Friday, April 23, 2010

The One Unforgiveable Thing.

Don't bore me.

Recently, I read a book that was the literary equivalent of dragging sandpaper over my eyes. I finished it... because I had to--don't ask... but I actually skimmed over the book's climax. Yup. The biggie moment. The dramatic reveal. The scene of *yawn* jeopardy. The... perilous... whatever... *zzzzz...*

Couldn't. Care. Less.

By that point in the book, I was so numbed by pedestrian imagery, lack-luster plot and pacing, paper-thin characterizations, and a parade of utter predictability only interrupted by a completely nonsensical "twist", that I didn't give a rat's butt about what was happening. I still scowl at that book everytime I glance at it on the shelf. "You BORED me! Stupid book!"

I can read less-than-perfect writing. I can read about characters I may not necessarily like. I can read about subjects that aren't my cuppa. I can--generally speaking, although this one's tough--read a book in a voice that might grate.

I can't read boring. This is not to say that I require a car chase and incendiaries on every third page. I've read books that were nothing but pages and pages of conversation. But it has to be dang good conversation. I've read books that have entire chapters consisting of almost nothing but lush scenic description. But it's interesting description.

I've read books stuffed with action scenes that lulled me into a coma.

I can't define it. I can't tell you exactly why the one will bore me and the other won't. And of course it's subjective. It's a case of "I know it when I read it!" --an unexpected turn of phrase, a plot twist I didn't see coming for eighty pages, a place or person that piques my curiousity. Something.

If I don't finish a book... I'll know that something was missing. I'll know that I was bored.


Moonsanity said...

This is so awesome: "literary equivalent of dragging sandpaper over my eyes" Not that the book was that boring, but the meaning. As soon as I read that I KNEW how boring you meant. BAHAHAHAHA I'm so with you on this one. Might I add that it can be an author that the critics LOVE to death, but it can STILL be boring. I won't name names because people will hate me forever, but I tried reading an author that wrote about Nebraska during the 1800's and after the first few chapters of descriptive writing I was SO fricking bored I wanted to scream just to entertain myself. I never did finish it.

LiLi said...

I have to agree with everything you said in this post, and how well it was put. The only way I know when I book is boring is when I get through two pages of complete crap. Two pages would really turn me off that quickly--course it'd have to be a VERY boring two pages.

Maureen Lipinski said...

Ha ha! I'm in the middle of revisions for my next book, and thought of your "literary sandpaper" analogy when I came across a particularly slow moving section!