My problem is that I can’t seem to finish a book. I find that am delighted with the story, but after I set it down for whatever reason, I can’t make myself pick it up. I have two really good books I’m reading now that I can’t seem to make myself go back to.
I have no idea why I’m having trouble. … I sure wish I had an answer, though. And a way to change it.
I don’t have an answer, but I do have an observation.
When this happens to me, it is almost always because:
a) The situation in the book is tense, I put it down because I was nervous about where it was going, and now I’m having trouble picking it back up because of that nervousness. I don’t really want to see the characters suffer through what I can see is probably coming up.
b) The plot looks like it might be heading in a really annoying direction, one that will involve an important personal pet peeve. I am worried about that and I don’t want to go on with the book because I liked the first part and I’m reluctant to see it ruined with a trope I hate.
c) A character in the book is petty, stupid, selfish, and completely unpleasant to read about. That character has walked on stage and I put the book down because I just don’t want to read about him or her. Even watching other characters have to deal with this character is just too unpleasant. If I could be sure this character would walk offstage again in short order, it would be easier to go on with the book, but as it is, I’m delaying.
In all three cases, the only real antidote is trust in the author, so all of these problems hit much harder with a new-to-me author. I do not experience any of this with a new book by Martha Wells or Andrea K Höst or, for that matter, Gillian Bradshaw.
Given a new-to-me author, it can take a possibly surprising amount of willpower to go back to a book once I set it down for any of the above reasons.