Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Discussion: The Worst Thing A Book Can Be

So I've realised recently what my book deal breaker is and I was wondering what everyone else's is. What is the one thing that will have you abandoning a book?

It's great when a book is beautifully written. It's great when the characters are amazing and the relationships are well done. It's great when the world building is complex and fantastic, and when the plot keeps you hooked from start to finish. 

But it's rare for me to find a book that ticks all of those boxes. 

Twilight made me realise that if a book is entertaining enough I can overlook poor writing and cliches and badly written characters and relationships. 

The Book Thief and Code Name Verity made me realise that a book can be a little on the slow side if it's written well and I love the characters and the plot has a twist that has me care enough to bawl my eyes out.

There are books I've read (Fifty Shades of Gray, Twist Me, etc.) that have made me angry for various reasons, and yet I still had little problem finishing them. Because at least they were making me feel something, even if that something is annoyance or dislike/hate. 

Books should make me feel something, but there's one thing that will make me put a book down and avoid going back to for weeks or months or even years. Something that can put me in a reading slump if it's bad enough. 

There's a lot that I can overlook in a book, so long as it ticks certain boxes, so long as it keeps me entertained. But I can't overlook boredom. 

If a book makes me feel bored, that's my deal breaker. That's what will make me put it down. There are some books that get a bit slow, that have lulls in the plot, or filler stuff a bit on the dull side--but if, for a few hundred pages, the most consistent thing I'm feeling is boredom... Nope. Just nope. Can't do it.
I love reading, and when doing something I love is boring to me then I hate that and I end up hating the thing that made me feel that way about the thing that I love.

I realised this when I was reading (or trying to read - I quit halfway through) a romance novel the other day. If I were to rate that book, it would actually get a lower rating from me than books like Fifty Shades of Gray--books that I had major issues with (from the writing, to the characters, to the romanticisation of a problematic relationship, etc.)--which is a bit bizarre because it wasn't an awful book, it was just...boring.

You'd think a book that I hated would rate lower than a book I found boring, but no. It seems that boring is a greater book sin to me than infuriating.

I didn't notice that this was a pattern until I took a look at the stack of books I've left unfinished and making me bored is the one common factor. Some of them tick plenty of other Good Book boxes, like having lovely writing, but I just couldn't get past them being boring. Boredom is like this wall that I can't climb over to appreciate the good things behind it.

If anyone actually read this, what is the worst thing a book can be to you? Boring? Terribly written? Mary Sue/Gary Stu characters? Containing things you object to on a moral level? Something else? Or are you one of those impressively stubborn people that won't quit on a book no matter what?



  1. I have the same deal breaker. If I am bored, I will put it down and find excuses not to pick it up again. My other deal breaker, however, is when there are so many plot holes it doesn't even make sense. That happened to me last night. I just don't have the patience to deal with a story line that is erratic and nonsensical.

    1. I haven't read any books with bad enough plot holes to stop me reading, but they will bug me when I've finished a book. If I notice them while reading, I will normally want to keep reading in the hopes the author did it intentionally and will make it make sense later in the book.

  2. You hit the nail right on the head (embrace my cliche usage) boredom will definitely make me put a book down and most likely never pick it back up again. And this might be related I am not sure but characters I don't care about will make me drop a book too, I don't have to like them, I've loved stories where I've disliked every single character but I don't care about what is happening to the main character than I am not going to care about the story.

    1. Mhmm, I agree. I can read the book easily enough if I don't care about the characters, but the book won't rate very highly with me and will be easily forgotten. If the plot is interesting enough, it won't stop me reading though, it seems only boringness will do that. =P



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