Monday, June 1, 2009

Musing Mondays - Or, Is Life Too Short for Bad Books?


Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about sticking with it…

How much time (or how many pages) do you give a book that you aren't really enjoying before you'll set it aside? If you're reading it for a book group discussion, or for review, will you give it more of a chance then, say, a book you're reading for your own interest? Why, or why not? (courtesy of MizB)

As the great Kenny Rogers once said, you've got to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away- and know when to run!

I make a concerted effort to finish every book that I have agreed to review, either for the blog or for the professional journal for which I sometimes write. I will not review a book I have not finished. If I'm not reading it to fulfill a commitment, I will feel free to put it down as soon as picking it back up becomes a chore. There are just too many books I want to read to lose time on clunkers.

Nancy Pearl once advised using this strategy: take the number 100, subtract your age, and read that many more pages before making a decision- but only that many. If you're still struggling, put it down.

I think this is excellent advice, but those over 50 have it easier than do I!

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

13 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

My limit is 20 pages. I move on to the next!

Monday is here again

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh, I knew if I scouted around long enough there would be an advantage to find for being older! (Besides of course "senior rewards" at the grocery store!) :--)

Gary Morgenstein said...

Hi!
Lorri Millings of Jew Wishes suggested I contact you about my new novel "Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman," a romantic triangle about a divorced middle-aged man who falls in love with a beautiful woman rabbi. Lorri already posted her review.
Would you like a review copy? Please let me know.
Thanks for your time.
Best,
Gary Morgenstein
garymorgenstein9@aol.com

Candy Schultz said...

I aim for about halfway only because I have had numerous experiences with books becoming fabulous at that point.

Michelle said...

Excellent topic! I haven't ever quantified where I'll stop. I tend to struggle as long as I can until I just can't bear to pick the book up and keep going.

It's been my experience that first instincts are never wrong so if you know in the first chapter you aren't feeling it why torture yourself? Having said that I do believe there is merit in toughing it out to a certain point if you have a professional obligation to do so. That is the only case I'll keep going forward with something if I'm not particularly fond of it.

Bluestocking said...

LOL! I tend to finish everything. Though sometimes I do set it aside for a bit. Here is Musing.

I also wanted to invite you to join Cafe Blue which is the new book discussion forum I started on my blog.

Marie Burton said...

That is a good trick for the Number of Pages. I just hate that I have about 100 books to read, and when one comes along that I just KNOW is going to be a waste of time, YUCK That is a BAD feeling. ESPECIALLY if someone asked nicely for you to review it.

Ladybug said...

I read about 80-100 pages before I give up. I have only given up once but I have to start practicing this rule more often. When I force myself to stick with a book I often end up losing my passion for reading for a little while.

Audrey said...

oh, well, that would mean a lot of bad pages for me! I don't really have the courage of my convictions when it comes time to say "no thanks, not for me."

I have a brand new strategy though...one ride on the Green Line, if I get a seat. If it's not grabbing me during that precious reading time, it's going back to the library on my walk home. :)

mattviews said...

The Nancy Pearl advice seems very sound and fun. I tend to hold on as long as I can...even if it's boring. :)

soxfan said...

I used to make myself finish books I wasn't enjoying, but have gotten much better at putting something down (and walking away completely if I try again and still can't get into it). I do find it easier to do this with books I've borrowed from the library or gotten for free some other way ... if I actually bought a book, I'm much more likely to try to get my money's worth.

Jess said...

I try to read 50 - 100 pages before I decide the book is not for me, except book club books. I feel like I always have to finish those.

Zibilee said...

I really need to learn to stop reading bad books all the way through. I agree that life is too short to be reading bad books, but I always feel so guilty putting a book down unfinished.