Before you start reading this post, I implore you to take a look at the picture below…
I came by this little quote a few weeks ago and (at the risk of sounding like a bigger nerd than I already am) it scared the crap out of me! I mean, what if I am missing a life changing book because I am stuck reading something that I’ll probably forget the second I complete it? What if I miss out on another book that makes me wish I hadn’t read it, because I want to relive the entire experience with the same innocence and naïveté I had right before I read the first page? All these questions started nagging me… So I made a pact with myself: if I don’t like a book after a quarter of the way through, I shall close that book and call it a day. These are a few reasons this may happen:
1. ANNOYING CHARACTERS
For me, a good story needs strong characters that are vivid and real. They need to have qualities that will stay on my mind for a long time – they need to be unforgettable. An unforgettable character may be intense, mysterious, respectful and witty; but they also need different layers that I can peel away to reveal something new. A good character should evolve with the story but also remain true to who they are, they should be courageous and brave, but also have some flaws to make them realistic and relatable. I always enjoy reading about characters that are different from the mainstream, snore-fest of predictability that we seem to find in every book these days. A book can have an awesome plot and poetic writing, but if the characters are annoying then there is a very slim possibility that I will add that book to my list of favourites.
2. UNBEARABLE WRITING TECHNIQUE
I always appreciate beautiful writing. There is something truly wondrous about finding a piece of writing that says exactly what needs to be said, in a way that makes it impossible to forget. I noticed that if a book is written in a sloppy manner, with clumsy sentences and over the top descriptions, then it is highly unlikely for me to enjoy the story. The truth is that a beautiful writing style can transport and captivate the reader; it is the make or break difference between an ordinary character and an EXTRA-ordinary one. If an author wants to describe the colour of the secondary character’s childhood pet rabbit’s toy then he/she better do it with extra charming descriptive imagery.
3. PREDICTABLE PLOT
There is very little that comes close to the frustration of a beautiful book with a painfully predictable plot (ok, that was an exaggeration, but I needed to express how much this means to me). I’m not sure if I am talking out of turn here, but to me it seems like a lot of authors out there assumes the reader never read a book before in his/her life. Not only is a predictable plot insulting to the reader’s imagination, but it feels like a waste of time to be reading something that we could have thought up ourselves. I appreciate reading something that clearly reflects extensive research and effort; something that even after having read hundreds of books and having watched months worth of movies/series, I still could not have predicted. Those are the stories I will remember forever, and those are the books I will recommend to a friend.
4. NAGGING NARRATOR
My knowledge on writing and literature is pretty basic as I was more interested in math and science on university; although I am familiar with the composition of a good story since I enjoy reading. What I do know is that a narrator sets the tone and mood of the entire story, since we are experiencing everything in their voice. I know that when the narrator has a husk of a personality with no depth and dimension, then I will not connect to the book. I also know that a nagging narrator, who forever complains about how unfair life is for them, will likely have me dropping that book like a hot potato, and I will never pass it on. I know that in most cases we will feel what the narrator is feeling, but I enjoy it more when a story is told with an unbiased perspective, allowing me to form my own thoughts and opinions about certain issues. This is probably why I enjoy reading books written from a child’s point of view…
5. A SHALLOW TALE
In my mind, if I didn’t take something away from a book then there is no point in me having read it at all. I need a story to have a deeper meaning behind it that I can ponder about for days after I completed the book. If a story is shallow and fluffy then there is no way I will want to finish reading it. There is so much going on in the world everyday, which is why it’s important to me to move away from the noise of the meaningless and read a book with depth. Of course I will read something superficial now and then to take a break from the heavy stuff, but it will only serve as a distraction for a little while until I get back into the books with an important message to share.
There are more books in the world than one person will ever come close to completing in this lifetime. And the amount of books you do end up reading barely scratches the surface of information out there. There is simply not enough time to dwindle on the ordinary; so if you are stuck reading a book that cannot seem to hold your focus then move onto the next one – if you’re anything like me then you have an ever growing tbr pile that will most likely fall over and squash you into oblivion. Somewhere out there is an author that ticked all your boxes, and has crafted the perfect story for you…
Are there any specific reasons you stopped reading a book? Let me know by leaving a comment below – I always enjoy it when you say ‘hey’!