52 Book Challenge: When It’s Time To Give Up On A Book

3 May

I try to push myself to read books that I do not necessarily like. I feel like there is a lesson inside almost every book: sometimes I end up really enjoying ones that started off rather boring (like The Winner’s Curse), and even terrible books hold a lesson inside of them for a budding writer. However, sometimes I just can’t bear to go past a certain point. Because I read almost all my books on Kindle, I have decided if that by the time I am 20% in and I really, REALLY hate it, I can give up. While I hate quitting, there are two novels so far in 2014 that have gotten the axe.

Doing Harm

This book has a blurb from Stephen King on it, so you should know right away it’s awful. It’s like an inside joke: if King writes a one-sentence blurb promoting it the book is HORRIBLE. If he writes an introduction or blogs/Tweets about it, it’s awesome. Doing Harm is clearly the former. Let’s just break down the issues I encountered 15% of the way into this monster.

First of all this is a medical thriller so I don’t know why I downloaded it. Did I think it was a different book? Possibly. It’s about a doctor (obviously), and the first 10% of the book is literally dedicated to how much he loves his wife and his family. His wife is the best, he can’t imagine not being a father, blah blah blah. There’s even a paragraph about his wife’s looks: though others do not see her as pretty or even mildly attractive, he truly, truly (this is very hammered in) sees her as beautiful because he just loves every gosh darn thing about her.

At about 13% he meets a cute (but not stunningly beautiful–the author goes WAY out of his way to make his characters’ looks “down to earth”) intern, and literally 5 pages later is considering having an affair with her. WHAT THE EVERLIVING FUCK? I can’t. Continuity, character development, where did you go?

That issue aside, the writing is SO BORING. I didn’t care about anything happening. The characters were flat and one-dimensional, the main character was clearly a Mary (Mark?) Sue for the author, the females were horrible stereotypes. And there’s a killer later on blackmailing the mc-guess who it is?! Omg it’s crazy intern he’s fucking SHOCK AND SURPRISE. I guessed this the second she was introduced because this author is ham-handed as fuck when it comes to foreshadowing and also he causes me to curse a lot.

Influx

I think I picked this up going “OH SCIFI look a cool tower on the front let’s read it.” It actually has a really cool concept: what if all that awesome technology in scifi books already existed, but some government society was keeping it under wraps?

However, I read 7% of this book and did not retain a single word. Directly after reading a page I couldn’t tell you a single character’s name or the plot for the life of me. This book is like a poofy cloud: totally insubstantial. I was reading it, but it might have been gibberish for all my brain cared. Not that it was a difficult read: it’s stuffed full of techno-babble to make the author seem smart and sophisticated but it’s easy enough to digest. I just didn’t care at all. Truly, it was terrible. And I gave up after 30 minutes. Considering some of the crap I’ve read this year it’s a true testament to what a monstrosity Influx is.

I gave up on Doing Harm in mid-April and Influx back in February (but didn’t remember I’d even started it until I began writing this post… clearly it left a big mark on me), which I think is pretty good. One lost book every two months, I wonder what others I will toss in the trash before 2014 comes to a close?

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