Every Friday, Jennifer from Crazy For Books sets up the Book Blogger Hop. It’s “a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!”
This week’s question is: “What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?“
Although it differs from book to book, what usually keeps me engaged ends up being primarily about characters, the writing style, and the tone of whatever I’m reading. Fascinating worlds or creative concepts make me happy and can certain add dimension to what I read, but really that isn’t likely to be enough for me if the character who acts as narrator and tour guide is lackluster, shallow without some purpose behind that, flat, or overly hostile. So the best books, for me, have a great main character or set of main characters, a cool world, awesome writing, and a solid plot.
The most basic reason I have for abandoning a book I’m reading is whether I’m having a good time or not because for me reading of any kind needs to be a rewarding and entertaining experience. A “good time” encompasses a lot of moods, of course. Some weeks having a good time means reading about a griffin or a con artist or a fairy. Sometimes it’s reading a book that makes me cry or laugh or think or all three. And so on and so forth.
I think my willingness to stick with a book is also affected by how much I care about whatever is at stake. That doesn’t mean every book I read has to be a profoundly epic saga or about some perilous quest, but that what happens and who it happens to has to matter to me as a reader. I also find that I am quick to abandon books that come across as artificial and disingenuous. Some authors spin a more complicated yarn than others and I don’t mind clever if there’s a point to it, but I do mind books that rely too much on window-dressing, gimmicks, winks, nudges, and seeming cool/clever while being as hollow as a chocolate Easter bunny. Like Conrad Birdie sang, you gotta be honestly sincere.
What works or doesn’t work for you when it comes to the books you’re reading? Feel free to link me to your post in a comment, and I’ll check it out!