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Monday, 29 April 2013

Discussion: When is it time to give up on a book?

How do you know when it’s time to give up on a book?

Should you keep slogging away, even if you’re not enjoying it?

My answer is no. Life’s too short.

But it becomes difficult when you’re shadowing a book award with pupils. You’re asking them to read 8 books and judge which one should be the winner.

Of course, I tell them if they really aren’t enjoying it, then they shouldn’t feel pressured to keep reading. Some of them have been struggling with Code Name Verity. I haven’t tried that one yet.

The book I refer to is In Darkness. I really am not enjoying it. I put it down and picked up another book and read that so quickly. Then I’m back to In Darkness and I can’t find anything to like about it.
So it is certainly not a book that I would pick as a winner of the Carnegie Book Award 2013. But should I keep reading it so I can discuss it with the pupils? I’ve read 129 pages. That’s definitely enough to know you don’t like a book. But is it enough to have an in depth discussion?

Other books I haven’t been able to finish:
  • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson – could a book be any more complicated? I wasn’t reading that book. I was deciphering it. Gave up. Too much like a translation exercise and not enough like reading a story.
  • The Duchess by Amanda Foreman – Boring!
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini – Too much description for my taste.
  • The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer – Felt like I got the big twist in the first few pages. Didn’t seem much point in carrying on.
  • The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson – Couldn’t stand the style. Urgh!
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman – Found the first half really interesting but I got stuck in the middle. There wasn’t much action and so I didn’t keep reading. I do wonder if I should have persevered with that one.

I don’t give up on a book lightly. Do you?

Who else thinks about their Goodreads goal when they have to give up on a book?


So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I feel so, so guilty if I give up on a book, but as I don;t really have much time to read at uni, I've had to get used to it.

It's stll not something I'd do lightly though.

Becky Scott said...

Sophie, what was the last book you gave up on?

I Want To Read That said...

I give up quickly. Sometimes I go back and try again depending on how much I liked the sound of it or if it was an author I've read before and liked - just in case it was the mood I was in at the time. But I don't see the point in reading something you are not enjoying - surely that's the whole point in reading in the first place - to enjoy it. And as you said - if you can say why you don't like it after 100 pages why force yourself to finish it. But then it doesn't happen to me that often so maybe that's why I feel that way.

Becky Scott said...

Sammee, I sometimes go back to books at another time because sometimes you do need to be in the right mood for a book.

Katherine Roberts said...

When I saw the blog title, I thought it referred to writing books! Same thing applies, I think...

I give up on reading books quite often these days. Just bought one from a charity shop that looked really great from the cover and blurb, but about 10 pages in I knew it was going to be hard going so I gave it back to the charity shop. I don't feel guilty at all. Someone else will probably enjoy it, and the charity gets to sell it twice!

Bookworm1858 said...

It's tough-I try to stick it out and just skim the book until I finish but it tends to make me resentful. But sometimes it is just not happening and you need to drop it for something better.

Jesse Owen said...

I always used to make myself finish books I'm not enjoying but more recently my attitude has changed - if I'm not enjoying a book, I'll put it down and move on.

I'm not brilliant at it and I feel completely guilty when I do but there's too many good books out there that fit my tastes to bother with ones that don't.

Linda Strachan said...

I don't feel guilty about it because I think a book should be fascinate the reader enough to make you want to read on, or the writer has missed something.
I will usually try a second time to get into it, just in case I've been in the wrong frame of mind or too tired when I read it the first time. But if it doesn't keep me interested on a second reading I won't bother continuing.

As Jesse said above, there are too many great books to read, to waste time struggling with something that can't hold my interest.

Becky Scott said...

Katherine, well I guess it does apply to writing books too. if you're not into it, I guess the reader won't be either.

1858, skimming - I do that too. But it really isn't enjoyable.

Jesse, you're right. Life's too short.

Linda, yes it should fascinate them. The reader shouldn't feel bad and neither should the writer. Not every book is for every person.

The Book Fridge said...

I shadow the awards at school, I couldn't finish code name verity and returned it.
My deputy head then asked if I wanted to talked in assembly on Code name verity. That gave me a purpose! I said yes and have just finished it.