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Topic: How to sample a book

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Subject: How to sample a book
Date Posted: 9/23/2010 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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           Nancy Pearl (the librarian on NPR's "Morning Edition" has been here in Minnesota this week as part of the Club Book series.  The local newspaper printed an interview with her that included one bit of advice that is going to expedite the choice of "what am I gonna read next? for me.  It's an addendum to her "Rule of 50"---the suggestion that the reader give a book 50 pages before deciding whether to give it up.  The addendum goes "If you're over 50, subtract your age from 100 and use that number to arrive at the GO/NO GO decision.   I suppose a lot of Classics Forum folks are on the 'bottom' side of the half-century mark, but I thought I'd post it for my fellow mature  reading enthusiasts.   It could save us some time and eyestrain . . . . Cheers, dears.

Date Posted: 9/23/2010 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I used to do the "Rule of 50."  And, now that I'm older, it would be much less.  However, I quite often keep on and do around 100 pages before totally rejecting a book.  That seems like a lot, but there are some books that don't grab you quickly.

Date Posted: 9/23/2010 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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So what do us under 50s do?  I actually can count the number of books I've abandoned on one hand, I just have to find out how bad it gets.

Date Posted: 9/24/2010 5:37 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 316
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A couple of months ago on the first page of a serious-looking biography, I read a statement so wrong-headed, so silly, so indefensible that I concluded that the statement was evidence enough that I'd be wasting my time reading the rest of the book. That day I said to myself, "Self, you really are 54."

Date Posted: 9/28/2010 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
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The version I've heard is to take 100 and minus your age. That is the page you should get to before deciding to pitch it.

I'm terrible at putting this into practice, though, I tend to keep slogging.