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To Keep Reading or Not To Keep Reading?

Sometimes I feel bad about starting a book and then not finishing it. I don’t do this often, but here’s one reason why the book goes back on the bookshelf.

Last week, I blogged about Likeable Characters and why an unlikeable character might make me put the book aside.

Then I started reading a book, which I won’t name, and tossed it aside after three chapters. I picked it up again and examined it. The first three chapters were all telling and a bit of back story put in.

I couldn’t connect with the character. I felt no desire to find out what happened to them. It’s not that I didn’t like the character, it was the writing was too distant for my taste.

Too much telling and not enough showing puts distance between the reader and the character. Too much distances lessens the connection and give the reader on reason to keep reading. As usual, just my opinion.

What makes you put a book down?

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About Kristina Stanley

www.KristinaStanley.net

11 responses »

  1. Hi Kristina
    Funny that you chose this topic as I wrote on it a few weeks ago and got lots of feedback both on my post and on my LinkedIn groups. The replies were as varied as the types of books people stopped reading. Here is the link, if you’d like another look. http://elainecougler.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/when-to-stop-reading/

    Reply
    • Elaine, thanks for the link. I guess we all think about similar things when reading and we are all demanding readers. Let’s face it, we only have so much time in a day and to spend it reading something that’s not great is a waste of time. It is interesting to see why people stop reading.

      Reply
  2. I’m stubbornly plugging away at a book that should be very moving, but isn’t, for exactly the reasons you mention: too much telling and not enough showing. I don’t even feel enough for the 2 main characters to like or dislike them. I feel too distant, almost like I’m reading a news story. I usually feel compelled to finish anything I start, but this definitely is not one of those books I can hardly wait to pick up again and keep reading.

    Many years ago, I put down The Fountainhead without finishing it. It was so long ago I don’t recall the characters that clearly, but I do remember thinking Ayn Rand hates people and feeling very annoyed with her.

    Reply
    • Jan, Funny how a book can make you annoyed. That’s not the emotion I’m looking for when I pick up something to read. I get annoyed when a character acts out of character. They do something stupid just to get the plot moving. Again, that’s when I tops the book aside.

      Reply
  3. Thanks for the post. I’m writing a novel now & anything I can learn from readers is helpful. From the comments I’ve gained an appreciation of what readers look for when immersing themselves in a book…

    Reply
  4. Amen! Telling keeps you completely distant. You cannot engage with the character do you don’t connect. I don’t have time to read about characters that I don’t care about.

    Reply

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