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How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Created: 05/04/11

Replies: 17

Posted May. 04, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethp

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 8

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into?

I know that Jonathan Franzen's Book "Freedom" is supposed to be wonderful but I am just stuck in it and not enjoying it. I wondered how many people actually finish books that they are just not into? I feel badly that I don't love it...but there are too many books out there that I do want to read...just wanted your opinion!


Posted May. 04, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 981

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RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

The perceived publishing wisdom is that about a third of books bought are never started and another third are never finished - I don't have any data to back that up but that's what I've heard from time to time.

For what it's worth - I was fairly set on not liking "Freedom" purely on the principle that no book can be worth all the fuss it got - but I downloaded it as an audiobook from the library and waded on through and did find myself hooked, but I'm not sure that I would have stuck it out if I had been reading rather than listening.


Posted May. 04, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethp

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 8

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Davina, you are awesome and are the reason I still subscribe to Bookbrowse...

Here's another question: A friend of mine is hooked on the Left Behind series by Tim Lehaye and whoever else wrote it. Because I do not believe in the premise on which it is written, (that all of us sinners will be left behind) I did not read the books. I do enjoy books set in the future very much, "The Stand" being my all time favorite, loved "The Passage", The Hunger games trilogy, etc. My friend says that she is just enjoying the story (but I think that the premise does not bother her like it does me). Am I being too narrow minded when choosing books, especially since I consider myself a very, very, liberal person? That could be a good discussion too. What do you personally think of those books?


Posted May. 04, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 981

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RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Hi Beth

I've dipped into the Left Behind series to see what the fuss is about, but am not interested in reading it in any detail for, it would seem, much the same reasons as you. Putting aside whether one believes in the infallibility of the bible as a religious document or not, is seems to me that the theology on which the Left Behind series is based is flawed.

Having said that, in the normal course of events, I'm perfectly happy to suspend disbelief to enter into a fantasy world - so I think the problem I have with the Left Behind series is that I'm not clear that the authors are intending to represent it as fantasy or whether they're pushing a more loaded agenda.

For me, the key to a book, whether set in a fantasy/future world or a current one is whether the world makes sense - I can suspend disbelief for the purposes of entering the world of the book but I cannot suspend it for plot elements that don't make sense within the context of that world. For example it drives me absolutely loopy in the fourth Harry Potter book that the whole story is built on the premise of a contest that Harry is entered into and has to win in order to get into the center of a maze in order to be teleported out of the school grounds to face Voldemort - when there were countless easier ways that he could have been whisked from the premises by Voldemort's right hand man disguised as a trusted teacher! As for the time traveling device given to Hermione in book 3 - the plot inconsistencies that that opens up are endless - not least, if she, a 13 year old, has her hands on such a device, how come the Ministry of Magic aren't using similar devices to leap back and forth in time to observe what actually happened at key events, even if they're not allowed to change them. Oops, I digress!

Anyway, back to the topic in hand - in short, I think with so many books out there you're not being narrow minded in choosing not to read the Left Behind series and, frankly, considering you'd probably only get into a disagreement with your friend about them if you did, it's probably prudent of you not to!


Posted May. 04, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethp

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 8

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Thank you for your thoughtful answer. You just amaze me...


Posted May. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 114

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RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

I have so many books in my 'to be read' stacks (both electronic and paper) and there are so many other books that I want to read, that I don't feel bad if I give up on a book before I finish it. If a book has been highly recommended, I may try to read more but if get to 80 pages or so and am not into the book, I put it down and start another one!


Posted May. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 64

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RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Have to say for the most part I give the book 60 pgs. If I cant get into it I put it down. I work at a library and see so many books it just seems a waste to stick with something I am not liking. Unfortunately sometimes the first half of a book will be fantastic and than just fizzle out. By than I have invested so much time in the book I feel I have to finish it, though I have done a lot of skimming at that point.


Posted May. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nikkim

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 11

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Life is too short to read something you're just not into! Move on......


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lorie

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 24

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

I agree with the last few "posters" that there are too many good books to waste your time on books you're not enjoying. If it's for my bookgroup, I try to force myself to finish so I can participate in the discussion, but otherwise I stop after 50-75 pages. By coincidence, Freedom is one of the recent books my group discussed that I forced myself to finish. Can't say that it was a good use of my time.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyn's Gravatar
pennyn

Join Date: 10/21/10

Posts: 23

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

For all the reading I do I dump a book that doesn't grab me...like 101 pages in. Plus, I am a "functioning dyslexic." Some authors are very hard for me to read. I think I read the rhythms of any writer. If I can't get the rhythm I spend hours trying. I found Hemingway VERY hard to read. But realized with his books if I broke down his 'sentence paragraphs' I could get through them. Tho my favorite one is a SS -- A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Here is where I found how to put my rhythm into his work. I also try to read at least 4 different books at the same time.


Penny
Posted Sep. 14, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathym

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 12

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

I absolutely do not. There is always something new waiting for me and I give it about 60 or 70 pages and then move on. Sometimes I will go back depending on my mood and find myself loving the book I gave up on 6 months before because I am a very mood driven reader.


Posted Sep. 14, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Hillrat6

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 2

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

If the book is our monthly book club selection, I will finish it (and some have been painfully difficult to slog through). However, if it's a book I want to read or was recommended to me, I'll give it about two or three "sit-downs." If by the third time I've sat down with the book to read it and it still doesn't appeal to me, I stop. Fortunately, I always have another book to take its place.


Posted Nov. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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francoiseh

Join Date: 11/17/11

Posts: 4

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Abandoning the reading of a book before finishing it, for whatever reason, has always been the hardest thing for me to rationalize, even though I consider myself a most sensible and rationalized person!
What I find so irrational is the guilty feeling that always assails me in those circumstances, specially if the author is renowned or the book has already gathered raving reviews…
I could not complete my reading of «Corrections» by Jonathen Franzen (this is for you bethp), it totally bored me, I never dreamed I would admit to this publicly, ever!
Even worst, if possible: Don DeLillo’s «Underworld» which I found literally insignificant, although I endured up to page 446 of 832 pages!
With the help of the previous posters and this personal confession, I hope my conscience-stricken problem with this matter will be resolved once and for all!


FrancoiseBH, Montreal Qc
Posted Nov. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 981

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RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Francoise - I take comfort in this quote from Arthur Balfour: "He has only half learned the art of reading who has not added to it the more refined art of skipping and skimming".

More about Arthur Balfour: http://www.bookbrowse.com/quotes/detail/index.cfm?quote_number=293

There's also a lot of sense in the somewhat controversially titled, How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read: http://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/2058/how-to-talk-about-books-you-haven%27t-read

Davina, BookBrowse Editor


Posted Nov. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
francoiseh's Gravatar
francoiseh

Join Date: 11/17/11

Posts: 4

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Thank you Davina, I love the quote from Arthur Balfour..., as for Pierre Bayard's book I am a lost cause, I have been a compulsive reader all my life!
Out of curiosity, tell me why everybody seems to have a SEND PRIVATE MESSAGE link under his user's name and I dont. why?


FrancoiseBH, Montreal Qc
Posted Nov. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 981

Expert

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

Hi Francoise - you don't have a send private message under your own name, as why would you want to send a private message to yourself? :) I see a link under your name, so just sent you a message.


Posted Dec. 05, 2011 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jknapp

Join Date: 04/11/11

Posts: 37

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

I agree with some of the previous posts regarding book club choices. I have read a few books in the last year that were simply not a genre that I enjoy. However, if I am going to join in the discussion I really think I should read the book. As an aside. I think it is really tricky recommending books to book club members that have broad appeal. I have learned to rely a lot on BookBrowse recommendations and reviews to determine my choices since a wide variety of books are reviewed on this site.


Posted Jan. 16, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rorya

Join Date: 09/18/13

Posts: 10

RE: How many people actually finish books that they are just not into

I keep a shelf on my Goodreads account just for this. The latest one listed, as of November 30, 2015, is The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro. My first novel, which I'm researching and writing, and at the moment have stopped to research some more, involves a sizable will, so I was curious about how Tessaro covered the inheritance Grace receives.

But I couldn't get through it because Grace's gradual change was too gradual for me, and at times, too much time spent on atmosphere over character. I like an intermingling of the two, in which atmosphere might inform the character as well, but it felt like Tessaro was more interested in this perfume world than her characters.

When I put a book into my "abandoned-lack-of-interest" shelf, as it's listed in my account, it's gone forever. I will not try it again. And when I click on that shelf, and scroll through 88 titles (since 2008, when I started my account, but that warrants further explanation in a moment), I remember why I closed these books and returned them to the library or donated them.

I don't expect a book to spread its wings right at page 10. But if I'm at page 50 and it still hasn't done much, I'm gone.

However, that Goodreads shelf isn't representative of all the books I've stopped reading because I wasn't into them. There have been some books that I've simply deleted from my "currently-reading" shelf, thinking that maybe I'd encounter them again some day because at least in that reading, there WAS something there, but there just wasn't enough of that something. Or so I thought.

Case in point: "Florida Roadkill" by Tim Dorsey. I've found that I'm not really a fan of books that branch out into multiple perspectives right away. Give me one character at the start, one person to get to know, and THEN go for it. Give me all the people that he or she encounters and I can handle that.

But in "Florida Roadkill," Tim Dorsey jumps from one person to another to an entirely different set of people, and I guess it was simply a matter of being patient enough because it all eventually comes together. I'm a proud native Floridian, so I felt obligated to try it. I know now that the big draw is Serge A. Storms, the psychotic lover of all things Florida, who at times actually makes more sense than the other crazies looking to get ahead in Dorsey's novels. I didn't know that at the time. I got to where Storms was introduced in "Florida Roadkill," but where was I supposed to look? Who could I want to get to know more if the perspective kept shifting and jumping and diving and surfacing like a dolphin? It was annoying!

I deleted it from my Goodreads account. Maybe I would bump into it again one day. Maybe not.

Then, last month, I read that a production company is looking to adapt "Florida Roadkill" as a TV series. Was there something in it that I was missing? Besides, I'm always for a TV series set in Florida.

So I found that the copy I originally checked out from my local library was still there (you can't always count on the books there to always be there, since the branch manager is always too weed-happy. You don't weed books unless you have something to replace it with. That's why the 940s at my library look decimated. There's too much room on those shelves), and checked it out, changing my mindset to see if I could see what these producers were seeing.

I loved it. And I realized that it's worth reading through the other characters to get to Serge A. Storms, and especially his interactions with them. When he's off his meds, he's the passionate, devoted, religious Florida tour guide that I wish I had had more of when I was living there. I wanted more!

So far, I've also read "Hammerhead Ranch Motel" and "Orange Crush." There's was a roadblock to getting to "Triggerfish Twist" because someone has it checked out until the 26th. So I ordered it from Abebooks. I wasn't going to wait.

Right now, I've got the same problem. I'm reading "Ragged Company" by Richard Wagamese, and it's not that I'm not into it, but it's very slow-going because I had a busy week at work, and I've got a book review to finish writing, as well as the next book to read for a possible review. Plus, my family and I are a little over a month away from moving to a new apartment, and I've got to decide which books to get rid of from the teetering stacks on the floor in my room as well as the books sitting on the lip of the shelves of my bookcases, but not in my bookcases. I know that I'm going to replace a few of the books from the two smaller bookcases (my floating collection, meaning books I want to read, but am not sure if I'm going to keep, like my main bookcases, which houses my permanent collection, although a shelf or two of one of the smaller bookcases will hold what I couldn't fit in the main bookcase) with books I want to read more than those, that I absolutely have to have with me because I know I'll read them some time.

So in this case, I might not be into "Ragged Company" right NOW. But I think I ought to keep it just the same. Also, if not for some of the library books I picked up today that I want to read more, I'd probably make a bigger effort.


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