the Little Red Reviewer

oh what a relief it is.

Posted on: September 22, 2010

On one of my recent library trips, I picked up the first book of a finished trilogy by an author I’ve been hearing nothing but good, nay, fantastic things about.

The blurb on the cover of the book had a few of my favorite words to see on a novel – corruption. betrayal. revenge. The blurb on the back of the book grabbed me right away. I was thrilled to have found the book, and that the library owned the entire trilogy. Even the title was alluring. Nearly 700 pages? Bah! I eat 700 page books for breakfast! OK, maybe not for breakfast, but I can typically get through that many pages in a week.

A week later and I was only three hundred pages into it. Reading it began to feel like a chore. I began to tell myself “just get to page 350, then you can put it down for the day”. The plot line? kinda ingenius. the prose? On the slow side, but not bad. The characters? surprisingly interesting.

but at 320 pages, I gave up. I just couldn’t get any further. There was nothing uninteresting or ungood about the book, I just had absolutely zero interest in continuing with it. I took my bookmark out, I put the book back in the library bag and didn’t look back.

And can I tell you what a relief it was?

Life is too short for books that don’t thrill you.  Put them down and stop worrying about it.

I am over feeling bad about books I don’t finish.

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12 Responses to "oh what a relief it is."

Agreed, there are too many books to be read that you will love to waste time on a book that everyone else loves, but you just don’t. There are a couple of series like that for me and I know I am the only one out there that doesn’t like them, but I just don’t. So, I don’t waste my time and pick up the next book on my TBR pile. It’s so big I don’t miss the book I didn’t read. I just get upset if I paid for it, but I save it for a giveaway. I’m finding I’m using the library a lot more these days!

Heather

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I’ve had that happen more than a few times. Usually because I’ve checked out a library book that I know nothing about other than what’s on the jacket cover. I like to try new authors and different types of books. But… if I’m not into the book after about 50 pages I’ll give up. Sometimes it’s the writing style, other times I just don’t like the characters. Either way, time to move on.

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This is happening more frequently as I get older – I find that I feel better if I put the books that don’t move me down and walk away. I have less time to read now than ever, and I want to be thrilled when I do dedicate it to books. Nice post!

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I’ve finally managed to start doing this. I always worry that these blah books will become unputdownably awesome mere page after I abandon them, but I know that hardly ever happens. You’re right; life’s short, and we oughta stick with the books that thrill us.

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That’s happened to me a few times too! The most memorable (I won’t name the book or author) promised oodles of scary global conspiracy plotting in the jacket blurb, the premise was fantastic. I had read lots of John Le Carre before and thought this slow building style was similar. But at least in Le Carre’s books something ACTUALLY HAPPENS. This other book failed to deliver on just about every level. Why oh why did I slave through those hundreds of pages? You are right, life is too short.

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I can’t help but wonder what book it was! :)
Although I remember my first try at Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, it took around 200 pages for the story to start. I still can’t believe I held out so long but it was worth it.
But I agree with you, if I’m not hooked in the first 10-20 pages, I generally stop there (unless it’s a series, then I give it a bit longer). There are too many books I will love to waste time on the ones I don’t and I will never have enough time to read all those I will love.

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If the book seemed to meet all your criteria about what a good book should be, why didn’t you finish it? I’m an obsessive explanation-monger, so just ignore this comment if that’s not your cup of tea.

Possible alternative explanations:
1. I need new glasses. Reading is a strain.
2. I’d rather listen to the audio book.
3. This library book smells like a wet dog.
4. The English Gothic typeset font is too hard to read.
5. I have more important things to do, such as pick lint from my sweater. When I finish that, I’ll work on my dissertation.
6. I’m tired of this particular genre/trope, although I used to enjoy it.
7. I’m too busy studying Mandarin to read this big book right now.
8. Although it’s well written and reasonably appealing, it’s not special enough to command my attention and make it worth reading.
9. There’s another book that I’m much more excited about reading right now. Maybe I’ll come back to this book some day.
10. It’s hard to read with all those whispery voices in my head.

(OK, I’ll stop!)

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Ines – I hope to be drawn in by page 20, but I’ll usually give a book 200 pages or so to do whatever it’s going to do. I remember slugging through a Tad Williams as well, I finished it, but so far haven’t picked up another one of his books.

Opally – that was hilarious! this book definatly passed the sniff test, but it was rather slow and tedius, not much happened, I was starting to skim for the next bit of dialogue. It didn’t help that I was just coming off a super fast moving novel, and diving into some so prose heavy and action lite. Kind of like watching Transformers immediatly followed by Anne of Green Gables. a bit of a shock to the system, to say the least.

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Redhead said:

Kind of like watching Transformers immediately followed by Anne of Green Gables. a bit of a shock to the system, to say the least.

LOL!

Possible reasons I didn’t finish this book:
11. I fall asleep every time I try to read it. I need more coffee!
12. There weren’t enough explosions.

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Thanks for posting on my blog about not being able to finish a book. I have a hard time not finishing a book. I think, it was worth publishing, there has to be something good in here and I forge through. I felt that way about Girl meets boy, which I posted about in July. I almost didn’t finish it, but it was only 150 pages, how could I not? I have shelved a few books, hoping to try again another day, but with so many fabulous books out there, it never seems to happen.

I’m glad you found my blog.

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I don’t get it. Why not mention the name of the book and the author? Is it some big “no-no” in book reviewing?

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naw, it’s not a no-no by any means, my post was more about putting books down in general. There was a specific book that I put down, but I didn’t want the post to become a hate fest/love fest debate on that particular book.

But I did renew said specific book from the library, just in case I feel the urge to pick it up again.

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