There are many reasons why a reader might pick up one book and not another.
How about the reasons why a reader might disengage from a book part way through?
AFTER THE RICE, Wendy French (Women's Fiction)
Originally picked up because: Enjoyed the author's debut novel, "sMothering", and was fascinated with the premise - a young, healthy, happily-in-love married couple choose to remain childless but find themselves accidentally pregnant. There are many people who remain childless due to fertility problems, financial imperative, not finding the right partner, focus on career, etc., but a couple in the protagonists' situation has not been explored in any books Apprentice Writer has ever read. Sounded promising.
Why put down: Did not want to spend more time with the characters. Following a first chapter in which it seems that the heroine continually observes things about her new husband which irritate her, there is a scene about how the husband wishes there were some way to avoid the obligation of dinner with the wife's family. Initially, this reader thought this was supposed to be a sign of potential ill fit between the spouses. After encountering the family at said dinner, Apprentice Writer cannot blame him. The members 'snap' at each other rather than speaking, they disapprove of the way one sister is 'spoiling' her daughter whom they've dubbed (apparently without affection) 'Pink Tyrant', the mother has to use undisguised coercion for everyone to respond to the invitation of an elderly relative, and the father employs an apparently oft-needed tactic of starting a tableside game to deflect bickering among siblings who are one and all adults. No thanks.
Ultimate test: Based on the strength of the first novel read, AW would look to another novel by this author despite DNF status of this one.
THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS MIRANDA CHEEVER, Julia Quinn (Historical Romance)
Originally picked up because: It's Julia Quinn!
Why put down: Could not tolerate the hero. He had been harddone by in the backstory, yes, but that just didn't stretch far enough to excuse his being at strategic moments dismissive towards his mother, bullying towards his sister, and petulant, immature, and selfishly evasive towards the heroine. This reader kept hoping someone better would pop up for the heroine, and when it became clear that wouldn't happen it was game over.
Ultimate test: It's Julia Quinn. Or course AW will read this author again!
ME AND MR. DARCY, Alexandra Potter (Paranormal Chicklit)
Originally picked up because: Intrigued by premise of a contemporary heroine going on an Austen-oriented coach tour and somehow being transported back to several encounters with the 'Pride & Prejudice' hero.
Why put down: Could not stand the thought that the relentlessly bland heroine might end up with the perfection that is Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy!
Ultimate test: Though the premise was good and might be so again for another novel, the writing style did nothing to draw AW in, so another book would need to arrive with mega buzz and have a spectactular first page to make this reader try again.
MUMS @ HOME, Sophie King (Women's Fiction)
Originally picked up because: Enjoyed a previous novel by the author, "The School Run", and was attracted to the premise - an ensemble piece about the people who join a parenting website and how it changes their lives.
Why put down: The group of people described in the opening chapters are so utterly angst-ridden that this reader developed a tension headache before the story got properly going. Not what she generally aims for when reading.
Ultimate test: If she came upon another book by this author, AW would give the first ten pages a whirl.
Gentle Reader - what say you? Did you finish any of these stories and think Apprentice Writer should have kept going? What makes you put a book down incomplete?
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