Melody

Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

So … you’re halfway through a book and you’re hating it. It’s boring. It’s trite. It’s badly written. But … you’ve invested all this time to reading the first half.

What do you do? Read the second half? Just to finish out the story? Find out what happens?

Or, cut your losses and dump the second half?

I think the minds of an editor and a reader is very much the same, at least when it comes to the opening line of the book they are reading. Sure, a great opening line captures the attention of the readers, but what if the context becomes boring towards the middle of a book? Will you continue to read it? Give it a second chance? Or just simply dump the book? Decisions, decisions!

Unfortunately, I don't have a definite answer for today's question. There are times I skim the book because I hate not knowing what happened to the story. Then there are times I give it a second chance and read a few more pages, hoping there would be a change of momentum. And then there is the dread of dumping the book all together, but this would be my last resort. I would only do this if the book is super boring, or I am no longer interested in the story and doesn't care what happens in the end.

Anyway, this reminds me of a question which I am interested to find out from all readers: What if the book is badly written but the author is a great storyteller? Would you read it?

21 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    If am half way through a book and I didn't like it, I usually keep on reading because I think it might get better later from the other half. I usually try to finish the book even if it boring. But when I struggle through book that seem boring I put the book down and go back to it later. And if I pick the book up again and it still boring/hate it then I give up on the book and move on to the next one

    If the book is badly written but the author is great storyteller, I still read it. But if bother me so much then I weren't care for the book and stop reading. I may like my favorite authors but not all of their books become favorite. There will be few bad one. But just because it bad oone, does not make me like the author any less :)


  2. Jennifer Dee Says:

    Sometimes I just skim to the end, but mostly I give up. There are so many books in my TBR pile that I feel that I am wasting my reading time on a book that I am not enjoying. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I think Stephen King is a terrible writer but a great storyteller.


  3. Darlyn Says:

    If i think i dont like the book, i wont read it at all.but if the book i choose happen to be that boring, i can't give up.i will read but i'll have lots of thing to criticize later if not telling other people, i'll keep to myself. but next time, i wont give the author a chance. =)


  4. I do chuck out a book if it doesn't work for me!

    BTT: Half way


  5. Janet Says:

    Me too; I give up if it's really no good. I agree that it's hard if you've invested a lot of time in it, though.


  6. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Unfortunately for me and my time, I tend to slog through no matter what. I am always afraid that it might have the world's most fantastic ending. I am also guilty of reading a books with a good story but bad prose. Makes me wonder...if I would just stick to my guns and cut my losses, how many more (good) books I could read in a year!


  7. Alayne Says:

    I think good writing and good storytelling kind of go hand in hand. I think if a writer was truly bad, I couldn't consider them to be a good storyteller. I'd have to see through the bad writing, which is tough. My BTT answer is at The Crowded Leaf.


  8. Nithin Says:

    My answer to the question would be very similar to yours. As for the question about badly written book by great storytellers, I think I'll most probably finish it. I usually don't give up on a book if I already like the author.


  9. MarceJ Says:

    If it is madly written I will finish it if I am enjoying the story but probably won't read the author again.

    I pretty much said the same thing, completing it is like choosing to punish myself. Way to many great books to push yourself through a bad one.

    my response

    http://teawithmarce.blogspot.com/2010/05/btt-half-way-give-up-or-complete-book.html


  10. I am reading a book called 'Home' which I think is just OK but the author is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I want to get the other book and try reading that when I am finished with this one.


  11. Matt Says:

    It really depends and every book is a different case. I tend to finish a book.


  12. Like for you, Melody, I think it really depends on the circumstances. The only time I ever give up completely on a book is if I don't care about the characters or what will happen to them. If I have even a little curiosity, I will most likely muddle through to the end.


  13. DawnTreader Says:

    My answer too is an "it depends..."

    http://islandofvoices.blogspot.com/2010/05/httpbtt2.html

    I think the same goes for your question "What if the book is badly written but the author is a great storyteller?" I'm trying search my mind for an example but can't find one. There have been times I've felt that I'm probably reading a bad translation, though.


  14. Jenny Says:

    I've seen several people raise the badly written/good storyteller question. I usually plow through in that case because I am all plots, but usually they won't be books I'll buy and read again.


  15. Iliana Says:

    If I've already invest a lot of time in the book then I probably will finish. The few exceptions have been when I've really just gotten upset with the character or where the story was going.


  16. Violet Says:

    I cannot give a definite answer to this too, sometimes I will skim the book to know the story and sometimes I just wont bother.


  17. pussreboots Says:

    For your question, I guess I would count American Gods by Neil Gaiman. He's a great story teller but the way that book was written didn't do it for me. My post is here.


  18. Biblibio Says:

    Regarding your question, the simple answer is that I'll read a book for its good story even if the writing isn't incredible, because I also enjoy the power of a well-done story. But when I look back on it, I won't say, "Man, that was a great book!", I'll say, "Wow, that was a fun story." There's a clear difference in my mind. A book can have good writing or a good story without necessarily being a good book.


  19. valentina Says:

    I would definitely dump it. Life is too short and the wish list too long.
    I can't stand badly-written books, not matter how good the story is. I get distracted and annoyed, so much that it would hinder my enjoyment of the story. So definitely dumping is the answer!


  20. Alice Teh Says:

    I've learned to simply chuck it if it doesn't work for me.


  21. Melody Says:

    Hi, everyone! Thanks for your comments! It sure is fun looking at all your answers! :)