I love to read for pleasure. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was nine years old. My love of reading and books is a big reason why I wanted to write and to become author. And while I read now to keep abreast of my genres, and to support my fellow authors, those are secondary reasons. I still read for entertainment and enjoyment.
My motto is this: If you’re doing something for fun, but it’s not, why do it?
I normally read 60-70 books per year – a little over one per week. This year, I’ve challenged myself to read 100 books – almost two per week. So far, I’ve finished 73. I review most of them on Amazon and Goodreads. I run a list on my blog. And I make monthly update announcements on Facebook.
What I haven’t mentioned are the books I don’t finish. This year so far, 28 books have ended up in in my DNF file. Twenty-seven percent of the books I downloaded I did not want to finish reading. Some I read almost half way through. Others I literally exclaimed aloud, “Oh God, no!” and discarded after a few pages.
So why didn’t I finish them? I refer you to my motto. At the moment I realize I am not having fun and am not being entertained, I decide I do not want to spend any more of time on that book. There are too many others I want to read and too many authors I want to support to spend my time on something that doesn’t engage me.
So why don’t they engage me? Here are the top reasons in descending order of frequency:
- The story is boring, and I lose interest. Some books start off with a bang, but peter out or sag big time in the middle. There is not enough conflict and/or the stakes aren’t high enough. There are just not enough highs and lows. Or, the story feels “padded,” like the author kept adding stuff to make the book longer.
- I dislike one or both of the characters. Reading a book is like being invited as a guest into somebody’s home. If you don’t like the people, you don’t want to stay in their house! Heroes and heroines should have flaws, but they should not be fatal flaws that make them unlikable. And often, it’s not the flaw that makes them unlikable but the trait(s) that the author thinks is admirable or sexy. For example, while authors might intend their heroes to be aggressive, dominant leading men, sometimes they come across as immature or control-freak abusive assholes. Any woman with a modicum of self-esteem or common sense would (should) run like hell if she encountered one of these guys. Show me a hero who cares for the heroine. Conversely, sometimes the heroine is so spoiled/immature/irresponsible, I don’t like her either. She is not someone I would want to be around, and I can’t understand why the hero is attracted her. Sometimes the character development is so shallow or nonexistent, I never get a chance to get to know the hero/heroine, If I don’t know them and/or dislike them, I don’t care what their story is.
- The book is a “romance,” but there isn’t any. A romance might be erotic, but it is still a romance. It is still supposed to be about two people falling in love, meeting his/her Mr./Ms. Right. A romance is not an excuse for a screwfest or a kinkfest. Even erotica has a story and a plot. I encountered one “romance” recently that I would consider porn. It was all kink upon which the author had slapped a little window dressing. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it doesn’t make it a beauty queen.
- I don’t believe the story/characters actions or motivation and find myself rolling my eyes.
- The kink squicks me out. Context and tone can make a huge difference whether something is sexy or icky. However, some acts/scenarios fall way out of my comfort zone. I’ve tried some books I just didn’t like.
I understand why some readers leave snarky or attack reviews. When you read a book that is so egregiously bad, it angers you. Most books that end up in my DNF file got there because they evoked a meh reaction. But a few? Pissed me off big time. Fortunately for those authors, I don’t write negative reviews. I just DNF the books.