This list idea came from being in the middle of one of the few kinds of books I really just don’t enjoy reading. There are just some times you end up with a book in your hands that fits a formula that you know, as a reader, is just something you are not going to enjoy but reading it necessary or you feel like you are too far in to give up now. Some of these for me are:
- Rambling prose – You know what I’m talking about here. The author’s editor did not do enough to reign in the writer. The story could have been told in 300 pages but for some odd and strange reason, the book had to be over 1,000 pages long. The author feels the need to give the reader every bit of unimportant minutiae that doesn’t help advance the story or help the reader relate to the character better. It just goes on for length’s sake. While I don’t mind a long book that is well written, these are just not the case. Example: Reamde by Neal Stephenson.
- Dry and Technical - While I like to learn about how something works or how someone justifies their approach, please, please, please make it at least somewhat entertaining to read! Give an antidote, a joke or something to keep the reader’s attention. This applies to text books as well. There should be some level of enjoyment in what you are reading. Example: too many to pick just one.
- Ending on a climax - I don’t care if this is book 376 in your series of insanely popular fantasy novels. Never. Ever. End. At. The. Climax! It is simply a cheap ploy to drag the reader along. It is extremely obvious and is just poor taste. Create a conclusion – please. Ted Dekker‘s Circle series is a very good example of what not to do.
- Dull word choice - If your book has an interesting plot line but your word choice is so bad that it sucks the life out of the book,two things might happen. One, it might keep people from reading your book, or two, turning it into an outstandingly successful musical with a much better ending that disappoints people when they actually dust off their copy that they never really got around to reading. Oh yes I have a book in mind – Gregory Maguire this one is all you. Wicked the musical beats the book – hands down.
- The I’m-smarter-than-my-readers books – James Joyce. Ulysses. Yes, he did something very cool and creative. So cool and creative that most people have no clue what he was trying to do. Hurray for confusing everyone and making sure that your book will always be on the books everyone should read list. I think it ends up on the list because someone is hoping that someday, someone will actually figure it out.
Any kinds of books you think I missed? Any that you thought were unfair?