And Against the Wall It Goes

We don’t read particular books for at least as many reasons as we read ones we like. The characters are dull and lifeless, the plot is completely boring, the writing is flat or just downright not very good, and so on. Occasionally you will get a book that is otherwise very good except for one particular moment when something that happens that seems so out of the blue or contradictory to what has gone on before that it ruins the book for you. These are likely the most frustrating reads. You were rolling along, getting your money’s worth and then, “Bam!” story over. You hit one of these moments and you can’t continue. How could the author have done that? You want to hurl the damn book against the wall.

Admittedly, I can’t recall ever having read a book I wanted to fling across the room. I get some, where at the end it’s kind of a, “Meh,” feeling, like it just didn’t live up to what I was hoping or expecting, but I’ve never been mad at a book. Hard to get mad at someone whom you figure had to be trying very hard to make something you would like. This makes me want to do a post on negative reviewing. Hmmm, maybe do that soon.

So, what is it about books you dislike that makes you want to fling them against the wall or out the window or you know, set them on fire and stuff?

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9 responses to “And Against the Wall It Goes

  1. If I hear of a book hitting the wall it usually means the reader’s nerve was hit and when I ask it’s always been the case. Either the reader really connected with a character and were greatly disappointed/shocked, felt betrayed or something similar. I think to have such a reaction shows the author reached you in some way, otherwise why would you have such a visceral reaction and end up throwing it in the first place? To my mind, the worst criticism a reader can give is to just put the book down and never pick it – or any other book by that author – up again. To not care at all about someone’s story? Ouch.

  2. Only once have I been furious at a book. Only once have I resented, with crimson ire, having invested a portion my life in reading that book.

    “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Lord Foul’s Bane” by Stephen R. Donaldson.

    O. M. G.

    The cautionary tale for writers to take away? Don’t make your writing voice so artsy that it becomes intrusive. Don’t make your protagonist a weak and whiny rapist. Don’t craft a story where the resolution could have happened EXACTLY like that even if the protagonist had died in a pit of vampire slugs on page three (which would have improved the book considerably.)

  3. I’ve never thrown a book against a wall, though i did burn one. Anytime I find my mind floating to anything else but the story I generally don’t read any more. If I can’t connect with the characters it isn’t a book I want. I also find flashbacks really annoying. More often then not they just get in the way of the story.

  4. Like I said in the last post, characters are the hit-or-miss factor. I remember one book I actually threw against a wall, but I can’t remember what it was. I wish I could. I have yet to throw another book. If I am mid-story, I’ll usually plug through, but there are times when I just put it down and never touch it again because a) I don’t know what’s going on, or b) I don’t care what’s going on.

  5. One thing that annoys me is when the author tries to blind you with science. One example that springs to mind is David Gibbons’ Atlantis. It had a good plot, but it was ruined by the scientific gargon. He had put so much research into deep sea diving and the equipment needed and then tried too hard to incorporate it. It’s like he’s trying to prove to his readers that he know’s what he’s talking about. And he probably does, but I found it got in the way of the story. It ruined a good book, but I soldiered on and finished reading (and haven’t picked up one of his since, I’m afraid to say)…

  6. I try to finish as many books as I start, but when a writers claims superiority of any sort on the reader, I’m out.

    I didn’t finish James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake because it claimed to be smarter than the readers

    I didn’t finish Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist because it claimed a moral superiority.

    I read in search of a kinship with another soul, not to feel worthless and stupid.

    • “I read in search of a kinship with another soul, not to feel worthless and stupid.”

      Totally agree with you here. You want to connect with the author and the story they have to tell.