Thursday, August 7, 2008

On Reading Habits

Amy, asked in a comment for this post, whether I ever quit reading something that isn't good. The short answer is: sometimes. You can stop reading this post now, if that's all you wanted to know.

Occasionally a book is just so boring or so poorly written that I cannot slog through it. I have no problem dropping a book that just doesn't "grab" me. There are too many books to read (including favorites to re-read!) and too little time for me to dedicate myself to something that isn't worth it.

However, (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) I rarely end up not finishing a book. There are several reasons for this:

1. I read so quickly that by the time I think about quitting I'm halfway through the book and I decide I might as well finish.

2. Sometimes things are so bad I enjoy regaling Prince Charming with excerpts. There's nothing like a terribly convoluted mixed metaphor or pretentious turn of phrase for laughs.

3. I rarely choose to read something that doesn't interest me at all. I'm interested by a wide spectrum of things and I choose books that reflect those interests. Sometimes I choose a book based on the cover. (Woe is me for that habit!) Sometimes I choose a book based on the author. (This is generally better than going by the cover. Until I realize that this author has only one trick up her sleeve and I've seen it five times already.) Sometimes I choose a book for no apparent reason at all, but these often turn out to be pleasant surprises. To sum up: I'm the woman in the library reading a chapter or two before taking the book home. (You can ask me to move. I tend to sit right in the stacks.)

4. I am (despite appearances to the contrary) an optimist when it comes to books. I want them to be good. I hope the writer can improve himself/herself by the end. I want to know what this deranged person that considered themselves a writer author thought up for their grand finale.

There you have it. A long-winded answer to a short question. And just wait 'til you see my novel.


Ariel said...

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one that sits right there in the stacks!! I always feel like people look at me so strangely! I have to agree with just about all your reasons... I rarely find a book I don't finish even if it wasn't the greatest.

MacKenzie said...

I almost always finish the books that I start because I feel guilty if I don't. I remember begging my mom to let me stop reading Moby Dick in high school, it just seemed to drag on and on. Luckily for me, she relented. The only recent book I couldn't finish was The Red Tent. Just one or two chapters into it and I was already mad at the liberties I felt it was taking so I stopped.

Amy said...

Thanks for the answer! There was a time I would have NEVER quit a book, no matter what, but like you said, there are too many out there to stick with one that is abolutely impossible!

Please excuse me when I step over you at the library... I'm the one with more books (for me and my boys) than I can safely carry. ;)

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