So many books, so little time

Adiscussion the other day led us to talking about reading, specifically about reading books if we aren’t enjoying them.

Some people read a book until the end, no matter what. I refuse to do that. Reading is supposed to be pleasurable, and slogging through an unbelievable plot with unsympathetic characters is not enjoyable. Besides, there are too many other books waiting for me to waste time on a book I don’t like.

Some readers give a book only a page or two before deciding whether or not to continue. I admit it, I was guilty of doing that for years. Reading time was at a premium, and if I wasn’t hooked immediately, I didn’t have time to waste.

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion neither one is fair. It isn’t fair to me to force myself to read a book I don’t like, and it isn’t fair to only allow an author one or two pages to grab my attention.

Now, I read the blurb on the back of the book, and I’ll force myself through three chapters, regardless of how bad the book is. If I can put the book down without seeing what happens next, I do. If that system is good enough for editors, it’s good enough for me.

What about you? What kind of reader are you?


So many books, so little time — 8 Comments

  1. 3 chapters seems fair to me. I used to finish no matter what, because I felt like if I didn’t, then the book “won.” Then I realized it was just the opposite. If I spend time slogging through something I’m not enjoying, then I’m the loser!

    What I hate is when I’m not really enjoying the book, but there’s one thing about it that keeps me guessing just enough to want to know what happens. That’s frustrating. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen all that often. Either a book’s good enough to finish, or it’s not, usually.


  2. Sometimes it’s just the wrong book for me that day/week/season. I have to be in the mood for some types of books. Sometimes I’ll read a book I don’t like all the way through and call it a learning experience — what made this book work so well for other people? What technique changes would have made it work for me? What does the author do well enough to keep me from tossing the book against the wall, despite me not liking the story for whatever reason?

  3. I generally finish a book whether I like it or not, it just takes me longer. I have three or four books that aren’t intersting me enough, but I will get back to them eventually. There are some exceptions. If it is a book I borrowed, I don’t feel compelled to finish it, but if I spent money on it, yeah, I tend to finish them.

  4. I have to be in the right mood. If I have the leisure time to read (e.g. on an airplane), I’m more lenient than, say, when I’m trying to juggle children. Otherwise they get the opening chapter and I’m done.

    What’s worse, to me, is if I can’t remember what the book was about, a week after I’ve read it. That’s never a good sign. :loser:

  5. I’ve been noticing it’s around page 30! That’s when I give up if, like you said, I really don’t care what happens next. I’ve got about three or four books laying face down around that page number on my night table right now. Gosh, I hope I pick up a good one soon!

  6. I don’t finish reading a book if I’m not enjoying it. I give it a couple of chapters. If I don’t find myself wondering what’s going to happen next I move onto another book.

  7. When I was younger, I always finished every book. I usually ended up with a headache if I didn’t like the book. :hissyfit:

    Now that I’m older, I’m less patient with bad novels, but I still give them a few chapters before I give up. :wall: