I’m up to about three books this year that I just couldn't finish. Setting a book aside is a difficult thing for me because I’m a bit neurotic and I like to finish things that I start. It made me wonder what makes a book “unreadable”. Of course this is different for everyone—it depends on what you’re looking for when you pick up a book. For the most part, I’m looking for a fantastic plot with at least some sort of romantic thread woven through it. So what ruined the last few books for me?
Earlier in the year I picked up a promising werewolf book written by another indie author. It received great reviews and I was excited about reading it. After about four chapters, I couldn’t take it anymore. My promise of romance and adventure was full of typos. With every page there were missing commas and misspellings. The non-neurotic person wouldn’t be bothered by this, but I couldn’t bear to continue.
The next book I put aside was probably great but I couldn’t get past the first few pages. The author spent the entire first two pages describing what the main character looked like instead of diving into the plot. Of course it’s important to know what your main character looks like, but it’s better to cleverly weave this information into the story. To me the mistake was so huge; I lost faith in the rest of the story.
Only this past week I had big hopes for a time-traveling romance. The story started out great but then the author filled the pages with about a million references to war, actual war, and endless chatter about even more war. It felt like “filler” to me. The author returned to the relationship occasionally but it just wasn’t enough. I was bored.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s probably an infinite number of ways to screw up a good book. I’ve also decided that I should probably read books based on recommendations instead of back flaps. What makes a book “unreadable” to you?