Saturday, 9 August 2014

To Finish a Book or Not?

Yesterday, I came across a post on Live to Write – Write to Live titled Friday Fun - What Makes you Abandon a Book?  A few writers have contributed to the post and I found it interesting reading.

Jamie Wallace mentioned guilt and this is something I feel big time when I really cannot get into a book and have internal conflict over whether I should abandon the book or carry on.  Another issue I have on this theme is reading stamina and I went through a phase where I would suffer a book because I believed it showed lack of attention or stamina in my reading. Thankfully, I have got past this.  I know I have reading stamina from the amount of books I read.

Lisa L Jackson mentions grammar and spelling mistakes.  Yes, I find them annoying particularly if a book has not been proof read properly but in most cases it is usually minor and I will put up with it, particularly in a review read.  However, I will mention the errors in my review.

This post hit a note with me as I have just been reading two books which I have not enjoyed.  I did finish the first of these as I hoped that it would improve.  Sadly, it did not!  I felt disappointed because I had read another by this author and enjoyed it rating it 4*.  The latter which I decided to finally abandon this morning because it is downright boring and I have read something very similar before.  Yet, this is a well known author who obviously has a decent following.  I felt sure I had read her books before and checked my list to find this is the third read but guess what?  I had marked the other two as awful and ok - a mere 1* and 2*.  Thereby hangs the tale!  No surprise there and I have just checked to make sure I have no more from this author lurking on my shelves or on my wishlist.  I had asked myself if these books were merely ordinary after the two I took on holiday and very much enjoyed but I don't think so.  At the end of the day they just were not my cup of tea.

All this pondering made me decide to add an extra column to my spreadsheet on my 'Read Already' list.  Yes, I have one of those!  Being an avid reader and book reviewer it is imperative I keep a list to cut down on duplication.  This additional column shows the genre.  I have been able to work out which is my least favourite genre and any authors.  It was quite an interesting analysis.

It appears that it is ChickLit that is the genre causing me the most problems in finding a good book or in keeping my interest.  I say this with some regret because I am very fond of two chick-lit authors in particular - Lynda Renham and Carole E Wyer, but there are a couple of authors whose books line shelves in the main bookshops that I just cannot read.  I won't mention names but they have been removed from my TBR and wishlists.

Contemporary Fiction came in second but that is such a wide genre and there were not any specific authors who stood out on that one.

Third place goes to Fantasy and again this is hit and miss, it really depends on the writing and storyline.

Classics I am ashamed to say there are some.

Autobiography and Mystery come in next.  Some people are more interesting than others and in the latter genre it has got to be gripping.

Of course I read other genres and there are some in the 1* and 2* categories there.  What keeps me going is a good storyline and really interesting characters that I can believe in even if I don't actually like them.  Good writing, good grammar and a book that has been thoroughly proof read so I don't have to stumble over typographical errors.  It can be long or short but keep me interested, reel me in from the start I want to be caught in the net and do not disappoint me at the end, I like a good finish.  I'm not so fussed when left with an ending that wants to please everyone.  I love a page turner but I want to feel sad that the story has ended.

Unfinished books are obviously a cause for concern with many readers and reviewers but at the end of the day I don't believe we should feel guilty.  I read for pleasure and I review as much for pleasure as for helping an author get their book out there.  I am accepting very few reviews (if any) at the moment because I want to read the books on my shelves.  I found I accepted so many that I did not have time to read for me and the reviewing became a chore.  My blog is something I have enjoyed and want to continue to do so without guilt so if a book doesn't cut it for me then that's it.  It gets the chop, metaphorically speaking, I don't have the time to waste on bad books.

I would be really interested to hear your views on this subject.  Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments box.  It would be fun to get a discussion going.



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