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Goodreads recently posted a list of the books its members most often set aside without finishing and the reasons why. The results were interesting. You can read them here.

Not surprisingly, the reasons people stopped reading boiled down to bad writing. But it was more than that. Only a few people were bothered by “ridiculous” plot or “immoral” content, but a whopping forty-six percent said the book was slow or boring. Nineteen percent blamed weak writing. So apparently readers are willing to overlook a LOT, if the writing is good.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I wonder what it is…

I don’t remember ever not finishing a book. There’ve been many I’ve been disappointed in, but I always power through to see how it ends (as do twenty-five percent of Goodreads respondents). Likewise, I’ve never walked out of a movie, though I’ve been tempted. (Looking at you, Battlefield Earth). One time I did turn off a rented video half way through. It was Diabolique with Sharon Stone. It was stupid.

Sorry, Sharon.

No, I’m not.

It was awful.

Anyway, there is usually something I can find in a creative work – book, film, TV, fortune cookie fortune – to keep me involved. A character I like. A good story. Cool special effects. Nice crunch. Whatever.

But I know a lot of you aren’t like that. What makes you guys bail on a story? Comment in this space and I’ll read all of them. Unless I get bored.


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  1. Commenting late, but better than never. I have stopped reading a book only a few times. The most recent was Stephen King’s “Under the Dome”. Painfully slow didn’t begin to describe the pace. It’s pretty rare for me to quit a book, but in that case, I just couldn’t hang.

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