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Book Chat > Giving up

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message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan (akagunslinger) If a book isn't holding your interest, at what point do you give up? Is it a sliding scale based on the size of the book?

message 2: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) One thing I hate to do is stop reading a book when I'm like halfway through. But if it is really boring or it just plain sucks, I will stop reading it.

message 3: by Symbol (new)

Symbol I cheat. If I'm, say... 20 pages in and the book has completely failed to capture my interest, I skip ahead. I'll move ahead 50 pages or so and start reading. If I'm still not excited, I'll put the book down. Otherwise, I'll just keep reading from page 70 or 100 or whatever page I've ended up on.

message 4: by Lori (new)

Lori (tnbbc) Ive given up on three books in my lifetime... considering the amount of books ive read... thats less than 1 percent....So it really takes alot for me to give up.

Catch 22 was shut forever on page 41. i reread those 41 pages three times before i made the decision to end the torture. I just could not go on.

Altas Shrugged got me a little further... 64 pages and I knew it was hopeless. I hated every character that was introduced and i could care less about the railroad lines.

Strange Highways by Dean Koontz... just plah. didnt care.

Usually I will suffer through a god-awful novel in the hopes that somewhere in there, it gets better. And for the most part, it always does. But for those three... I just dont want to find out.

message 5: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (wanna_read_all_the_books) Like Lori I can count the number of books I've given up on on one hand. I hate to give up on a book but I see no reason to force yourself to read something that you won't enjoy.

message 6: by Tana (new)

Tana Harrison I really don't like to give up on books. Usually if I can't read it anymore than I might try to listen to it on cd. That usually helps unless it is just too boring. I gave up on the Road. I just wasn't into it. I might try again later.

message 7: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony I try to be careful with what I pick so I don't have to give up. However, if it's clear I'm not into something quickly, I'll give up quickly, because I get unreasonably frustrated when I get too far into a book and it's not very good:)

message 8: by Kenzie (new)

Kenzie I never give up on a book. Even if I'm hating it. I read this book called Z for Zachariah. I didn't like it at all, but finished it because I felt like it might get better. I could never just stop reading a book. I would wonder what happened at the end of the book and it would drive me nuts.

message 9: by Aumee (new)

Aumee | 72 comments i hate to stop reading a book,be it at the beginning, middle or end.....usually i read and re-read the summary at the back....if the topic interests me, i start otherwise i dont....if i get bored, i stop reading then, but i make myself finish it when i have nothing to do...
once or twice i've started a book because someone raved over it and had to stop becuz i was bored to tears.....but i never made it past the first 7/8 know how someimes you just know a book is not for you?? sort of like that.......

message 10: by Bishop (new)

Bishop (a_bishop) | 7 comments I make a conscientious effort to finish any book that I start. Yes, it's painful, but I have finished them all...but 1.

The winner? The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.

The first part of the story is the hardest thing I've ever read. It made my head hurt trying to make sense of it at times. At the time (about 5 years ago), I didn't realize that once you get past ~75 pages, the narrator changes, so it is on my list to re-read this spring...first part and all.

Wish me luck.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Like many of you I very rarely stop reading a book once I have started it. However, there have been a few.
I usually love Barbara Kingsolver but I was unable to finish The Poisonwood Bible. I struggled my way through half of the book before I gave up. It never caught my interest and I never grew to care what would happen.

message 12: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreag) | 27 comments I have a few books that I haven't officially given up on, but I set them aside in them middle of reading them and haven't picked them up again. Some of those books I have gone back and read. Usually it's just something that doesn't suit my tastes or needs at the time.

One book that I really gave up on was Patricia Cornwell's non-fiction book on Jack the Ripper - _Portrait of a Killer_. There were several times I almost threw the book across the room in frustration. The writing was okay, but her logic and the conclusions she drew from the facts were outrageous. This books should be read in school as classic examples of faulty logic and reasoning. She knew what she wanted to prove and bent all the facts to support her theory. I got about half way through and quit so as to save the drywall.

message 13: by L Clare (new)

L Clare (cloud9clare) I follow The Fifty Page Rule. The author has 50 pages in which to hook me. If I'm not enjoying the read by that point then I stop.

message 14: by Florita (last edited Feb 13, 2008 02:55AM) (new)

Florita (ms_rita) I suppose it does vary according to overall book size and other motivations. I read over 200 pages of Dostoyevsky's the Devils before I gave up, but that was because I had a thing for the guy who recommended it to me. It was his favourite book.

I read over 600 pages of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrill before I got terminally hacked off with the total lack of editing. Just because an author does vast amounts of research doesn't mean s/he has to put it all in the book. Especially not in footnotes in five point type.

message 15: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) I have implemented the '50 Pages or 3 Chapters (whichever is longer) Rule'. I have little tolerance for weak beginnings in books. If I get suckered into believing the book is worthwhile in the first 50 pages (or 3 chapters), then I usually see it through until the end, even if the book begins to slump in the middle. Maybe this is because I'm hoping to see a glimpse of what originally captivated me by the end of the book.

On very rare occasions, I might pick up a book that I had abandoned a while back to see if it was just a timing thing and that it would now hold my interest. Sometimes this has made the difference and I can appreciate the book, as my life and outlook changed. However, for the most part, a bad book is a bad book. And life is too short for tedious reading.

message 16: by Veronica (new)

Veronica (v_a_b) I hardly every put down a book.

I think that two books were put down because I got distracted by other books. I intend to re-read these someday. They are the lord of the rings (the first one) and the odyssey.

Another 1 or 2 were put down because they were boring and at the time I didn't have the patience. I also indtend to re-read these. One was gullivers travels. The other I can't remember. But there is also the second half of the little house on the prarie books that I never got through, and I don't know if I will read the rest of them.

Two more books I just wasn't ready to read. Brave New world and Through the looking glass. I will read these someday.

But there is only one lonely book that I put down because I couldn't stand it. I knew what would happen in the end after about the first chapter, but didn't realize it until the third or fourth. This book, ladies and gentlemen, was called Loch. It was about the loch ness monster. So, even though I havn't gotten all the way through(and never will) here is what happens: The main character saves the baby monster with the assistance of his beautiful best fried whom he happens to be madly in love with. She realizes how heroic and marvolous he is and falls madly in love with him. After a while, each one notices that the other is madly in love with them. They get together and live happily ever after. THE END.

So, because I already knew the ending, and the story wasn't that well written, I put it down and returned it to the library, never to be toutched by my hands ever again.

message 17: by Ann (new)

Ann Noell (fantasyannie) If I can't get into the story by the end of the first chapter then I stop reading and find a better book.

message 18: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (cmkeel) | 12 comments Most of my reading is non-fiction, and I usually am searching for something worthwhile, so I rarely put a book down, no matter how tedious it is to get through. One book, however, that I wish to God I had put down was Wharton's Age of Innocence. I've read the book twice since the first reading, sure that I had missed something. She won a Pulitzer prize for it. But, I still can't see it. Apart for a few good quotes regarding marriage (good enough that I actually included them on my profile), the book was totally boring and lacking all the way around. If I had it all over to do again, I would definitely put it down. It was allot of wasted effort, to say the least. Well, it did expand my vocabulary a bit. Its the first work of fiction that I had to read with an open dictionary!

message 19: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ i had an english teacher once who told me, "if you don't like it by page forty, give up." I'm not sure about that; i guess it might work for some people, but not really for me. i know i hate a book when i'm only reading it "to get it overwith" so i can read another book. when i like a book, i feel excited every time i sit down to read it.

TheReadingKnitter/ Kasey (thereadingknitter) If I can't get into a book by page 50 then I'll put it down for the time being. I may pick it up later and I may not. Just depends.

message 21: by Debra (new)

Debra (debrapurdykong) I never give up on a book, partly because I review books and feel I should see it through to the end -- I usually find something positive in almost every book. And as a writer, if something's not working or is falling apart, I want to study it to see if the author pulls it together, of it things just get worse.

message 22: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty (kirstyreadsandcreates) I have an OCD like thing about not giving up on a book. I have a total of 2 that I've officially given up on

Angela's Ashes bored the hell outta me. I'm sorry to say that - I know a lot of people loved it, but I didn't.

Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure just didn't hold my interest, the premise sounded good, but I couldn't get into it.

I have one more book that I've tried and failed to read a couple of times, but am determined not to give up on - Frank Skinner's autobiography (for those who don't know him, he's a British comedian). Almost everyone I've spoken to about this has loved it, and so I'm determined that I will re-read it at some point. Therefore I don't count this in the unfinished category.

2 books is nothing considering how many books I've read. Something has to be REALLY wrong for me to give up on a book.

message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreag) | 27 comments I don't usually decide I'm not going to finish a book, if it's not holding my interest I tend to pick up other books to read. If I stop reading a book for long enough without getting back to it, it getx put back on the shelf for reading at a later date.

Most of the time, a book will get read all the way through on the second go round. I think it's a matter of matching subjecct matter and writing style to present mood and interest. Though with my book backlog, I suspect there are a few that won't get a second chance. WIth shelf space at a premium, somme books have to go to the used bookstore or get donated once in a while.

One of the few books I did officially give up on was Patricia Cornwell's book "Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed." I found her logic and "deductions" so terrible I kept wanting to yell at her and argue with her while I was reading. I gave up about half way through.

message 24: by Cassidy (new)

Cassidy Savage (savagegy6) I usually know it about a quater of the way through when I've finished a different book and realized I'd put it down one day and never picked it up again. :) If it starts to feel like a chore to get through another chapter then I quit. There are so many good books out there and so little time..why waste it on a bad one?

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I can only think of two books I didn't finish in my entire life. The Silmarillion by Tolkien and I didn't read the last ten pages of The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett, I had read Molloy and Malone Dies before that and was getting a little tired of him.

message 26: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 7 comments If I find myself not caring to the point of anger, I put it down.

message 27: by Val (new)

Val Nichols | 14 comments I also find it extremely difficult to stop reading a book, and can think of only two that I gave up on. One was Atlas Shrugged and the other was something many years ago...I don't remember the name. It annoyed me as some characters spent an inordinate amount of time speaking French (and refusing to translate). There are some I have put aside to read a book I like better, but I always go back to them and finish them. I feel like a failure if I don't.

message 28: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) I was never able to complete "To Kill a Mockingbird" and had to see the movie twice [decades apart] before the story fell into place for me.

message 29: by Peggy (last edited Jul 19, 2008 08:26AM) (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) Debra: Wanna review mine. I can send you .pdf files {}:>)

message 30: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (kerrythorne) That's my rule too. There are simply too many good books waiting for me to waste my time on a bad read.

I will give a book I gave up on second and third chances, but I won't stick a book out if it fails to hook me.

One I'm thinking of now is Wicked. I've given up on it twice, but so many people loved it I know I will try it again.

message 31: by Val (new)

Val Nichols | 14 comments Yes, Seanachie, definitely try "Wicked" again. That was the one that hooked me on Gregory Maquire (but really don't waste your time on "Lost").

message 32: by Val (new)

Val Nichols | 14 comments Peggy, have you tried "To Kill a Mockingbird" lately? That is one of my absolute favorite books because I thought the characters were so strong. I LOVED Scout.

message 33: by Debra (new)

Debra (debrapurdykong) Peggy, I'm swamped at the moment - 35 books at last count, but I'll touch base with you as soon as I can get the pile down. I just finished reading the last Harry Potter which at 607 pages, has put me behind schedule. I'll be posting my review soon.

All the best,

message 34: by Stef (new)

Stef (buch_ratte) | 39 comments I have given up on books after 20 pages because at the end of the paragraph I no longer knew what I had read and then again it can happen that I give up after 3/4 of a book because it gets too boring or silly. there are not many books I haven't finished reading but I think I gave up on three or four so far.

message 35: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
I will give a book a 50-100 page buffer if I don't care what is happening to the characters, or if the plot line is monotonous I will put it down.

message 36: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (calvamom) | 22 comments I used to be unable to quit reading a book, no matter how boring or stupid I found it. I have had to re-educate myself to value my time enough to make that value judgment. If I have gotten absolutely nothing out of the book by about 50 pages in, I now give myself permission to give up reading it.

message 37: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 18, 2008 06:04AM) (new)

I quited "Eat, Prey, Love ..." by Elizabeth Gilbert. Probably I wasn't in the right mood for starting it. I took it due to some friends that advocated me the book much intense. When I told them that I quited the book, they were very dissapointed. I promised to further read it.

message 38: by Candy (new)

Candy I am pretty good at reading a book jacket blurb and seeing if it has the kind of content I like.

If I am reading with a group and I don't enjoy the book I keep on reading because the discussion means a lot to me and I like to learn why others like a book. I try not to just say "I hate it" but say things that I didn't like or did like and explore.

If I have gotten a book myself...I give it the first 50 pages. I feel if a writer hasn't gotten a lay down of the emotional conflicts and challenges by's not going to be a strong book.

I base that on my onwn experience and I am not sure if I am too hard on a book in this way.

I have found many times...that a book I may not begin enjoying...if I am going to get into willl occur in those pages.

Great question, really enjoyed reading all the responses!

message 39: by Spencer (new)

Spencer (spencerafreeman) Mirela,
I quit Eat,Pray,Love too... It definitely is one of those books you have to "be in the mood" when you read it... I thought I was the only one. I want to finish it, but like I said, I have to be in the mood and who knows when that'll be again.

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Anastasia, I agree. It is to be in the mood. I must also confess that I can't stop myself to try books that are much acclaimed. And sometimes is working. This is how I discovered "A Thousand Slendid Suns" that I currently read and like very much. And same way I discovered Orhan Pamuk, the "Snow" is one of my favourite. But finally, it is a problem of being in the right mood for a book in order to be able to "receive" it. I randomly read parts of "Eat, Pray .." and liked some. For sure I will start it later.

message 41: by Denise (new)

Denise I used to push through a book no matter what. As I get older (I'm now 57) I realize that I can't read every book that I really want to read before I die. So if I start reading a book and I just can't get into it I now stop. I don't really have a set number of pages. The most recent book that I gave up on was early this month. I was reading Home by Marilynne Robinson. I read 113 pages and I just could not get into the story. I closed it and went on to I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass which was very good.

message 42: by Clif (new)

Clif Hostetler (clif_) Denise wrote: ..... As I get older (I'm now 57) I realize that I can't read every book..."
A rule of thumb I try to follow is the following:
No. of pages to read before giving up = 100 less the age of reader

i.e., With age comes increased wisdom to decide whether continuing to read is a waste of time.

message 43: by Jim (new)

Jim | 112 comments deleted user wrote: "I quited "Eat, Prey, Love ..." by Elizabeth Gilbert. Probably I wasn't in the right mood for starting it. I took it due to some friends that advocated me the book much intense. When I told them tha..."

I started this book but just couldn't get into story and put it down quickly

Overall, I think knowing when to cut your losses whether in life or when to give up on a book and put it down is a very difficult to do but will free up your life to enjoy it more or your reading time for more worthwhile books

message 44: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 7 comments I like that rule, Clif.

message 45: by m_forooz (new)

m_forooz | 1 comments When reading becomes painful it slows to a drip. At that point, I'll only read the first sentence of each paragraph. If that, too, is boring I'll stop and swap or donate the book to charity.

message 46: by Jim (new)

Jim | 112 comments I like Cliff's Rule but what if You reach 100?

message 47: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 42 comments Clif wrote: "Denise wrote: ..... As I get older (I'm now 57) I realize that I can't read every book..."
A rule of thumb I try to follow is the following:
No. of pages to read before giving up = 100 less the age..."

I like this rule Clif, think I might have to start applying it when I'm not enjoying a book as a the moment I just force myself through it (which I'' admit is a bit of a waste of time).

message 48: by Clif (new)

Clif Hostetler (clif_) Jim wrote: "I like Cliff's Rule but what if You reach 100?"

When you reach the age of 100 you may stop reading a book any time you feel like it. There will be no obligation to give the book a fair chance.

I'm not quite sure what to do with the negative numbers created by being older than 100. Perhaps somebody reading this will have a clever suggestion.

message 49: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
Has anyone read Sutree by Cormac Mccarthy... If so give me a reason to go on I am trudging through, I am on p.129 and I don't know if I have the will to go on reading 1 or 2 pages at a time before I am bored and have to stop.

message 50: by Denise (new)

Denise Just today I quit on a book. I read the first 70 pages then skimmed through about 25 more then said this book is stupid, I hate it, I'm going to quit. The book is The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes.

It sounded so good but I hated it.

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