Free to a good home: book, gently used
In my quest to read the poor abandoned books on my shelf I was bound to pick up a dud at some point, and I did. I then continued to read it for about five days or so before finally abandoning it. When passersby asked me how the book was going (family members, coworkers, confused strangers), I responded with my complaints about the book thus far. Most accepted my frustrations. One finally asked, “So why are you putting up with it?” It’s a good question. If I hated it so much, why didn’t I just stop reading it? The answer is that I felt, in some ways, that I owed something to the author. As if abandoning the book a quarter of the way through would insult the author (who happens to be deceased), or insult the book itself. So that got me thinking- are there rules about when you can abandon a book? What is the threshold one must pass before deeming a book unworthy? Does it depend on the book, on the general esteem of the author, or something else?
This brings me to this article by goodreads.com:
According to goodreads, most readers will finish the book regardless of their frustrations. It surprised me to find that so many people will finish a book despite disliking it, but I suppose there could be contributing factors- bragging rights for something like Ulysses, staying current in pop culture for something like Twilight. Coming in second is ditching the book after 50-100 pages. This is the method I seem to hold with most often, as I think I finished around 60 pages or so. It’s enough time to allow the book to pick up the pace if it has been slow thus far, and enough time to establish whether or not I think it will be worth my while in the near future.
But am I being unfair to the book, or to the author? I think this article makes my case for me. Says the author, “Stop reading a book if [you] don’t enjoy it…I’ve put down several books over the last few weeks–and it is such a relief. More time for reading good books! Less time reading books out of a sense of obligation.” Personally, I agree. I read books while traveling, more often than not- on the train, on a break at work, while walking down the street. I don’t want to be unhappy and frustrated while doing those things. I’d rather read a book that makes me happy…like the 30 pound Game of Thrones book in my bag which I tote around everywhere.
-A Little Beau Told Me