Friday, May 16, 2014

About finishing books

I'd like to thank TKC interview guest Sara Nelson for her sentiment that it is OK to not finish a book.

 Why? I could maybe say "life is too short" and leave it at that. :-)

 But: why not? I think the feeling that one *must* finish what one starts is a misplaced idea of ethics, possibly ingrained in us when growing up. It is good in many places, like the workplace. But it can be taken too far. I start a lot more books than I finish. For fiction, I can only really tell if I like a book by reading some of it. And if I don't, I may just waste my time by continuing. For non-fiction the same applies, plus that I often feel I've gotten out of it most of what I can without finishing it. Many writers noodle around much more than needed.

 And most importantly, the time used to read a book I no longer care for is directly taken from time reading a book which I like better, or which teaches me more.


Russ said...

I use the "100 Page Rule". If a book hasn't captured my undivided attention by page 100, I give myself the authority to put it down and start another.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Johnson said much the same thing, and probably is considered a greater authority - if you really need one.