entered my mind
I finish everything I read. I think the last book I abandoned in the middle was three years ago. That said, I sometimes give up or delay indeterminately on series (Dresden Files, Malazan, Sword of Truth)