This week’s Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading asks…
“This week’s musing asks…
What does it take for you to give up on a book you’re reading?“
I usually finish any book I start, no matter how appalling the book is.
On the rare occasions when I do give up on a book, I mainly give it up if it is longwinded, if the story goes nowhere and I fail to see the purpose of it all.
For example, Henry James’s books. His books have defeated me not once but twice. I bought his The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers together. While I managed to finish the first one I just couldn’t go on with The Aspern Papers. One would think I would have learned my lesson. Apparently not. I ended up buying his What Maisie Knew at a library sale. I thought I would give him one more chance (besides the books were going so cheap!). I, who have read books that are over a 1000 pages long, could not read a mere 268 pages of What Maisie Knew. The story goes absolutely no where and I failed to see what it was all about.
Another case in point, The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers. The story even after 113 pages was going nowhere. The narrative was way too full of maritime details for my understanding. Descriptions of tides and sand banks and what not!
I used to be very strict with this and would never abandon reading a book no matter how awful. Then a few years ago I read an article about this very subject and the author said that they gave a new book roughly 50 pages. If at that point it seemed that there was no hope they would move on. I do use this as a guideline but not a hard and fast rule since I’ve read books that picked up a lot after that 50 page mark. While I still prefer to finish a book I am more ready now to drop it because I also don’t want to waste time on something I don’t enjoy.
Oh yes that is the Rule of 50 by Nancy Pearl. But books do pick up quite often after the first 50 pagers. So, I don’t think that rule is for me.
I am getting better at stopping if I am not enjoying the book. I used to be a lot worse before.