Booking Through Thursday: When to give up

btt button The Booking Through Thursday for today is:

Suggested by JM:

“Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation.

That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading.

Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

Years ago I had a problem with self-discipline in reading, starting them only to abandon them, so I began to make myself finish any book I started (any book designed to be read through, of course — not something that was primarily reference or a “pick up and dip in” book.)

I think in our “easy entertainment” era, we can lay aside something that doesn’t “grab us” right away and miss a treasure. A lot of older books weren’t written in a style to “grab” the reader right off the bat: they laid a lot of foundation first before getting on to the story.

Also, usually any book I pick up is one I’ve checked on enough to think I am going to like it — even a recommendation from a close friend whose tastes are similar is not enough to make me go get a book without further checking into it. Since I got the book in the first place because I thought there was a good chance I would like it, I’m willing to give it a fair chance.

However, life is too short to read a bad book, and I have so many I want to get to that if a book is really doing nothing for me after a good chance, I would have no problem with laying it aside. I will lay it aside sooner if it is truly bad — morally or in its writing, etc. But if it is just boring, I tend to give it more of a chance. I don’t have an arbitrary number of chapters or pages that I go through before giving up on it, but if there comes a point when I feel I am wasting my time, it’s bye-bye, book.

There have been a few times I’ve given up on a book but tried it later and liked it. A Tale of Two Cities was like that. It took me at least three, maybe four tries before I got interested in it enough to finish, but once I did it became one of my favorite novels.

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9 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: When to give up

  1. I usually try to do a lot of “homework” on a book, too, before I decide to read it – so I don’t abandon many. But if I find I’m not enjoying a book, I don’t feel guilty about not finishing it. I’m definitely a “life is too short” believer.

  2. You were persisitent with giving Tale of Two Cities a chance. I don’t think I could do that. Once I decide I really dislike it up to that point, I probably won’t pick it up again. Which now that I think of it is probably a shame because it could just be where I’m at in life or the state of mind I’m in when I first give it a try.

  3. that’s very disciplined of you! I have to be so disciplined with my school reading that when it comes to the stuff I read for pleasure, I’m a bit more whimsical.

  4. I think in our “easy entertainment” era, we can lay aside something that doesn’t “grab us” right away and miss a treasure. A lot of older books weren’t written in a style to “grab” the reader right off the bat: they laid a lot of foundation first before getting on to the story.

    I agree. It’s too easy to move on to the next thing, without stretching our minds just a little to encompass something difficult or different.

    But I’m the opposite of you: I’ll ditch something that’s dull before I abandon something trule bad. I like to see how bad it can get!

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