Some books just turn me off from the first chapter.
O]ne thing that occurred to me, just because it can break a book as far as I'm concerned, relates to the level of early uncertainty and early complexity. Not to put too fine a point on it, I like to know where I am and almost at once. If Brenda is who we start with, there better be something about who Brenda is and/or what her situation is from which the story begins. If, as is usually the case, Brenda is a person with connections to other people in the world, then as they come along I'm keen to know who they are and why they matter to Brenda or in Brenda's current predicament.
I have decided that I'm an intellectual lightweight and lazy as well.
I recently decided to read some books I had been unable to "get into." Very worthwhile books: Typhoon, Kim, The Charterhouse of Parma, and others.
I was unable to read past the first chapter of most of these. Actually, that is not quite accurate, because I read some of the Charterhouse and had to stop because Fabrizzio was such a dope I couldn't really care what happened to him.
I admit that my inability to finish these books is my fault, and not that of the authors. But I didn't want to read them then, and I don't believe I ever will.