Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do you always Finish a Stinker?

In a recent conversation with a fellow book lover, I started to wonder more and more about the idea of not finishing books. Have you ever only read a portion of the book and decided it wasn't worth you precious book reading time? And I do mean precious time, with three boys under age 5 I can only find so many quiet moments to read a few pages in, so don't like the waste them.
It has happened to me a few time and now I am trying to determine what my own personal criterion seems to be in regards to finishing a book. I can't just say flat out that if I don't like it I won't finish it, because I know that is not the case. Truth be told, I did not particularly care for the first Rachel Morgan book (by Kim Harrison) until a little over half way through and now I am practically salivating at the chance to read the latest installment Black Magic Sanction (which coincidentally, comes out today!). But I soldiered on because I had two very good friends recommend the book, and one even told me it started out slow. But what do you do when you don't have that information. How do you decide to solider on or return it to the bookshelf? Do you adhere to that old adage of the power of 50 - if you aren't grabbed in the first 50 pages, move on? I have one main issue with this, 50 pages is relative. In a 300 page book, yes you should be enthralled by page 50 but if the book is more like 1300 pages, it will likely take longer.
Here are some Guidelines I came up with, but of course there are exceptions to every single one:
When to keep going:
  • You know you enjoy the Author's writing from other books
  • A fellow (and like-minded) book lover recommended it
  • You have the faints desire to know what happens
  • It's neither the first nor the last in a series (ie there is another book to come)
  • When it's your book club "assigned" reading book
  • You are at least 3/4 of the way through - because serious you might as well!
When to RE-shelve:
  • You could careless what the outcome is
  • You find yourself very easily distracted from reading
  • Your usually nagging desire to get a book in your hand subsides even a little
  • If you are constantly thinking of the next book in TBR pile!
So what do you think? What makes you continue on with a stinker?


  1. For me, I usually try to finish a book not matter what. However, there have been a few that I just couldn't stand to read another page. My advice would be to give it your best effort and don't beat youeself up if you feel the need to put it away and move on!

  2. P.S. Can't wait to read the new Rachel Morgan!!! Picked it up this morning but need to finish a final paper for my class so I will hold off for a few days. Will let you know how it is!

  3. I wish I could say I was able to put a book aside once I started it, but no matter how much it stinks, I have to finish. It's like I've already invested the time to read the first 100 pages, I might as well read the rest.

    Girl With the Dragon Tattoo started out very slow for me, took 100 pages to get going in fact, but now I rank it as one of my favorites. SO glad I stuck with it.

  4. You make a good point Alison. I think I totally jinxed myself with this post. The very next book I started was a sticker that I put down after 40 pages because it was incredibly depression - The Glass Castle. I have recruited a friend to read it and let me know if I should finish it.

  5. If I lose interest, I will stop reading right away. I just move on to the next book. Thanks for supporting Friday Follow. Have a wonderful weekend. Rita @ http://one2try.blogspot.com/


I love love love love to hear what other people think - share your thoughts so we can start a dialogue!