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Should I finish it?
It's been a while since I have posted anything. Part of the reason is that I have been finding it difficult to finish some "gothic" books I was reading.  I am one of those people who don't like to leave a book unfinished, even if it may take me a while to finish it.  But as I get older and my vision diminishes, I wonder if it would be worth it. Life is short. Do I need to waste it reading rubbish? One part of me says "yes" because I want to share my experience with others, even if it is a bad one.  It may help them avoid it.  The other part says "no", it is just not worth it.  

Since I have not finished the book, how do I know it is rubbish? The first clue is poor writing - the story unfolds like a summary rather than a plot, no suspense, the ending is essentially laid out in the first chapter (at least it appears to be so).  The curious side of me says "read it and find out if you're right".  The annoyed side of me says, "don't bother".

What do readers on this forum think?
Nice to see a post from you on this interesting subject. I agree that there seem to be a greater number of poorly written gothics published these days. I imagine this is the case in other genres, also, due to the current ease of self-publishing and electronic publishing.

I, too, cringe at poorly plotted gothics and those that have almost instant romance and/or sex, without any logical reason or build-up. The use of "attraction" and/or instant lust (only) to validate a relationship is not enough to warrant an instant serious relationship, IMHO.

I also commit to finishing a book, and I am lately often becoming disappointed by what I'm thus forced to wade through and/or endure. The typos, use of wrong words that sound the same as the right words, and unnecessary contractions (such as should've, would've, could've) make me skeptical that a book has been professionally written/edited.

Like you, I look at my to-be-read shelf of over 100 novels and wonder if I could possibly finish them all in my lifetime.

What I have been doing lately is almost exclusively reading e-books, as I'm enjoying the larger typefaces available and the ease of use. I like that my Kindle can read to me while I'm driving, too. If I come across an author I like, I seek out other books by that author, and favor those over gambling on a new author's books. With this approach, however, the books on that to-be-read shelf will probably be languishing there until the lights go out. ;o}
I never finish a book if it's poorly written and I'm not enjoying it.  What would be the point? Life is too short to spend irretrievable hours on the self-punishing exercise of reading bad books!

Alas, many "Gothics" written in recent years are the worst type of hackwork: trite, predictable, amateurish, written without skill and with shockingly poor mechanics, and (my pet peeve) often trying to make up for it with cringe-inducing sex scenes that are neither sensual, nor erotic, nor even interesting.  Moreover many of them lack atmosphere and a convincing sense of the time period, obvious where the author has failed to do proper research and commits anachronistic blunder after blunder.

Usually, I can tell I'm not going to like a book within the first couple of pages -- indeed often within the first paragraph.  If it doesn't give me a reason to continue or if I find the author's ineptitude invites my contempt, I'll cheerfully toss it aside.

Paige, I heartily recommend this practice to you.  You can't imagine how liberating it is to throw a terrible book over your shoulder and say to yourself, "I just saved myself quite a few hours of disappointment and boredom!" Then you can spend that freed-up time on *good* books, which (thankfully) are not rare.  Big Grin
Apropos . . . !

Rights of the Reader
Love it! Thanks Penfeather!
In my search for a good book, I try to find the older "Gothics" and avoid ones written in the 1970s, when mass production made it possible for awful books to be published. So imagine my disappointment to see something from the early 1960s that is so poorly written. I find myself returning to the tried and true, but unfortunately, there are a limited number of those available. I have to admit that I don't even bother with today's authors because I like the historical ones or contemporaneously written ones from the past (I just have not found a consistently good modern author with the exception of Barbara Erskine, but I don't always like her settings). I just discovered a few Wilkie Collins and will get on to those. I think I will "skim over" the bad ones just to add them to the "Avoid" list for other readers on this forum.
I look at the first 20 pages as a bit like the first 1-3 dates with someone new. If I'm not interest by that time then I move on. Not only do we have to weed through bad books but also what doesn't personally satisfy us.
Welcome, Night Wanderer.

When I started this thread I had just read the first few pages of one of two books by an author I had never read. In those few pages, I guessed what the outcome was and I finally decided to finish it to prove myself right or wrong. I was absolutely and completely right. It made me hesitate to start the second but again I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. It was harder to guess the outcome after the first few pages because I still had not been introduced to all of the characters or understood the lay of the land. So I would say she did a better job on the second book, though overall, I would still rate her as average or just below.

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