Here is an interesting survey of why readers give up on a novel. Also, the top five current books and classics that Goodreads readers never finished. The top reason to abandon a book is, the book is boring. For those of us who try to write, maybe it’s comforting to know even best-sellers leave some people bored.
With current books, people have different tastes and interests so it makes sense to me they enjoy different books. With classics, I think when a book finally becomes a “classic”, its time may have come and gone. In high school I was a good girl and dutifully dragged my eyes across every book assigned, except one. I could not get through A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I don’t think anyone else in the class did, either.
Recently I reviewed Encounter with Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes. This book is hard science fiction at its best and at its worst. Technology and the science are the main characters. You may love or hate this book, which will say as much about you as it does about the book. I liked it and finished it, but I must admit the level of detail got to be too much for me in places and I skimmed sections. This is an example of a book that some readers will abandon but others will love.
I’ve written science fiction myself. Glory on Mars is now available – a one-way trip to colonize Mars may be a mistake. Sure hope it’s not boring!