Decided I’d try something different today. My reading habits was also to finish a book no matter whether I was enjoying it or not. But that seems too much like punishing myself. So now I have implemented The Rule Of 50:
"Believe me, nobody is going to get any points in heaven by slogging their way through a book they aren't enjoying but think they ought to read. I live by what I call 'the rule of fifty,' which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you're fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you're over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.”
-from Book Lust by Nancy Pearl
Anyways, since I have a few books that I won’t be finishing, I also won’t be writing up reviews for them. But then it occurred to me – lots of times I come across books that others haven’t enjoyed for one reason or another and I end up really liking them. So what I am going to do is blog a bit of info about those books that, with the best of intentions, I began but didn’t finish. But rather than saying “blah this book sucked” I’d like this to be more along the lines of “well this wasn’t for me, but maybe you might like it.” Yeah, obviously this is one of my spur of the moment type ideas, but hey may as well giv’er a go.
“Leave undone whatever you hesitate to do.” - Kenko Yoshida
I picked up Dora Borealis at the library when I was looking for some new-to-me Canadian authors. The cover was just gorgeous and after having caught my eye I took a peek at the book description and thought “wow, this sounds like something I would really like.” But for some reason every time I pick this book up I find my eyes wandering off the pages. And so, now it is due back at the library. I really enjoy the writing, so by including this book here as an unfinished read, perhaps someday I will take another shot at it.
Here is an example of the main character’s (Flip) narrative voice, this passage in particular is one that stuck with me despite it’s simplistic tone.
The phone rings. I like to know what I’m taking in by the mouth, and I especially like to know what I am taking in by the ear. In keeping with this tendency to want to control my intake, I have assigned each and every one of my loved ones a special ringtone. Lamb’s got “Take My Breath Away.” Dad’s got “Don’t Let Me Down.” Maybe, when I’m lucky enough to be her man, Dora will have “Bang A Gong.”
There is another section of the book where Flip is asking his best friend Lamb questions about a man she is seeing, it’s a habit of theirs to discuss her sexual hijinks but right in the middle of the sex talk he suddenly asks:
“What did he smell like?” I asked.
”He smelled like good soap.”
They then continue talking about the man’s performance in bed. But that one exchange was so honest and abrupt in the midst of a graphic discussion it left an impression. I could almost smell the scent of human skin fresh out of the shower. Without any in-depth description these few words left me with an almost sensory reaction. Weird :/
Hmm, I think I may end up doing this again. Even though this book has been dropped off in the library return slot, by writing down my impression of it I’ve found myself thinking that even an unfinished book adds something to my life as a reader.
What do you think? How much thought do you put into a given up on book? Do you ever find yourself thinking of trying again? Are there some books you know you won’t finish, but yet you still find something good in them?
© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.