(Oops! When I originally wrote this on November 26th, I thought I'd saved the post. But somehow, the text from the previous week's post about my run-in with the door showed up on the blog under this title instead. Because, you know, the universe apparently wants to make sure everyone knows about that embarrassing, and painful, incident. If you're reading this for the first time after December 5th, you have no idea what I'm talking about, because I redirected that incorrect blog post here. Anyway, this mistake is further proof that Murphy's law is plaguing me more than usual. *sigh* Okay, on to the original post.)
I’m reading a book right now that’s not grabbing my attention. It’s bad enough that at the half-way point I took a break to reread a favorite book. I’m back to reading the original book, but I’m trying to decide whether I care enough to finish.
I don’t like not finishing books, but I will if I don’t feel a deep connection to the characters or the plot doesn’t have me eager to learn more. This book straddles that line. I want to know whether my suspicions on how the protagonist ended up in the situation that drives the plot are correct. Yet the sense of urgency regarding whether the protagonist will achieve the primary goal has been eliminated, since the protagonist has admitted that the status quo is pretty nice. Um, hello? Why should I keep reading? Now what’s the goal? Who am I supposed to root for?
The other strong plot goal belongs to a secondary character, yet I don’t care enough about that character to continue reading for another two hundred plus pages.
Since I returned to reading the book I’ve been viewing it as a writing lesson rather than a reading experience. This is a novel in the science fiction genre and the world-building is original. There has been a lot of action, which usually I like. It’s started to seem the same, though. Pointless. When I’m not holding my breath wondering if the protagonist will survive, there’s a problem with the scene.
But the biggest issue is that I’m not curious to see what the protagonist does next. The internal conflict is not deep enough, the external goal not urgent enough, to make the character sympathetic and therefore someone I want to follow until the end of the book.
This is also another example of me being burned when trying a book that writers I admire describe as having beautiful writing. The language used is a bit distant. It’s possible in third person point of view to write deep into the character so that the story is told in such a way that you get inside the characters’ heads and feel their emotions, almost as if the characters are telling the story. Not here.
So, will I finish?
When I wrote the first draft of this blog post I thought maybe I’d continue reading sporadically. That it would be something I’d fit in between reading other books for entertainment and that’d I’d study it with the mindset of an author.
Yet by this draft, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t have enough time to spend on a book that doesn’t engage my emotions. Reading is my primary form of entertainment and I’m not going to waste precious reading time on a book I don’t enjoy.
This book is going onto my list of books I did not finish.
How about you? Do you put books down without finishing them? If so, what’s the main thing that will make you turn away from a book?