ROW80 and What Makes You Stop Reading A Book?

Zounds! It's another ROW80 check in!

Rather slow going this week. I edited a short story I'd written over ten years ago, found it was a lot less lyrical and lovely than I'd imagined all these years, and then I played card toss with five scenes in Rome, Rhymes and Risk - I tossed the scenes in the air and hoped they would land in the right order. I think they might have done, but the entire chapter that follows is a wash.

It's time I chased one of the characters up a tree and brandished a stick at him - or her. Failing that, I'm considering a near-drowning. Especially as I've just found out (thank you Neil Gaiman!) that an old sailors' cure for near-drowning in cold water is a hot bath. Writing a romance after all...

Which brings me to Kristen Callihan's Ember, a short story set before the time of Firelight (coming next month!). Read an excerpt of Ember on Kristen's blog!


Seeing as how I got discouraged by my own writing, now's a good time to answer Heather's question from my Books Read in 2011 post:

"I'm interested in what makes you stop reading.
I can only think of a few books that I stopped reading in the past few years, and both were highly acclaimed favorites of a few good writers I know.
It's really so subjective!! :)"

It is subjective! I've had a few books I've stopped reading - either the writing was bad (and this in a hugely popular, bestselling romance author!) that I couldn't slog through and had to skim; or the writing was good but the story never latched hold, such as with Dorothy Dunnett's Niccolo Rising. She's a very detailed, very well-researched author, but the story just hasn't struck a chord with me; overall, it's just a little too omniscient for my taste.

On the other hand, I expect I'll return to Dunnett someday. The same reaction took place, after all, with Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red, and I not only returned to it a couple of weeks ago, after a gap of some years, but devoured it within a week.

On the third hand, there are some books I return to simply to see if my initial reaction of this sucks! was accurate, or whether I missed something the first time around. I remember doing this with Shane by Jack Schaefer. And yes, it was just as awful the second time. If I have to hear about that tree stump ever again, I'll...

Well. I'll do something. What books have you stopped reading?

Meanwhile, here are two sets of Royal Mail stamps I want, one new, one old:

Roald Dahl (illustrations by Quentin Blake):

(image taken from The Guardian)

J. R. R. Tolkien:

(image taken off Ebay)
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