Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Sunday Salon: Giving Up and this weeks reading.


I was just wondering what peoples views are on giving up books you are not enjoying. I was speaking to a friend earlier this week and he claimed that he has never started a book then not finished it, even if he really dislikes it! Personally I give books 50 pages - if I'm not interested by then I'm not willing to waste anymore time on it. I have about 300 books on my tbr pile so I would rather go off and tackle one of those than struggle with a book that fails to hold my attention. This week I gave up on 'I am Charlotte Simmons', the book seemed well written but I just didn't care what happened to her and the pretentious students she seemed to be surrounded by, certainly not bothered enough to read another 600 pages. Giving it up meant I had plenty of time to read the fantastic Paulo Coehlo novel, The Alchemist.


This week is half term, so as a teacher I get a blissful week with plenty of time to read (hopefully if the weather picks back up, I'll be reading in the garden).

I'm planning on finishing A Walk in the Woods, Bryson and Daughters of Fortune, Allende. I then will be reading The Plague, Camus and Sour Sweet, Mo and potentially starting Gravity's Rainbow.


14 comments:

Marg said...

I tend to read books until the bitter end, in hopes that even if I am not enjoying it at the moment, it might suddenly get better! Part of the reason for this is that I generally books that I have seen recommended or books by an author that I have previously read before, so I have reason to hope that maybe it will get better eventually. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.

gautami tripathy said...

I gave up on Ulysses after page 4 and never could finish any of the books by Hemingway. And VS Naipal is a gone case for me!

I did read The Alchemist. But did not like it much!

My SS post!

Samantha said...

It depends a bit on the book how quickly (or if) I give up. Sometimes, if the books isn't that big, I might read all of it, even though I don't like it, this is especially true for challenge books. But usually, the first 100 pages has to get to me, or else I put it away. But I have been known to put a book away after four pages, because I absolutely hated it. So yeah, it depends.

SmallWorld Reads said...

I have given up on VERY few books. If it weren't so early in the morning I could probably name them all. Shipping News I gave up because I despised, utterly, the main character. There was a Joseph Heller novel I gave up once in high school. I know there are a few others. BUT--I really take time in choosing books. I rarely pull random books off the shelf to buy or borrow from the library. I would probably do a lot more quitting if I were reading without recommendations.

BooksPlease said...

I never used to give up on books once I'd started them but then I decided life is just too short to bother reading a book that I'm not enjoying.

My Sunday Salon post

John's comments said...

If it hasn't grabbed me by the first act as it were it off the reading list and on to the next one. I do try and assess if its the book or me. If I think its me( was too tired, wrong mood, its needs a focus etc)it gets back on the TBR pile which happened to Infinite Jest this week.

The Alchemist got thrown out after the first few pages as badly written New Age Tosh!

Table Talk said...

My friend Peter also uses the 50 page rule. He's in his late 70s and says he simply hasn't time to read anything that hasn't grabbed him by then. I certainly don't continue with a book that I think is bad in some way, although I'm not as rigid about the cut-off point. And as a teacher of nearly forty years standing, I think more children have been turned off reading by being forced to read a book that they really dislike than by almost anything else.

Hsien Lei said...

I usually finish all the books I start even if I have to put myself on a 5-10 page a day reading schedule to do it. However, we're moving countries in a couple of months and I've decided to be ruthless. Whatever books on my shelf that I begin before we move which don't engage me by 1/5 of the way through or have any practical knowledge I need are going to be given away.

Literary Feline said...

I don't often give up on books, but I will and I have. I don't have a set page limit I go by like you and so many others do. I tend to give up on books that I find I have no interest in--meaning that I find myself not caring about the characters and what happens next.

For me, a slow book does not equal a bad book. Some of the best books I have read are ones I have found to be slow to read. And some books do take longer to completely grab me. It's when I don't care at all that I know I'm wasting my time.

Irish said...

I used to read every book to the end no matter how much I hated it. Then one day I sort of woke up and thought that life is too short to waste on bad books. So now I give a book about 100 pages (sometimes more or less depending on the overall length of the book). If I can't get into it by then I put it aside. If its meant to be then I might be drawn to it again later. But often once I put it aside I don't think much about it.

Ravenous Reader said...

Long ago I decided there was no use reading a book to the bitter end if I wasn't enjoying it. Why? Do you eat everything on your plate, even if you don't like the taste? I don't, and I never forced my children to do so.

There are too many books in the world to spend time reading one you don't connect with.

Bryan said...

A friend gave a copy of this article http://blogs.westmont.edu/alumni_magazine/archives/in-praise-of-incompletion/
to me, and it helped me with my perspective on giving up on books, and with so many books on my TBR list, it's a policy I believe is one I'm going to have to adopt.

My blog: http://justareadingfool.wordpress.com

Marie said...

if i'm not enjoying a book i tend to hang on longer than i should, but i don't finish everything i start. if it's boring i give it a chance, until i'm really sure it's not getting any better. then- bye! :-)

Megan said...

There is only one book that I have officially abandoned reading. All the other books I am in the middle of I intend to finish. Some of them I have been in the middle of for 5 years or more. If a book isn't hitting me in the right places I usually pick up a new one to see if it will. Sometimes I read them both for a little while. But sooner or later the less interesting book gets shuffled down the currently reading pile until I forget about it.

I simply feel like a book that isn't easy to read mean that it isn't your time to read it yet. There have been a few books I have stutter started a few times, only to actually make it through them when I can enjoy them the most.

So I rarely give up on books. I just put them on pause for a little bit, or a long bit.