So this week I felt compelled to stop reading a book.
“Who cares?” you may be asking. Well, I care. I hate when it happens, and not just because I know how much effort goes into the process of creating a finished product. In this case we’re talking about a multi-author short story collection with some “big small press” names attached, and I was really looking forward to reading it. Plus, I spent money on it.
It’s been in my “to read” queue for a while and I finally decided it was time. According to my kindle, I made it to 32% before quitting. Half of that time was slow and painful (it took me a few weeks just to get that far!). So why did I stop?
Was it poorly written? Not at all, this is a collection of fine authors, some of whose work I’ve read and enjoyed in the past.
Was it poorly edited? Sloppily put together? Nope. It was published by a reputable (and at the time fairly well-known) small press…that’s no longer in business for some odd reason….
So why did I stop? It crossed my number 1 red line: —————– It’s boring.
I’ve read bad stories that were still entertaining in their own way. I’ve read books where the editing wasn’t great (although it’s a HUGE turnoff for me), because a good enough story can shine through a sloppy presentation. I’ve read stories that made little to no sense but still loved because they were a fun read (I’m looking at you, Bizarro writers!). But one thing I just can’t stand is a boring story.
Books are entertainment. Sleep is not. I pay for books because they entertain me. I don’t pay for sleep because I don’t want to sleep (it takes away from fun time). If I find myself bored to sleep by the very thing that’s supposed to stimulate my mind and make me want to read more, well…that’s the very definition of THIS BOOK SUCKS as far as I’m concerned.
Did I really write this entire post just to complain about a boring book? No. I did it as a caution to writers the world over. Even your perfectly plotted and immaculately edited word-child can fail miserably if you don’t add the one thing that draws in a reader – excitement. Sure, there are exceptions (someone has to read boring-ass literary fiction, am I right?), but as far as this reader goes, bore me and I’ll stop reading.
And do you think I’ll ever be back? With all the incredible books still to be read, you think I’ll take another chance?
Yeah. Hold your breath for that….