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Constant Reader > Do you dare to skip?

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message 1: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1726 comments I found this Guardian article entertaining, but it also made me curious about whether other people skip. I never do--I have some kind of thoroughness compulsion--but I do abandon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/books...


message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9437 comments My natural progression is

1. start skimming
2. progress to skipping
3. abandon ship


message 3: by Sherry, Doyenne (new)

Sherry | 7712 comments I first read this skipping as:




message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (Melissaharl) | 1442 comments Oh, you're making me dizzy, Sherry!


message 5: by Sara (new)

Sara (Seracat) | 1802 comments I abandon, too, Kat. If I feel the need to skip, I figure it ain't worth the time to finish.


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7064 comments I abandon after I skip to the end chapters and see how it turns out. Then overboard it goes.


message 7: by Yulia (new)

Yulia | 1642 comments The one book I remember skipping two hundred pages of, certain I wouldn't miss anything of importance, was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I wasn't at all confused or curious about what I'd passed over when I jumped to the point he returned home.


message 8: by Tajma (new)

Tajma I skip and abandon. I think editing is a lost art in the world of fiction nowadays.


message 9: by ~Geektastic~ (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) I don't skip; if I lose enough interest I just give it up entirely. However, I agree with Maugham: I never would have read an unabridged version of Clarissa.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments I don't skip. If I lose interest, then I cast the book aside and usually don't pick it up again.


message 11: by Mikki (new)

Mikki | 176 comments I'm not a skipper but will abandon when necessary.


message 12: by Ken (last edited Jan 10, 2012 03:43PM) (new)

Ken | 900 comments Sometimes I'll skip gratuitous stuff (the reader plays his card!) and pick it up again when the author gets back to the business of moving things along.

And we all skip -- sometimes inadvertently -- when we're tired at night, reading in bed. If I doze, I'll pick up where I thought I was and sometimes it's a page ahead of where I truly was. If nothing is lost, then nothing is lost. Authors have been known to tell us more than we need to know, after all.


message 13: by Cateline (new)

Cateline I like his choices to skim...the three at the bottom of the article.

Right now I'm slowly but surely reading Cryptonomicon, and on occasion there are pages and pages of code and/or mathematical formulas. Those I skip. But otherwise, I read almost every word.


message 14: by Ken (last edited Jan 10, 2012 04:31PM) (new)

Ken | 900 comments Agree about his choices. In fact, I suggest skipping Byatt's POSSESSION altogether.


message 15: by Kenneth P. (last edited Jan 10, 2012 08:02PM) (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethP) | 828 comments I like Ruth's three-step approach which ends in "abandon ship." However, there is a skimming process whereby one skims defiantly to the bitter end-- possibly to see if something meaningful happens, but also to be able say, see... I read your horrible book! Sadly, I just finished such a book.

What's up with "Daring to Skip"? Are the Skip Police peering through your window?


message 16: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1726 comments No police, but I do think with the most literary of novels there is (or was until recently?) a kind of reverence for the intentions of the author that makes some readers respectfully read every word, assuming the author knows more than they do about what belongs in the book. Perhaps that attitude went south with the rise of social media and the fall of the book review. Though my own lack of skipping (and skimming) has to do not with attitude but is the result of some kind of neurological thing, I'm convinced. I'm a rather plodding reader, and I can't bear to finish a book I'm not enjoying. But I could never get confused about where I left off reading the night before!


message 17: by Mary Ellen (new)

Mary Ellen | 1327 comments One novel where I skip, skip, skipped to the end was An American Tragedy - I would have dumped the whole thing but for my desire to participate in the discussion here. (Actually, I combined really quick skimming with skipping - how else to know I wasn't missing anything important?!)

Another technique of mine is jumping back and forth, usually when I'm afraid the ending will be unbearable. So I jump ahead to make sure I can stand it, then go back where I left off... I did this with Every Man Dies Alone. The atmosphere of that book was so oppressive - testament to the author's skill, I think - that I just couldn't read it straight through.

In the case of Dreiser, I just couldn't stand the book or any of the characters; in the case of Fallada, the reading experience was just too powerful for me.

I confess that I'll often read the ending when I'm mid-book (generally because of lack of ability to delay gratification), and that, with regard to most books I've ended up tossing aside unfinished (admittedly few), I took Ruth's read - skim - toss approach.


message 18: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7064 comments Mary Ellen I do that also. Hee hee


message 19: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethP) | 828 comments I never look at the ending. But I always go straight to the end in order to see how many pages it is.


message 20: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9437 comments I never look at the ending, nor do I look at how many pages, unless it looks extra slim or extra fat.


message 21: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1726 comments I love it that there are so many ways to read!


message 22: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethP) | 828 comments I can read with one eyeball tied behind my back.


message 23: by Kat (last edited Jan 11, 2012 08:11PM) (new)

Kat | 1726 comments Just realized that although I never skip or skim the printed word, I do skip and skim blogs, posts, and other digitized matter. Interesting. I don't skip when reading my Nook books, though.


message 24: by Georgiana (new)

Georgiana (GeorgianaOgrean) I sometimes just skim over poems or songs/hymns included in novels. I generally don't skip, for the reason Kat mentioned above. When I start skipping, it usually ends up in abandoning. However, I completely agree with R. McCrum about Infinite Jest... that book was a nightmare for me to finish reading!


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken | 900 comments Kenneth P. wrote: "I can read with one eyeball tied behind my back."

I think that's against the Geneva Convention.

Kat wrote: "Just realized that although I never skip or skim the printed word, I do skip and skim blogs, posts, and other digitized matter. Interesting. I don't skip when reading my Nook books, though."

See, and I'm more likely to skip and skim when reading an e-version of a book. Odd, that.


message 26: by Janet (new)

Janet Leszl | 1163 comments When I wrote I agonized over every word. The editor liberally excised entire sections. Alone in my office I screamed and hollered to myself… then realized it was much better.

When I read passages where I consider an author is droning on and on with details, I’ll skip but wonder if the editor fell asleep instead of trimming the excess. Still, to each his own. Tedious portions worthy of skipping to me are eloquent to others.


message 27: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9437 comments I don't think "editors" edit any more.


message 28: by Anne (new)

Anne | 157 comments I do what Ruth does...skim, skip, dump.


message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7064 comments Kat wrote: "Just realized that although I never skip or skim the printed word, I do skip and skim blogs, posts, and other digitized matter. Interesting. I don't skip when reading my Nook books, though."

I couldn't figure out how. Now I know. haha


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments I don't mind knowing the ending of a book, it doesn't spoil the book for me, but I generally don't waste time trying to figure out the ending when I could just be reading.

I'll often see how much "thickness" is left in the book to read, and I note the number of pages when I start, but other than that I have no idea how many pages I have left to read. Never calculate that.


message 31: by Liz (new)

Liz (HisSheep) NEVER EVER ;o)


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7064 comments I find myself skipping a lot inA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man especially the religious parts, which is practically the whole book. I will probably not even finish it. I likedUlysses, go figure.


message 33: by Charles (new)

Charles | 727 comments It took me a long time after college to realize I didn't have to read every word. Now it's a choice between books I want to read and books I want to know something about. Another thing it took me a long time to learn was that not everything in the second class was in the first, and that there really were books I just didn't want to know about. Then it was to admit that I didn't have to be serious about the books I only wanted to know about, and then that even if I did want to read the thing it was OK to do what I was going to anyway, which was read both ends first and the chapters more or less randomly. Finally I had to admit that there was actually very little I wanted to read read and the result is that now I skip almost everything. Learning not to read is not something you learn in school.


message 34: by TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (last edited Jan 14, 2012 07:40PM) (new)

TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments I used to feel compelled to read every word of every book, Charles. Now I'm old enough to realize that if I were to keep on doing that I'd never read the books I want to read. I love your view of "not reading," Charles, if I figured it out properly that is. There's not too much I care to read every word of, either.


message 35: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1726 comments Newengland wrote: See, and I'm more likely to skip and skim when reading an e-version of a book. Odd, that.

I think that's the norm--though I don't skip while reading e-books I've come closer to it than when reading print. There was a study (maybe CR has already discussed this) in which readers of the print version of the NYT and readers of the e-version were asked questions about content two weeks afterward, and the readers of print did better. Many who use e-readers say they read faster than with print, maybe that also leads to remembering less. A pretty big disadvantage, and yet I still read many books--certainly not all--on my Nook. There are some powerful advantages as well, of course.


message 36: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1726 comments Charles wrote: "It took me a long time after college to realize I didn't have to read every word. Now it's a choice between books I want to read and books I want to know something about. Another thing it took me a..."

Yes, I spent a lot of years worrying over what I "should" be reading before I felt I'd earned the right to read what genuinely engages me. Some benefits to piling up the decades after all.


message 37: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 2 comments I'm on the same page as Charles, and it took me years to get there. Once you realize how quickly time passes you realize how important it is to maximize it! 


message 38: by Quinn (new)

Quinn (QuinnCreativve) | 22 comments Just learning Charles's method. I had trouble abandoning, but not every book I pick up is one I can't put down.


message 39: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (BookwormFlo) | 211 comments I've been known to skim a bit and I skip stuff that seems to be extra like songs or poems or similar stuff. If I start skipping alot I quit altogether.


message 40: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 1 comments I never, ever skip (an obsessive trait) but sometimes I skim a little bit, usually only if there are long winded descriptions that I don't feel I need to hear about. I would NEVER read the last page first, nor would I even tempt myself by looking at the page even...I don't want anything to spoil the story for me! I have been disappointed in the past when I have read a review with too much info which gives me an inkling as to how the book will end...I LOVE to be surprised!


message 41: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey (Jeff_Nardecchia) Vanessa wrote: "I never, ever skip (an obsessive trait) but sometimes I skim a little bit, usually only if there are long winded descriptions that I don't feel I need to hear about. I would NEVER read the last pag..."

I give a book 20 pages or so to capture my interest, and if I'm not feeling it, I skip to the last page or two, and if I want to read the middle after reading the end, then I finish the book. If the author doesn't grab me, I move on.


message 42: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethP) | 828 comments Flora wrote: "I've been known to skim a bit and I skip stuff that seems to be extra like songs or poems or similar stuff. If I start skipping alot I quit altogether."

Flora, I hate songs in a book!


message 43: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) If I'm not enjoying the read, but really want to know what happened (like with a mystery), then I might skip ahead. Otherwise I'll just put the book down; life's too short to read something you're not enjoying :)


message 44: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Hart | 705 comments Here's another reason I skip, and then make myself stop: when I'm reading a plot-driven book and it's getting suspenseful, I occasionally find myself skipping (unintentionally) to find out what happens. This generally occurs when it's clear that a revelation is about to occur....when I figure out what I'm doing, I quit immediately and make myself go back, reread and slow down. I'm of the "don't peek until Christmas" people, and I never wanted to know the sex of my babies.


message 45: by Charles (new)

Charles | 727 comments Jeffrey wrote: "Vanessa wrote: "I never, ever skip (an obsessive trait) but sometimes I skim a little bit, usually only if there are long winded descriptions that I don't feel I need to hear about. I would NEVER r..."

20 pages is more than many an editor would give it. Let me ask this: when you are browsing in a bookstore, how often do you make up your mind in just a sentence or two?


message 46: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Perez | 92 comments I totally agree with Charles as well. I have learned I do not have time to waste on books that I can't really get into. I start them and if my attention is not captured I might skim ahead to see if something catches my attention more, and if not, then bye bye book. If it is a book that many have highly recommended I'll give it my best and usually do complete those (with some skimming) b/c I respect others recommendations. The books I let go most are ones that are predictable. Once I totally realize the exact direction a book is going and know it won't be of any interest/learning/value to me then I am done with it. There are just too many books I want to get to to never quit a book.


message 47: by Maryfox (new)

Maryfox | 5 comments I skip or skim sometimes. Some authors can come up with a great story line and plot but can't seem to write about them very well. Also happens with really good writers who just seem to be in a hurry or in a slump.

I just abandoned one after the first two chapters. It took some will power to slog through the second one. By the end of the second chapter I still had no idea what or who the story was going to be about. And the writing style left me cold.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (other topics)
Cryptonomicon (other topics)
Every Man Dies Alone (other topics)
An American Tragedy (other topics)
Infinite Jest (other topics)
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