Wednesday, January 09, 2013

When to Put a Book Down

Reading can be tricky.
I won't keep reading a book that doesn't interest me. There are too many other good books out there.
So my first 100 pages of J.K. Rowling's novel The Casual Vacancy plodded past. Because the book wasn't interesting, I wasn't compelled to pick it up in my few spare minutes. Because I didn't pick it up at every opportunity, each time I had to try to remember who this character was or who that character was. There are lots of characters and none of them is the protagonist. None of them is the one character you are pulling for or rooting against.
In addition to lots of characters, the book didn't evoke any emotion in me. It was dull.
So why didn't I stop it?
I made the mistake of looking at the Amazon reviews. It has bad and good reviews. The bad reviews, unfortunately, said intellectual things like, "This book sucks." or "What a waste of time." The good reviews, of course, went into detail about how this is a great saga and that just because it is difficult reading does not mean that  the reader should put it down. The good reviewers were claiming that the rest of us were lightweights.
So I determined to keep reading, even if I don't like it. Maybe I'll change my mind by the time I get to the end, or maybe I won't, but I'll be able to give an honest review of it.
What I think so far is that editors are too bowled over by Rowling's fame to tell her to tighten her writing at the beginning of the book.
How about you? How far do  you read before giving up on a book? Or are you one of those who never gives up? You'll read to the end no matter what.


Lucia said...

usually I read the first chapter and that tells me whether or not to keep reading....sometimes I will try and read further but if I have the book in my bag, or my desk for more then a week, it goes back to the Library!

Suzie Tullett said...

If I'm not getting on with a book I usually put it down and go back to it at a later date x

Paulita said...

Lucia, What discipline. I have library books that stay on my shelves for months.
Suzie, If I put this book down and came back to it later, I'd never get all the characters straight!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Chapter or two and then it goes .. Too many Characters is a no no for me but I for one,not even entertain a JK Rowling book ,,LOL

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

You are a far more determined reader than me:) I haven't tried this one, but already know I wouldn't enjoy it. Case closed.

Linda said...

I will usually finish a book once I have bought it, no matter what. One good thing about Amazon is that you can read a bit before deciding.

Louise said...

I hope it gets better for you. I got The Casual Vacancy for Christmas, but haven't got to starting it yet. I hope I like it more. I'm not very good at giving up on books, especially if I'm reading them for a purpose- particularly a reading list. I will keep plodding on, although some things do get set aside, sometimes for a long long time (Robinson Crusoe is languishing that way just as the moment). I guess I don't like giving up.

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