Survey Question-Why do you put that book down?

I have a confession to make. I couldn’t get through more than half of Harry Potter 1 (and I haven’t read the rest of the series either, though I watched all the movies and loved them). I felt deeply let down by that book. Maybe one day I’ll try again.

What makes you drop a read, put a book down? Please share your thoughts – and also this survey.

Lit World Interviews

Here is the first of our LWI Survey Questions. Never a list, just the one. Yes, I know there are two but the second is clarifying the first. The results will be shared, minus names provided.

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15 thoughts on “Survey Question-Why do you put that book down?

  1. I popped over, mulled about it for a few minutes , then read some comments but ultimately I couldn’t put my reasons into ( adequate) words. Odd, I know, but a book either grabs me or it doesn’t.
    I guess it must be ( maybe) the ”voice” of the author?

    • I guess I owe them to go and plaster my opinion over their survey as well… :-/ For me it can be various things. HP disappointed me because it was too chatty, too rambling and not enough emotional depth in the main character. The story read like an old lady’s reminiscences over a cuppa tea. 😛 With Twilight I had a different reaction. I picked up the book in the shop to see what it was about, and ran into scene upon scene of sticky-sweet hormonal unrefined teenage emotional deluge. Badly written romance makes me gag, the only two things that are worse are 1) badly written sex scenes (cringe-worthy) and 2) too-realistic scenes of violence. I read “Ghost Girl” (Tory Hayden) in horrified fascination, could not put it down but wanted to, felt awful after finishing it.

      This sounds as though I’m a real book snob (you remember I also find Stephenson too long-winded) and maybe I am, but there are tons of good books I really enjoy. For instance I loved the off-the-wall “Kafka on the Shore”, a totally alternative world view – couldn’t put that down either. It feels unfinished, yet somehow so balanced that it doesn’t need anything more – true Japanese art. And then there’s the little novel “Firebird”, by Susan Gates, YA distopian science fiction, I don’t have time to read much these days but that novel is worth every minute. Those are just a few examples. There are lots of books that I don’t put down. But longwindedness breaks a story for me.

  2. Somewhat like books, the survey didn’t grab me. Maybe it’s the focus on the negative.

    I read one Potter, something Prince, and thought it was terrible. Talk about needing editing. Def rambling. I thought Twilight was good for what it was, I mean it is aimed at hormonal teenagers. The last book in the series was terrible. The real issues around Twilight aren’t so much about vamps and werewolves but the subliminal messages it gives out, eg the stalker syndrome being the prime one.

    Kafka on the Shore was excellent. Extremely well written, thoughtful, original, interesting, and a totally good read. I’d forgotten I’d read that. Must go give it five stars on goodreads!

    • Yes, do so! 🙂

      You’re right about Twilight, and I listened in on many discussions about the series by people who actually read it or watched the whole movies (I only spot-watched the first one, during my oldest’s 13th birthday party, the teens were watching and I was making food, but even the movie struck me as rather grey and depressive). Funnily enough I remember starting a vampire fiction when I was about 17, about exactly that – the knock-dead-handsome vampire stalking the young girl, the story was also oozing hormones but I dropped it after 3 chapters because I can’t write romance.

    • Not seen the film. Doesn’t look very exciting. I think romance is difficult. There’s really only one plot, it’s just how you vary it that makes something a tiny bit different. And romance seems to result in some of the worst books ever.

    • … and you’re right, the focus was on the negative, basically authors asking for crit; I still think it’s very useful to know, for writers. I see it as part of a bigger picture, the next survey would logically be, “and what specifically do you like most in books you read? What are you looking for?”

    • I agree that constructive criticism is helpful. I think he could make a nice series out of it with a little imagination. Eg, ‘what makes you write a two, or even one star review?’ Although then there would be all the ‘I only write good reviews’ types coming out of the woodwork. Similarly, ‘what makes you write a four or five star review?’ etc. Maybe we should have thought of it first 😀

    • I agree!! 😀 There are reviewers that go into quite a bit of detail how they allocate their stars – Silver being one of them.

      It’s still a great idea for a blog post series.

    • Do you want to kick it off or shall I think about it? I know another couple of authors who set clear criteria for 1–5 stars, so it might be worth a post or two.
      I don’t go into loads of detail, but I do have criteria in my head. But going back to Ark’s comment, I do review objectively, so can say, good book, well written, not my taste but still give four stars or occasionally five.

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