Today I discarded the third or fourth novel I've started this month. I can't finish it. I can't finish most novels I start. I want desperately to read a good story but can't find something that works for me. Why not? There are a few reasons:
1. Foul language. Contemporary fiction has so much foul language. Are we trying to be real? I don't talk that way. I know people who do, and I find them dull and annoying, and prefer not to spend time with them. Same for fictional characters.
2. Gratuitous casual sex. Sick of it. Nonmarital, extramarital (are those unbelievably old-fashioned words now?), straight, gay, I don't want to read it. Related: stories in which infidelity (used to be called adultery) is treated as normal and has no negative consequences.
3. Stories in which all men are doofuses and all women are smart and capable. Sick. Of. It.
4. Overly sentimental stories. Actually my first word for this category was "sappy." I know I will offend someone when I say that Christian romance fiction has got to be the biggest brain-musher I've encountered since I memorized Goodnight Moon. Seriously.
5. Stories with too much conflict. So much modern fiction is bleak. "Family tragedy fiction," as I call it, piles on one horrid event after another. A little bit of dysfunction is real; total dysfunction is depressing.
What makes you quit a novel?
And, what novels have you finished and enjoyed lately?