13 March 2012

What makes you stop reading?

This question occurred to me yesterday evening when I closed a book about 200 pages (not quite half way) in and said, "I'm done." This morning, I decided I would skim ahead a little to see if what irritated me enough to stop reading the book would be swiftly rectified and the plot advanced in a non-irritating direction, but yesterday I was ready to put it down and never pick it up again. I realized, too, that what pissed me off so much this time was the same thing that had pissed me off a while back in another book that I put down and have never picked up since: a broken promise. I don't mean something trivial like "I know I promised to leave you the last piece of cheesecake, but I ate it anyway". I mean a heavy-duty promise that is part of the foundation of the story being told. In the previous case, it was a promise one MC made to himself. He did that, and I said, "You suck. You're an idiot. Why should I read about you any more? I'm done." (Of course, I didn't like the other MC anyway, so it was that much easier to walk away.) In this case, it was a promise between the two MCs, and one is trying to be noble and clever and protective by breaking it. Uh...no. Stupid and intolerable, IMO. I had no idea broken promises bugged me so much, but there does seem to be a pattern emerging, doesn't there.

So I'm curious. When a book is well-written and the genre/subject is one you generally enjoy, what makes you stop and put a book down and say, "I'm not reading you any more."? Or do you soldier through, trusting that the author will correct the issue?


AlienZombie13 said...

Hi Maia,
I'm okay with broken promises as long as there is a specific reason they did it to protect the other MC. I'm not okay if it's for selfish reasons and they keep doing it over and over. For example I read on book that the main MC kept saying he would stop keeping secrets but he through the rest of the book he kept hiding things. Drove me crazy! Also I don't like when a character cheats, that is the fastest way for me to put a book down because I know that the other character will somehow forgive them and I never would.
Love Always,
Tabatha Hansen

Maia Strong said...

Hi Tabitha,

Very good point! We all have things in RL that we just won't tolerate, so to see a character you like turn around and tolerate and even forgive it can be a major sticking point.


Maia Strong said...

And there I went and misspelled your name. That's not tolerable either! ;-) Sorry, Tabatha!