When do you abandon a book? When do you decide that a book is just too terrible, or too boring, or too traumatic, or too whatever to finish?
For me, I abandon more books than I used to, since my reading time is at more of a premium. I usually wait until after the second chapter, because I have run into a few books with terrible first chapters that end up fantastic – you just have to grit your teeth. Generally though, a book has to be truly terrible for me to abandon it, not just mediocre.
Recently I was trying to read The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. This is a book that can properly be called a tome, all ten books of the series in one. Whew. I managed to struggle through the first five, but gave up mid-way through six. I tried it because I had had several customers tell me how much they enjoyed it. Despite tantalizing little flashes of good writing, the story drove me insane. The storyline was inconsistent, the writing style was inconsistent… anyways, not my cup of tea, for sure. It’s also an interesting example of how despite reviews, you have to make up your own mind, because what one person loves (and cites as their reason for reading the genre in the first place) another one can detest.
Another book I had to abandon recently was a graphic novel a customer published and brought in proudly to show me. From the descriptions he gave me, I was expecting a 50’s exploitation comic. What I got was Space Chick & Nympho: Vampire Warrior Party Girl Comix. I opened the plain brown envelope when I got home, and then immediately stuffed it in a cupboard so my children wouldn’t see it. Tony Murphy has a bit of a cult following, apparently – I’m just not going to be a cult member. He’s making films, too, the latest being Frankenpimp. He’s very happy. Interestingly, he’s even happy if I am shocked by his stuff and hide it in the closet, as long as he’s getting reactions and people are seeing his stuff.
There was another book I read recently where I couldn’t stand the main character – it was the casual racism. After a few of the character’s thoughts on her cab driver, I put the book down. That was Trouble Becomes Her, by Laura Van Wormer.
Goodreads put out an interesting infographic on abandoning books, when and why.
Ring any bells? What do you do?