On Leaving Books Unfinished

I feel that I have put down more and more books down. I think it is probably because I have spent more time actively trying new books. Anyway, I wanted to talk about my vague reasoning behind choosing to discontinue a book.

All of this is intuitive for me mostly. I just like to think out or hear others think out why we do or ought to do things. There are so many things that I feel instinctively are wrong but am not able to express why. Anyway, I am happy to eventually get to the point when I can figure out a sound reason for the why of what I sense.

Content Concerns
I think we all know the content issues: immorality, vulgarity, foul language, violence, revenge, etc. But we don’t want perfect books with boring characters . . . i.e. total unreality. And the previously mentioned list would limit historical fiction to about zip. Some good concepts to consider are both how the issue is presented and how it is described. Is it overly graphic or intended for vicariousness? Is the author sympathetic to the action? I find understated descriptions, implied actions, and hints to be faaaaar more effective in eliciting emotion and far less desensitizing.

Quality Concerns
When we read pointless and poorly written writing our aesthetic discernment and mental acumen is weakened in the same way more serious content concern deadens the conscience. And an exciting plot does not equal a good book. Actually, sometimes exciting plots are quite ridiculous. Melodrama is no substitute for art. “Grittiness” and “realism” is no substitute for talent.

I find it far easier to put away troubling books than candy-fluff books. I need to work on selectivity, especially since reading is a leisure activity.

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