2.23.2011

Throwing in the Towel: Reading

Reading / writing relevant but short post today darling ones because I had oodles of fun in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend. As someone said at some point this weekend, we went BIG but maybe too big?

In any case, my brain's ability to produce coherent thoughts in the evening is severely limited. You can ask Alz. We've been trying to work on the New Project and I'm only useful for shouting out random things like "LET'S NAME HIM BOB!" and  "THEN HE GETS PUNCHED IN THE FACE!". Yeah, I'm possibly in the running for worst writing partner ever.

Anyway, I've been trying to get through my last batch of library books. I've decided, you see, that I should read more of the books I own, so I stopped myself from adding more titles to my library queue. (It is very hard, friends.)

One of the books I started has an interesting premise - a mix of fantasy, history, and time-travel fun all packaged in a quick YA read.

The problem is I don't know if I should continue.

Now, don't get me wrong. It isn't terrible or anything. The writing style is not disagreeable, and the characters don't make me want to claw the type out of the book. I already mentioned that the premise is interesting, and there are plot-related things happening.

BUT it's weird.

I suspect it has something to do with the way certain events are paced. For example, the back-cover blurb, prologue, and main plot line all point to this high stakes fantasy adventure, where people with supernatural powers are trying to either protect the normal/present world or send it spiraling into chaos. You have the regular world existing alongside this unseen supernatural one. All good stuff.

However, the 2 main characters are teens with "regular" lives on top of their supernatural ones. So they also have normal teen problems - school, crushes, friendships, family issues. That's all great, and it's something I expect for really good, realistic character development.

BUT... (always the 'but'), the interweaving of the two worlds, in terms of the protagonists' conflicts and character arcs, is done in a strange way. For me, it just feels uneven and is therefore jarring.

Now, I'm one of those stubborn people who HAS TO FINISH what I start reading, but there is a point of no return, so to speak. If it's early enough in the book, I can stop and not feel compelled to finish. If I get further than a certain point, say past the first 80 pages, then I usually feel like I have to finish.

What about you? Would you finish this book in this situation? What is your point of no return? Or are you totally okay with stopping partway in if the story hasn't grabbed you?

11 comments:

Tere Kirkland said...

I did start a book like that, and I cared more about the paranormal stuff than the personal stuff, the way the author presented things. So the more emphasis on the personal relationships just felt trite at that point, when I thought everyone was supposed to be saving the world.

Didn't finish it. It was on my Nook, so I didn't throw it against the wall, but I wanted to.

Connie said...

I'm a book finisher too. But I'd say that if you're having second thoughts this early in the reading, it might be time to move on. So many good books, so little time

Emy Shin said...

I'm a terrible reader and put books down more often than I do finish them. If a book fails to capture me within the first 50 pages, I don't often read on unless it has a great premise that hasn't appeared yet.

Melissa said...

Since I started my 110 book challenge, I'm a finished. BUt, if I wasn't trying to read a certain amount of books in a year... I would totally put more books down. If they aren't cutting it, they aren't. Don't torture yourself.

Lydia K said...

If the premise of a story is good but I don't like the writing, I'll skim just to find out the "a-ha" moments at the end and the plot twists.

Sophia the Writer said...

I used to have this thing where I HAD to finish a book, no matter how awful. But lately I don't have the time to do that anymore.

Dude. Don't tell me you're in the SGV? The Santa Anita Borders is MY Borders too! Were you there that rainy weekend for the 40% coupon? Line out the door of Asians and their moms.

Doh, sorry about Cal haunts. I'm telling you, it's all gonna be Starbucks and Aryancrombies from here on out.

Angela Felsted said...

I'd finish it, but then. This book sounds exactly like the one I just wrote. Which makes me wonder and worry about my own pacing, interweaving issues.

Rachele Alpine said...

Your book sounds interesting, but I know the feeling of trying to decide whether to finish a book or not. I would say my point of stopping is when I no longer feels the excitement of writing. You have to be motivated and look forward to sitting down with your story. If I don't feel that way, I know that I shouldn't be working on this project.

Elena Solodow said...

I rarely give up on a book. Just makes me itchy. I remember I was just about to give up on Evernight when this huge twist came in and I fell in love - so that just goes to show...you never know what's gonna happen.

David de Beer said...

there was a time when I believed in finishing every book
I start and would drudge and battle all the way, although even then
I didn't always finish.
Now I give it 30 or so pages. Less, obviously, if it's totally not my thing, but the ho-hum it's okay but not great get about 30-60 pages. if by that time I find I'm bored and my attention wanders too much then it's sayanora. Life is too short, and there are way too many books to still read.

David de Beer said...

ghh, is there a way for you to set the blog so I can opt to receive email notifications of the comments before/ as I comment for the 1st time? otherwise I have to comment like twice, except the 2nd time is only to get the email notifications which...feels too commenty for my liking.