I think, from time to time, all readers come across a book that just doesn’t ‘do it’ for them. Maybe it’s the wrong time. Maybe it’s the wrong topic. Maybe it’s the writing. There must be a million and one reasons to look at the book in your hand and ask:
Why am I reading you?
And, having put that question into words, one then has to decide what to do next. Do you:
- Say: “I’ve started so I’ll finish,” and slog right through to the very last page.
- Faff about doing lots of things which aren’t reading.
- Stop reading, feel guilty and pick another book anyway.
My middle name isn’t Perseverance so option 1 is a non-starter. Faffing is a very popular activity in this house (watch a cat to learn from a Master Faffer.) But I’m trying to do less of it. And the guilt option? You may be a step ahead of me here and be wondering why one would feel guilty at all but I do! The author took the trouble to write the words. My maiden aunt bought the book for my birthday. The great and the good love the book so it must be good (and I am therefore intellectually deficient). And, well, it’s a book and books are meant to be read.
And here’s where the Fifty Page Rule comes in. Incidentally, I have to point out that I am not the author of the Rule – I first came across it through BCUK and quickly adopted it.
So, the Rule is:
If, after 50 pages, you’re not enjoying your reading then it’s time to stop and choose another.
For me, giving the author 50 pages of my attention is a sufficient investment. He’s had enough time to engage my interest and if he hasn’t? Too bad. Life’s too short and I’ve too many books to waste time reading something I’m not enjoying.
How do you deal with books you just don’t want to read?