Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

When do you stop reading?

Back in 2008 I wrote a four part series that dealt with when to stop reading a book that just wasn't working for you. Here are the four posts with a brief summary of each:

1. When To Stop Reading, Part 1: The Rules

There are systematic methods available for determining when one should stop reading a book. If a book hasn't grabbed me by page 100, for example, and there are other signs I'm not going to like where a book is going, I'll stop reading. Another one of those tests is the Page 99 test, which I talked about in the next post.

2. When To Stop Reading, Part 2: The Page 99 Test Put into Practice

The idea is what if page 99 of a book isn't gripping in some way then you should take a pass on the book. Personally, I've not always found this to be the case.

3. When To Stop Reading, Part 3: Short Stories

How do the rules apply to short stories?

4. When To Stop Listening, Part 4: Audiobooks

What about audiobooks?

There are other factors which come into play nowadays that maybe didn't apply as much back in 2008 when I wrote those posts.

One is the whole 'free' thing. Back in 2008, the indie movement, Amazon's Kindle, and eBooks in general hadn't taken off like they have today. 'Free' wasn't the marketing tactic it is today, either. Nowadays it's not unusual to have a Kindle full of free eBooks. I give these books much less consideration than I should and certainly less than something I paid $2.99 or more to purchase. Fact is, I give up on these books quite readily if they don't do something really quickly to keep my interest. It's no secret that I'm no longer a fan of freebies, so maybe I'm just biased in this regard.

The other factor which influences when I might choose to stop reading something is similar to free. That is low price. As in 99 cents or even up to $2.99. Anything $2.99 or less is really no big deal if I buy something I wind up not liking. I wouldn't want to do it too often—$2.99 a pop adds up after a while—but my time is worth more than such a small amount of money. This was not the case years ago. I'd finish something no matter the cost. But with age comes less patience, at least for me. It's part of that whole "I'm not getting any younger" mentality.

Then there's the usual factors which keep me from finishing something. You know, characters I can't identify with, storylines too cliché or already done to death, bad mechanics (spelling, grammar) on the part of the writer, or stories that explain, explain, explain. That last one really gets me sometimes. I'm reading Maelstrom by Taylor Anderson and while I really liked the first two novels in the series, this one is dragging with all of the repetition of what's come before. Too much telling and not enough stuff happening. I honestly don't know if I'm going to read the next book in the series if this one doesn't have a real good ending.

So what factors make you give up reading something?



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