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How Long Will You Read a Bad Book Before Quitting?

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Showing 1-25 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 12, 2012, 1:07:35 AM PDT
Or do you quit?

I used to finish any book I started. Then I realized that there were far too many other books I wanted to read to waste my time on a book that just wasn't interesting.

Now, if a book is boring me within the first few chapters I will either skim or read the ending so I know what happens.

Sometimes I'll get halfway through a book and it begins to feel like work to get through it, so again, I'll skim. In very rare cases I'll just move along to the next book.

How do others feel when a book just isn't grabbing you?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 1:21:17 AM PDT
L. Boyles says:
I'll give a book three chapters before I put it aside. Life's too short to waste time on something I don't enjoy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 1:25:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 12, 2012, 1:54:58 AM PDT
This post is written by Margaret Lynette Sharp.
I know pretty quickly whether or not a book is worth continuing. I'm an author myself, and one of the qualities I look for in reading is style.
Style becomes evident within a short number of pages, and a good style of writing can be enough to induce me to continue with a plot that isn't exceptional.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 1:28:10 AM PDT
JD (Author) says:
Usually if I am reading a book will have me hooked, walking around with it and keeping it with me wherever I go, usually if I am not doing that, i can figure the book isnt interesting me, like you I used to read until the end, but now, I figure, why? So if I find I am putting a book down more than I am picking it up, I leave it alone.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 1:35:15 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 12, 2012, 1:35:24 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 1:39:42 AM PDT
Kribu says:
I try to finish it if it's merely "meh" - doesn't quite engage me but isn't *awful*. I've had too many experiences with books that started out meh and then completely captivated me towards the end to give up easily.

If the book is truly terrible, either very badly written or the plot, characters and writing makes me just loathe it, I'm not forcing myself to finish it, though.

With series, if the concept sounds interesting, I do try to give the entire first book a chance; if the first book doesn't at least show promise (and have characters I want to read more about), then I have no problems dropping the series / not reading on after that.

There *are* several books in my shelves that aren't finished, and have been in that state for years, but I've never considered them as "won't ever finish" books for some reason, as these tend to be books I've just put down at some point, with a bookmark in them, fully intending to continue at some point... sometimes decades ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 1:40:50 AM PDT
If it is obvious that there has been zero proofreading, I will put the book aside in the first chapter. If it is just a boring/carpy story that just isn't grabbing me, I will usually go to about the fourth chapter. And like you Anna, I just go to the end and see what the ending is, because after all, I just spent money on a bad book, I can at least know what the ending is . :)

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 1:43:40 AM PDT
Jo Richmond says:
Unfortunately, I got 71 percent through one of my last books until I simply couldn't take it anymore!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 1:51:05 AM PDT
You demonstrated perseverance in getting so far before giving up!
Time is precious, so I ask myself, why am I reading this? If the book isn't living up to my expectations within a few chapters, then I give up. When I was young, say about twenty, I would have stuck with it longer.
Posted by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 1:53:59 AM PDT
Rena Ruadh says:
For me, it depends on several factors:

* storyline is gripping but book is full of typos/grammar errors: I'll try to stick to it unless it becomes too painful
* storyline is meh but not awful, no typos/grammar errors: I usually finish the book
* storyline is awful: it doesn't matter if there are typos/grammar errors or not - book gets deleted from Kindle/donated to the neares charity shop if in paper format
*storyline is awful, book full of typos/grammar errors: ditto

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 6:18:49 AM PDT
I will usually give a book about 10% before I give up.
In some cases, if I feel the story might have potential, I will give it a little longer.
In general though, I try to stick to the 10%. I used to be one of those that HAD to finish a book but after a bit of thought, I realized that time is too short and there are a LOT of books I want to read, so why waste my time?

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 6:31:38 AM PDT
Being a recent author, I know the importance of putting out your best chapters within the first 3-4 chapters. This is what booking agents and publishers look at so why not us? If someone tells me a book is good but starts off slow, I may give it a little longer but I think an author has a responsibility to get you up to speed with what's going on quickly and really peak your interest.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 6:43:48 AM PDT
I'll give any serious (well-constructed, error- and typo-free) novel 50 pages. If the author is a noted one, I may give the novel 100 pages.

I recently gave up on James Joyce's ULYSSES after 90 pages. However, I relished each and every page of Cervantes' DON QUIXOTE (over 1,000 pages in translation).


Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 9:42:38 AM PDT
I don't have specific criteria. Generally, I try to finish every book I have. Out of the thousands I read maybe a dozen ended in the give-away bin without having finished them. What I do, is giving the book the benefit of doubt (unless writing and formatting is so bad it causes a headache), if I can't into into it, I put it aside and try at late point again. I generally do this two to three times and if I really can't get into it, I put it aside for the UBS or for give-away to charity (although, I found out recently that one of the one's who have those charity bins on the parking lot of the local grocery store actually recycle the books as that is cheaper for them and they get a good price at the recycling depot, and destroying books goes against everything I am).
I recently purchased an e-book via pre-order based on the blurb and some comments of the advanced reader group, only to read a review which told me that I will not enjoy the book. Unfortunately, I had totally forgotten about the pre-order and when I finally saw the book on my IPad, I was too late to return it. Now I am trying to figure out how I can send to someone who express interest.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 10:10:46 AM PDT
It took me a long time to realize that it was ok not to finish a book I'd started. I'm sure glad I finally did.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 10:18:04 AM PDT
I will read the first page when browsing for a book. If it doesn't grab me, I don't bother. Most of the time I'll make it all the way through the books I've selected. I'm pretty good at knowing my own likes and dislikes; however, I have found a few that were well-received and so I struggled through the first half before finally putting them down.

Also, I consider it a different thing struggling through something like Dante or Shakespeare than a Steampunk or a mystery. I'm more likely to read a boring classic. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 10:25:47 AM PDT
>>Also, I consider it a different thing struggling through something like Dante or Shakespeare than a Steampunk or a mystery. I'm more likely to read a boring classic.<<

This is an interesting point. If I start a classic I will probably finish it, too, even if I have to struggle to do so. There's something very satisfying about being able to say you've read certain classics.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 10:28:06 AM PDT
Lady Roxy says:
I will read an awful book until it comes to the point of my mind wandering to actually doing household chores. That's when I know to call it quits.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 10:45:23 AM PDT
I still finish it since if I bought it (or even if I got it for free) I still want to finish it. Problematic I know since I have unfortunately read some clunkers in my time.

Though at least with the Kindle we now have the option to return the book if it is truly awful and a reader can't get through it.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 12:30:05 PM PDT
MommaCat says:
I give a book 50 pages unless I realize that I have no idea what I've read before that. If the author hasn't made me care about the characters by then, I don't skim or care what happens in the end.

And as someone else mentioned, I can usually tell in the first page or two if the book is a winner.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012, 12:36:31 PM PDT
Karen Mead says:
I usually finish a book once I start it. If I never gave into the urge to quit throughout all of Proust, there's probably no hope for me ever learning to quit while I'm ahead:).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 12:44:12 PM PDT
Lol! I guess I'll scratch Proust off my list.

*Anna writes Proust on her list, then scratches him off.*

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 1:09:12 PM PDT
Ally says:
Most of the books I read are anywhere from 350-500 pages long. If it doesn't grab me by the first 75+ pages, I will stop reading it. I figure this is an honest effort to see what the book is about.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012, 1:19:19 PM PDT
Karen Mead says:
To be fair to Proust, I did actually enjoy In Search of Lost Time overall. But saying that it could have used a lot of editing (even at the time of publication, let alone from a modern perspective) is an understatement.

Posted on Jul 13, 2012, 2:47:52 AM PDT
Rena Ruadh says:
I just wonder which author who has had no sales, and/or had a few books returned, and/or has received 1-star reviews for horrific spelling and grammar is downvoting perfectly reasonable posts here that do not name any individuals, are not offensive in any way, and just narrate the readers' personal preferences.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  33
Total posts:  48
Initial post:  Jul 12, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2013

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