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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Giving Up on a Book Series

Now before I begin, I'm not going to name any book series in this post. Call it bad karma or whatever, but I don't want to trash any author or the books he/she wrote. No matter how much you may dislike someone's books, that person put in a lot of time and effort to write them, and I think they deserve to be respected for that because writing a book is NOT easy.

Aside from that, it's perfectly fine to not like everything you read. Everyone has certain tastes in the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and how they spend their time. Reading choices fall in there. Not everyone is going to like what I like to read, just like I know not everyone is going to like what I write.

I've read a lot of books over the years. Some books I've loved enough to read several times (Hunger Games anyone?). But I've come across a few that I struggled to finish. There are two fairly recent book series in which I liked the first book, but then I could barely get through the second one. I have no desire to read any more books in those series. Also, I've read two books that were the beginning of a series. They're both bestsellers, but I didn't like them. One I managed to finish, the other I gave up on halfway through it. 

There were several reasons I gave up on those series. For the ones in which I read the first book but didn't like the second, I found the characters had evolved in a way that really irritated me. I actually got to the point where I wanted the bad guys to win. For the other two books (the ones I didn't make past book one in the series), I just couldn't connect with the characters or the writing styles. One was really beautifully written, but I was bored while reading it. And the other, well I was shocked to find it was a New York Times bestseller. I couldn't figure out exactly why I didn't like it when I read it (this was a few years ago, before I started writing), but I read a review of that same book today that expressed exactly what was wrong with it. Basically, the main character is a Mary Sue and she bugged the hell out of me, and the whole plot was full of cliches.

So have you ever given up on a book or a book series? If so, what made you quit reading them? 

21 comments:

  1. Hey Melissa!
    I was about to give up Matched by Allie Condie (I'm citing names! She has enough fans to go on without one here), but I hate not to finish a book. I think I only gave up of two books in my whole life lol
    I thought Matched was up for being the third, but I pushed it through and finished, but I didn't really like it.
    Cheers,

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  2. Juliana - I'm like you, I usually push on even if I don't connect with a book, but I will stop if it's too boring or I absolutely hate it. I've stopped reading two books in the past year (one I mentioned in the post and another stand-alone book). If I pay for a book, I want to read it, lol!

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  3. I give up on lots and lots of books every year. I probably give up on more than I read. There are so many books on my TBR pile, that I'll move on within a few chapters if I'm not interested.

    But if I get past the first hundred pages, then I'm in for the long haul--no matter what happens.

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  4. Heidi - Lol, I know about the huge TBR pile. I just try to push through and read because I usually have to buy my books. The local library doesn't have a good YA section:(

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  5. I've only ever given up on three book. Two of them were overly descriptive and I hate that. I want the story, not the flowery language that makes up word count. The other one I dropped because the two main characters bored me. This saddened me because it was one of those debut NYT novels. Maybe I expected too much from it.

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  6. I know what you mean about giving up on a series. There's been a few where I haven't continued on, mostly because I didn't connect to the characters, so I didn't care what happened to them.

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  7. I'll read the first in a series just so I know how to pitch it to my kids (YA librarian). But if it's not getting me right *there* I won't keep going. There's too many books out there to read something you don't love.

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  8. Jani - I agree about the flowery language. I can tolerate it if the story is really good, but otherwise I stay away from those.

    Patti - Exactly! I want to love the story itself and the characters.

    Mindy - Oh wow, I didn't realize you're a YA librarian. Such a cool job! You're absolutely right, too many books out there to read stuff that's not for you.

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  9. My library doesn't have a very good YA section either. :( I end up reserving books and waiting weeks for the library to have them in.

    Once I get about 50 pages in, I pretty much just have to finish the book, unless it's absolutely boring me to death. (I have a book that's on the verge of that right now.)

    I've read a lot of NYT bestsellers lately that either annoyed me or I almost couldn't finish. A lot of them just had such stellar marketing that they were pretty much guaranteed to be bestsellers.

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  10. I have never hear the term "Mary Sue" till now, but I know exactly what you mean!

    More than a few years ago, I found a SciFi series I absolutely loved, even 4 or 5 books in. But by the 6th book (I forget how many total it was supposed to have... 8 maybe?) The good guys had become so good that they could do absolutely no wrong, and the bad guys' motivation was simply "We're all evil and this is what evil people do!"
    I couldn't go on. I do sometimes wonder how the series wrapped up, but I suspect it was simply a long, convoluted means for the goodies to rule the world and the baddies be forever condemned.

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  11. Francesca - Most of the YA books at my library are several years old. I'm a sucker for the current stuff;) I agree about a lot of NYT bestsellers not being all that great lately. While I have read some that I was really impressed with, quite a few didn't live up to all the hype (at least for me).

    AmyBeth - I didn't know what a Mary Sue was until about a year ago when someone blogged about it. After that I realized why some characters bugged me so much.

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  12. I try to push through, but if it doesn't capture me I put it down.

    There are a few books I started reading last year, and they are still on the shelf.

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  13. I think it's really important for people to remember that there are thousands of different styles of books for a reason. And you're totally right, not everyone is going to like the same thing.

    There are some books I LOVED and nobody else could even get halfway through, and there are books I hated that were bestsellers. It's the way of the world.

    Great post. :-)

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  14. Ladonna - I try to push through, too. It's the ones that I don't connect to that takes soooo long to read. Now ones I like right away, I can finish in a few days.

    Megan - Thank you:) You're so right - everyone is going to like different things. What's wonderful to me could be awful to someone else.

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  15. I hate when that happens!
    Its happened to me quite a few times. Sometimes the second book just takes too long to come out I loose interest. Xoxo

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  16. xoxo - Ah, I agree about the second book taking too long to come out. I'm okay with a year between books, but the ones that take more than that, no thanks. I'll usually forget about them.

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  17. Melissa--Does your library have a form to recommend books? I recommend new YA books to the library all the time, and they usually purchase them.

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  18. Heidi - I'm not sure if they have a form like that. It's a small town library, so they don't have a huge budget. Most of the new purchases go to adult books or picture books.

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  19. There are few things that will make me put down a book, mostly because I speed-read so I'm willing to give a book three hours to impress me and I can usually finish it or get close in that time period. (Unless it's unusually long, or I'm unusually bored.)

    But I'll only continue with a series if I really love a book. There are so many books out there I want to read, and if I'm not completely in love with a book, I'd rather try something new.

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  20. Shallee - Wow, I am jealous of your speed-reading abilities! I could get through my TBR pile in no time if I could read that fast! And I agree with you about having to really love a book. Too many books out there to waste time on something you don't really like.

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  21. Whoa, I love how respectful you are about the whole "book you didn't like" thing, refusing to bash the author and stuff. It's refreshing!

    I used to freak out about not finishing books, but now my TBR pile is SO huge that I feel less guilty putting stuff down. I probably only force myself to finish something if I paid for it. If it's borrowed or a library book, I give up halfway through if my attention hasn't been held.

    And you're exactly right--different people, different books. No one book will excite or interest everyone!

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