Saturday, February 11, 2006

When is enough enough?

I know there are many different types of readers. Some readers insist on finishing every book they start whether they are enjoying it or not. I'm not one of those readers. I have so many books in my TBR pile and I also do a lot of rereading so time is too short and there are too many books to read to continue if I'm not enjoying a book. But every so often I will try reading beyond what should have been the cut-off mark. This just happened with Cherry on Top by Kathleen Long. I bought it a while ago when I saw Wendy really liked it and tried to read it for Angie W's January Challenge - contemporaries. But I wasn't really feeling it and January turned into February. I put it aside to read a few other books and then tried to read it again for February's Challenge - new to you authors. But I finally came to the conclussion yesterday, that enough was enough. It was such a struggle to read this book, I really didn't like the heroine, hated the dog and it was getting painful to continue.

So for those readers who are like me and often don't finish a book, when is enough enough? Do you ever try and keep going even though you know you're beating a dead horse? Do you feel bad when you can't finish a book? I usually don't but I did with this one.

And for those readers who do finish bad books - how on earth do you manage to do it?

'til later

22 comments:

Avid Reader said...

I'm weird. I'll feel guilty when I don't finish a book that isn't necessarily bad - but it's just not going ANYWHERE and I put it aside then I get this niggling feeling that I should be finishing the first book I started and then I put down my second book (usually because it's not going all that well either) and will usually give the first book another go and then when enough is enough: I ditch it.

No way in hell will I continue to read a bad book. The first snag is all it takes before it goes in my bag for the used bookstore.

romancelover said...

I feel guilty also...actually, no...I USED TO FEEL GUILTY! I threw out Feather's ALMOST A BRIDE when it was obvious to me that the lead character had no chemistry. It's all about chemistry; if I feel like the characters have none, I stop reading the story. I've become less inclined to waste my time reading a bad book with asinine characters and a poor plot because, like you Kristie, I reread books and have about 100 books in my TBR (maybe even more). I give the author a maximum of 3 chapters to get me hooked to the story...maybe I'm too harsh, but really sometimes 3 chapters is all you need to know whether you'll love or hate the book...

Mad said...

I try to finish them...honest! But there are some that I just can't finish and I put them aside. A friend told me I should just start skimming those types of books just to be able to say "yes, I finished it...but I skimmed a lot." ROFL

sybil said...

I am a way heavy skimmer if the book doesn't catch me.

Unless it is something to review, then I just go with it. I find the more notes I take on a book, the less I liked it.

go figure

CindyS said...

When I am in a slump I force myself to finish a book because it is normally my own funk that is the problem.

Nowadays, I will put a book down and yes, I do feel guilty sometimes. For example, I know lots of people love the Crazy books and in all honesty, I should love these books also but I put it down. With this kind of reaction I *may* try another title to see if it works but the likelihood of me going back to the original book is slim to none.

Another example is the Kenyon books. I think I should really be enjoying the book I have but I got 3/4 of the way through and I just didn't care. Good writing, good conflict etc but, I just didn't care.

I thought it might be that I am burned out on vampires or rom suspense but then I read Kim Harrison and I love her. Anne Stuart's contemps are normally rom suspense and you better not get in front of me when I am reaching for that book.

I'm trying to allow myself to let go of books that aren't catching my interest. The hard part is seeing 8 books by the same author at the bookstore and I start to feel like I must really be missing something. Not to mention that many people do enjoy the books that I can't seem to follow right now.

Oh! I remember years ago picking up a Julia Quinn (Splendid or something) and I was so put off that it was years before I tried her again. Turns out she has written a few keepers for me. Also a few nuts but the keepers are worth it.

CindyS - longwinded as usual

Sam H said...

I used to force myself to finish every book I started no matter what, but then I hit 30 and something inside snapped. I told myself that there are too many good books out there to waste my time on stuff I don't like. I still struggle with this a little though. This sounds crazy, but I find it easier to stop if it's a library book. Unfortunately, the library has a small book budget and the director doesn't tend to order romances unless they are on the best seller lists. Therefore, most of the romances I read are bought and then I think of the money I spent on them and think "I must finish this or I wasted my money", but I'm trying to get over that.

Tara Marie said...

I usually have 1 or 2 books a month that I either put away for another day or want to throw against a wall and kick for good measure to releive the frustration that a lousy book causes.

I don't force myself to finish bad books anymore, to many out there to worry about finishing the dregs.

Leya said...

Too many books, too little time. Why waste time reading something you dislike, JMHO. Now if it's an author that I usually enjoy I'll just put the book down and wait until I'm more in the mood to read it.

Bev (BB) said...

I'm not sure how to answer this because I'm a world class skimmer both when I like books and when I don't. I tend to only skim books I'm really liking when I'm tired and/or make the mistake of reading at bedtime. Or what should be bedtime. (G) But I start skimming big time when I'm truly having problems with a book, just to see how the author resolves things. I think both sides of the habit comes from originally starting reading romances with the shorter books.

So, technically, I'm not sure I ever "don't finish" a romance. What I do is not get an author again if a book really didn't work for me.

Meghan said...

To finish, you just grin and bear it... and complain to your roommate about what an utter piece of s*** the book is.

Suisan said...

Well, I usually am reading up to five books at a time. So the one I don't like so much tends not to get picked up to go for a ride in my purse. So after a while I just forget to keep reading it. Eventually I'll pick it up and *heavily* skim it to see why I wasn't reading it in the first place and whether I should make a concerted effort to finish. But by the time I've skimmed the whole book, I call that done.

Hardcovers I tend to focus on exclusively. I have to make a decision to bring that book with me somewhere, so somehow I invest a lot more energy in deciding whether to drop the book or not. I get angsty about not finishing a hardcover.

Dana said...

I don’t feel guilty when I don’t finish a book because I don’t have time for bad books. Especially when I’m in college. I usually give a book till around page 70 to see if I like it because it’s hard to tell if I’m going to like a book in the beginning. If I’m not hooked by then I put it aside. However, if I get through half a book I almost always finish it no matter how bad it is. By that time I’m pissed and want to trash it in my blog. The only time I get guilty is when I decide to sell an unfinished book or put it away in the closet.

Mad said...

Meghan -- LOL about the roommate part. I do the same thing....will finish a book then call a friend of mine and complain about it so much that she'll end up saying "OK, breath, slow down and breath" ROFL

Samantha said...

I usually try to finish the whole book even if it is bad. Sometimes they get better or make more sense towards the very end. That doesn't happen very often but sometimes it does. I'll put the book down if it's over 400 pages and bad. But if it's below 400 I usually struggle through it because I don't feel like I can say I actually read it and didn't like it if I never finished it. I also have the tendency to skim through some parts in bad books.

Karen Scott said...

I simply skim till I get to the end, then at least I can say I read it.

Then I attempt to flush it down the bog if it was really bad.

ag said...

I'd skim heavily and try to get to at least half the book. By then, if it still doesn't work for me, I would put it aside. Sometimes, the author introduces a great plot twist that turns the story around for me. Somehow, over the years, halfway through has sort of become the make-or-break point for me.

ReneeW said...

Like many here I used to force myself to finish every book I read, but since discovering AAR and blogs and my TBR kept growing I realized I had no time to waste on books that didn't hold my interest. If the book is really bad, I chuck it. But if it's only blah then I skim to the end. It really kills me to not finish or skim a book I paid full price for. My inner tight-wad tells me to finish it and get my money's worth, but the sane part of my brain says 'too many books, too little time'. Sanity usually wins.

Kristie (J) said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't finish books and doesn't feel guilty for the most part that I don't. I think Renee had a good point that I didn't think of. Although I spend a lot (way too mucy) on books, I'm still cheap enough that when I get one I can't finish, I get a bit annoyed at myself (stress myself) at the money that I spent on that book, that could have been spent on one I might have liked better.

Wendy said...

Well crud - I'm sorry Cherry On Top didn't work for you.

My hard and fast rule is 100 pages. If it ain't working by page 100, it hits the trade bag or the "donate to the library" box.

Now, if I think it's just my mood - I'll skim 'til the end. But if I'm hating it - I mean really hating it - I stop reading altogether and don't feel any guilt :-)

Kristie (J) said...

It's easy isn't it, if you're hating a book to quit. It's those ones that you're not quite sure of that make it difficult. That's what I found Cherry on Top. I didn't hate it but I just wasn't lovin' it. If I had a smaller sized TBR pile I probably would have continued. But my pile has been giant sized - and then some. I've got probably at least 20 books that fit into this category. I started them and they weren't bad - but I wanted to move onto the next one. That's why I'm still holding on to so many.

jmc said...

I used to make myself read any book that I started, telling myself that I had already committed X amount of time and it might get better, so I should slog through to the end. I'm not sure what happened in the last year or so (maybe the exponential growth of my TBR pile?), but I don't feel obliged to do that any longer. If the book hasn't grabbed me in the first 50 pages, I'll put it down without regret. I did that with a couple of books this weekend.

Anonymous said...

What a great site »