Dosed

Quitter's Club: Don't be afraid to quit the book

58 posts in this topic

It's funny I find myself more likely to quit a good book if I'm not feeling it, because I am sure I'll come back to it in the future. But really awful books I will normally finish because A.) hate is stronger than indifference, and B.) I never got over as a child telling someone I didn't like a book I recommended only to be told that I had missed a crucial final chapter twist that would change my opinion (it didn't). So now I have this urge to finish trash so that I can really tear it up from all angles. 

Last book I quit: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr, which I feel kind of shitty about. I really like that era of sci-fi, but I think it was the audiobook production combined with the fact that ideas in the book have had so long to permeate into culture that it almost seems predictable. 

Last book I finished that I should have quite: The Dresden Files 1: Stormfront by Jim Butcher. I found it at a bus stop and new I hated it from the first chapter. But I read the whole thing, then threw it in a dumpster so that no one else would find it and have to read it. This is the first time I have ever knowingly thrown a book away. Hmm, reading the wiki it says he wrote the book essentially to prove to a teacher who bad genre fiction is when written without any care or love. So, I suppose I agree, but it's like those dumb jokes where the punchline is you getting hit in the arm. I get it, but I also hate you. 

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I think I'm quitting on a book and it's one of the first times in my life that I have done so (in fact the last time i remember abandoning a book was when i tried to read War & Peace when I was 15).  The book is Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh.  Looking at reviews of the book, I can see I'm not alone in disliking it - the protagonist is abhorrent and it is a highly uncomfortable read.  However unlike something like American Psycho or A Clockwork Orange, I didn't find the story at all compelling.  I'm just over halfway through the book and there is only a whisper of any kind of plot happening now, and at this point I hate the protagonist Eileen so much I don't care.  Eileen basically channels the most uncomfortable, self-loathing aspects of womanhood and amps them up.  She hates herself and everyone around her, especially other women, and that's definitely not my vibe.  If you are someone who has a history of eating disorders, sexual assault, family alcoholism or violence, I would definitely read up on this book before proceeding with it because it handles these subjects in a confronting manner.  There are some sexual parts of the book that made me pretty uncomfortable:  

Eileen is such a sexually repressed individual that when she talks about her desire for a co-worker she doesn't want to have sex with him, she wants him to rape her.  It's not even in a rape fantasy type way, it's just pretty horrible.  There is also a scene that made me feel really uncomfortable where she watches a 14 year old boy masturbating.  It was creepy as fuck, especially given that this adult character previously in the book remarks about her curious attraction to underage boys, justifying it as 'some of them are basically men'. 

 
I understand this book is designed to be uncomfortable; but it really just wasn't for me.  

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On 1/26/2017 at 3:08 AM, Treasure Goblin said:

I understand this book is designed to be uncomfortable; but it really just wasn't for me.  


Gah! Sounds awful, probably best to dodge that bullet!

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I've given up on The Tree of Man and The Luminaries recently. I used to have the self imposed rule of finishing everything, but The Luminaries is gigantic and I also don't have enough time in my life to not enjoy something I do for entertainment. 

 

The Luminaries seemed really pompous to me and felt like it was trying to be much cleverer than it really was. There was a murder mystery that I didn't give a fuck about right from the outset and that seemed to be the focus from the outset. So I gave up on it. 

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I've taken this beyond books and quit all sorts of media that doesn't do it for me. More often than not what "doesn't do it for me" means poor plotting, stupid or unredeemable main characters or just a bad overall writing. It's in part why I've stopped reviewing books. Then I felt like I had to finish something I really didn't want to read. Now I don't continue things I don't like because I've come to realize there are thousands of other things out there to read that are better and more worth my time and if I'm reading this crap then I'll never get to them. But that doesn't stop me from reading some truly atrocious stuff for the sheer indulgent pleasure of it.

 

As for the unredeemable main characters, I am fine with them but there has to be something about them to like. This isn't an example of a book, but it's the most recent one that comes to mind. I tried watching Girlboss on Netflix and the main character does nothing for anyone else. She may be entertaining and witty but that isn't enough to make me care. It's everyone else around her who's more rounded, and so I stopped watching after three episodes. Whereas I tried Feed the Beast and the chef main character is very similar in his attitude to that of the main character from Girlboss. But the simple fact that he stopped and made a meal for his partner's kid showed he cared for something beyond just himself.

 

Are there any books or other media you've experienced where characters are really similar but with a single act made one more reasonable and thus worth continuing with? 

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I don't often quit on books (although sometimes I read through very, very slowly), but some of the recent Star Wars canon books (specifically Aftermath and Lost Stars). I don't know if its the pacing, shoehorned romance, or what, but I just can't bring myself to go through these.

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Because there is a lot of really bad content out there because of the ease of publishing ebooks, and the tendency of author support groups to give wildly inflated reviews, I have learned, finally, to just stop. Beware the free Kindle books with five star reviews!

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Oh I have started and quit so many books. But one book that I am thankful for not quitting was The Alchemist. It was only about 180 pages but I just couldn't read it for a long time. I found it boring but somehow when I reached to the conclusion of the book, I ended up loving it!! 

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