I’ve had an interesting conversation with a friend about books. No surprise there. The fascinating thing was that instead of asking me what I liked in books, she asked me what I don’t like. I’d never thought about it from this angle and it was really different to look at this subject backwards. This is how I feel about the personal choices I make on my own time. So, here’s the 5 things that make me, a reader, not like a book.
1. Unlikeable characters
I really need to like my hero and heroine. If the hero is flawed, he has to be redeemable. I recently started a book where the hero and heroine both displayed bullying tactics. Definite turn off. As a reader, I couldn’t finish the book. I didn’t want to waste my time even to find out if they were redeemed because bullying is something I can’t tolerate. The heroine can’t be “too stupid to live.” The old going into an abandoned building when everyone told you not to doesn’t fly anymore. I find it hard to cheer for an idiot posing as a heroine.
2. The Cover
I know this is harsh and it’s not the author’s fault, but many times I peruse the internet and bookstores looking for new and interesting books and if the cover doesn’t interest me, I don’t even bother picking it up or reading the blurb. This is the reader in me. If the cover looks cheap or cheesy, my mind is telling me the writing may be also. This doesn’t mean it is, but it is a perception thing. I see this especially in self published books. Writers really need to be aware that the cover is the first look many readers will have of their book and we all use first impressions to guide us.
3. Breaking the Rules
It drives me crazy when people do or say things out of character. The author puts the readers in a world and lets us know the rules, then breaks them. It’s something that has me scratching my head and makes me go back to reread things to see if I understood them wrong. When I find that I’m right, it frustrates me no end and I’m not happy with the book or the author.
4. Bad Things Happen to Kids
I realize that bad things happen to kids in real life, but I don’t want to read about them in my books. Sometimes I can take it, if it’s not graphic and the book has come highly recommended. The interesting thing is that I have no problems with adults being tortured, just not kids or animals. Maybe I need to talk to someone about this.
5. I Don’t Like the Author
Another not really fair thing, but it’s my right as a reader whether I want to spend my valuable time reading a book that was written by someone I’ve seen act appallingly to readers. We’ve all seen the backlash of movie stars who have done something publicly and what happens to their careers. With the speed of internet, things are spread about authors too. They are in the public’s eye more than ever and they should remember it. I’m sad to say there are a few authors who totally turned me off after meeting them. There is absolutely no need to be rude…ever.
This is an extremely personal blog of my own reasons to dislike a book. I would never post anything bad about anyone’s book because that is not fair, but I’m more than happy to share what I like. If everyone looks inside themselves, I’m sure they have reasons not to read a certain book.
What turns you off to a book? Do you find the need to finish a book you started if you don’t like it?
Bottom Line: “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” ~ Jackie Robinson