What Makes You Put a Book Down?

Whew! All of the plates and cups have been swaddled in bubble wrap and tucked into their boxes. Next up: finding a place to put my crock pot!

In between my hours of packing, I perused the blogosphere this afternoon and happened upon a blog post about what makes you put a book down. In this particular post, the writer talked about gratuitous sex scenes and how they make her eyes roll and shake her head. Which many commenters agreed with. And this got me thinking...what makes me put a book down?

When it comes to my own reading, I sort of have an iron stomach. Throw some sex scenes in my face! Add some violence! Sprinkle in some f-bombs and murderous rampages and beheadings! It doesn't really bother me.

But what does bother me? What makes me roll my own eyes and toss a book into the incinerator? A few things actually...

1.) Boring/Bad/Bland writing. The three B's! Enough said!

2.) Too many flashbacks. I don't like it when writers rely too much on flashbacks to reveal the back-story. Why not weave it in through dialogue or hint at it in the descriptions? Why use a flashback that pulls me out of the story and makes me want to skip ahead?!

I once read a MG fantasy that relied heavily on flashbacks. Seriously, every other chapter was a flashback! It annoyed me to tears because I wanted to see what happened to the progatonist--not what he did two years ago or six months ago. Suffice to say, I did not finish the book.

3.) In-depth descriptions of gross bodily functions like boils and rashes and diseases. Ewwww.

A few years ago, I started reading Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders because I'm rather fond of historical fiction. I figured the book would be an interesting and informative read!

Oh my goodness...I could hardly get through the vomit-inducing passages about the Bubonic Plague--the black boils, the sickly liquids, and the putrid smells. (My stomach is turning as I type this.) My hats off to you Ms. Brooks. You surely know how to write gross stuff!

Surprisingly, I finished the book.

4.) Preachy-ness. Oh, I simply hate it when books try to cram a message down my throat. It makes me want to reach inside of the book and punch the author in the face.

Case in point: I once read a horribly dreadful Christian romance for my book club. *Shudder* The writing was pretty bad and the characterizations were horrid, but the overt message on abortion was simply the worst. Look, I don't mind if an author wants to tackle an issue like abortion because it's something that women face every day. But I totally get turned off once the characters turn into soapbox-type stereotypes who launch into preachy monologues about why abortion is good or evil. Don't preach to me!

Can you tell this one is a sore point for me? Heh.

Anyway, what makes you put a book down?