I have friends who have a Did Not Finish shelf in their Goodreads account. I personally just delete books I did not finish from my account. As an aspiring author, I know how much work goes into writing a book. And I avoid giving up on books as much as I can, but I do have some deal breakers. I’ve listed these down for you.
#5 Not My Thing
I try to read stories from different genres. My favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. One of the first books I’ve ever bailed on was The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Batelle. I get ambitious sometimes and think that because I am a web developer I should read books about the industry I am in. It doesn’t usually work for me.
As you’ve probably already guessed from the title of my blog, I read to escape the doldrums of everyday life not to immure myself further in it. Unless it’s a reading assignment from a course I’m currently enrolled in, I usually stay away from biographies, business books and self-help material.
#4 Confusing Concepts
Because of the genres I like reading, I’m introduced to mind-boggling concepts all the time. And there are concepts that are just too confusing. I generally stay away from hard-core science fiction. I would not enjoy a book that dissected every part of a space ship and explained how each part worked. A layman’s explanation of the science, think John Scalzi’s novels, is more my style.
And there are also concepts that are too far out there that don’t intrigue me at all like an across-the-universe singing competition. I have seen episodes of The Voice – and I do get the basic premise. The show doesn’t justify needing an intergalactic scope and audience in my point of view.
#3 Bad Language
I have friends who will argue that the story needs it for authenticity. And maybe they are right, but to me it is a matter of preference. I prefer stories that do not pepper every spoken word with curse words. I would rather read books that I could lend my nephews and nieces without needing to take a black marker to censor every line of dialogue because of all the cursing.
#2 Narrator Issues
It’s an audio book, I will spend the next 10-25 hours of my life listening to its narrator. If I can’t understand what the narrator is saying then it’s no use listening to the book. If the audio skips or is corrupted, it affects my enjoyment of the audio book.
There are many ways of writing a scene. Vulgarity and writing a gritty tale based on reality are two different things. I prefer not to skip over significant portions of a book because of its vulgar content – if this is needed, I’d rather not finish the book.
Writing a novel is an admirable feat. It takes hours of dedication and mind-numbing revisions. I appreciate the author’s hard work and would love to enjoy a story from start to finish. But there are times when I fail to do so. It’s not the author’s fault. It’s a matter of preference. The body of work just doesn’t take me away on the pleasurable escape I want.
I know that authors wonder why readers bail on their work without finishing it. And I don’t claim to represent all readers, but I thought I might provide some insight into my own reasons.