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Topic: Do you finish every book you start, even if you don't like it?

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Subject: Do you finish every book you start, even if you don't like it?
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 127
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I was just wondering, I always feel guilty if I stop reading a book before it's finished. It has to be pretty boring for me to do so...

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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Usually I try to. But lately I've adopted the attitude that if I don't like the first 3rd of the book there is no point to go on. (unless I'm reading it at the request or recommendation of another person..then I feel obligated to read the entire book). The last ones I've quit on were The Almost Moon which I didn't even get to pg 50 and knew I would hate it. and then I just quit on Love in the Time of Cholera...though I intend to pick it back up at some point...it just got a little much for me...the story takes forever to get going and there are much more interesting things I want to read or have to read for school. Don't feel bad about giving up on a book. Steven King said something interesting (though I'm not a fan of his work); he said that life is too short to re-read many things and that there is so much out there that is waiting to be read that he doesn't waste time re-reading things...or something to that effect. anyways, I adopted that in the idea if I don't like it why waste time reading it when there are thousands of other books out there that are worth reading and that I might like?
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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What's the point in reading a book you don't enjoy?   Maybe if you are studying something, then yes this is feasable.   I read for enjoyment - so I wouldn't read anything I didn't enjoy.  To me - that just wouldn't make sense.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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Life is way too short and my TBR is far too large. If a book hasn't grabbed me in the first fifty pages, out it goes.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
Posts: 295
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Jessica's right. Life's too short to drink bad wine and read bad books. Sometimes I quit in the first chapter, if the author's style annoys me enough!

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2005
Posts: 142
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I give it my best try but don't waste much time reading things I don't like.


Date Posted: 9/27/2008 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
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Last Edited on: 2/21/10 3:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 285
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I used to feel bad about quitting a book, but not anymore.  I was about 100 pages into my last book when I stopped.  It sounded interesting, but once I started reading it, it was like reading a history textbook.  I have too many books and not enough time, so I'm not going to waste any of it on a book if I know I'm not liking it!

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Nope.  I have a huge number of books I want to read.  If something is slow, I might set it aside to come back to later, but if it's plain bad, I'll ditch it without regret.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,290
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No way!  I have so many other books just waiting to be read. I don't like feeling "forced" into reading a book. 

I always give a book at least 5 chapters.  If I can't get into a book after 5 chapters it is time for me to move on.

My mother, on the other hand will always finish a book even if she doesn't like it. Can't figure out why?  Her to be TBR pile is just about as big as mine.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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Nope. Life is too short to read bad books/books you aren't interested in. I just put it on my bookshelf here and go on to the next book. I used to feel guilty. I don't anymore.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/11/2006
Posts: 100
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I give it 50 - 75 page, and if it hasn't caught my interest I stop reading.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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I'm with Linda P. <<Life's too short to drink bad wine and read bad books.>>  I read for enjoyment and if I'm not enjoying it forget it.  As for wine, I've never found any that I didn't enjoy, especially after I've had a couple of glasses.

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2005
Posts: 355
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I'm with most on this one...50 pages, and if I don't get interested, it get's posted..

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 10,716
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Even if I am not enjoying a book, chances are II picked it up because someone else expressed a positive opinion about it.  Being something of an optimist, I'll keep reading hoping that it will get better.  Recently I read 300 pages of The Terror by Dan Simmons before giving up on it.  I figured after 300 pages I'd given it a fair chance!

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2008
Posts: 87
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My stubborn streak is probably my downfall here, but I almost never give up on a book.  Even if I don't like it, I still want the knowledge of it and the ability to discuss why I didn't think it was good.  The book must have had some kind of importance or relation to my areas of interest for me to decide to read it in the first place.  Plus, many of the books that I do like to read are of the type that are difficult going, so sometimes the distinction between "like" and "dislike" isn't that obvious, or at least isn't decided until I've read the book and mulled it over for a time (sometimes years later, I make connections that make me realize something might not have been as stupid as I thought, and I consider going back).

I have an unconquerable backlog of new material to read, too, but I still wish I had more time to go back and reread.  Books with real richness to them usually reward rereading (and often more so than a "new" book that might turn out to be a stinker).  I often think of the way children will read the same book or watch the same movie dozens of time, until they have it completely memorized and it becomes a part of them.  Also, of the way in which people of many religions do the same with their sacred scripture.  Unless you have a fabulous memory, which I don't, your knowledge of literature will always be superficial unless you reread.  Reading everything is impossible, and I don't want to sacrifice depth for the sake of breadth, though I'm often tempted and don't reread as much as I should.

One book I did give up on was David Foster Wallace's Infinity.  I don't have much math training, and it just got to the point that I couldn't understand what he was talking about.

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2007
Posts: 796
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Like everyone else I have a big TBR pile. I give a book 100 pages then ditch it if I can't get into it.
Date Posted: 9/28/2008 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2007
Posts: 123
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I just started feeling okay with giving up on a book.  In fact, I gave up on David Rakoff's Fraud this week.  I realized there's no reason to feel guilty.  My time is my time and the TBR pile keeps getting bigger!

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2007
Posts: 1,739
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Nope. If I cant get into it by the 2nd chapter, I'm done.  If it seems like "work" to read it and I find myself struggling to keep at it, then I quit.  Some books I will stop and put away and come back to later. I just did it with Book of the Dead by Cornwell. I love her, but this one just couldnt hold my attention.  Well I pulled it out a few months later and finished it.  It didnt pick up alot of steam, but it was somewhat better the 2nd time around.

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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I used to, but I have too much to do to even read the ones I enjoy! Time is short; if the author can't grab me by about 50 pages, it's bye-bye---sometimes sooner..

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2007
Posts: 126
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I used to try to finish every book I started...I felt like I "owed" the book and the author something. I don't know how many times I've tried to struggle through a book and then thought "I just don't care what happens next!" Not a good thing to think about a book.

Then I decided that was a pretty dumb philosophy and I started giving a book 100 pages to "grab" me before giving up. Now that I'm getting older, a book gets only 50 pages to grab me.

As other have said "life is too short to read bad books!"

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I haven't given up on a book for more than 10 years (Wicked by Gregory Maguire), but I'm really careful about what I read, and I'm pretty easily amused.

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I agree. Life is to short to waste it on a book that doesn't grab you.

Patricia Cornwell, who is one of my favorite authors, last book was a dog. I could not get into it at all.



Date Posted: 9/28/2008 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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I try to finish every book I start just to say I read it but if the book is extremely long and I have a hard time getting into it I will put it down.  The Regulators by Richard Bachman was one book I just about put down.  I managed to get through it because it was not that long. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/28/2008 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I guess I give the benefit of the doubt to authors I've read before.  I did just finish an Orson Scott Card book I didn't like much, because I've read nearly everything he's written and mostly enjoyed his stuff.