Recently, a friend asked a group of us how long we will continue to read a book that just hasn’t caught our fancy. She was half way through a book that has received critical acclaim and it just hadn’t clicked with her. How much longer should she give it.
I have to admit that I was surprised how many people said that they would read the whole book. After all, the critics loved it. Other people read at least 50 pages.
Me? I’m a fickle pickle. It comes from reviewing books for years. When you read a dozen or more books (picture book through novel) each month, you just don’t stick with a book that bores you. After all, I didn’t review books to pan them although I ultimately realized that this would have made my editor happier. I reviewed books so that I could recommend books to people who wanted to read something good.
I give a book 10 pages. Yes. 10. I understand that that seems harsh but . . . oh well. There are just too many books out there to spend a lot of time with a book that I’ve failed to enjoy. That said, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, if I know the author I will muscle through one book. One. Second, if we are reading it for book club then I will make myself finish the book.
If I hate the book, I just drop it back into the library bag. Ninety percent of what I read comes from the library.
If I’m so-so about the book, I’ll read the ending. Sometimes the ending will surprising me and then I’ll want to see how the author got there. In those instances, I’ll usually finish the book.
The thing about it? I get the feeling that a lot of people who read for a living read like this. And this, my friends, is why so much emphasis is placed on chapter 1. Hook your reader or you risk loosing them.