An interesting post from GoodReads:
What Makes You Put Down A Book?
For me the list would be:
- Characters I’d never want to spend time with in real life. A protagonist who is whiny, self-pitying, arrogant, or just plain dull tends to lose me in the first chapter, unless there’s strong indication they’re going to be forced to change. This isn’t to say that I require all characters to be likable or good. Just interesting. Three-dimensional, engaging, with believable motives.
- Moronic plots with gaping holes. Nothing gets me to throw a book across the room faster than an “Oh, give me a break!” plot implausibility early in the novel. Plots that hinge on repeated coincidences fall into this category for me. So do plots that depend upon supposedly intelligent people leaping to conclusions and never checking their facts or comparing notes with one another.
- Lousy writing. Stilted/artificial dialogue probably tops the list for me in this category, with clunky or juvenile prose a close second. If the writing style makes me wince, or if it’s so painfully experimental in style that the story gets lost under the artifice of the structure, onto the Return/Recycle pile it goes.
- Glacial plots. Even in a character-driven literary novel, I prefer a plot that moves faster than your average snail. Even a comedy of manners or a formulaic romance needs conflict, rising tension, and a satisfying resolution. If I get a chapter or two into it and it’s still just people sitting around yapping, with no evidence of a plotline emerging, I’m outta there.
- Offensiveness. This one is tough to define because it’s so individual. I’m not that easy to offend, but I’ve got my hot buttons like everybody else. I might read a novel that features child abuse or torture, but if the writer seems to linger too long & lovingly on the details–fetishizing it–I’m likely to opt out. A supposed good-guy hero who ignores issues of sexual consent is another dealbreaker for me.
What has YOU closing a book and leaving it unfinished?