Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Words: Finish or Forget It?

Last night I found myself in a situation that absolutely sucks for book people - I was reading a book that I just could not get into. The plot was weird, there were eight different points of view telling the story, and it just wasn't doing anything for me.

But I kept reading (okay, skimming really) to see if it would get better or pick up or if I was just missing something. It didn't. At the end of it I felt like I'd wasted a fairly large chunk of time, a few hours that I could have been reading or doing something else.

So it begs the question that in cases like this where a book is just not jiving at all, is it okay to forget it and at say at least a girl tried, or was finishing it still a good thing?

I'm torn, to be honest. On the one hand, I'm a certified teacher. Reading things you don't always like can be good for you, to an extent. But this was recreational reading, so was it really worth it? When do you guys draw the line - 5 pages? 50 pages? Force yourself to finish like I did?

These are non-rhetorical questions, people! Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading (I hope!).


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  2. I usually manage to slog through most books that I don't love -- even if I get annoyed, there is often something that keeps me entertained or curious. Usually I just want to find out how it ends, even if it's only because I like to see train wrecks in progress -- so a more morbid curiosity than anything else.

    I usually give up on a book if I haven't been grabbed by it by about 100 pages in or 25% of the way through. If I feel like I don't care about the characters or the plots, or if I feel a sense of dread/annoyance when I even think about picking the book up again, I'll DNF it.

    Like Brittany said, I have so many other books waiting to be read which are ones that I will probably enjoy that I don't want to waste my time on something that I'm not getting any enjoyment out of.

  3. I agree with Brittany and Sarah. If it's not fun and there are other books waiting in the wings, I give up. I do enjoy a good train wreck from time to time though. I'll keep going if I feel obligated to read and/or review it as well, but even then I still DNF occasionally. If I find it a chore, at any point, it's time to let it go.

  4. I started A Tale of Two Cities multiple times. I could only get through the first two pages. Then, I listened to the audio book. After the first hour-long segment, I was totally hooked. Now it's one of my favorites. Also, I found The Phantom of the Opera to be a slow starter. Again, the audio book hooked me. These two books are highly acclaimed, so I knew that they would probably be good. That may not be true in your case. But it helped me that I'd already committed my entire run or commute or flight to listening to these books so I gave them enough chance to be engrossed.

  5. Whenever I found myself unable to really get into whatever book I'm reading, I'll usually put it aside for a little bit, with the intention of picking it up again and finishing it at some point. Sometimes I do end up finishing them, but I still have books that have been sitting half-finished for months, so who knows if I'll ever actually get around to them.

    I do try to give books a chance to see if they get better, but at the same time, I hate the feeling of knowing I just wasted several precious hours on a bad book.


  6. That happened to me with A Hundred Years of Solitude. It was such a struggle to finish it, but I did. Nowadays, I have so many books waiting for me that if I can't get into it, I just move on to the next book. I always give books a chance but if by the middle I am struggling, I won't keep reading.

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads