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I can in fact quit you: the triumphant return!

I used to make posts about why I quit reading the books I quit reading, and a couple people have poked me about doing another one, so here we are! Why I have quit on various books lately!

1. Stereotyping of thin big-breasted women as stupid. At least, I think that’s what he was, like, saying? I dunno. He, like, used some kinda big words? and there weren’t any men (or flat-chested ladies or fat ladies or non-binary persons) around for me to ask? so I had to put the rully rully hard book down. FOREVER.

2. If you want to compose a novel by putting a prose poem on each page, make sure it’s a good prose poem. A bad prose poem per page = a bad novel. (A good prose poem per page might still = a bad novel, but at least you have a shot at it.)

3. If you have to pick a subculture to endure forever, despite major (MAJOR) social upheaval and major (SERIOUSLY MAJOR) technological change, make it something more fun than whiny pretentious hipsters. Complete with the word “hipster” meaning identically what it means now.

4. Pacing. Pacing, pacing, pacing. And more pacing. When people talk about something needing to be faster-paced, they don’t actually mean that it needs to have a fight scene or a sex scene closer to the opening of the book. Sometimes they mean that something central to what is going on needs to happen closer to the opening of the book, but if the action (of whatever kind) is not central to what is going on–or you don’t have any reason to know that it is–that’s not going to help. No matter how many action verbs a scene has, it can bog down the pacing of a book if it seems irrelevant.

4b. More pacing. Putting more things central to what is going on towards the start of the book does not actually fix all pacing problems, or even most pacing problems. Starting with an opening that goes whiz-bang-boom is only a good idea if your book goes whiz-bang-boom. You’re allowed to have a quieter, slower-paced book. Having a quieter, slower-paced book that you have set up to go whiz-bang-boom at the beginning is going to give me whiplash.

5. When I said my tolerance for sexual violence in SFF was pretty low, I really meant it.

6. When I said my tolerance for sexual violence in SFF was pretty low, I did not mean “so you should give me a protagonist who merely pretends to rape people, who lets his friends assume he has raped them in the next room but does not actually do the raping. NOT HELPFUL, DUDE. NEXT.

7. Addiction does not fascinate me the way it does some people. After about the twentieth consecutive page of how much someone wants a fix, I am ready to read about something else, particularly if the book purported to be about something else. No matter how future-cool you think the drug you came up with is.

8. Zombies + Mris = no. There are a few exceptions to this. Vanishingly, vanishingly few.

9. Making sweeping statements in works of nonfiction about What Repressed Homersekshuls Do is bad enough. But when you are also arguing that the historical figure in question has had same-sex affairs with everyone of their sex they come across, you may wish to consult a dictionary regarding the meaning of the word “repressed” and rethink how much these theories apply.

10. If you are going to claim in a work of nonfiction that an historical figure has molested another historical figure (who was a child at the time), you need some kind of footnote. Seriously. Citation of some kind. This is a major allegation. I understand that sexual abuse is hard enough to prove in a court of law with the actual involved parties on hand, much less a hundred years or more after the fact. But you should be able to complete the following sentence: “I believe this because ________.” Biographers are not speaking ex cathedra. Your claims can, should, will be evaluated. If you have better evidence than “I have taken a dislike to this historical figure,” it really behooves you to produce it. Really, there is behooving here.

2 thoughts on “I can in fact quit you: the triumphant return!

  1. First off, I love this list, because I’m always curious as to why other readers (and book reviewers who I like, in particular) choose to put books down and walk away. Thanks for the insight!

    Secondly, some of these points are really specific, and you’ve piqued my interest (and desire to make sure I avoid them). Can I ask which books they refer to, or would you rather not say?

    1. I don’t make publicly traceable comments on books I don’t finish, but if you reeeeeally want to know on particular points, go ahead and email me (my gmail is marissalingen) and I’ll satisfy your curiosity.

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