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Old 07-11-2013, 03:53 AM   #16
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The first book I remember putting down unfinished was "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's so long ago that I couldn't tell you exactly what it was that didn't work for me. I'm one of those that generally try to finish whatever I start - I even managed the Bible, though I failed with the Koran. I'm am getting less inclined to finish now, but books that I put down are few are far between. It's rarely anything specific. The most common symptom is finding myself having to go back re-read previous pages or paragraphs, not because I didn't understand them the first time, but because my mind got so bored that it wandered off to think about other things that it has already forgotten what came before.
You might have just not been ready for the book at the time. I understand the same thing happened to Steve Allen when he was faced with reading Moby Dick as a kid for school. Later in life he went back to it and enjoyed it, but for him it was too early when he was supposed to be reading it.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:33 AM   #17
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Notice that very few people in this survey put a book down due to bad editing for example, yet that is one of the things most authors seem to scream about in their advice, "make sure its professionally edited" and etc. Not saying do not have your books edited, it is just an example.
I understand where the readers are coming from. I have occasionally come across a book or a series that clearly had never been edited or if it had, the editor was a first grader just learning her alphabet. Yet the story was compelling (to me). So I cursed the author for making me try to figure out who the suddenly appearing character was supposed to be, and I bit my tongue at the heroine's eye color change. I read the book.

I find it especially frustrating when the story is excellent and it is clear to me that had the author hired a professional editor the book could be outstanding -- a book that I would give 5 stars to and recommend repeatedly. Instead, because of the lack of editing, I didn't give it a positive review and I didn't recommend the book to anyone.

I also put the author on my do-not-buy-ever-again list. Rip me off once, shame on you; rip me off twice, shame on me!

When I have bought a book, I hope to get something out of it. If the story is good, I'll read it even in the absence of editing because I bought it. The killer is when the story sucks and the editing is worse, yet I can see where had the author invested in a professional editor the story might be readable, even enjoyable.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:40 AM   #18
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I'm one of those that generally try to finish whatever I start - I even managed the Bible, though I failed with the Koran.
I have to admit I put down the bible after the first few thou shall nots and the blatant, unapologetic hypocrisy between the bible and the religious who push people to read and believe. The other problem with the bible is that it was/is the original sci-fi/fantasy book but the characters and the stories lack depth, vision, cliff-hanging plots, and, of course, the American way.

Besides, one would think that the committee that wrote the fantasy could have come up with better horrors than plagues of locust and better sex than begats.
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:47 AM   #19
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I have to admit I put down the bible after the first few thou shall nots and the blatant, unapologetic hypocrisy between the bible and the religious who push people to read and believe. The other problem with the bible is that it was/is the original sci-fi/fantasy book but the characters and the stories lack depth, vision, cliff-hanging plots, and, of course, the American way.

Besides, one would think that the committee that wrote the fantasy could have come up with better horrors than plagues of locust and better sex than begats.
Actually considering the nature of this post it would probably be better to confine it to the politics and religion sub forum. After all if someone responds that the Bible isn't sci-fi/fantasy they are slipping into religious debate and it will end up there anyway.
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:59 AM   #20
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Ah, yes, I've carefully book marked that thread, along with it's co-conspirator. I'm now carefully planning a book that avoids every red flag and hits every green light, I'm absolutely certain it's going to be a best seller. But, shush, don't spread it around or everyone one will be doing it.

An elephant made by committee.....it could work....
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:04 AM   #21
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I understand where the readers are coming from. I have occasionally come across a book or a series that clearly had never been edited or if it had, the editor was a first grader just learning her alphabet. Yet the story was compelling (to me). So I cursed the author for making me try to figure out who the suddenly appearing character was supposed to be, and I bit my tongue at the heroine's eye color change. I read the book.

I find it especially frustrating when the story is excellent and it is clear to me that had the author hired a professional editor the book could be outstanding -- a book that I would give 5 stars to and recommend repeatedly. Instead, because of the lack of editing, I didn't give it a positive review and I didn't recommend the book to anyone.

I also put the author on my do-not-buy-ever-again list. Rip me off once, shame on you; rip me off twice, shame on me!

When I have bought a book, I hope to get something out of it. If the story is good, I'll read it even in the absence of editing because I bought it. The killer is when the story sucks and the editing is worse, yet I can see where had the author invested in a professional editor the story might be readable, even enjoyable.
And yet... you've read my books. Which btw still surprises me that a person that advertises editing services reads my books and has not said "dude, go back to grammar school" (yes, malapropism intended)

But back on topic.. I am with you. The story drives the entertainment. So long as the editing is not so bad to make it unreadable, that will not make me give up.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:34 AM   #22
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You might have just not been ready for the book at the time. I understand the same thing happened to Steve Allen when he was faced with reading Moby Dick as a kid for school. Later in life he went back to it and enjoyed it, but for him it was too early when he was supposed to be reading it.
Hmm ... I read Moby Dick for the first time only recently - I wasn't impressed. I wonder if that means I'm still not ready for Treasure Island.

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I have to admit I put down the bible after the first few thou shall nots and the blatant[...]
It was a long time ago that I read it. I no longer remember how long it took me exactly, but it was some months. I don't believe I've ever spent as long on any other book. I remember finding some of the early parts quite interesting reading, but I don't remember actually learning anything from it, or taking anything away from it that I didn't already have. It seems an odd thing to admit that a book with that sort of history and background, and that I studied most diligently over for months, should have had less impact on me that so much else.

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An elephant made by committee.....it could work....
Of course it will work, how could it possibly fail.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #23
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I understand where the readers are coming from. I have occasionally come across a book or a series that clearly had never been edited or if it had, the editor was a first grader just learning her alphabet. Yet the story was compelling (to me). So I cursed the author for making me try to figure out who the suddenly appearing character was supposed to be, and I bit my tongue at the heroine's eye color change. I read the book.

I find it especially frustrating when the story is excellent and it is clear to me that had the author hired a professional editor the book could be outstanding -- a book that I would give 5 stars to and recommend repeatedly. Instead, because of the lack of editing, I didn't give it a positive review and I didn't recommend the book to anyone.
The SF author David Weber is in exactly that category for me. The man is a great storyteller, but a dreadful writer. His books are filled with the most appalling cliches, which are repeated over and over again. His heroine, "Honor Harrington", never merely "speaks", but "speaks in a soprano voice"; she doesn't "fold her arms", but always "folds her arms under her breasts". Yes, David - she's a woman. We get it. You don't need to hammer the point home with a blunt instrument every few pages.

And I say that as someone who enjoys his books.

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:22 PM   #24
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The posts on the Bible overlook it as literature,

and that it is the single largest source of quotations added to the English language, including "feet of clay," "reap the whirlwind," and many, many others, 257 in total, exceeding even those attributed to Shakespeare, according to Wikipedia.

And then there are the longer passages, of which these are only a few (from the King James version):

Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8 ("To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . ")

First Corinthians 13, 1-3 ("Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal . . . ")

First Corinthians 13, 13 ("So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.")

Genesis 1, all ("In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void . . . ")

John 11, 35 ("Jesus wept.") (obviously not long, but included because of its power)

As a final example I cite the Twenty-Third Psalm ("The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters . . . ")

I know of no one writing today with such simplicity and power.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:50 PM   #25
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Hmm, I think I've only ever put down two books.

One was James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake," attempted to read for pleasure and I guess I'm not masochistic enough.

The other was a vanity press fantasy novel a friend of a friend wrote. The degree of poor writing made my head hurt after the first two chapters.
I'm sure there have been others, but the only book I ever remember putting down was also a book by Joyce: Ulysses. I only made it about 1/10th the way the way through.

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The posts on the Bible overlook it as literature, and that it is the single largest source of quotations added to the English language, including "feet of clay," "reap the whirlwind," and many, many others, 257 in total, exceeding even those attributed to Shakespeare, according to Wikipedia....

...I know of no one writing today with such simplicity and power.
I agree that the King James translation is a literary masterpiece. Its influence upon the English-speaking world is incalculable. I would also argue that some parts are more enjoyable as literature than others.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:10 PM   #26
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Ive put down Neuromancer several times. Ulysses a couple of times.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:04 PM   #27
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It takes a lot to get me to stop reading a book after I've started it, but I'm merciless in deciding to read a book in the first place. Especially these days, when it's often possible to read an author's own synopsis. Before coming here just now I decided against buying an ebook that looked interesting, but the author's description started off by describing it as "an mystery."
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:33 PM   #28
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Despite getting more patient with age, I still put down loads of books. It's hard to find a pattern.

A few weeks ago I put down Isaacson's Kissinger at page 220. The early chapters, about Kissinger's life through World War II, were close to sympathetic, and fascinating. And then Kissinger grows up to treat subordinates so poorly that you can't sympathize with him having an SOB (Nixon) for his own boss. However, Isaacson's a great writer, and I may return to it.

About a month ago I put down Richard Ford's Canada. I just didn't sense that the characters were real. Will not return.

On the other side, I just finished Blackout/All Clear, a single sci-fi novel in two volumes. Major characters are unreal cutouts with indistinguishable personalities. The plot is both ridiculous and repetitive, commonly using the device of a journey where the traveler is in danger of being late. However, there were decent secondary characters, and the physical settings include places I have been in repeatedly and care about. So I finished.

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Old 07-11-2013, 09:33 PM   #29
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It takes a lot to get me to stop reading a book after I've started it, but I'm merciless in deciding to read a book in the first place. Especially these days, when it's often possible to read an author's own synopsis. Before coming here just now I decided against buying an ebook that looked interesting, but the author's description started off by describing it as "an mystery."

OMG rushing off to review my book descriptions.....
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:35 PM   #30
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Despite getting more patient with age, I still put down loads of books. It's hard to find a pattern.

A few weeks ago I put down Isaacson's Kissinger at page 220. The early chapters, about Kissinger's life through World War II, were close to sympathetic, and fascinating. And then Kissinger grows up to treat subordinates so poorly that you can't sympathize with him having an SOB (Nixon) for his own boss. However, Isaacson's a great writer, and I may return to it.

About a month ago I put down Richard Ford's Canada. I just didn't sense that the characters were real. Will not return.

On the other side, I just finished Breakout/All Clear, a single sci-fi novel in two volumes. Major characters are unreal cutouts with indistinguishable personalities. The plot is both ridiculous and repetitive, commonly using the device of a journey where the traveler is in danger of being late. However, there were decent secondary characters, and the physical settings include places I have been in repeatedly and care about. So I finished.
That's BLACKOUT/All Clear....and no one can put down Connie's work!
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