When Do You Break Up With Your Book?

Abandoned book

Starting a book is akin to dating. I read book blurbs like singles ads in the newspaper. It has to strike my interest right away for me to invest money to purchase it or time to track it down at my library. As with any first date, first impressions are important. Those first pages help me decide if the book and I would make a great couple. Do I want to take it out for coffee or tea? The first few pages set the tone for the rest of the book.

Or do they?

Sometimes I can tell right away that this book is not for me. It’s not because it smells funny or has mommy issues. It’s me book, it’s not you, I swear. Ok, sometimes it is you. If the writing is horrid, well, our relationship cannot be saved.

Other times, it’s not so clear cut. My book and I come back together for a second date, maybe a third. Still I can’t figure out where our relationship is going. Am I invested in the characters? Do I want to know what happens to them? Do I want to take my book home to meet my friends?

When is the time to break up with my book? I don’t waste my time with Mr. Okay when I could search for the book that makes me ignore my kids as I curl in bed devouring it. Sleepless nights are a sign of a great book. With piles and piles of books waiting for met to crack their spines and take them speed dating, how much time should I invest in a so-so book?

I posed this question to fellow From Left to Write members. It turns out the answer isn’t so clear cut. Here’s what our members had to say:

  • Ariane from The Force Expansive reads at least 100 pages before she gives up on a book. Is that considered a second or third date?
  • Catherine of everyday epiphanies believes “Life is too short and there are too many good books to waste time on one that’s not!”
  • Emily at Naptime Is My Time gives the book three chapters to win her over since it’s easier to track by chapters rather than pages on her Kindle. (I don’t read a lot of ebooks so I find this very interesting.)
  • Ever the optimist, Julie from A Good Joe believes she’ll find a redeeming quality about the book, so she keeps reading, usually until the end.
  • Rebecca from Life of an Army Wife imposed a 100-page rule even though she sometimes feel guilty for abandoning a book.
Personally, I don’t really have a hard and fast rule when it comes to giving up on a book. My 75 page rule has recently been increased to a 100 page rule. Sometimes I’m like Julie. I keep reading the book, hoping it will get better or the end will make up for the lackluster pages. I still feel a teeny bit guilty. Though not that guilty. I created an “Abandoned” shelf on my GoodReads account. Thankfully there’s only one book on it so far this year.
How about you? When do you kick that book to the curb (literally or figuratively)?
Photo by Flipfully via Creative Commons
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