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Elendil's Heir
12-04-2006, 09:33 AM
I used to force myself to finish every book I started, hoping against hope that even the books that I hated would get better or would have some redeeming conclusion. Big mistake. Then I decided to read at least the first hundred pages, come what may; if the author hadn't hooked me by then, I could cast the book aside guilt-free. Now I'm reading Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and it just ain't doin' it for me. I think I may have to go to a new first-50-pages rule. :rolleyes:

How far do you go in a book you hate?

WordMan
12-04-2006, 09:44 AM
Varies. These days, I definitely shorten it up - 50 to 100 pages. Back in the day I was like you. With The Shipping News, I plowed through 2/3's of it before I gave myself permission to frisbee it across the room - I mean, it won awards - it must be good, right? Oy.

Bad book, IMHO, but at least it broke me of the need to finish bad books.

Dinsdale
12-04-2006, 09:49 AM
I stopped the last 3 books I started unread.

One - From Seed to Seed by Nicholas Harberd, I made it through maybe 100 out of 300 or so pages. it is essentially a year's diary related to a single weed. While i enjoyed the concept and parts of it, it had too much deep genetics for me.
The other, The Tree by Colin Tudge, I made it less than 100 out of 3-400. Basically every damn thing about trees. but he lost me when he spent too much time early on on taxonomy. Could have skipped around for the more interesting stuff, but didn't care to.
The third, I Wish I'd Been There was a collection of maybe 20 essays by historians, positing "what if" they had been present at various pivotal times/places. Read parts of the first 2, and didn't care for the concept or execution. Could have jumped around, but didn't feel like it.

In some respects my willingness to finish a book I'm not really thrilled with depends on whether I have alternative reading material readily available. If I just came back from the library with 5 books, I may not give the first one as much effort if I still have a stack of 4 unread books, or if a new magazine just came in the mail.

Also relevant is the "ease" of reading. I may be more likely to slog through a novel I'm less than thrilled with, than a heavy scientific text.

Don't anticipate any difficulty finishing the one I'm currently enjoying - Piano, The Making of A Steinway Concert Grand. Will likely head to the library tonight.

WhyNot
12-04-2006, 09:52 AM
I don't.

Really, life is too short, and there are already thousands of books I want to read that I'll never get to.

There are a few books which I've finished despite not liking, but they fell into the "surely this gets better, right?" train-wreck category of books. But, still, I was at least enjoying my own bemusement. If I'm seriously not enjoying anything about the process, out it goes.

If it helps to have outside permission, consider it granted. I found Caged Bird way overwrought and overhyped (the autobiography, not the poem). And I did finish it. It doesn't get better.

Auntbeast
12-04-2006, 09:54 AM
Pathetically, all the way to the bitter end.

Fortunately, the SDMB is teaching me to do better. Often times, I'll open a thread, find out it is the same old same old and instead of finishing it, I must leave the thread.

Then again, I just slogged through a TRILOGY of badness. My mother in law has gone native (married an indian, so now she's indian) and gave me a book called People of the Raven which I tortured myself to read mostly because it was written by anthropologists about the tribes out west. Then...she gave me 2 more in the series. I read every damn one of them.

I have learned to never read a book by Marry Higgens Clark because I hate myself so thoroughly for having to finish it even though each page is tortuous.

My name is Lisa, and I'm a book finisher.

mhendo
12-04-2006, 09:54 AM
Depends why i'm reading it.

If it's just for enjoyment, i'll happily drop it. If it's for edification, then i may continue with a dull book in order to learn something from it, especially if i'm reading it for a specific reason.

twickster
12-04-2006, 09:56 AM
50 pages, or three chapters, whichever comes first.

Wallenstein
12-04-2006, 10:02 AM
I used to also read to the end no matter what, but recently I started reading a book by a bloke called Patrick Robinson (http://www.amazon.com/Nimitz-Class-Patrick-Robinson/dp/0060564423/sr=1-5/qid=1165244368/ref=sr_1_5/103-8591782-4677410?ie=UTF8&s=books).

I've read another of his books - Kilo Class - and although it was a good yarn, it was riddled with the most ridiculously hyperbolic pro-military anti-liberal rants.

This latest book was no different - and although I expect a bit of pro-war tubthumping in this type of adventure book, Robinson makes it so intrusive that I just couldn't be arsed to read any more.

The more I read the more I think that life's too short to spend on crap books.

Hakuna Matata
12-04-2006, 11:34 AM
now that I am 47 years old--53 pages.

This is a trick my wife (Bin-Gay) told me about---not sure where she got it. You take your age and subtract if from 100. As you get older you only have so much time--if the book hasn't got your attention by (in my case 53 pages) then I am off to find another book. As WhyNot mentioned--there are too many books to slog through something you aren't enjoying--and lets face it as you get older you have less and less time to read them.

So that is the technique I use for what it is worth! :)

jali
12-04-2006, 11:42 AM
I'm a book finisher too. I've read raves all over about George R.R. Martin's epic and decided to start with A Game of Thrones. I really had to force myself through it and I wonder why everyone else in the world seems to love it so much.

Dung Beetle
12-04-2006, 11:48 AM
Depends on the amount of suckage. If it's really painful, I have no qualms about ditching it after about three pages.

My reading time is severely limited these days, so I'm not about to piss it away on something I'm not enjoying.

WhyNot
12-04-2006, 11:52 AM
Then again, I just slogged through a TRILOGY of badness. My mother in law has gone native (married an indian, so now she's indian) and gave me a book called People of the Raven which I tortured myself to read mostly because it was written by anthropologists about the tribes out west. Then...she gave me 2 more in the series. I read every damn one of them.
Oh, God, that was one of my recent trainwrecks. I just kept waiting for it to all make some sort of sense, or at least elevate itself out of suckitude. Only, it didn't. Horrid book. I'm afraid I might be getting the sequels for Christmas.

Greywolf73
12-04-2006, 11:57 AM
I suffer from severe book finishing guilt. I used to force myself to finish any and all books but the last Jean Auel book cured me of that. I usually give a book 75-100 pages before I give up on it. Then it goes to live on the "Never going to read and should really donate to the book sale" pile that never makes it to the book sale. I also suffer from the guilt of inflicting a bad book on another unsuspecting reader. That's why I haven't donated that huge of books yet. Yeah, that's it. :p

susan
12-04-2006, 12:05 PM
I'll usually finish fiction no matter what. I'm as interested in why it's bad as I am in the plot. Non-fiction, especially anthologies, is more variable. I often read only the sections that interest me. I know this within about 5 pages. I don't tend to finish a single-author non-fiction book that doesn't grab me after one chapter.

SkipMagic
12-04-2006, 12:09 PM
This is fodder for Cafe Society more so than MPSIMS. I'll move it for you.

TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW
12-04-2006, 12:30 PM
I'll drop a book in a second if it's not doing it for me; at any give time, I have between 100 and 200 books actively queued up to read, so I don't have time to screw around. I've read enough that I can tell if something's going to improve or if it's hopeless, and I'll quickly move on.

Eleanor of Aquitaine
12-04-2006, 12:32 PM
I give it about three chapters or so, especially for light fiction. By then I can usually tell if I'm going to like the writing style or not.

If the book is highly recommended, or if I've been warned that it starts slowly, I will stick with it longer. I can think of a few books that I almost gave up on, that I'm glad I didn't.

eleanorigby
12-04-2006, 12:37 PM
I had forgotten about The Shipping News --that is definitely on the List!

I give myself about 3 chapters. By the end of chapter 3, if I can't remember the main character's name or I don't care about what is happening-on to the next one.

I used to have such guilt about this-and then I realized that no matter what, I will never get to read all the books that I want to, so why waste time on the ones I don't want to?

IOW-what alot of people have already said.....

kurilla
12-04-2006, 12:37 PM
I stop whenever I'm not compelled by the story anymore. Which means it varies book to book.

Exapno Mapcase
12-04-2006, 01:02 PM
I am a cured Book Finisher. Not recovering: cured. I'll stop reading even good books - nonfiction - if the last chapters appear to contain nothing of substance.

Fiction I'll stop reading at any point. At the supermarket yesterday I read the first chapter of James Patterson's Mary, Mary just to see if his writing is as bad as everybody says. It was. There's no possibility of the book being accepted as a potentially professional manuscript if it had shown up in a slush pile. He's a best seller solely because he's become a Brand Name. How he became a Brand Name is one of those unfathomable mysteries of life.

Other than obvious dreck my test of fiction is if I want to pick up the book again after I put it down. If I'm not excited by the prospect the book stays in a pile. I have hundreds of to-be-read books available around me at any moment. Some of those are bound to be exciting and enticing. They deserve to be read more than the ones who fail that test. Occasionally I'll go back to an abandoned book to see if the timing rather than the prose was wrong but few books get a second chance these days. Why should they?

Khadaji
12-04-2006, 01:08 PM
I have a tough time putting a book down. I guess it is from my poor days when books were hard to find and money even harder. I will try to finish anything that I have bought. But if it ain't working after, oh say 1/3, I often drop it.

But I just finished a book that was painful. I thought it was supposed to be a mystery. Maybe it was, kinda. But part of the mystery was why anyone would think it was interesting. I really should have put it down, because there are so many good books in the queue. Now that money is more plentiful than time, I should drop books more readily.

Eureka
12-04-2006, 01:18 PM
Not very far(although, there are exceptions, especially for books in series). If I get a solid start on a book, I will usually finish it. But if I pick up a book at the library because it looks interesting and it just doesn't grab me, I let it sit in my to be read pile till near it's due date and then it goes back.

It can be hard to tell by reading the cover whether something is likely to appeal to me or not, so I don't feel too guilty about doing so.

rabbit
12-04-2006, 01:22 PM
Depends how far I've gone into it. I've more of a "point of no return" past which I'll slog through to the end.
If I think its bad within the first chapter I usually toss it. But if I've read more I'll slog through till the end. I might skim through most of it though, but I suffer from a nasty case of "must know what happened" which requires I get to the end of it.

Which sucks if the book is one of those "unfinished" stories or part of a set.

ivylass
12-04-2006, 01:34 PM
It depends. If I find myself wondering as I'm reading it why I'm reading it, then chances are I'll pitch it fairly quickly.

The one book I dropped out of horror was a Tom Clancy book. I forget which one, but it had a submarine sink and drown all the sailors aboard.

Ivylad was in the Navy, serving on a submarine at the time on a six-month Med run. I had a newborn and a three-year-old. I didn't need those thoughts in my head.

Auntbeast
12-04-2006, 01:45 PM
Oh, God, that was one of my recent trainwrecks. I just kept waiting for it to all make some sort of sense, or at least elevate itself out of suckitude. Only, it didn't. Horrid book. I'm afraid I might be getting the sequels for Christmas.

RUN! I'll give you ten hands to have morning baby sear the life force from your spirit.

<tangent>How do you tell someone that gave you a book they are crazy about that it not only lowered your iq, shortened your life, but it also lowered your opinion of them? My mother in law found the Natural History of the Senses to be amazing and gave it to me after I loaned her Botany of Desire. She thought they were similar. I was clawing my eyes out after the first page of her book. *shudder* </tangent>

AuntiePam
12-04-2006, 02:02 PM
Depends on the amount of suckage. If it's really painful, I have no qualms about ditching it after about three pages.


This works for me too. I get almost all my books from Amazon, and the Search Inside feature has saved me a ton of money. I can usually tell from the first few pages if I like the writing style. If I like the style, I can finish anything, even if the story doesn't go where I want it to go.

But I read almost 600 pages of The Historian before tossing it. Or rather, skimming to the end to see what happened.

WhyNot
12-04-2006, 02:07 PM
RUN! I'll give you ten hands to have morning baby sear the life force from your spirit.

<tangent>How do you tell someone that gave you a book they are crazy about that it not only lowered your iq, shortened your life, but it also lowered your opinion of them? My mother in law found the Natural History of the Senses to be amazing and gave it to me after I loaned her Botany of Desire. She thought they were similar. I was clawing my eyes out after the first page of her book. *shudder* </tangent>
That's the problem. I actually (and this may lower your opinion of my IQ) like Jean Auel's books - even the later ones, which make no pretense at being anything other than Neolithic Porn.

So now my grandmother thinks anything with a fur wrap and a spear on the cover is just up my alley. Urg. No. Thanks for playing, Grandma.

If she gets me the other People of the Blank books, I'll know better. I'll just take them back to the bookstore for credit.

jabiru
12-04-2006, 06:36 PM
My tolerance for crap books is getting lower all the time. I'm running out of years and there are far too many good books on my To Read pile without wasting time wading through garbage.

I'm up to page 31 of Close by Martina Cole and I can't see me getting much further forward. I used to enjoy her books but there's a horrible sameness about this one. I waited five weeks to borrow it from the library so I may give it to the end of the present chapter but no more than that.

Phantom Dennis
12-04-2006, 09:50 PM
I stop whenever I'm not compelled by the story anymore. Which means it varies book to book.
That pretty much describes it for me. Sometimes it's just a few pages, and sometimes (albeit much less often) halfway through the book.

I never felt the compulsion to finish any book that I didn't enjoy (unless it was required by one of my classes or another).

Well, that's not quite true. I read Moby Dick on my own, and I probably would've given up halfway through if it was any other book. But I guess I wanted to be able to say I read Moby Dick from cover to cover. And I'm glad I did, not just for the bragging rights. It may be extremely dry and overly wordy in parts, but it's undeniably a great piece of art.

Nanoda
12-05-2006, 06:19 AM
I can't really think of a book I hated before leaving high school; either I was really lucky, or my acceptance level was high. Actually, now that I think of it I used to enjoy the occasional Star Trek book, so perhaps it was the latter. ;)

I'll drop a book any time picking it up and reading onward seems like a chore, or if the writing style is painful, or if the writer doesn't seem like they have a worthwhile destination in mind. Like eleanorigby, my theory is that there were millions of books around when I was born, and at least a thousand times more written each year than I'll ever get to read, so ditching something useless now just means more time for good stuff.

I'll stick with something longer if it's for education, was recommended, or if I'm planning on reviewing it somehow. OTOH, back in the early days of the 'net, my website had a book review section, and I invented a new rating unit (the black hole) for when a book was worse than zero stars, and truly sucked (pun(s) probably intended, I don't recall). In those few cases, I'd read ahead just enough to get some good examples of horrid prose or lame plot devices, then pitch it.

scareyfaerie
12-05-2006, 06:29 AM
I try to finish the books that my reading club chooses, because if I don't make some effort I'll miss out on the discussions that follow the book. Some of them I've made an effort to finish and have given up because I was losing the will to live. However, most of them I've gone back to and have finished eventually, but that's when I can read because I want to and not because I feel I have to.

China Guy
12-05-2006, 06:39 AM
maybe a 100 pages but with a caveat. If you're on a 16 hour plane ride and don't have more books, I'll read whatever I've got. I have had to read some truely horrendous pieces of total shit because of being stuck on a plane.

Ted Bell is an author you should run from. Gah, the 007 style hits a nadir with his crap.

Clive Cussler is one almost guaranteed to be a festering pile of dog turds that stretches incredulity further than than the Magnum. Argh, and I get stuck buying his crap probably once per year because there is like 2 minutes to buy a book in the airport bookstore before going on a long flight.

John Grisham falls into that category too. Has written 2 or 3 entertaining books, only trouble is he's rewritten each of those a dozen times. He's also in every damn airport bookstore.

Lest you think I'm bitter, there's nothing like finding a favorite author that's come out with a new book you didn't know about it when there's 2 minutes to buy something before getting on that trans pacific flight. :)

Ok, I've read some truely awful pieces of regurgitate cud when travelling in China in the 1980's. Let's face it, not a lot of english language works were widely available and book swaps with grotty backpackers like myself often yielded festering radioactive tumors. I read a lot of shit then. Mainly classics, which were out of copywrite and widely available in China for almost nothing. It's the only reason I finished Ken Keasey's Sometimes a Great Notion. I'd read half in University and actually went so far as to throw it away in disgust. Found it in China before a 3 day train ride by myself, so managed to finish it...and only because it was a 3 day train ride and bored out of my gourd. That my friend is a benchmark for a book that really sucks -- you'll only finish it if you're on a three day train ride by yourself.

Aangelica
12-06-2006, 10:17 AM
I'm funny about it.

There's a weird middle gray area of the book where I'll throw it down unread, never to return. I usually give it three or so chapters, and if I detect it draining my will to live, away it goes. However, if I make it too far past the midpoint, or if even one minor character is moderately interesting, I suffer from major "must see how it ends" disease and must finish the pile of steaming vomit. Otherwise, the unfinished plotline, no matter how inane and life-draining will nibble at me incessantly for months. The only thing worse than actually finishing a really, really bad book is obsessively wondering how a really, really bad book ends.

In one memorable recent example, the book was actually so horribly bad that I finished it with a sense of grim dread only to hurl it violently across the room babbling incoherently about its numerous, numerous shortcomings to my husband. It was so bad, I stood up, walked across the room, picked it up and then threw it against the wall again, harder, much to my husband's entertainment.

Elendil's Heir
12-07-2006, 10:59 AM
That'll teach it! Bad book! BAD book! :D

WordMan
12-07-2006, 01:22 PM
That'll teach it! Bad book! BAD book! :D

In a previous thread on this topic I related the story of a friend who HATED a book he had to read for class; The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordechai Richler. When we was done - on Halloween - three of us, in silly costumes and bombed on Blackheart Rum (worst. hangover. ever) took the book to the bridge which spanned the loch on campus (we were exchange students in Scotland), tied, taped and otherwise affixed the book to several rocks and other heavy things, doused it in said rum, lit it on fire and kicked it off the bridge into the loch. 'twern't no Viking funeral - more like a Mafia hit with extreme prejudice.

My friend howled like a rabid banshee (I know, Irish, not Scottish - sue me) as the book sank beneath the surface of the water.

I'd say "good times" to close this off - but it was more surreal than anything. And boy did my head hurt the next morning...

SpoilerVirgin
12-07-2006, 02:01 PM
My secret is that I never actually officially give up on a book. I'm usually reading several at once, so if one doesn't interest me, I just won't get back to it this week (this month...this year...this lifetime). Eventually that book that I'm still reading ends up back in the bookshelf, or at the bottom of a pile, or in a box. I haven't stopped reading it, I'm just on a break. There are books that I've been reading for 25 years. I think Bernard Malamud's The Fixer has moved with me about four times. But I haven't given up on it. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be stuck on a train in China, and it will be just the thing.

Mister Rik
12-08-2006, 01:37 AM
I must have a high crap tolerance. I read a lot, and the only book I never finished was Oliver Twist. I'd read and thoroughly enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities, so I thought I'd try some more Dickens. But I think I gave up on OT less than halfway through. My simple plot summary of Oliver Twist:

Ooooh, my life is miserable! Woe is me!

Oh, things are looking up! My life is wonderful!

Oh dear, now everything is terrible! Woe! Woe!

Wowie! I love life! I have the happiest life in the world!

Man, now my life sucks again.

What's that? Why, what a beautiful world! Ain't life grand?

Alas! Gloom, despair, and agony on me! Deep dark depression, excessive misery ...

And so on, ad nauseum.


I got halfway through Clancy's The Hunt for Red October before I had to put it down, but I came back and finished it after reading a different book. I guess I just needed to take a break from it, or something. To me, Clancy violated that old rule that says, "If you put a pistol on the mantlepiece in the first act, it had better get used in the last act" (or something like that). He simply wore me out by going into such infinitesimal detail describing every knob, switch, and gauge in the submarine's control room. Too much unnecessary information. One Clancy book was enough for me.


Call me weird, but I really enjoyed the People of ... books. (The series is actually called "The First North Americans".) People of the Wolf is the first in the series. I read nine of the first ten. I came across them when they were donated to the homeless shelter I lived in at the time.

I love reading Piers Anthony, too. And my reading list for the last couple of years is comprised mostly of Dungeons & Dragons novels. I recently finished a trilogy that I almost gave up on after reading the second book. The first book was okay, but the second book was getting vaguely Oliver Twisty. But I'm glad I read the third book, because I thought it kicked ass.

I've kept a record of every book I've read since November of 1979. I should post that up on my Web site. It could prove interesting.

Dung Beetle
12-08-2006, 09:49 AM
I've kept a record of every book I've read since November of 1979. I should post that up on my Web site. It could prove interesting.
Wow! I wish I'd done that. What made you start, and isn't it kind of a pain to keep up with? Do you include books that you tried, but gave up on, so you know whether or not you should try them again?

ITR champion
12-08-2006, 11:34 AM
My rule is simple: I read until I'm absolutely sure that the author had absolutely no intention of appealing to a towering intellect such as mine. If the writing is bad in a highly amusing way, I will keep ploughing through it. But if it possesses no entertaining qualities, then I forget it.

My record for shortest drop time was on Pallas, by L. Neal Smith, which looks like what would happen if Ann Coulter wrote science fiction (only worse). I read for seven pages, just long enough to make sure that it wasn't a joke.

Other drops that I can remember: The Sword of Shanarra, by Terry Brooks--about 300 pages. One of the Gor novels by John Norman--100 pages, the last sixty of which consisted of a character closing and locking a door. Lord of the Isles, by David Drake--about 400 pages. The Third Millenium, by Paul D. Meier--150 pages. (The last one is a dumbed-down version of Left Behind, which I did finish, for reasons that will remain unexplained even to myself.)

DSYoungEsq
12-08-2006, 01:11 PM
I have started both Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Great Expectations several times each. Tess gets me to about chapter 7; Great Expectations usually loses me by the end of the first chapter (I just hate reading Dickens; give me the movie any day!).

Mister Rik
12-08-2006, 04:33 PM
Wow! I wish I'd done that. What made you start, and isn't it kind of a pain to keep up with? Do you include books that you tried, but gave up on, so you know whether or not you should try them again?
I started doing it because my mom did it. She gave me a little hardcover notebook (my dad had a stack of these things left over from his Marine Corps days), and showed me how she wrote the year at the top of the page, and then listed each book's title and author. So I did it like that, but I added my own touch - I recorded the number of pages for each book as well.

That notebook is kind of an interesting record of the changes in my handwriting over the years, too ;) It's also fun to compare the number of books read each year with where I was in my life. 1985 was my best year, when I read 61 books. I had just discovered that I enjoyed mysteries, and I found a couple prolific author's whose works I devoured. My worst year was 1991. I had grown up without a television, but in '91 I finally moved out of my parents' house for real, and I got a TV. I read only one (!) book that year :D

In 1996 I got a computer and learned how to use the program Filemaker Pro, a database program. I transferred my reading record into a database (yay! searchable!) of my own design. And of course, the software allowed me to become more detailed in my records. Now, in addition to Title, Author, # of Pages, and Year Read, I also record each book's Subtitle (if applicable), Series (if part of a trilogy or longer series), Volume/Book# (if part of a series), Genre, Copyright Year, Publisher, and ISBN Number.

My "Genre" list looks like this:

Fiction:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy (a genre I had to define to describe Piers Anthony's Robot Adept series), Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance (yeah, I read a couple romance novels in high school after I found out they had sex scenes :D ), Mystery, Comedy/Humor, Horror, Suspense, Historical Fiction

Non-Fiction:
History, Religion, Biography, Self-Help, Poetry, Commentary, Sports, Science, Psychology, Documentary, True Crime

Other:
Roleplaying Game Source Book

Nope, I don't record books I didn't finish.

My rule is simple: I read until I'm absolutely sure that the author had absolutely no intention of appealing to a towering intellect such as mine.
Now, see, I've got an IQ of 138, but I've rarely run across a book whose writing I found "bad" enough to quit reading. There may be a couple reasons for this. One, I've never taken a writing class to learn how to tell the difference between good and bad writing, so I guess I just judge a book on whether or not I find it entertaining. Two, I tend to stay away from the bestseller lists (still haven't read The DaVinci Code). I typically find an author who entertains me, and read everything by that author I can get my hands on. Thus, I've read forty-six Asimov books, for example.

Eureka
12-08-2006, 09:20 PM
Incidentally, as I keep seeing this thread title appear in Cafe Society--and as I keep rotating through several books I'm reading right now, it occurs to me that I need to make a distinction between books that I'm "really not enjoying" and books I'm "not really enjoying".

Books in the first category I don't bother trying to keep reading. Books in the second category, I take breaks on but keep reading.

I read a lot of romance. It is not unusual for a romance novel to have a moment midway through where I want to shake either the hero or the heroine (or both) and make them communicate with each other. (Look, you're in love with someone who is in love with you. But you are both scared to say it first. Don't waste 50 more pages with agony alternating with hope--tell the other person).

Or sometimes it's the author I want to shake. I like Chris Crutcher novels, even if they aren't in one of my usual genres, but he has a way of having 16 seriously bad things befall the hero and his friends in the same book. Sometimes I get tired of reading about bad things happening.

I also read a lot of romantic suspense or mystery novels. When I read mysteries, I often find hints of a relationship, but they are often drawn out painfully slowly compared to romantic suspense novels, where the mystery must be solved and the couple find true love by the end of the book. Sometimes I lose patience there as well.

And sometimes I'll start a book with somewhat of a goal to broaden my usual reading horizens. When I do that, if the book is not entirely to my taste, but not exactly horrid either, I'll keep reading for a while-- and usually at some point find I'm at the point of needing to know what happens.

Or I'll start a book that's by an author that I usually like, and keep reading it for the bits of that author that I usually enjoy. In such a case, I usually try to make a mental note that Book X wasn't as enjoyable as most of the stuff by the author, so that I can think two or three times before I pick up the next book by the author.

sturmhauke
12-09-2006, 06:52 AM
The last time I read a book that I didn't really like that much was Wheel of Time 8: Path of Daggers. I liked the first book a lot, but it was all downhill from there. It took 8 books for the glacial plot pacing to outweigh the shrinking number of interesting moments.

These days, I'll tend to read books recommended by people who have read and liked the same sorts of books as me. If I'm at the bookstore or library, I'll randomly read a few passages to see if it looks interesting enough to get.
I'm a book finisher too. I've read raves all over about George R.R. Martin's epic and decided to start with A Game of Thrones. I really had to force myself through it and I wonder why everyone else in the world seems to love it so much.
It's probably just not your thing. My wife is into a lot of British mystery novels. I'm not going to say that they suck, but they don't really do it for me either.

Alternatively, you just have no taste. ;)

Dinsdale
12-09-2006, 09:51 AM
Right now I'm 50 pages from the end of a 350 page novel Intoxicated.
It was rather slow starting -maybe 25-50 pages in I was specifically thinking about this thread and considering putting it down. Around page 100 or so it took a couple of turns such that I became quite engaged, and am glad I stuck with it. Eager to see what happens in the last 50 pages or so.

According to Pliny
12-09-2006, 10:18 AM
I give up about two pages after I realize things have gone sour.

According to Pliny
12-09-2006, 10:20 AM
On the other hand I have also stuck out a few marginal books until the climax and then quit in disgust before the denouement or epilogue.

Marley23
12-09-2006, 04:56 PM
I'll usually make myself finish the thing. Under the Volcano didn't interest me, and then a year after I started it, I picked it up again... and it still didn't interest me. But I finished the damn thing. An American Tragedy started getting good after 500 or 550 pages, so it wasn't really worth it- but at least I got to finish with the interesting part.

don't ask
12-09-2006, 05:12 PM
I too used to read everything I started from cover to cover. Now with non-fiction material if it is too arid I will just skim it and try to find some passages of interest. With a novel, if I don't like the writer's style in the first 10 or 15 pages I usually open at another couple of random spots and if they are similar I chuck it. It really only happens with books I am given, whenever I buy a book or borrow one from the library I read a few random pages to make sure I enjoy the author's writing.

The OP mentions hoping that bad books would get better but generally books and movies don't get better as they go on, even the ones we like.