Here’s this week’s question:
How much time (or how many pages) do you give a book that you aren’t really enjoying before you’ll set it aside? If you’re reading it for a book group discussion, or for review, will you give it more of a chance than, say, a book you’re reading for your own interest? Why, or why not?
I have a really hard time not finishing a book — ever. Usually if I’m not enjoying something and getting antsy to start a new novel, I’ll set aside the boring book with the intention of coming back to it later! It’s pretty rare that I consciously decide not to finish reading something, and I don’t have a formula for it . . . basically I stop when I feel like throwing the book across the room, or have rolled my eyes so many times that I’m worried they’ll get stuck in the back of my skull!
I’ve actually stopped reading books just pages from the end . . . because I didn’t care anymore. I couldn’t take another stupid page.
If I’ve been sent a book for review, I absolutely finish it. I’ve made a committment to an author and/or publisher to thoughtfully read and discuss a book, and the ending of a novel is pretty crucial to my overall feelings about a book. Take The Friday Night Knitting Club — I was just about in love with it until I hit, oh, those last 50 pages or so. And then BAM! Total disaster. If I’d reviewed the book prematurely, you’d be sitting with one happy, bubbly Meg. Instead? You get this lovely, caustic version who nurses a love/hate obsession with author Kate Jacobs!
Thankfully I have yet to receive a book for review that I, um, completely despise. That would be awkward. All of the books I’ve hated with a passion were purchased with my own money, so I can feel (slightly) less guilty about that! I’d give up on those way before I’d ever give up on a review book. And I really don’t enjoy hating on the work of others . . . I promise. But some of it is just so terrible, it’s hard to scrape together some positive thoughts on the work as a whole (see: The Anglophile, one of my life’s greatest disappointments!).
And because I love lists, I bring you:
Meg’s Random Assortment of Books Discarded Lately
• Phyllida And the Brotherhood of Philander by Ann Herendeen
• There’s A (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going To Hell by Laurie Notaro
• Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather Mcelhatton
Books Meg Probably Should Have Stopped Reading —
But Stuck It Out To the Painful, Bitter End
• Love The One You’re With by Emily Giffin
• Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
• The Anglophile by Laurie Gwen Shapiro
• Summer Blowout by Claire Cook
• Bring On The Blessings by Beverly Jenkins
• Frangipani by Celestine Vaite