Friday, 14 December 2007

What's your breaking point?

If you've seen me posting in various 'Whats the last book you read' threads then you'll know that I've been reading 'A Sword from Red Ice' (J.V.Jones) for what seems like an interminably long time. It's a book that's infuriating because although it's a good read (and worth the wait) it seems to be designed with the specific intention of sporadically boring me to tears... It's a problem with 'multiple point of view' books that the reader will find at least a couple of characters that they just can't stand, I've found mine and they keep popping up to annoy me. I find these particular chapters pointless, and doing nothing to advance the plot, and I get to the point where I think 'why am I reading this?' Just as I've decided to put the book down though, along comes a chapter about someone I'm interested in reading more on. I'm back into the book but even then part of me is dreading turning over the page for fear that the next chapter will be about someone I hate... I feel like a yo-yo with all this swinging backwards and forwards between good and bad!
This got me thinking about the point where I just snap and put a book down never to be picked up again, I'm talking about books in general not just 'A Sword from Red Ice'. Normally I'll read anything pretty much the whole way through but there are occasions when I decide that life is too short and stop reading something that I just know is never going to get any better. My recent foray into 'The Charon Covenant' is a good example of this, I'm never going to finish a book where it just looks as if the editor never bothered to get involved. Certain of Laurell K. Hamilton's books have also shown me that I'm never going to get far with a book where plot is almost incidental and sex is prominent...
What about you though? Do you always read a book the whole way through or is there a point where you just think, "The hell with this!" and throw it in the bin? What's your breaking point?

10 comments:

Robert said...

Sorry, I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I'm taking a little break from Fantasy Book Critic for a couple of weeks so I just wanted to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!!

Chris, The Book Swede said...

I, like you, normally read things to the end for resolution, but have thrown books down quite recently! :)

With most of the books on my blog, I've been quite lucky (or careful), but you're bound to pick up some that just don't work on any level ... I've been saving a couple of those for some New Years posts ... when Nasty Swede emerges briefly! ;)

In the main, though, I just can't help reading to the end even if the book is atrocious. That's why I'm having to resist the urge to buy Confessor -- I know I won't like it, but I ...

*Shame face*

~Chris

Leticia said...

Hello there :)

It seems I'm just as stubborn as you guys, as I tend to read things through even if they're not that good. I think I've been choosing my books well lately though as I haven't given one up in a long time! The last book I remember leaving aside was some years ago, and it was a "normal" novel, nothing fantasy or sci-fi, in Italian. I just couldn't get on with it (the fact that it was half in Sicilian dialect might have had something to do with it). I knew the guy was good though, so I gave it another try and now it's one of my favorite books EVER.

I think the big turn-off for me is a matter of style, not contents: basically too many analogies irritate me to death. You know, when the author's trying to make things a little more florid and uses "like" and "as if" way too many times. I also hate characters that make the wrong choices every single time, for stupid reasons (not talking about Turin Turambar, mind you), but maybe it's because I hate that kind of people in real life as well. Oh, whatever :)

Leticia

Constance said...

Hmm, I'm the odd man out, so to speak. If i get 1/3 of the way through a book, and I'm not engaged, I drop it. The kiss of death for me is if a book is "Put downable". There are far too many worthy books, and my reading time is limited, so my breaking point is if I put it down too much and have no desire to pick it up again.

I'm reading one right now that is on life support. One more put down, and it's back to the library with it!

scumby said...

I was a read it through at all costs guy for a while, but after having a wife, 2 kids, and a demanding job I just don't have time to put up with a book I don't like. That's why I'm so excited about these great blogs. I was really having trouble finding good books until I found all these great reviews. So thanks! I put down books far less frequently these days. Oh, and by the way, the library is great for books like confessor. Sure, I'm number 35 on the wait list, but I'm in no hurry, and if it sucks(likely) I hae no problem giving it back.

SQT said...

Dialogue can be a killer for me when it comes to finishing a book. If the characters can't answer a simple question and everyone is really cryptic, I'm done! I need the dialogue to be believable.

Tia Nevitt said...

I've been a lot more tolerant lately of books that I might have otherwise set aside. But I do have a breaking point, usually when the book begins to get tedious.

I may get tomatoes thrown at me here, but The Fellowship of the Ring was very difficult for me to get through, especially during the Council of Elrond. I gritted my teeth and made it through, however, because I was determined to finish the series. Which I did.

But that was about 15 years ago now and I never managed to reread it. I did manage to reread The Hobbit several times.

Gav's Studio said...

Oh breaking points.

It's probably easier to say what engages me. Great characters, good writing and a plot that keeps you reading.

I put down books when I don't care about either the characters or the plot. If I don't like the writing I'm not likely to get past two or three pages.

As my reading speed has slowed down I can't justify spending hours on books that I don't care about, especially when there are so many books that could be better.

Maybe I should be more forgiving... I could make that a resolution for the new year? Meh!

David said...

Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I tend to go for the 100-page rule. I'm in no way steadfast; I've quit novels a few pages in, and within 50 pages from the ending as well. There's just too many good books waiting for my attention. I don't really get the concept of struggling through a work of entertainment fiction, like Fantasy or SciFi. You're either entertained or you're not.

BookLover said...

Usually try to finish the books I read, but if they are really awful I just put them away (can't seem to throw them away though). Often I actually stop reading good books as well. If I have more then a week or two where I don't have time to read I sometimes just put the book away and start on another one, only to return to the book a few months later. I like to read my books relatively fast, don't know why. I still remember the plot and everything, but I guess during those weeks I find so many other books I want to read as well. My night stand usually has at least three books on it. The one I'm reading and others I really want to start reading.