Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. After a really busy semester, it’s been great to spend hours curled up with a good book. Unfortunately, I’ve found very few of those. In fact, I’ve been fairly disappointed with a lot of the books I’ve read recently. When I look at the book reviews I’ve posted, there’s a fairly even distribution between all the star rankings. However, all the five star books are ones I read last year. I’ve only read one four star book this year (Paranormalcy) and an awful lot of two or three stars.
Even though all the books I’ve read recently have been not so great, I’ve still finished all of them (with one exception). I forced myself to finish Shiver, and I’m currently trudging through The Uninvited which is supposedly a ‘gripping thriller’ but is actually quite boring. I could quite happily put the book down and never thing of it again.
So why don’t I? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. It could be it’s unfair to review a book I haven’t finished, or it’s cheating to count a half-finished book in my 100-books-this-year challenge. Those are part of it, but overall I think I just have this feeling that a book is a complete entity, meant to be read and enjoyed (or hated) in its entirety. Whenever I pick up a book, it’s like I make a commitment to read the whole thing ‘for better or for worse.’
Of course, this doesn’t apply all the time. Last week I read six chapters of Carrie Vaughn’s Discord’s Apple and then decided not to continue. My reasons for this were twofold: First off, the story was boring. There were perhaps four different plot lines and I didn’t see how they fit together. Even though the book was actually for adults, the whole idea seemed a little juvenile. Secondly, there was a lot of sexual content for no apparent reason. Sometimes a book needs to mention sex (like in Impossible). As long as it’s counted as bad and not really described, I’m okay with it, but in Discord’s Apple there were multiple sex scenes, all described, and they didn’t help the plot at all. They were just there because sex scenes are supposedly interesting.
Basically, I’ll struggle through any book that’s relatively clean, but once it goes too far in terms of sexual content or swearing I’ll put it down. A clean book that’s really poorly written may also get set down, but it’s much more likely that I’ll keep reading.
What about you? Do you ever stop reading books, or do you struggle through to the bitter end? What makes you stop reading?