Once upon a time, I believed that I needed to finish every book I started. After all, on any page, the story might pick up – there might be some crucial scene, some plot twist, something that would redeem the story. But you know what? There usually isn’t. A book that starts out badly usually finishes badly and there is no point in sticking around. It’s like dating a guy you do’t really care about, thinking you might learn to like him more. If there’s no chemistry in the beginning, it’s not likely to grow.
I have a rule – I’ll give a book 100 pages. If, after that milestone, I find I am not interested in how the story ends, not interested in what happens to the characters, I figure that I have invested enough time. Sometimes I feel a little guilty, like I should really give a book another chance, but it seldom works out.
Occasionally, I break my own rule. I am slowly working my way through As Meat Loves Salt. I am sticking with this one because my friend, Ari – whose taste in books is very dependable – really enjoyed it and strongly recommended it. I hit a rough spot in the book and haven’t quite gotten past it, but I am going to give it another shot.
This week’s abandoned book is Nibble & Kuhn. It’s supposed to be romance and intrigue at an eccentric law firm and instead? No romance, no intrigue, just an unhappy lawyer in love with a woman who is supposed to marry someone else. The quote on the cover says “Riveting” but I think that must have come from some longer quote, perhaps something about “riveting my eyes open in order to finish it.”
What about you? Do you abandon books? Or do you feel obligated to finish the books you start?