Reading a Novel: How Many Pages Before You Give Up?

Suppose you have a novel you don’t have significant money invested in (for example from a library, a gift from a friend, a garage sale). On average how many pages do you give it before you decide it’s not for you?

I’ll generally read at least the first chapter.

I might put it aside after one page (though I may try again later). Sometimes I’ll read it halfway through or more before giving up, if I liked it at first but not later. Nothing close to rule for me – whatever I feel like with the individual book, whether first page, chapter, or half (or even more).

I have to read 50 pages.

I have dropped books after 1 page, but they were awful, most people might do the same. Assuming it’s not pure drek, I’d try to get through chapter 1. If it’s not working for me I’d rather get out sooner than later.

It depends on why I’m trying to read it in the first place, and what I’ve heard about it.

Depends on what its cardinal sin is. If it’s “I don’t care about any of these people,” that can take several chapters to find out.
If it’s “the author has a political axe to grind and intends to beat you over the head with it,” that can make itself manifest in the very first chapter.
If it’s “this guy can’t write for shit,” it may be the first couple pages.

I generally try to give the author 50 pages or so, but it varies by author and subject of the fiction.

I remember reading Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising and gave up after 50 pages. I just couldn’t get into it. However, my cousin convinced me to stick it out until page 100. I did, and the book picked up its pace by then.

A relative of mine asked me to read a couple of chapters of the novel he was writing. By the end of the first chapter, I was hoping that his protagonist would die in the second chapter, but, alas, I was out of luck. I got through three chapters before I was able to claim that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish the manuscript before he went back home.

I have a 100-page rule, but admit that I’ve occasionally started skimming at around 70 or 80.

Depends. If it’s sci fi, 25-50 pages. If it’s a murder mystery, a couple of chapters. A ‘classic’ novel, I try to slog through the first half of the book as some take a long time to get going, especially some of the longer works.

I’m currently clawing my way through a Robert Ludlum novel, mostly as an act of will. The day I finish it, it will return to the thrift store whence it came.

Like a lot of people, it seems, I give the author 50 pages. If I’m not into it by then, it goes to the charity shop. I’m sure I’ve probably missed out on some great books doing this, but I’m even surer I’ve saved myself the bother of reading a lot of terrible ones.

It has to be really truly bad for me to stop at all. I read largely as a way to pass the time in dull moments and to put myself to sleep. (These days I mostly read whatever’s free on Nook.) Sometimes I actually have two books going at once - one for when I really want to pay attention and enjoy reading, and the second as the time-filler, sleep-inducer.

I can’t remember ever stopping before 100 pages in my adult life.

Fifty pages - I think I almost owe any author that. But if I’m not hooked by then, I know from hard experience that I never will be.

If it’s just not my type of book, then I’ll quit within five pages.

If it’s my type and I want to like it but just don’t, I might slog on for a hundred.

The first chapter or ~50 pages - whichever is longer. I don’t have a hard or fast rule about this. I read until I realize I’m not enjoying it.

Audiobooks are a different story since they contain an acting component. If I don’t like the narrator or the writing, I usually give up within the first 20 minutes or so.

If it’s a classic, like Swann’s Way, I’ll struggle though 100 or more. If it’s not, then about 50.

If I’ve read more than half of it before realizing that it sucks, as I have with the book I’m reading right now The Crimson Shore, by Preston & Child
I’ll probably soldier on to the end.

I’m at the do I want to continue stage with one right now. Year’s ago when still in trucking I listened to a lot of books on tape and this book is by an author who’s stuff I used to listen to a lot. I just finished the second chapter and not sure I want to go on. I think having the author read it gave it the needed inflections to make it flow and I can’t capture the feel in print.

I got all the way through " The Catcher In The Rye" waiting for the good part and it never came. After that experience I put down “Das Boot” after the 20-25 pages of describing the weather that it started with.

Life is short and getting shorter. I don’t have time for books that don’t grab me. 100 pages minus my age is all you get. I have been doing that since my early 20’s. Works pretty well.

If I start a book, I will read it to the very end.