BTT – A Reader’s Duty?

btt button“Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation. That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading. Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

I will say that, generally, I completely agree that life is too short to read bad books (or to watch bad movies, eat bad food, drink bad wine, date bad people) and so, unless it’s for an assignment or something I feel I really need to read, I’ll usually give a book 50 pages (a length my grandmother always insisted was owed to any book) and if it doesn’t have me, I’ll give it up. Now, this is not to say that there are not books I’ve returned to (it took me four attempts at Gone with the Wind and I still have yet to find a way to make Catch-22 interesting in any way) and loved after more than one go round. I also believe, as most do, that readership and readers change, and that the books that speak to us will also be subjected to changes. So, to paraprhase that oh-so-fitting cliche, “if at first you don’t succeed, read, read again.”

I’ve started on Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body and amout 10 pages in. It’s already hooked me, so I know it won’t take me long to finish, and I’m hoping that means I can also make the last push to finish Mary Renault’s Fire From Heaven so that I can give it a proper review – I still have so much more to say! Happy reading and Happy Thursday!



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alayne
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 14:45:13

    Nice answer. Here is mine:


  2. Nise'
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 15:03:02

    I have a 50 page rule as well. I have returned to a book that I liked on the second or third try. This past year I re-read Catch-22 and did not like it as well as I remembered that I did when I read it in my 20s.


  3. Jeane
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 20:48:20

    Fifty pages is well enough for me to know if I’m going to make the effort to finish a book or not. Especially if it’s dragging. I never made it through Catch-22 either.


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