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When do you drop a book?

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message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
I've noticed lately that I've stopped reading some books...mostly more serious, "deeper" books. I didn't use to do that...use to read from start to finish almost no matter what. Do any of you drop a book midway through and what makes you decide to do so?


message 2: by Meg (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:32AM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 100 comments Usually I push through books, especially if they come recommended. I can say that about a month ago I just gave up on Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Close. I just couldn't stand the book, it was confusingly written and I didn't care what happened in the end.

I find that when I am struggling with a book I begin to avoid reading or I pick up another book. Some people have the 50 page rule, if it doesn't catch you in the first 50 it is time to put it down. I think that is unfair because there are a lot of books that I loved but didn't feel that way in the first 50. A good example of that is Edgar Sawtelle, the first 50 didn't do it for me but I continued and really loved the book (it made my top 10).


message 3: by Lori (new)

Lori  (moderatrixlori) I gave up on The Historian. I have so many books on my TBR shelf that I can't see wasting time making myself get through a book I'm not enjoying.


message 4: by Harlequin (new)

Harlequin Historical (historical) I absolutely must finish a book once I start it. It drives me crazy and I have suffered through some really bad books because of this but to not finish one makes me always wondering if it finally gets better and I just didn't give it a long enough chance. I know crazy but reading is an obession that demands a lot from me. LOL


message 5: by Holli (new)

Holli Something has to grab me in the first 50 or so pages or I'll put it down. With Edgar Sawtelle Almondine kept me going until the book flowed along on its own. :)


message 6: by Norman (new)

Norman Cooper (ntcooper) | 3 comments Lori wrote: "I gave up on The Historian. I have so many books on my TBR shelf that I can't see wasting time making myself get through a book I'm not enjoying."

I loved The Historian. I usually stay away from vampire novels, but being that I'm sort of a history buff, all of the travels and ancient history woven into legend appealed to me. To each his own, right?




message 7: by Norman (new)

Norman Cooper (ntcooper) | 3 comments I stopped reading Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. The story moved to slowly for me (this coming from someone who has read Lord of the Rings several times). However, something about the book keeps calling me back. As soon as I finish the two I'm working on now, it is likely I will take up my labor of love again.


message 8: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
I stopped reading Saramago's Blindness..the lack of any punctuation, etc. turned me off. Also, I've been lately at a lot of swim meets, etc. so light reading like that of Pratchett..discworld series has been better. Also, I've received so many good recommendations from people here I'm eager to read, read, read.


message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 53 comments I dropped some books that were recommeded to me by my friends, but they were not exactly what I like to read.


message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 100 comments Blindness was a pulitzer prize winner. I read it many years ago and thought it was pretty good. It is definitely not a light read at a swim meet type of book. I am anxious to see the movie to see what they did to it.


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Do any of you dro..."

90% of the time, when I abandon books, it's at fifty pages, or as close to it as possible because of chapter divisions or what have you. Because I tend to read for writing style and substance over plot, I can generally tell within the first fifty pages whether I'm going to like a book or not.

THere are exceptions to the rule, though. It took me just two weeks shy of three years and over 150pp. to send The House of the Spirits out the window. I loved the style of the writing, but I couldn't connect with a single character, and every time I finished a chapter (and Allende's chapters are mercilessly long-- put aside an entire afternoon for one), I found myself with very little desire to pick the book up again, so in effect I was forcing myself to read it.

On the other end of the scale, We Need to Talk About Kevin went onto the bonfire after 24 pages. The most annoying narrator I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. If I were her kid, I would have shot her instead of shooting up my school.




message 12: by Lori (new)

Lori  (moderatrixlori) Norman wrote: I loved The Historian. I usually stay away from vampire novels, but being that I'm sort of a history buff, all of the travels and ancient history woven into legend appealed to me. To each his own, right?

Absolutely Norman! You'd probably hate everything on my 2008 bookshelf LOL, but that's the beauty of books. There's something for everyone. What you loved about The Historian, bored me to tears. It's just not my thing. And I love vampire books .



message 13: by Brigitte (new)

Brigitte I try to give a book the 10% rule. I will read at least 10% prior to dropping it. This could be 20 pgs, or 100, depending on the length of the book. I used to read every book I started, and I have since decided there are too many good books out there for me to spend time reading something that does not grab me. There are books I will toss completely, and others I will put aside for awhile (months or even a year) until I am in the mood to try it again.

Great question!


message 14: by Gavin (new)

Gavin (gavin9) I will try to get through 50 pages unless it is absolutely too painful to keep on. I have so many books on my TBR list and stacked around my house that I will not waste time on something I'm not enjoying. My one exception is non-fiction, and only if I feel I can learn something from it. I have been known to skim a book if I feel it is badly written.


message 15: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
I guess being a good skimmer can come in handy. I need to probably learn to do that better than plowing through the whole book if I'm just not enjoying the experience.


message 16: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Every time I've hated a book, I knew pretty quickly on that I didn't like it. I've decided that from now on, I'll give a book around 50 pages (but in proportion to the overall length) to seal the deal with me. If I don't like it, I can drop it. I have way too many to-read books, especially ones I own, to continue punishing myself with books I don't like. That does mean I'll never pick it up again, but I'm moving on for now.


message 17: by Beth (new)

Beth I seldom drop a book because the thought of “but what if??” would perpetually torture me if I didn’t finish. I’m not too proud to skim, though. I tend to slog through the first half and if I’m not into it by then, I start skimming.


message 18: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Debra wrote: "Rarely do I drop a book. But if the content is offensive..."

Oh, if that's the case, I almost never abandon it. Such books cry out to get their reviews written with as much knowledge as I can gather on the author's idiocy.

(Though I admit I had to drop Ann Coulter AND Joe Maguire after fifty pages...)




message 19: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker My dad is reading Huck Finn and he told me he doesn't know if he'll be able to finish it because of the n-word being so prevalent. He always pulls stuff like that! I mean, I'm not an advocate for using that word, but it is historically accurate to use that word when writing about the past (in the case of Huck Finn, Twain's present). He also didn't like Catch-22 and From Here to Eternity "because of the cursing." He just doesn't read properly, I guess.


message 20: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 5 comments I had to stop reading Ray Garton's Ravenous a few months back, I think I made it about 50-70 pages in. It was just too predictable and I've come to a point in my life where my reading time is precious. There were other problems that I had with the writing also. I think that was the first book I've stopped reading in years. Then almost immediately I picked up Kathe Koja's Skin...I should have put that one down. I know my husband didn't make it even half way before he stopped reading it. I typically always finish what I've started, but as I said in the past year or so my reading time has become limited so I will only go a quarter of the way into something and if it hasn't grabbed me by then I will give up.


message 21: by Elizabeth (last edited Jan 05, 2009 09:03PM) (new)

Elizabeth (elizabethoverton) I don't like dropping books but I have dropped a few. I don't have any particular rule about it, I just know it's a bad sign when I start to dread picking it up. That's when I pick something I think I'll enjoy more. I can't help feeling a little guilty about it, but there are so many books out there that I know I'll find another that will hold my interest. I suppose there's no reason to force yourself through a book just for the sake of finishing. :)


message 22: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (Chaoscat60) | 37 comments Definatly the 50 page rule, unless it totally disgusts me.


message 23: by Kecia (new)

Kecia | 2 comments This is a useful thread for me since, in addition to all the books that are still on my TBR list, I'm about to tackle the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list and I don't have a ton of time to waste. I hesitate to put a fixed rule on all books because sometimes it's not the book's fault I can't get through it: I'm distracted, irritable, etc. Perhaps my solution will be to have several books "on tap" at once so I can switch between them, almost as if I were using a mental remote control, lol.


message 24: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Kecia,

If you are irritable, distracted, or whatever, just put the book aside and try again later (after a few months, a year, whatever). If you can't get through after 2 or even 3 tries, cross it off your list.


message 25: by Heidi (new)

Heidi  | 23 comments I almost never drop a book but I do move on to something else and go back to it later... usually that helps... sometimes I'll serious "skim" the book until I can get toward the end and then read the ending... kind of cheating but then I don't feel like I've totally abandoned the story (and sometimes I find the book is pretty good and I'll go back and read it in full).




message 26: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Darn you Ed with your great threads! I've got too much to do and can't sit here all night on Goodreads!

I can usually tell around 50 pages too when a book just isn't doing it for me. If I'm curious enough I'll skim and flip to the last chapter to see what went down, even though I really don't care. I guess I'm just a curious person.

There have been many great books I almost missed because they didn't grab me at the beginning, but I kept reading and loved them.

I couldn't make it through Edgar Sawtelle or The Historian. I was so looking forward to Dennis Lehane's new book The Given Day, but couldn't make it past the first few chapters. I think it's because the book started out talking about baseball and that's one sport I absolutely hate.


message 27: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
I had trouble with the book Tree of Smoke..great writing but I just kept putting it down to read something else. I guess if that happens it's a sign that reading the book just is not meant to happen.


message 28: by Heidi (last edited Jan 06, 2009 08:59PM) (new)

Heidi  | 23 comments I chose not to read Lehane's new boopk because after reading the first page, I didn't think I'd like it so I passed it off to my husband, who loved it... I want to read it, because he's a great author (and I heard it really is good), but I wish it was one of his mysteries...

I think I drop a book because I've got so many other good ones on the list to read...


message 29: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I keep having issues with Anna Karenina. I'm close to halfway. I really like Anna and Vroksky's story, but I feel so. bogged. down! I need to learn to skim. This is one I don't want to put down because I've made such a big deal about reading it and finishing it.


message 30: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Heidi, I'm a Lehane fan, too. I've read all his Kenzie/Gennaro Boston mysteries and Mystic River and Shutter Island. If you've never read Shutter Island you're missing a good book. But don't read any spoilers about it because you'll want the element of surprise.




message 31: by Peanut (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:26AM) (new)

Peanut I don't have any set amount of pages before I drop...just when I lose interest in the story or the story annoys me.

EX: The Shack. Didn't like the story so I stopped and don't plan on picking up again. Ever.

EX: Reading Lolita in Tehran. I stopped because although I like the story, it just wasn't what I wanted to read at the time. So I dropped it back on the shelf and will pick up again. I think the holidays killed that one for me. Too much going on.


message 32: by Liz (new)

Liz (hissheep) I second the 50 page rule. However, there was a time I felt obliged to struggle through to the end. No more - to much to read, too little time!


message 33: by Heidi (last edited Jan 07, 2009 03:47PM) (new)

Heidi  | 23 comments Tressa-- like you, I've devoured all of Kenzie/Genaro books in the past year (except Shutter Island which I read right after Mystic River a few years ago)... heard on GR that he's writing another mystery... can't wait!

Shutter Island is one of the BEST mystery thrillers I've ever read... it's the first book I recommend of his whenever someone is looking for a book to read.




message 34: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (rmgardner) | 2 comments If I am twenty pages into a book and it is absolutely painful to read; I drop it. I am the kind of person that if the books does not grab me quickly then I can't do it. For example when I read wuthering Heights it took me for ever; I finally had to get it on audio book to even get through it.


message 35: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Heidi, I had a hard time reading Gone, Baby, Gone, but it's one of my favorites in the series. I also liked A Drink Before the War.

Shutter Island is a gem of a book that I'm not sure is too popular even among his fans. I think there might be a movie in the making for Shutter Island. I don't know all the details, though. You might want to check out imdb.com.

I saw a recent interview with Lehane and his attitude about his earlier works sort of pissed me off. He was dissing them and when Ben Affleck was asking him some questions about the characters in Gone, Baby, Gone, he was like "Eh, I don't remember the characters or plots of my older books." Yeah, like that's possible. Still, I'll read another of his mystery books. I'm sure I'll even give Any Given Day another chance one of these days.


message 36: by Heidi (new)

Heidi  | 23 comments Tressa-- they are making Shutter Island into a movie-- I believe Scorcese is directing it... if I heard right.


message 37: by Tressa (last edited Jan 08, 2009 02:58PM) (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Heidi, I think last time I did any research on Shutter Island there was mention of a Scorcese/DeCaprio collaboration. I could see Leo in that role. Wish I had time to re-read this book. The ending just blew me away.


message 38: by Heidi (new)

Heidi  | 23 comments Tressa, we could almost start a thread on Shutter Island... that and Atonement had the best endings I've read in the past few years...


message 39: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I enjoy "shock" endings, no matter how big or small. I was heartbroken at the ending of Atonement. Just when you think everything's OK...

I was also heartbroken at the ending of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Mariam is a character I'll never forget.


message 40: by Jim (new)

Jim | 41 comments I stopped reading ATONEMENT after 100 pages and will never understand why the author is so popular -
will unlikely ever pick up one of his books again

stoppping before finishing a book is just cutting your losses and not losing more time on something
when there is so much great literature out there

If a book isn't
grabbing/informing/entertaining/disturbing you, then why read it through when there's so many other authors/stories to read and enjoy




message 41: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I've only read two of Ian McEwan's books: Atonement and Chesil Beach. Atonement was hard for me to get into but it was an OK book. Actually, I sort of just speed-read through it to get to the ending, which I knew was somewhat of a surprise but I didn't know exactly what would happen. Chesil Beach was awful. His other books don't interest me at all, but he's got many fans.


message 42: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I wasn't much of a fan of Atonement because I was so angry. Even the ending, the explanation, didn't make up for it in my mind. I related a lot to Cecilia and my friend related to Briony. I just borrowed the movie from another friend and I can't wait to watch it.


message 43: by Liz (new)

Liz (hissheep) Heidi wrote: "Tressa-- they are making Shutter Island into a movie-- I believe Scorcese is directing it... if I heard right."

Here's hoping the movie makes sense of the book!


message 44: by Jana (new)

Jana | 6 comments I drop a book when something else I want to read is just too tempting, or when the book starts to go in a direction that annoys me. (Usually when characters or conflicts become cliche.)


message 45: by Mary H. (new)

Mary H. Collins (maryhcollins) | 2 comments I drop a book if there's a lot of sexual content or bad language.


message 46: by Angie (new)

Angie  (angelitabonita) This is a hard one. I usually feel really bad if i can't get through a book and just plow through. It's like turning off a movie before an ending. For some strange reason you've just gotta finish it to the end. No matter how awful it is. Just for that little spark of hope that maybe it'll get better.

With books though it's either close the book by the middle of it if nothing is interesting you and you find yourself yawning and feeling very sleepy while reading. Or if you look at the book and start picking up others. Yeah it's time to throw in the towel.


message 47: by Dan (new)

Dan Porter (chaoticbuffalo) I try to get through any book I start, which is why I tend to be careful about what I start. If I don't like the story or the characters, I will read to learn what I can about writing...sometimes what to avoid in my writing. Having said that, I have tried several times over the past few years to read The Cider House Rules and have never been able to make it past the first three or four chapters. I have no idea why I can't get into this book. A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favorite books, so I don't think it's Irving's writing that puts me off. I'll keep trying every so often, and one of these days it'll probably just click and I'll get through it.


message 48: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Dan, I really liked The Cider House rules. The movie, probably due to time constraints, had to change and eliminate some storylines, but it was definitely worth reading in my opinion.


message 49: by Dan (new)

Dan Porter (chaoticbuffalo) Thanks for the encouragement, Lori. I'll pick it up at the library today or tomorrow so it'll at least be close at hand, bugging me to give it one more shot.


message 50: by Chana (new)

Chana | 5 comments Ed wrote: "I stopped reading Saramago's Blindness..the lack of any punctuation, etc. turned me off. Also, I've been lately at a lot of swim meets, etc. so light reading like that of Pratchett..discworld seri..."
I didn't stop reading Blindness, I kept thinking that I might learn something, but I hated it. The lack of punctuation was frustrating, everything was too allegorical and depressing. I think that I should either enjoy a book or gain some new perspective. This book gave me nothing.



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