World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War World War Z question

When, if ever, is it ok to give up on a book?
Kelly Kelly Jul 30, 2012 08:00PM
My question is when, if ever, is it ok to give up on a book? Maybe I'm just trying to read to much all at once but lately I've read a few books that I just have no desire to finish. Right now that book is World War Z. It's not that I don't like the book, so far it has been entertaining. But I'm only 50% of the way thru and I just don't see any pay off coming with finishing. As interesting as it is I can't discern a plot line that would push me through to the end. Anyone else having this problem with a book?

Life is short with little discretionary time. Why read something you don't like, when you could be something enriching? There is SO much good stuff out there (and so much crap) ... Why waste your time? I set aside a book when it's obvious I'm not hooked. I admit, I'm very picky about books, but try to keep an open mind and am usually willing to retry a book one or more times. (I loved WWZ for being original, well written, entertaining and off-beat.)

Michael You can always come back to it later. Sometimes in life the timing is off...
Dec 04, 2012 09:36PM

I am about 40% of the way through this one and it just ain't doin' it for me other than being vaguely nasty and depressing. And a bit boring. There are so many great and rewarding books out there that you're never going to have time to read in your life. There. This discussion just helped me make up my mind. Thanks, y'all!

There is nothing wrong with giving up on a book. If you are not happy with it, dont worry... YOU WILL NOT HURT IT'S FEELINGS!!! Dont torture yourself.

I liked the Zombie the survival guide better. You give up on a book when it gets borrowing.

I've never given up on a book, world war Z is the first.
I could not get into this book at all, I found myself skimming over it, not taking in what I was reading. My mind would drift off.
I felt like I was doing research for a school project.
Quite simply I was bored out of my mind!!!

I HATE giving up on books, but have learned to do it. If not, I'll suffer through it and take a month or more to read it, whereas I could easily have read 4 or 5 books I connected with in that time.
I read World War Z awhile ago, but I remember struggling with it. I generally like the "journal entry" type of storytelling, but it did lag in spots.
I generally go by the 100 page rule, too, although I really like the earlier suggestion of 100 pages- your age. I'm going to start using that.
For the record, I just decided to put down "all the pretty horses" today after about 125 pages. I almost gave up on it at 70, gave it to 80... then kept going until 100. Then kept going a little longer... and just can't keep going. Wasting too much time. I feel guilty, like I was "supposed" to like it... but it never grabbed me.

While I loved World War Z and plowed through it in 2 days, there have been several great books that did not grab me in the first few chapters. One such book was Middlesex, which I put down and went back to a year later and really enjoyed the second time. It happens.

All WWZ is is a collection of stories, pretty much. It doesn't have an arc or an ending, so if that bothers you, stop now. And don't feel bad about it. I've started books that l wasn't crazy about and picked them up again years later. Its not a huge deal.

Some bad books seem to have the "train wreck" appeal. As long as the wreck is fascinating in and of itself, I'll read. Once it ceases to be interesting, even as a horrible experiment of wasted time and energy, I put it down.

It's rare, but I've dropped a few--even mid-sentence.

Kelly wrote: "My question is when, if ever, is it ok to give up on a book? Maybe I'm just trying to read to much all at once but lately I've read a few books that I just have no desire to finish. Right now that ..."

I totally agree with you, I had to put this book down. It doesn't have a discernible plot line, and is just a bunch of random stories. Nothing bad about that, but just not my style. My personal opinion is that if I put a book down and don't think about it for a week, its probably not something I was enjoying.

When it comes to this particular book I have to agree with you cos I felt exactly the same. I ended up finishing it but really I just skimmed through and I absolutely never ever ever do that with a book. If I start something I have to finish. The same goes for a movie no matter how awful I think it is I will not switch it off til the very end. It is really just a personal choice. If it's really hard to get through I would suggest you just give it up.


i give up on a book, if the first few pages doesn't hook me in! there are too many good books out there! i say if its not for you move on!! i do! different strokes for different folks!. i for one enjoyed the world war z book.

It is never wrong to find that you do not like a book; what is wrong, is not starting a book out of the fear of possibly not liking it.

Best Wishes!

Leighton (last edited Jan 21, 2013 10:12AM ) Nov 14, 2012 03:41PM   0 votes
For poor books remember what Yoda said - "If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are ... a different game you should play!"

I think it's ok tp put down a book if the text doesn't work for you or if its writing style irritates you, for instance I've just recently struggled through the divine comedy, I wish I had just put it down and moved on to something more recent or interesting.

On the other hand, I'm reading Moby dick and there are some chapters chapter (55 ish) which are entirely about how innacurate representations of whales were at the time. I mean it is on topic but pertinant?
But if i had given up on that book I would have missed the beautiful description of stubbs killing a whale in the next chapter.

In short I would understand if you chose to LEM (stop reading) a book, but I think you may miss out on some slow burning texts, or those with large changes in pace or writing style.

I've heard of two rules pertaining to how long to give a book. In some writing books, I learned that you want to have your readers interested within 3 chapters, preferably the first.

Separately, I read somewhere that you should give a book {100 - (your age)} pages. Thus, the older you are, the less time you should give the book. The rationale behind this is that older people have less time to waste on a bad book and therefore shouldn't spend as much time on it.

I did the EXACT same thing with WWZ. I gave it back to the friend I borrowed it from (we both love zombie movies) and said, "I'm sorry to hurt the feelings of zombies everywhere, but this just didn't work for me." I think I only got 30% through it. I am considering picking it up again; as many folks are commenting on how circumstances may make a read different on the second or third try.

I thought WWZ was awesome while Robopocalypse was crap. That said, not everyone is going to like everything. Life's too short to waste time doing something you don't like, and that includes reading a book you aren't enjoying.

First of all, I've got to admit that I absolutely HATE to give up on a book. It's a matter of pride as much as anything, but as I've grown older (and realized that I'm NOT going to get through my TBR stack at the rate I'm going) I've given in and started to toss books aside that I just can't get into. As a rule of thumb, I use the "125 page rule". If the book doesn't have any redeeming qualities by that page - it's a goner.

By the way I gave up on WWZ on page 125.

I'm all for people doing whatever they like during their leisure time. If you don't like a book, a movie or a TV show, you shouldn't feel a need to keep watching/reading it.

But I'd said there is an upside with sticking with some books. In university, I had to read lots of dull, wordy books. But going through that has allowed me to read and enjoy a greater variety of books.

If you make a habit of tossing every book that doesn't click with you, you may miss out on some real gems.

In the case of WWZ, you might want to take a break, or look into the audio version just to give your eyes a rest. The audio version is fantastic.

i gave up way before 50% man. its cool, just let it go. interesting but not worth it. way better zombie books out there

I HATED this book. I was gutted because the Zombie Survival guide was one of the most well thought out and entertaining books I've ever read.

If you're reading for fun, and the book isn't enjoyable, then it's okay to give up at any time. I gave up on some books almost 3/4 of the way through, skimming just enough to understand how they ended, before discarding them forever.

I can understand how WWZ can be off-putting, though: it's an unfamiliar style that can come off as dry in several places, and it lacks a climactic winner-takes-all battle near the end to really center the story. Most of the payoff is in the angle Brooks approaches the story from; rather than centering on one small group of survivors (like a Romero movie), he gives a global perspective to zombiepocalypse lacking in most films and books.

I give up on a book as soon as I'm sure that I'm not going to enjoy it. If it's a subject that I know I usually enjoy I'll push a bit longer. There's so many books to read out there- why should I read something that I'm not enjoying when I'm reading for pleasure.

I have only very recently decided that life is too short to read a book you dont like! i used to just take months ready one page at a time to get through but now i figure, whats the point?

I dont think i would have been able to read this book...just because of the way it is written so i decided to get it on audio book with a full cast and it was very enjoyable!

When that book is IQ84.

WWZ has an unusual format. If it's not doing it for you, then give it up without shame. Try a more straightforward zombie book like Day By Day Armaggedon - great read. But forget about the sequel Beyond Exile, and stay away from Forest of Hands and Teeth. I also loved S. King's Cell, but I'm in the minority on this one.

Bill Golden Cell was okay. It just wasn't as good as some of his earlier work.
Jan 21, 2013 03:13PM

I've tried finishing it twice, and I just can't. It is entertaining, but just the fact that it is a different format than we are used to does not mean it is necessarily a better format. If anything, it's obviously making it harder to read. It's rare that I cant finish a book, but really want to see the movie.

If you don't want to finish it, don't. :) As others have said, why waste time on something that isn't fulfilling you? I've given up on three books that I can think of, and I will admit that I did skip I think two stories in WWZ when I read it, and I read it very slowly because some of it was just slow reading. But the entire book is a collection of stories- people recounting their experience of surviving the zombie uprising. Mayne voices, many styles. There's not a definite plot line; its just a collection.

I wonder what happened. Book finished? Book dropped? New book started? I know endings only happen in fiction but, some kind of closure?

I tend to give a book either 100 pages or around 1/4 of the book, whatever comes first. WWZ was not my cup of tea.

I give up on a book when I find myself dragging my feet> I eventually realize this and move on. Why waste your time with something you don't enjoy.

I tried to read a Harlen Ellison short story (I really like some of this author's work), but it was shit, and after three pages, I said that and threw it away.

I don't like permanently abandoning books but I have left books partially read for months on end and on occasion I drop them entirely. It is not a sacred duty to finish every book you begin. If you're not enjoying the book, why continue?

The only reason I'm finishing a book at the moment is so I can tick it as 'Read'. I like this book but the one I read after was awful, lucky it was short!

I give every book 50 pages, and if really hate it, dread picking it up then I ditch it. Otherwise, I'll give it up to a 100 and see if it gets better.

However, I think something like WWZ, you're going to know if it's something you like pretty much straight away.

I really enjoyed WWZ.

There have been books, however, that I could not get into no matter how much I wantd to. I just put them away. For a while, at least.

I've picked a book or two up after years of ignoring it, and found that I like it much more the second time around.

Some books are just not good in my view, and even after giving it a second I can' get through it. I feel no guilt in putting it away for good.

Every year I seem to put books down easier. There's so much out there. If I'm falling asleep or not getting into it by page 100 or even 50 I can put it down for good.

When you don't like the book?

Check out my webcomic, updates every Thursday:

I give a book 50 to 75 pages to grab and hold onto my attention. If I get to a point in a book that it starts feeling like a choir instead of a joy, then I have no problem putting it down for good. There are far too many great books out there that NEED to be read to feel bad about not finishing the ones that you do not want complete.
I read both WWZ and Robopocalyse and liked them both, but did not get past page 65 of Shutter Island before putting it down. Read waht you like and don't read what you don't and don't feel guilty about any of it.

James (last edited Aug 23, 2012 04:39PM ) Aug 23, 2012 04:37PM   0 votes
The book is done in a style that's annoying. Love it or hate it, it's simply a matter of style.

It was inspired by the style of the Good War by Studs Terkel- an oral history of the World War II by soldiers who fought it.

WWZ assumes that the zombie apocalypse came and humanity fought their way through it. Brooks book consists of the imaginary interviews of the survivors.

Not a bad book per see- just written in a style that not everyone will like. I would say to fight through it. The best stuff is toward the end and the early chapters drag. Listen to the e-book. It's posted on you-tube for free.

I generally work on the 50 page rule. If an author hasn't captured my attention within the first 50 pages, then I put the book down. Sometimes I find that if I pick up the book at a later date, it becomes fascinating and I have no trouble finishing it. I guess you really just have to be in the right place to get some books.

If I can't bond with the style within 20 or so pages I drop it and come back. If that doesn't work it's

Kelly wrote: "My question is when, if ever, is it ok to give up on a book? Maybe I'm just trying to read to much all at once but lately I've read a few books that I just have no desire to finish. Right now that ..."

I have experienced that problem as well. I go by the philosophy of so many books, so little time. If a book is not worth finishing, find one that is. Regards.

I drive alot for my work so i dont get to "read" books. I get the audio books. That way you tend to zone out through the borring parts and then you'll focus more on the interesting parts. I'm not much into music so on my 8 - 10 hr drives I listen to all sorts of books. I always seem to finish the book and if its really good i remember most of it. if it sux then i barely remember the characters. The only thing i really remmber about this book is that Alan Alda read a part. That was cool. If you get the chance try the audio version of this book and see if it changes your opinion of it? At worst, you blast through the book and at least have the satisfaction of finishing it. Might be a part or two you like towards the middle or end...

When you experience no growth and change in your self. That is only my opinion! I read not necessarily for enjoyment but for purpose and meaning. I feel it is a waste of time to read anything that does not create a change in the Brain/mind- two separate things.

I'd say there's nothing wrong with putting a book down and coming back to it later - sometimes you're just not in the mood for that type of fiction or it's just not working for you.

WWZ is a very different book than the usual zombie fare so if you're looking for the same themes and events like others you will be disappointed.

I'd put it down for a week and see how it works for you. If you pick it up again and don't get that "click" then move on.

Good luck!

It took a lot of effort to finish this book. It lacked excitement, horror, and everything else that comes when there's a zombie apocalypse. I think if this book would have been taken from a different angle it would've been better.

I saw there's a movie coming out. I'm only going to watch it because my sexy husband Brad Pitt will be the main character.

Jo Jan 10, 2013 11:54AM   -1 votes
I usually give a book 25 pages. If I'm not at least okay with it by then it goes into the unfinished pile. I will even put a book down when I'm nearly finish if I just run out of steam with it. But I do try to give it at least 25 pages. It took me that long with Wolf Hall, and then I ended up loving it. World War Z I listened to on CD while commuting and if I had anything else to listen to I probably would have stopped that one early.

any time one picks up World War Z or Robopocalypse it is absolutely fine to give up on a book - both are shite

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