When I worked at the bookstore, I ran into a coworker in the break room. Megan was always reading something interesting, so, when I saw her with a new book, I asked, “What are you reading?”
She looked slightly away from me as she held up the hardcover in her hands. It was one of those vampire books that a lot of people read and everyone makes fun of now. “I got on the bandwagon.”
Valuing her opinion, I asked, “Is it any good?”
Megan’s answer: “No.”
A few weeks later, I caught her again with a hardcover. “Still reading it?”
“No,” she said, lifting the book. “I moved on to the next one.”
“So it got better?”
“No. It’s awful.”
I can’t make this stuff up.
There have been plenty of times where someone has started reading a series and kept on, even when they didn’t enjoy what they were reading. It could be stubbornness or hope. Whatever the cause, people have read things long where they stopped liking the story. Find a few friends who read comics and you’ll find someone who buys a book they don’t enjoy just so they don’t break up the run.
Many series have done this. I’ve heard some of the strongest Robert Jordan fans voice irritation at some of the middle books in The Wheel of Time. One of my favorite series, The Dune Chronicles, has two points where readers stop reading (before and after the awesomely crazy God Emperor of Dune).
Right now, I’m reading the latest book in an urban fantasy series. And I’m reading it out of habit. I didn’t enjoy the last two books (hence why I haven’t mentioned what series I’m talking about), but I was given a personally signed copy. As of this writing, I’m about a quarter of the way through the story and it’s OK. I feel myself nitpicking things a bit much, maybe because I’m a writer, maybe because I want a reason to stop.
I bring this up because I wonder if I’ll ever enjoy this series as much as I once did. Can I fall in love with these characters again after trudging through a couple of volumes I didn’t care for? Is it possible to feel the joy and passion I once did?
Something has started me reading this book, just like something kept Megan reading those vampire books. Either way, take a bow writers; you’ve done something right.