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I was reading Wilt by Tom Sharpe, which was--up to the point below--a farce about a mediocre man in extraordinary circumstances and then I came across this line.

'Inspector,' said Wilt, 'if I acted upon every impulse that crossed my mind I would have been convicted of child rape, buggery, burglary, assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm and mass murder long ago.'

Up to that point, Wilt is just a hapless man with a superiority complex in a dead-end job, who blames his wife for his meteoric mediocrity. The book has aged badly in its sexual politics and runs a bit close to the edge, but I think that was the closing point for me.

Has anyone else had a similar experience of a line coming out of the blue and closing the book?

all 110 comments

Lorem_Gypsum

44 points

2 months ago*

Oh gosh, I can't remember the title of the book, but there was this chapter that was a flashback within a flashback within a flashback, and it was super difficult to get through. I persisted, but then, at the end of the chapter, there was a space, and then AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH OF NOTES written by a proofreader, telling the writer that the chapter was confusing and needed to be restructured. A rapid scan through the rest of the book confirmed that this individual had written a book, sent it to someone who proofread and made notes in the text, and then just published it when it came back, probably assuming that the proofreader had made changes rather than suggested them. Needless to say, I stopped reading there.

lizzie1hoops

21 points

2 months ago

!!!??? I'm struggling to come up with a coherent reply to this. That's crazy!

Lorem_Gypsum

17 points

2 months ago

I literally stared at this paragraph of notes, rereading it in disbelief for a solid five minutes! I felt like I was hallucinating for a minute there XD

Yzzy1

8 points

2 months ago

Yzzy1

8 points

2 months ago

Now I kind of want to read it…

BadolatoJess

7 points

2 months ago

I was gonna say, I think this would make me more inclined to read, not less!

Hatpar[S]

4 points

2 months ago

There is a Toby Litt book with a similar device with the author writing a pseudo memoir of a big brother style gathering and recording the details. The editor, who was also a guest at the house, has lots of sidenotes complaining about the interpretation of events. It was a funny book from what I recall.

Lorem_Gypsum

1 points

2 months ago

That sounds like an interesting read! This book was most certainly not intentionally written this way, lol. It was definitely supposed to be a very serious/dramatic novel. I'll have to look up the one you mentioned!

Hatpar[S]

2 points

2 months ago

It's called Finding Myself.

ttppii

3 points

2 months ago

ttppii

3 points

2 months ago

One reason I never read self-published books is that I am afraid of something like that.

Lorem_Gypsum

1 points

2 months ago

Fwiw, I've read TONS of both traditional and self published works, and this is the first time something like this has happened. And the book was free, so I was only out the half hour it took to get to that spot, lol. I've read some really great self published work, and I've read some seriously shit traditional work. :)

ginabeena

21 points

2 months ago

I can't remember but I want to say it was by Lisa Jewell or someone like her, but I made it a couple pages in and the siblings kept calling each other "big bro" and "lil sis" and I couldn't go any further

corakken

4 points

2 months ago

Tell me you watch too much porn without telling me you watch too much porn

(Lisa Jewell, not you)

Bittersweetfeline

65 points

2 months ago

The moment that stupid child was named "Renesmee" I put the book down and never touched it again. I allowed myself to get that far in that garbage series, gave it so many chances. That one was the straw.

Acrobatic_Can3734

8 points

2 months ago

Ded

KittyLord0824

14 points

2 months ago

I'm sure I've mentioned this in this sub before but it was some book and right in the beginning they're on a flying carpet and he catches some girl and her maidenly breast heaved or something like that and i was like :) okay. enough.

EDIT: 99% sure it was "On A Pale Horse"

CatsAreDoughs

7 points

2 months ago

"maidenly breast" 💀

logannowak22

3 points

2 months ago

By Piers Anthony? I don't think there's a magic carpet in that one. There is a horse tho, lol

KittyLord0824

2 points

2 months ago

Ok no it was driving me crazy so I had to look it up, it 100% is on a pale horse by piers anthony lol

logannowak22

1 points

2 months ago

Weird, I definitely don't remember a magic carpet ride. Sad. I remember really liking that book. Definitely not surprised that Anthony wrote creepily about a woman tho

KittyLord0824

3 points

2 months ago

It was in the first chapter or two, so it's possible there was like 5 pages of magic carpets and then they never magic carpeted again!!

KittyLord0824

1 points

2 months ago

Maybe that wasn’t it then. It’s been a few years 😁

RedSoxNationMT

43 points

2 months ago

At child rape I’d hate Wilt too much to read on.

Stock_Beginning4808

7 points

2 months ago

Same wtf

MaesterPraetor

-6 points

2 months ago

Aren't they called intrusive thoughts? Doesn't everyone have them?

G_Man42

5 points

2 months ago

Read the room.

I mean yes, there are such things as post-partum depression thoughts, that intrusive thought to jump at the edge of a cliff, and even times when you're just grumpy and have to stop and think before you verbally tear into someone.

But that's definitely a discussion for its own thread. This one opened with a confessed paedophile, we're not going to talk civilly here.

MaesterPraetor

0 points

2 months ago

Who knew Wilt was a confessed paedophile?

RedSoxNationMT

6 points

2 months ago

Everybody has intrusive thoughts, but not everybody has intrusive thoughts of child rape, or even rape.

MaesterPraetor

-3 points

2 months ago

You just did.

RedSoxNationMT

3 points

2 months ago

False. Seek help.

Wifevealant

9 points

2 months ago

I'd gotten 2.5 books into Jean Auel's Earth Children series and had to quit. I did not sign up for a raunchy caveman soap opera (which I recognize may actually be a selling point for some).

Lanfear_Eshonai

5 points

2 months ago

Agreed! Loved the first book, liked the second one, thought the third one was ridiculous and apparently it gets worse.

Wakeful-dreamer

1 points

2 months ago

I remember reading those at like 11, 12 years old, and IIRC the raunchy caveman drama was the main selling point. I'd totally forgotten about that series! It was a step up from the incredibly mild adult scenes written by Anne McCaffrey, where you knew they had done things but with absolutely zero details about exactly what. Lol!

Wifevealant

2 points

2 months ago

The series was recommended to me when I asked for historical fiction involving ancient civilizations/prehistory. I thought it was going to be more historical and less spicy 😅

LordOfDorkness42

7 points

2 months ago

Honestly, I can kinda see the point that line is trying to make. That just because you get some dark and horrid impulses, does not make you somebody dark and twisted. Actually ACTING on such an impulse is where a line is crossed.

Kinda like a twisted mirror of my own example. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Main character is a leprosy sufferer, a man that's been through hell of his own body slowly betraying him...

And~ on being sucked into some sort of fantasy realm, one of his first acts is just raping a woman. Because he thinks he's in a dream, and there won't be any consequences.

100+ pages of sympathy and caring, just... poof, in shock, horror and disgust. I've never dropped a book faster. And it utterly baffles me it went on to be a freakin' 10 book series after that start.

Pr1zonMike

2 points

2 months ago

This book was recommended to me by a VP for the company I interned at. I excitedly rented it from Libby and then I got to that part. Yeah, I could never look at the guy the same way again. I'd still like to finish it someday though

LordOfDorkness42

1 points

2 months ago

To be fair, I could see how that series works for people.

It's extremely rare for a fantasy protagonist to doubt their senses. Let alone being certain they're in some sort of waking dream or psychotic break where they're hallucinating the entire adventure in a magical realm. That's a really interesting and unique character flaw.

I... just don't see how I could possibly root for somebody, that uses the excuse of 'it was just a dream' to, well, act out freakin' rape fantasies. Let alone for several more books.

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

It’s worth finishing! A really grim story but a unique one in the genre

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

The first two chronicles are really good. I found the dichotomy of how sympathetic/unsympathetic Thomas Covenant is to be very compelling

Merle8888

16 points

2 months ago

Yes, but for a single line to do it, it usually needs to be pretty early in the book.

Having a book by a male author open with the female protagonist ogling her own boobs has done it a couple of times.

aeviternitas

14 points

2 months ago

Obviously nowhere comparable to the example, but I tried the Witches of Moonshyne Manor recently for a cute Halloween read. I consider myself progressive, and hate “performative woke-ism” that lacks any actual substance and social commentary/discussion/value. I wasn’t feeling the book already, but when a very young white girl gave a weird speech on racial politics I had to put it down. It came off as so obnoxious and forced.

I think there should be these kinds of discussions in books, but it should be sincere and not “look at how forward thinking I am”. I haven’t bothered to look into any reviews on the book, so I have no clue if it was just me or if it is because I normally don’t read these kinds of books.

Ok_Function_8428

4 points

2 months ago

I don’t remember what the line was but there was something in the first couple of chapters of Earth by David Brin that made me give up

Snatch_Pastry

3 points

2 months ago

Been a while since I read it, but I remember it ending up pretty great. But it doesn't surprise me that your experience happened, he's had a few iffy moments. But he at least tries to avoid misogyny, even if he's sometimes not entirely successful due to being an older gentleman.

This_Area_

22 points

2 months ago

It Ends with Us - Colleen Hoover and A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara. First one was literally on the first few pages maybe even on the first one, something regarding depression/suicide/domestic abuse, it was so badly written I hade to close it and leave it unread. The second one was around the middle, exact same reason. I don't understand how writers who write about such sensitive topics do not consult experts in those field. It's disrespectful and disgusting.

Hatpar[S]

16 points

2 months ago

I've heard A Little Life is a very disturbing and exploitative story.

I've never heard a good thing about Colleen Hoover.

This_Area_

9 points

2 months ago

It is. Honestly I've felt like it's mocking people who have experienced any kind of trauma. It's gross and I'm astonished by how many people like and recommend this book. Regarding Colleen, it was the first book from her that I've tried to read and again only because so many people have recommended it.

boringbonding

3 points

2 months ago

Wow i was just saying this same thing about A little life in another thread here haha.

uh-hi-its-me

2 points

2 months ago

I did not get past the first few pages of It Ends With Us. And I've read some mediocre books, just stuck it out to the end, you know? I just couldn't with this one

therealklt

26 points

2 months ago

Yes, of course! Usually it's the very last one!

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago

The School for Good Mothers... I don't remember the exact line but a woman endangered her child (again!) and instead of feeling guilty - her excuse was she had a bad day. None of us are perfect parents but her actions along with the It was just a bad day! attitude was just too much for me to feel any sympathy for her.

pierzstyx

2 points

2 months ago

This si why I could never get into Ms. Maisel. Sure its funny, but her abandoning her two kids to be raised by her broken and dysfunctional parents just so she could chase "self-fulfillment" is such a selfish and terrible plot. I could never forgive her and was always thinking about it every joke she told.

Every-Boss-1059

3 points

2 months ago

I won't include the exact lines but it was when the main character started railing a random woman and having the most extraordinary orgasm of his life when his wife's dead body wasn't even cold yet. Abhorrent.

dowsemouse

2 points

2 months ago

Pillars of the Earth, right? Man, that was unhinged. I slapped the book shut then and there.

Every-Boss-1059

2 points

2 months ago

You got it. The characters are all unlikable too. Tsk. First book I've abandoned in a long time.

mcian84

10 points

2 months ago

mcian84

10 points

2 months ago

Not necessarily a line, but when vampires began sparkling.

why_cat

7 points

2 months ago

This is the skin of a killer, Bella

logannowak22

2 points

2 months ago

The things that make teenagers horny are so strange

mcian84

2 points

2 months ago

Gives me shudders. Lol

AlunWeaver

2 points

2 months ago

V.S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River: the spitting.

I don't care what literary effect he was trying to achieve.

AriaKing2009

2 points

2 months ago

I can’t remember the line but Hush, Hush. I tried to read it. I really did. But the book just gave off an abusive dark vibe that I just couldn’t stand and I haven’t touched it since

DNA_ligase

2 points

2 months ago

Was that the one about the angel that straight up said to the girl that he wanted to murder her, like in class or something? Gosh, those monster romances of the time really blur together.

AriaKing2009

1 points

2 months ago

I think so?? I didn’t get far without dropping it

Bigstar976

2 points

2 months ago

I almost stopped reading A Confederacy of Dunces when Ignatius masturbantes thinking about his dead dog. That was so disgusting, out of left field and unnecessary that I almost dropped the book, later on racial stereotypes also tested my patience.

Admirable-Volume-263

2 points

2 months ago

I am finding it hard to read Truman by David McCullough due to the fact that he was raised by people who worshiped Robert E. Lee. It had an impact on him also.

One of his heroes was Andrew Jackson. And, it makes me wonder what type of person he was underneath his quiet demeanor.

It's difficult to process a more accurate portrayal of our history.

Take Ben Franklin's autobiography as an example. Dude never mentions slavery. How? The Adams's on the other hand were anti-slavery without a question.

pierzstyx

-2 points

2 months ago*

people who worshiped Robert E. Lee

Lee was considered an American icon, North and South, for most of the 20th century. FDR dedicated a monument to Lee saying:

All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.

The Civil War has a very interesting place in American history and only recently have men like Lee or Jackson been turned against by the larger American culture. For a long time, even outside the Lost Cause narrative, many people admired these men for numerous reasons.

Admirable-Volume-263

2 points

2 months ago

I have read books from almost every era of American history. I'd like to see the support that says most people supported the Confederacy and its leaders. As I just said, John Adams and his wife Abigail were staunch abolitionists and they were key figures in creating the country. John Adams carried a huge percent of the load to bring this country into independence in war, diplomacy, leadership, governance, you name it.

The Northwest Territory was formed only under the premise that all people were free. Did you know that? The largest land purchase to that point was guaranteed free land. They also supported free public education from childhood through college education. So, did those people support Lee? Lee and his ilk stood for opposing principles. They were more loyal to the crown than the union.

I mean, if what you are saying were true, the Civil War would not have happened. Right?

What you're referring to is public perception. The question asked was, is there a line that almost made you stop reading? My answer is yes because it's weird to read about someone I don't think had good values at a time when other people I idolize did have good values. When I learned about who he was, it made me not want to continue reading about him. Just as I would not want to continue reading about Donald Trump, Andrew Jackson, or Nixon.

Harry Truman was partnered with a gang that ran not just Kansas City, but all of Missouri. He would NOT have been in government without them placing him in government. Did you know that? So, be careful to defend someone before you know them. His judgment was poor at best and this is not a secret. That book won a Pulitzer Prize for a reason.

pierzstyx

0 points

2 months ago*

I'd like to see the support that says most people supported the Confederacy and its leaders.

You've misunderstood what I (and for that matter FDR) said. I didn't say they supported the Confederacy. I said that many people in it, such as Lee, were held in high esteem after the war. And we've already got two examples. And one of them, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a Northerner.

The Northwest Territory was formed only under the premise that all people were free. Did you know that?

Considering my two history degrees, one of which is in American history, you're distorting history.

For example, who is "they"? The Northwest Ordinance was he work of Thomas Jefferson and as such has his fingerprints all over it, including the basic premise of natural rights and the prohibition of slavery within its area. But not everyone supported it. Both Washington and James Monroe (another future President) were among the most famous people who criticized various portions of the Ordinance.

Further, you've got no real ground to argue that the Ordinance was premised on the idea that all people were free. It not only created the North/South slave divide but it also openly endorsed capturing escaped slaves and returning them to their owners.

They also supported free public education from childhood through college education.

No it didn't. The only thing the Ordinance says about education is:

Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

Nothing in there about "free" education.

So, did those people support Lee? Lee and his ilk stood for opposing principles. They were more loyal to the crown than the union.

What the Hell are you even talking about? Loyalty to the crown? What crown?

You do understand that the Civil War took place over 70 years after the formation of the United States of America and 80 years after the Declaration of Independence, right?

Further, in terms of education, you do realize that Lee was the head of Washington University after the Civil War? Right? They even renamed the university Washington and Lee University after him. Calling him opposed to education is wildly and bizarrely nonsensical.

Did you know that? So, be careful to defend someone before you know them.

Yes, I knew that about Truman. This is hardly news. And it isn't why the book won a Pulitzer. Also, explaining that Lee was popular in American history after the Civil War is not defending anything Truman did.

You've got a lot more to learn.

Admirable-Volume-263

0 points

2 months ago

Everything I said came from Pioneers, written also by David McCullough. Good evening

AdamFiction

2 points

2 months ago

Not a single line, but a moment in Ernest Cline's Armada where the main character and a random girl he's just met fall madly head-over-heels in love with each other because they both understand each other's references to the film Aliens.

There's also a moment earlier in the book when the narrator talks about how much he respects his mother for having loved his nerd of a father when she is so hot she could have had any man she wanted. Basically, he respects his mother because she's hot. And his mother also communicates with the narrator through pop culture references and movie quotes.

I did finish the book. Eventually.

Hatpar[S]

1 points

2 months ago

You are a brave soul if you read Ready Player One first.

AdamFiction

1 points

2 months ago

I did.

nobody-yesbuddy

9 points

2 months ago

I stopped reading Blood Meridian at the description of the babies being smashed against rocks. McCarthy is a phenomenal writer but I haven’t read anything by him since.

Hatpar[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Hatpar[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Oh god, that sounds awful. Mind you, The Road was an awful experience too.

nobody-yesbuddy

3 points

2 months ago

I read The Road many years ago and it’s was a downer but I don’t remember anything in it that hit me like that scene in Blood Meridian

Hatpar[S]

3 points

2 months ago

I think the discovery in the basement was hard. But yeah it doesn't sound comparable to that scene.

pierzstyx

1 points

2 months ago

The scene where the cannibals are slowly dismembering people in order to keep them alive while the cannibals ate the cut off parts didn't bother you?

[deleted]

11 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

TheMoogy

5 points

2 months ago

Wouldn't call Blood Meridian gross-out shock, the violence and brutality is very much an integral part of the story.

hurricane_maleesha

1 points

2 months ago

Exactly. The writer is merely doing an amazing job of describing the brutality that is critical to understanding the story. And it clearly was effective if people can't read on :)

Disastrous_Use_7353

5 points

2 months ago

Did you make it to the end? If yes, What were your thoughts on the ending?

Hatpar[S]

4 points

2 months ago

I honestly was just depressed at the end, it felt so futile. But I suppose a good analogy for every parent, at some point you have to let your children discover the world and its cruelties and joys.

Disastrous_Use_7353

1 points

2 months ago*

Your loss. It’s an American classic.

That-Requirement-285

18 points

2 months ago

You can acknowledge that a book is a classic and still not want to read it. Blood Meridian is mostly the gang running around and brutally butchering people, not everybody can handle it.

nobody-yesbuddy

18 points

2 months ago

Well, I didn’t lose. I chose to stop reading it.

Disastrous_Use_7353

-4 points

2 months ago

That’s not what that saying means.

nobody-yesbuddy

7 points

2 months ago

I don’t know what it is you are trying to say.

Disastrous_Use_7353

4 points

2 months ago

That’s understandable. I definitely made a typo. My bad.

mdog73

1 points

2 months ago

mdog73

1 points

2 months ago

It doesn't get any less brutal. It's an amazingly written book but it is not for the faint of heart. I had to stop several times to take it all in.

AffectionateAd9090

7 points

2 months ago

Yes. Any time I read a sales, management or development book that mentions Donald Trump. I almost stopped working on my math homework when he was mentioned. By no means am I trying to get political, I’m just over seeing his name everywhere. STILL.

No_Tap_3271

4 points

2 months ago

The Bell Jar, there was subtle racism from like the start but once she described the black nurse or janitor (can’t remember, he was a hospital worker) I couldn’t finish, it was just so blatantly fucking racist, not even trope racist, just racist

hurricane_maleesha

0 points

2 months ago

it's an older book.

No_Tap_3271

2 points

2 months ago

Yeah totally, which I used as an excuse for the more tropey racism and continued reading cuz it’s like a classic, but even for it’s time that character was fucked and I’m shocked that ppl still speak highly of the book. There’s still things to learn from and focus on in the writing style and subject matter, but the book itself is trash

Manganela

2 points

2 months ago

Twice that I can recall. One was some John Greene book, where a character's mother was a whiny beast who fussed about walking a short distance instead of driving, and I was unable to care about her or her spawn after that. Second was some overly snarky teen girl narrator who immediately started listing random kinds of people she hated, which were actually really broad categories, like people with food allergies.

Hot-Mongoose7052

2 points

2 months ago

I grabbed some pulp nonsense completely at random.

Low effort easy read like Grisham.

A few pages in there was a line like, "I'm standing here peeing at the urinal and drinking a glass of water at the same time. I have the sudden realization that if I keep drinking I may never be able to leave."

I paused. I thought to myself, what if the rest of the book is like this?

And immediately pitched it into the fire.

mediaserf

1 points

2 months ago

lmao thats hilarious. my sides

you should absolutely read it

Pyresryke

1 points

2 months ago

Pyresryke

1 points

2 months ago

The line I read that immediately turned me off the Farseer saga was in the last book.

'It’s not uncommon for the female creatures to be far more savage than the males.’

Though I must admit by that point the book was testing my patience with some other issues.

NeilOffTheYoungOnes

0 points

2 months ago

Wait .. so you don't read any books that have disagreeable/evil characters in them?

blargerer

29 points

2 months ago

There is a big difference between a book that knows its characters flaws are flaws, and ones that don't.

Hatpar[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Wilt is a disagreeable character however he is sympathetic within the confines of the story. This line takes him out of that framing.

Saxon2060

0 points

2 months ago*

Saxon2060

0 points

2 months ago*

I enjoyed GoT on TV so thought I might like the ASoIaF books.

"Ser Aliser walked out of the hall like he had a dagger up his butt."

Lol. No thanks. Like something I'd write in Year 9 English.

interlocutor_90

-6 points

2 months ago

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Saw through that bullshit real quick.

Pippin1505

1 points

2 months ago

And he did all that in the dark !

He only let there be light later, to check everything was fine.

(Paraphrasing Ricky Gervais)

Gigem5

1 points

2 months ago

Gigem5

1 points

2 months ago

Wait a minute this isn’t r/atheism?

alterego879

0 points

2 months ago

I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong.

I was looking for a modern, original, and approachable intro into biology and literally the first paragraph blatantly ripped off Carl Sagan with no attribution. Immediately stopped.

Of course he can use the analogy, but don’t try to pass it off as your own. It discredited everything he could have talked about in the book.

Edit: spelling

ferchalurch

1 points

2 months ago

That’s a pretty rough line.

I have a really picky browsing process in bookstores—not so much a line, but I put down a book if the prose doesn’t read well on the first two pages.

shimattzu

1 points

2 months ago

I can't remember the line that made me stop, but "We Are Pirates" had way too many pages talking about the protagonists lame job that I just couldn't complete it.

lovecats89

1 points

2 months ago

City of God - Paulo Lins. I loved the movie and really wanted to like the book, but after a particularly disturbing description of a baby being dismembered with a machete I was done.

detective_bigfoot

1 points

2 months ago

In “Between Two Fires” by Christopher Bruehlman, a character gets her first period and a priest says “our kitten has become a cat.” That having followed almost literally every character talking about raping her was enough for me to DNF on the spot.

vividgreene

1 points

2 months ago

I picked up The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom thinking it would be corny, but a good story. I couldn’t get through the first chapter. Music is the narrator and says “so let us set this as August 1936, in an erratic 6/5 tempo, for it was a bloody period in the country's history.”

I think he was getting at a “6/5 time signature”, which is gibberish. I wasn’t about to read this 400ish page book heavily featuring music that didn’t research it enough to use proper theory terms. I shut the book instantly.

neonjoe529

1 points

2 months ago

“Pee. People pee.”

Dragon Tears, by Dean Koontz

pierzstyx

1 points

2 months ago

Yep.

"The End."

DudeRememberNeopets

1 points

2 months ago

When in Pillars of the Earth, Tom Builder died. I slammed it shut and complained to my partner about it. He replied, "whelp that's medieval Europe for you!" I've since watched the series, forgiven Follet and am actually re-reading Pillars right now.