by Kerry Schafer
I like to read. Big surprise, right? My tastes are eclectic, and I read and enjoy novels of nearly all styles and genres. There are, however, a few deal breakers that will make me set the novel down very gently (I would never, ever, throw a book that infuriates me across the room. Never.) Ahem.
Awkward or Lazy Writing.
I'm a poet at heart. My favorite books have words that flow and dance and have a rhythm. When they trip and stumble and bump and clunk, I'm not reading past the first page or two.
Amoral or Purposeless Characters
I will travel nearly anywhere through any kind of plot with a character I love. But I won't venture into even a really good plot with a character I hate. And I hate completely self centered, amoral characters with a passion. They don't have to be "good" - I love a good grey character, and even a passionate villain. So long as they believe in something, care about something, have some code of values they adhere to, we're okay. Let's take an example from TV - the sitcom Sunny in Philadelphia. I cannot and will not watch this show. There is not a single character with whom I can have empathy and all I want to do is line them up and slap them. Hard. I'm forced to endure some second hand TV watching of these types of characters, but nobody can make me read a novel.
Egregious Neglect of Reality
When authors don't do their research, I get annoyed. I can let little things go, unless there are too many of them and the accumulative effect ends with me gently setting the book down. (As I said before, I would never, ever throw a book due to outrage and disgust). Psychiatric illnesses or medical problems based on some bizarre stereotype with no connection to reality have been known to set me off. As does blatant disregard of common sense. There are several such passages in a novel I once read, written by a well known and bestselling author. I did finish reading that novel, mostly out of the sort of fascinated horror that makes people gawk at accidents.
In this bestselling novel, two of the characters are lost in a desert. They are half dead from the heat and lack of water and have reached the point where they can barely stagger along and can no longer speak because their throats are so parched. They find a cave with ancient paintings on the wall, and lo and behold they wander about exploring this cave for several pages, speaking in long sentences as they gaze with wonder and awe. Later on, they find the woman they are trying to rescue. She has been working in a slave camp for several weeks. During this time she has been starved, over worked, and not been permitted a shower. However, immediately after her rescue, prior to food, showers, and medical treatment, she and our intrepid hero engage in passionate love making. Um - just no.
So, that's about it for me. What about you? What makes you stop reading?
Graphic from Free Icons