Jacquelyn Smith

Why do we stop reading?


Do you finish every book you start to read? I don’t.


Here’s the thing: Ideally, I would love to have the luxury of being able to finish every book I start reading, but there are too many books out there, and life is just too short. As I get older (and become a more discerning reader), I find I have less and less tolerance for forcing my way all the way through a book that can’t maintain my interest. If I invest hours plowing through a book that only disappoints me, I can’t get that time back.


So why do we stop reading? Here are a few things that make me put down a book:


I’m 100 pages in and nothing is happening.


Seriously. If the plot hasn’t moved forward at this point, I’m out. 100 pages of description, character development, etc. that involves no action feels like a self-indulgent waste of time to me. I usually get frustrated and end up watching some UFC or listening to angry music instead. 😛



It’s clear no one bothered to edit the book.


Even with professional editors and/or proofreaders, typos can happen to anyone. I find them all the time in books published by the big, traditional publishing companies, and pretty much everywhere else. A few of typos across the span of an entire novel is not an unusual occurrence.


What drives me nuts is when:


a) The mistakes go beyond mere typos and are major grammatical issues that interfere with my understanding/enjoyment of the plot.


b) The mistakes are frequent. I can’t get into the plot because I’m constantly distracted by errors.


When I find several issues in the first few pages, I’m not going to keep reading. If the author/publisher can’t be bothered to use spell/grammar check, I can’t be bothered to continue. If I have to read sentences multiple times to decipher them, I think that’s a waste of my time.



I can’t sympathize with any of the characters.


Not every character is going to be likeable. I get that. But if all of them make me feel like I want to punch them in the face, then I don’t really care what happens to them. The same goes for a bunch of boring characters. I want to be emotionally invested in the success or failure of at least one of the main characters. The last thing I want to feel is apathetic or annoyed. I’ve stopped reading many books for this reason.



What about you? Do you finish every book you start to read? What makes you stop reading?


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4 thoughts on “Why do we stop reading?

  1. Diandra

    These days most of my reading is done on the Kindle, and I often abandon books if they do not convince me within the first 25%. (I will give them this long unless they are really bad.)

  2. James Garcia Jr

    Hello, my dear Jacqui. How’s it going? Yeah, I have begun quitting books a bit more often than I ever would have before, for much the same reasons as you listed. Since I know so many Indies I really want to throw them some love by giving their works a shot, which opens myself up to trying something I normally might not have grabbed off the “shelf”. It’s probably the nature of the beast, huh?
    I hope things are well with you, my friend. Have a great week!


    1. Jacquelyn Post author

      Hi Jimmy!

      I’m a bit swamped with the day job and Christmas coming up… Hope all is well on your end. :)

      I know what you mean by giving indie books a shot that you might not otherwise read. I think being a writer (not to mention an indie writer) really affects our reading habits. I’m definitely not as forgiving a reader as I used to be!

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