Lately, I’ve been subject to a strange phenomena. Calling it “hate reading” isn’t fair—because if I honestly hated a book, I would stop reading it—but a mild dislike that doesn’t completely deter me. If fact, it weirdly keeps me reading more. And, for the life of me, I can’t figure it out (or even what to call it other than “hate reading”).
Like hate watching a terrible TV show or movie (looking at you, Fern Gully), “hate reading” is when you read the entirety of a book that you don’t actually like. And, usually, it’s not the book’s fault. Maybe you’re not crazy about the premise, or didn’t connect with the MC, or understand the world building. In any case, you just didn’t connect with the story. Hey, it happens.
But, then, why do you keep reading?
Why not move onto the next book? If there’s nothing you love, why not just put it aside? What makes you (or, more specifically, me) keep reading?
Honestly…I don’t know.
Which is part of the reason why the term “hate reading” doesn’t fit. It’s not caused by actually hating the book. I don’t hate it. I just don’t love it. There’s nothing offensive enough or horrific enough to cause me to put aside the book. It’s just…meh.
And—even more confusing—it doesn’t happen every time. There have been many “meh” books I’ve put down and never picked up again. So what is it about these “meh” books that keeps them from the same fate? What imperceptible element do they have that spares them?
Maybe it’s the hope that the pace will pick up, or that an MC will grow and change their personality. Maybe it’s the hope that something will surprise me, or that one of the secondary characters that I like will hijack the plot and run away with the book.
Maybe it’s because I want to love it, but can’t force myself to.
Sound off in the comments: what makes you keep reading a book, even when you’re not crazy about it? Why do you put some books aside and not others?
Let’s be scientists and figure this out.