Monday, March 9, 2009

Why to throw a book across the room...

After reading Clare Langley-Hawthorne's post on the same topic over at The Kill Zone, I started thinking - what makes me stop reading a book? She came up with the topic after attending a panel at LCC (Left Coast Crime), which must have been interesting, and to be honest I'm envious and sad I couldn't be there.

The first thing came up right away: long, literally page-long, boring descriptions. Be it descriptions of the setting, the character, whichever. It is boring and it makes me fall asleep right away!

For another point I have to second Clare's "characters that make me a yawn". Oh yes, that is a big point on my list. It has to be! No matter how good the plot is, if the characters are boring or two-dimensional, the book just doesn't work. A book that is worth my time and doesn't end up being thrown at a wall has both a good plot and interesting, three-dimensional characters.

Big, fat plot holes would be another pet peeve of mine. I dump a book as soon as I see one and I'll never pick the book up ever again!

Changes of reality - I can live with a certain suspension of disbelief, but once an author re-creates basic truths without it being necessary for the novel. If you want to do that, state it on the cover, the back cover blurb or with the genre, but no single hint that it is science fiction or fantasy and yet you want to change the fact that in fact the sun is revolving around the earth? Yeah well, go search another reader for your book.

TSTL - granted, some Too Stupid To Live is okay, I can live with that, but authors who need TSTL to get the plot going and keep it going just don't do it for me. I'll drop the book, I just can't continue those books!

What about you? What makes you stop reading and put a book down? With what can an author turn you off? Tell me, let us know or check out the original post at The Kill Zone and comment there. Of course, I'd like it if you would comment both at The Kill Zone and here! ;-)


  1. I'll give the protag one round of TSTL, Kathrin, but after that, it's book-hurling time! And I'm delighted to see that Clare's post helped spin off a "baby" blog here (grin)! As a co-blogger of Clare's over at the Kill Zone, I guess that makes me an Auntie! Great to get to know you!

  2. Ah thanks Auntie Kathryn:) And I love the TSTL - those definitely are a deal breaker for me...and book hurling time!

  3. I rarely stop reading a book. But I guess if I do stop, it's probably because the story is not believable to me. I mean it could be fantasy book and believable, or the setting could be just normal life but not believable. Do you get what I mean? :)

  4. @ Kathryn Lilley: I can live with a little TSTL, but there's definitely a limit! Great to have an auntie whose mysteries are on my shelves :-) Thanks for the comment!

    @ Clare: Thanks for commenting :-) I hate it when a good plot is spoiled by TSTL (or maybe even too stupid to breathe?) characters and other deal breakers. You're all excited about the book and than along comes something like *that*...

  5. @ mee: I do get what you mean :-) I think it's a great accomplishemnt to rarely stop reading a book. I usually feel cheated of my reading time when a book is "bad". I have enough have-to-read books for university already (some of which I admittedly didn't finish), so I'd rather not force myself to finish a book I don't enjoy in my spare time :-)