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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is Life Too Short for Bad Books?

I used to be one of those readers who'd keep slogging through a story--no matter how bored I became with it. Before my publishing days, I did it in the naive hope the story might get better. When I started writing, I continued reading to the end of every book to figure out what about the story made it publishable. (I often came to The End with no real conclusion!)
Now, I find myself growing too impatient to continue reading all the way through. And when I do continue, I often become more judgmental about the scenes or plot holes that bother me.
Case in point: I'm currently reading two books I'm having trouble with. In the first, our intrepid heroine is being chased by bad guys. What's a girl to do but have sex with a virtual stranger--not once, not twice, but half a dozen times? (All with the same guy, but still!) And the hero has decided he's in love with our hormonal-enslaved heroine within two hours (or three sex sessions, if you prefer to keep track that way) of their meeting. Ain't love grand?
In the second book, our heroine is in a rut in her marriage and suddenly decides she's in love with her newest employee-- a guy she obsesses over for the next three hundred pages. At work, at home, at dinner parties, she's constantly thinking about this guy, fantasizing about him, anticipating every meet-up will end with a kiss, even though he's given her no indication he's the slightest bit interested in her. I knew this was going to be a difficult story when she was checking out his butt during the interview. And of course, conveniently, halfway through the book, the reader discovers the husband is having an affair (I'm guessing the author knew we'd be dividing our loyalties and sought to soothe our heroine's conscience.)
The first book...I gave up and tossed it. The second? Despite my constant utterances of, "Oh, come on already! This is ridiculous!" I'm still reading it. Why? I think because it's like that proverbial accident on the side of the road, I just can't stop myself from seeing how far into the bizarre we'll go.
So...what about you? Do you toss the book against the wall, or, for whatever reason, continue to read?
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