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View Full Version : How do YOU tell when you hate a book



peter eldergill
2005-Dec-13, 08:21 PM
Me personally, I start by skipping paragraphs....then whole chapters...if that happens then I know the book stinks (for me , anyway)

Pete

SciFi Chick
2005-Dec-13, 08:46 PM
I start by rolling my eyes. Then I get angry.

LurchGS
2005-Dec-13, 09:14 PM
if I can't read it.. that is, if going on the the next word is a struggle. (foreign language books don't count). This could be because the ideas espoused within are utter crap, because the author can't tell a story (and the publisher is too lax), or because the facts within are wrong.

If I don't read it twice.

---------

I am a gravitational point source for books. There's no escaping!

Roving Philosopher
2005-Dec-13, 09:39 PM
If I become more aware of the words on the page than the story, it's usually a good sign I won't like the book.

ToSeek
2005-Dec-13, 10:06 PM
If I start looking at how many pages I've got left. If I sigh when I think, "I should really pick that book up and finish it." If I realize that I've run my eyes over every word on every page for the last few minutes without registering a single one of them. If I'm underlining the important bits without even understanding what they mean.

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-13, 10:10 PM
If I start looking at how many pages I've got left. If I sigh when I think, "I should really pick that book up and finish it." If I realize that I've run my eyes over every word on every page for the last few minutes without registering a single one of them. If I'm underlining the important bits without even understanding what they mean.

Yea, I do the same thing, I start out and read like 10 pages, then think to myself "What did I even read and what is this even about?"

peter eldergill
2005-Dec-13, 11:16 PM
"What did I even read and what is this even about?"

That happens to me if I've had a couple of beers and think I can concentrate enough to read before bed

Pete

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-13, 11:42 PM
That happens to me if I've had a couple of beers and think I can concentrate enough to read before bed

Pete

Oh, that makes me feel better!:( :p :D

TheBlackCat
2005-Dec-14, 01:25 AM
If I realize that I've run my eyes over every word on every page for the last few minutes without registering a single one of them.
Yeah, that happens to me when I am reading boring stuff too. It also happens to me when I am writing boring stuff, I sort of zone out and when I come to again I have another page written.

Gillianren
2005-Dec-14, 02:19 AM
Sign One: If I have no sympathy for any character. (See, for example, Catcher in the Rye, where I spent the whole book plotting how to kill Holden Caulfield.)

Sign Two: If I can't picture anything in it. No character, no building, no item. For most of my favorite books, I have very exact images of what the characters look like (a bit problematic for movie adaptations, but oh, well), as well as the places, but I have absolutely no mental image of, say, any character from Faulkner.

Sign Three: If I read the book in question very, very slowly. Now, it's true that I read Stephen King books slowly the first time (no, I don't know why), but if I'm struggling to make it to the end of the page, it's a bad sign.

Sign Four: If I can't remember character/place names. See Lord of the Rings; I can remember five characters' names. I can remember four from The Hobbit.

ToSeek
2005-Dec-14, 03:21 AM
I'll add that I have a hard time dealing with any story that doesn't seem to be leading up to something. If I can't figure out why I'm reading about these particular characters and what they're doing, I lose interest almost instantly.

HenrikOlsen
2005-Dec-14, 04:35 AM
I constantly have three or four books lying around in various stages of being read. Books I don't like aren't picked up again, and I'll start reading others instead.

Enzp
2005-Dec-14, 04:55 AM
That is my MO also, I just stop reading it. I do find myself wandering as I read, and if I have just "read" a page while thinking about the typeface, or how many lines started with a certain letter, rather than absorb the material, it is time to move on. When I start to find it exciting that the spaces between words forms a nifty diagonal line through the paragraph or something, that's a sign.

I like a story, not a writing exercise, so I managed to claw my way through the first four chapters of DUne and gave up. The movie was no help. And sorry to the fans, but I couldn't read Lord of the RIngs either. I'd rather read Sagan or Shermer or Randi anyway. I couldn't even force myself to finish Great Expectations, or Bleak House for that matter.

Matthew
2005-Dec-14, 07:05 AM
Sign Four: If I can't remember character/place names. See Lord of the Rings; I can remember five characters' names. I can remember four from The Hobbit.

Reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time I loose track of the hundreds of characters he has running around. Yet its a great series. Very long though.

I can tell a mediocre book by how late I stay up reading it. If I keep reading till "I give my eyes a rest" its a good book. When I can just stop, its not so good.

A bad book is one that gets put down and not picked up again for a few days. For a good book I can alsways make time to read, for bad ones I just never get back. Though only for fiction. I've got to get back to Hawking's A breief History of Time.

Maksutov
2005-Dec-14, 12:48 PM
If I start reading, and about 5 minutes later, I'm still aware of the fact that I'm reading a book, then the odds aren't good that I like the book. If the awareness continues for another 10-15 minutes, then the dislike starts to take over.

Ditto if the same pattern occurs with not having had a thought provoked.

BTW, I can't say I've really "hated" any books, with the exception of the bible, dianetics, and tomes of their ilk. But dislike is enough for me to put a book down, with low probability that I'll pick it up again.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-14, 12:54 PM
Me personally, I start by skipping paragraphs....then whole chapters...if that happens then I know the book stinks (for me , anyway)

Pete
See, I'm EXACTLY The Opposite ...

I'm Just SO Eager, To Get On, To The Next Part!!!

Consequently, I Spend a Lot of Time, Rereading Such Books, After I've Allegedly Finished them, Just So I Can Absorb, That One, Last Nuance!

Maksutov
2005-Dec-14, 01:53 PM
See, I'm EXACTLY The Opposite ...

I'm Just SO Eager, To Get On, To The Next Part!!!

Consequently, I Spend a Lot of Time, Rereading Such Books, After I've Allegedly Finished them, Just So I Can Absorb, That One, Last Nuance!I bet you must get really put off by all those books that have so many sentences that contain only one capital letter and no commas.

paulie jay
2005-Dec-14, 02:24 PM
I realise that I've got to the end of a page and I'm thinking about finally getting around to cleaning behind the toilet. I will always finish the book though. Eventually.

gethen
2005-Dec-14, 02:56 PM
I constantly have three or four books lying around in various stages of being read. Books I don't like aren't picked up again, and I'll start reading others instead.
I have four on my bedside table right now that are probably never going to be finished.
I usually quit reading when I realize that I really don't care what happens to any of the main characters. They all die in the end? Fine. They all live happily ever after? Ho hum. Life is too short to spend it reading things I don't care about.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-14, 03:07 PM
I bet you must get really put off by all those books that have so many sentences that contain only one capital letter and no commas.
Ya' Know ...

I Really, REALLY Do!

Sam I am ...

:dance:

Doodler
2005-Dec-14, 03:22 PM
When it takes me more than a single sitting of four hours to read less than 500 pages, or more than seven hours and two sittings to read up to 1000.

Pretty good indicator that I'm struggling to stay interested.

peter eldergill
2005-Dec-14, 06:17 PM
I once read a 600 page book until page 550, put it down and never touched it again.

It was about giant bees or something like that which helped with construction....

uggh

Pete

ToSeek
2005-Dec-14, 07:50 PM
The book-shaped dent in the opposite wall is often a pretty good clue, as well.

LurchGS
2005-Dec-14, 08:00 PM
Heh - I can think of only one book I couldn't read (Red Shift, I forget the author... it was awful).

I can (and have) read the bible, dianetics, etc... once. Know Thine Enemy. Dianetics was hard, though - it was like listening to a 2 year old natter on for a week, non-stop. And it took only a couple hours to read. Pain. pure Pain.

The ability to put a book down and go to sleep is not the sign of a bad book for me (I tend to read from about 22:00 to 02:00) - but the INability to put one down (thereby making me late for work in the morning) is definately the sign of a GOOD book

I can sympathise with the book-shaped dent, but I can't do it. I was brought up to respect books. If the content is crap, there's still the bookbinder's skill to respect (yah, paperbacks are machine made - but I don't want to differentiate).

Moose
2005-Dec-14, 08:59 PM
I started reading a murder mystery, and I can't remember the title, about the slaying of "Dr. Death" (actually, come to think of it, it might have been called "Dr. Death"), a character meant to resemble Jack Kevorkian. Thirty slow pages in, I realized I couldn't raise much more than idle curiosity as to whodunnit. I didn't even bother to skip to the last chapter. I wasn't even that curious.

I'm also having trouble getting into Fahrenheit 451. The premise is intriguing, but I was unable to generate enough sympathy towards the characters to get past the suicide attempt on page, what 4?

I had less trouble with Moby Dick, although the old paperback version fell apart in my hands. I'll get around to reading it if an intact version falls into my hands at some point. Maybe the next local SPCA book sale if it coincides with a weekend.

HenrikOlsen
2005-Dec-14, 09:49 PM
I'm also having trouble getting into Fahrenheit 451. The premise is intriguing, but I was unable to generate enough sympathy towards the characters to get past the suicide attempt on page, what 4?
I can understand that, it's not until he reads a book he becomes sympathetic.
It's a general problem with books where the protagonist starts out on the opposite side of the one you're supposed to sympathise with.

Van Rijn
2005-Dec-14, 10:12 PM
With a novel, I can usually tell within the first 20 pages whether or not I'm going to like the book. If I'm still thinking "this is a book" I won't like it and generally won't bother to read much further, but if I am in the author's world by the 20th page, I'll probably like the book.

I've only had once where I read a recreational book far enough to realize I had absolutely no interest in what happened to the characters. It was a Turtledove book, and this is one of those rare cases where the "20 page rule" failed. Mind, I hadn't really liked the book for some time, but it just hit me at one point that the characters were already lifeless.

Of course, there are too many "cotton candy" stories - nice writing style, keeps you interested, but devoid of ideas. Ah, well.

hhEb09'1
2005-Dec-14, 10:52 PM
I'm with Mak on this, I don't hate any books. The only one that came close was that one by Marilyn Vos Savant that disproved Andrew Wiles proof of Fermat's Last Theorem--but it made me laugh so it had that.

The Shade
2005-Dec-15, 12:43 AM
For myself, things will usually go slow, then slooow. Finally, I will be tempted to reread something I had really liked. Then I know the book I'm currently reading is really bad. It's happened with Red Mars, Red Storm Rising, and a few others.

Sometimes, I will just not feel like reading anything at all. It can be very difficult to pick up something for a long time. Usually, again, skimming through a book I had really liked can help me out of my melancholy.

Gemini
2005-Dec-15, 01:38 AM
When I fall asleep reading it.

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-15, 02:56 AM
Ya' Know ...

I Really, REALLY Do!

Sam I am ...

:dance:

Yea, um, why exactly do you do that if you don't mind me asking? I don't personally mind but I was just curious as to your reasoning.

On topic- When the book finds it's way to my fireplace:D

Gullible Jones
2005-Dec-15, 03:27 AM
I know I hate a book when I start mentally berating the characters for their stupidity.

fossilnut2
2005-Dec-15, 03:45 AM
I go to the library and take out a half dozen or so books. 3 or 4 of them novels. I'll read 10 pages or so and it doesn't grab me I'll close it and pick the next one.

I don't like to have to struggle with the actual reading (No i'm not illiterate). If the sentences don't flow naturally then I don't want to re-read a paragraph. I welcome a challenging or thought-provoking plot that let's me enjoy yhre story without stilted sentence structure.

As for the actual substance. I have to have some empathy with a character. Either root for them or relate in some fashion. As soon as the protagonist is it's a '25-year-old gorgeous genetic engineer renowned in her field... ex-boyfrind a detective,blah, blah,' I go SNAP and close the book and pick up another.

peter eldergill
2005-Dec-15, 03:57 AM
I've had the "I don't care about any of the characters" mode on some books. I recall "Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood...didn't care about the characters...hence not the book

Pete

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-15, 04:20 AM
I've only had once where I read a recreational book far enough to realize I had absolutely no interest in what happened to the characters. It was a Turtledove book, and this is one of those rare cases where the "20 page rule" failed. Mind, I hadn't really liked the book for some time, but it just hit me at one point that the characters were already lifeless.
I LOVE Turtledove's Writing, Er, Which One, Was It?


Yea, um, why exactly do you do that if you don't mind me asking? I don't personally mind but I was just curious as to your reasoning.
You're Talking About It, Aren't you?

:dance:

peter eldergill
2005-Dec-15, 04:25 AM
BTW thanks to the mod who fixed the title for me (I tried to italicize "you" but it didn't work). It reads much better (I'm assuming it was ToSeek)

L8R

Pete

ToSeek
2005-Dec-15, 03:23 PM
BTW thanks to the mod who fixed the title for me (I tried to italicize "you" but it didn't work). It reads much better (I'm assuming it was ToSeek)

L8R

Pete

Yes, it was me. I go in and correct thread titles when they're misspelled or have other annoying (to me, anyway) problems, like this one.

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-15, 04:01 PM
I have some of the same warning signs that others have mentioned (e.g. rereading sections without comprehension). Here's another:

When I find myself mentally rewriting the book as I read it.

That's a sure sign the author's style isn't working for me, or that it's badly edited, or both. It's a rare book that I read all the way through once I find myself doing this.

weatherc
2005-Dec-15, 04:15 PM
The book-shaped dent in the opposite wall is often a pretty good clue, as well.
To throw a book across the room is... illogical. ;)

I can usually finish a book in a few days, even if I'm not particulary enthusiastic about it.

If I really don't like a book, I just won't finish it. Sometimes I'll try to pick it back up and try reading it again, but I usually fail the second time, too. If I don't finish the book on the second attempt, I'll never finish it.

Also, if I'm actually rooting for the protagonist to die (I'm with you when it comes to Catcher In The Rye, Gillianren), and not just any death, but a horrible, protracted, grisly, painful death, then I probably won't finish the book.

mickal555
2005-Dec-15, 04:36 PM
How do YOU tell when you hate a book
When it's called dismatiling the bigbang :sick:
I was given this horrid book as a gift after my dad told his physio theopist(he has been having arm pains of sumthing) that I was into astronomy!

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-15, 04:39 PM
When it's called dismatiling the bigband :sick:
I was given this horrid book as a gift after my dad told his physio theopist(he has been having arm pains of sumthing) that I was into astronomy!
OOH ....

I Feel, your Pain!!!

:wall:

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-15, 11:39 PM
You're Talking About It, Aren't you?:dance:

Um, I suppose if your talking about the commas, then yes. Is it like your own signature kind of thing?

LurchGS
2005-Dec-15, 11:41 PM
Into each life, a little incomprehension must come. Zap is just making sure we get our share :)

GDwarf
2005-Dec-16, 02:14 AM
I seem to always finish books, no matter if I like them or not, and I've yet to physically harm a book, I doubt I could, even if I wanted to, heck, I hate even leaving them face-down and open to a page (so that they make a tent shape), for fear of hurting the binding.

Anyways, It tends to be a sign of me not liking a book when I read a paragraph, read on for a few more sentences, and then go "wait, what?" and go re-read it, now, that's not always a sure sign, as my first time reading through THHGTTG trilogy of 4 (haven't read the 5th one yet) I did a double take about once a page.

If, when 1/2 way through, I can say exactly how the book will end, that tends to be a bad sign, same with when I find that I can skip over a couple of pages of dialogue and not miss anything critical, or if I did, still know what happened.

All in all, I don't read many books I don't like, I tend to browse them in the Library/bookstore, if I don't like the first chapter, I don't buy them.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-16, 03:58 AM
Um, I suppose if your talking about the commas, then yes. Is it like your own signature kind of thing?
Yes ...


Into each life, a little incomprehension must come. Zap is just making sure we get our share :)

Thank you ...

Besides, SOMEONE, Had To Take Up The Slack, From HUb'!

peter eldergill
2005-Dec-16, 04:26 AM
Zaphod..reading your posts reminds me of the way that Hermione Granger talked in the first Harry Potter movie....lots of head nodding and too much pronounciation!

Later

Pete

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-16, 05:26 AM
Zaphod..reading your posts reminds me of the way that Hermione Granger talked in the first Harry Potter movie....lots of head nodding and too much pronounciation!

Later

Pete
Hmmm ...

People Have Actually Told me, I'm a LOT Like her, Thanks, For The Compliment!!!!

Gillianren
2005-Dec-17, 11:44 PM
Sorry, Zaphod, but to me, you'll always sound like William Shatner. It's only because of how much I like you and what you have to say that I bother reading your posts anymore. Remember how touchy I can be about grammar?

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-18, 09:59 PM
Sorry, Zaphod, but to me, you'll always sound like William Shatner. It's only because of how much I like you and what you have to say that I bother reading your posts anymore. Remember how touchy I can be about grammar?
Aw ...

Alright, for you, I'll Cut Back ...

Just, Remember, Stay, Away, From, Those, GREEN, Women!

:D

Zachary
2005-Dec-18, 11:50 PM
Generally if I can read a book whilst listening to music at the same time and not be distracted then it's probably a bad book (the worlds in most books aren't set to the tunes of 'I got you babe' and 'True' etc :P)