Discussion: Reading Dealbreakers

Pretty much everyone reading this here on my blog is an avid reader.  You guys love books, I love books.  I’ll personally read most anything.  But what happens when something is just so bad in a book you can’t stand it any longer?  Why, you put it down of course.  That’s not the point here, though.  The point is: what is that one thing that will always make you put down a book?

Personally it’s racism/sexism/homophobia, etc.  I’m not talking about when authors tackle these issues in their books—that’s something mainstream authors need to do more!  I’m talking about when an author’s views leak into their narrative and ruin the entire book.  If I’m reading a book and the author seems to want to write a manifesto about why white people are superior, LGBT people are evil and/or women are inferior rather than actually telling a story, I’m probably going to throw the book at the wall.  As much as I hate book vandalism, sometimes it’s justified.

There are actually a lot of things that make me want to put down a book, but it’s blatant discrimination on the author’s part that is the one thing that will make me put down a book immediately.  Sometimes books are ‘meh’ but I’ll keep reading because I’m curious to see if it gets better, but any preaching on the author’s part will make me close a book without a second thought.

But enough about me: what are your reading dealbreakers?  Why?  Do you have lots or just one?


  1. Kayla Sanchez

    I’m in the same boat as you – blatant preaching of the author’s personal opinion is a huge turn off. It’s all right to express an opinion, but if they’re just trolling and being blatantly loud about it then that’s where I draw the line.

  2. Book Blather

    blatant discrimination, scumbag main characters who are derogatory towards women, and really horrifying scenes (like rape) will make me stop reading a book, or better yet, not pick it up in the first place!

    • Carrie Slager

      Yeah, I try not to pick up books I think are going to be like that because you can usually tell from the blurb. Sometimes, though, it throws you for a loop and you really just feel disgusted. Rape scenes are iffy for me: if they’re needlessly graphic (usually bordering on pornographic) then I definitely will put the book down. Otherwise, I’m uncomfortable but I will keep reading.

  3. Jemima Pett

    Yes I’m with you all on the discrimination and preaching, and more or less anything gratuitous. But there’s so much good stuff out there to read that I have been known to put a book down if it’s boring, tedious or irritating. I have better things to do with my time. Of course, that’s horribly subjective, but reading’s a personal thing, and fortunately, I don’t do it for a living. Well, not fiction… I get plenty of boring, badly written science papers to wade through. Maybe that’s why I have a low threshold in fiction reading.

    • Carrie Slager

      I usually just keep going with a boring book because usually I’m still curious to see what happens. Either that or it’s just sheer stubbornness. Although I have been known to put down a truly boring book on occasion.

  4. Tammy Sparks

    Any character, especially females, that let themselves be controlled and don’t fight back, drives me crazy. And I don’t know if this counts, but it’s true for me: when a finished book has an abundance of typos and grammatical errors, I just stop reading.

    • Carrie Slager

      That certainly counts! I can definitely see why you’d hate females just being pushed around because I feel the same way. The preaching is the top dealbreaker for me, but it’s by no means the only one. I’m a stickler for grammatical and spelling errors as well.

  5. Margaret

    A little while in, once the plot’s established, I sit back and ask myself if I give a rat’s patootie what happens to these people. If the answer is no, the book goes.

  6. Rebecca Vance

    As a reviewer, one of my biggest problems is what you mentioned and that is because they are writing out of character. If a writer is writing from a pov character where that attitude has been set up (i.e. the villain), that is one thing, but 99.9% of what you are describing with the racism and hate, that is not how the character was set up, so the writer is letting down the reader by going out of the character. I also would say lots of grammatical and typo errors would cause me to stop as well. I have only refused to review one book because I couldn’t finish it. I mentioned this in a previous post. I didn’t care for the genre for starters, but I was willing to read on and assess the writing and not the genre. One of the biggest reasons I couldn’t read it was that there was absolutely no character development. There must have been close to 15 new characters in less than 3 chapters and I couldn’t keep them straight–not even the protagonist! There was nothing to differentiate between the characters. They were introduced by name and maybe one other small item, their job or a former memory..I tried and tried to read it, but I just couldn’t. It was also way too technical. It was sci-fi and it was very heavy on the science and it wasn’t explained. I have seen others that I wasn’t crazy about, but I could finish them. Other people seemed to like it, but I was a holdout.

    • Carrie Slager

      Yes, too many characters combined with typos is a dealbreaker! If I can’t remember which character has which backstory, I’ll put the book down. I’ve done it previously with classic novels where I just can’t be bothered to care about anyone. Character development is generally pretty important to me as well because I feel that when characters go through things, like real people they have to change.

  7. La Coccinelle

    Blatant discrimination would probably bother me, too… but I don’t seem to choose books where that turns out to be an issue. For me, bad grammar is the dealbreaker. There is a surprisingly large number of books out there whose authors don’t understand the basics of writing grammatically correct sentences and dialogue.

    • Carrie Slager

      The discrimination thing is relatively rare, so I’d have to say that my #2 is grammar! It’s worse with self-published authors because they’re their own editors, but I bad grammar and typos annoy me more in traditionally published novels.

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