When to Drop a Bad Book
I have trouble quitting. I always have, always will and I’m glad I do. But that makes it hard to discard even the worst books before I flip the last page. I’m currently about halfway through a SciFy novel by an unknown author and I simply am not enjoying it. The plot is engaging but I’m not excited to sit down with the book. Every time I pick it up, I think, Okay, let’s get through this so I can read something else.
Life is short and there are millions of books I will never get the chance to read in my lifetime, so why am I still reading this weak SciFy novel?
I’m hesitant to put it down because I know there is something I can learn from it. Besides the fact that the book is way more detailed than I prefer, I can’t put my finger on a good reason for my dislike for the book. I keep going down the list of things I typically pick on in fiction: weak and inconsistent characters, too quick and convenient of a plot, bad writing, ect. Although the writing is not excellent, it is better some YA novels I’ve read lately. The author lays everything out a bit too cleanly (often more wordy than necessary) but the plot keeps moving forward at a good pace. The characters are round and unique but they’re not capturing my attention. The SciFi aspects are strange and working well with the story but the world as a whole doesn’t make sense to me.
I read for two reasons: 1) because I enjoy it and 2) because I want to absorb as much as possible to improve my own writing. If I toss this book aside, I won’t learn what not to do in my own writing.
So I guess the answer for when to put down a bad book, is once I’ve learned something from it.
How quickly do you toss a book out that is not capturing your attention?
Have you come across this dilemma lately? What did you do?