Books : Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

For some strange reason I started reading Princess In Love by Anna Pasternak. It's more horrible than I could have imagined yet I'm forcing myself to finish it. I don't want it to win.

(For those lucky enough to not know, it's James Hewitt's version of his affair with Diana.)

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No.

There are too many books out there to read to spend time on one I think is bad.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Never. I give most books 50 pages to trap and hold my attention. (Really big books get 100 pages.) If I'm not enjoying it enough by that point, I stop reading it. There are too many other books awaiting my attention to spend any time on one I am not enjoying.

SPEED
Don't mistake my silence for weakness. Nobody plans murders out loud.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No. I give a slightly longer try to books that were well-reviewed, thinking they might turn themselves around.

I find reading too active to force myself through; enduring a bad movie is easier because of the passivity of watching. Life seems too short at this stage in the game to spend hours of life teeth gritting and white knuckling my way through unenjoyable experiences. To what end, really.

There are different types and gradations of "bad", as well. My quitting on each varies.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Nope. It's an inanimate object, it can't "win". If it gets to the point that I'm doing anything but reading it I say forget it and start something else. I read practically every spare minute I've got so if I'm not reading it's a sign and I refuse to spend longer on any book than I normally would.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I used to, but now I'm more aware that time's a-wastin'. Life is too short.

Not that I don't still waste my time on useless things...I do! But on things I'm enjoying. I'm getting very brutal, now, about books and anything else I'm not actually enjoying.

Even a not-very-good movie, you can kind of do other things while seeing it through while it's "on in the background."

But a book takes up all your attention and investment; best to move on to one you find worthwhile.



Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Nope. If a book doesn't capture me early I'll sh!tcan it and go on to something else.



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Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No, life is too short.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I've finished 3 Murakami novels, so clearly I'll finish any awful s---t

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?


I've finished 3 Murakami novels, so clearly I'll finish any awful s---t


If the first one was sh!t why in the world would you force yourself to choke down two more??



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Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Good question....first one I read was iq84 which was breezy enough and had such a strong reputation I thought it'd lead somewhere worthy....but no.

Then I thought I'd try his generally acknowledged finest novel - Wind Up Bird Chronicle. Once again a breezy enough read that just went nowhere and was so pointless.

I'd probably have quit there until I found a second hand copy of Kafka on the Shore.... and needed something for a holiday. holy hell that was horrible. I'm done on him now.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No. I'll normally try and force my way through to the end, but sometimes when I know I'm just reading words, and none of it is sinking in, I'll cave in and give up. Last book I didn't finish was Umberto Eco's The Island of the Day Before, which I think I made it to about 90 pages in. I remember giving up on Don De Lillo's Underworld at about 400 pages, there's only so much time that's worth wasting of your life.

Rusty chains and armoured pillows stuffed with silver pins

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I try not to force myself to finish a bad book.I just never read another book by the same author.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No. I used to. In fact, I read halfway through the fifth book (The New Men) of C.P. Snow`s “Strangers & Brothers” series (eleven in all), before I tossed it aside and vowed never too touch Snow again. I was only 40 at the time. Now I`m 63 and time is more precious to me.


🇺🇸 Liberty • E Pluribus Unum • In God We Trust 🇺🇸

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I shall strongly emphasize that forcing oneself to continue a book that is boring to one self could also be dangerous. It could reduce your capacity for enjoying many other books.

There might be rare exceptions where you are willing to run the chance. In my middle teens I made four attempts to read Puschkin's "Yevgenyi Onyegin". The fourth attempt was successful. At the first three ones I stopped after rather few pages. And since that event I think (still today) that this is the best epic ever written. (I have read four translations into three languages, but I prefer the Danish translation by Valdemar Rördam.)

I was 51 when I encountered Vade Mecum, a collection of poems by the Polish poet Cyprian Norwid. It is rather brief. My feelings was that it fascinated me very much more than I enjoyed the poems. There is no other book for which I have devoted so many techniques for overcoming this handicap. I finally succeeded.

I have never done anything of the kind for any third book. And it would be meaningless to describe my techniques because they could only be appropriate for myself.



Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

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No. I'll usually give a book 50 pages of my time;* and I'll give a first TV episode 20 minutes of my time; and I'll give a film 30 minutes of my time.

If I haven't enjoyed them or gotten "into" them by that point, I don't continue.


* Occasionally a book is so badly or insipidly written that I will stop before 50 pages, if it's just irredeemably not something I think might turn out to be worthwhile.

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Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I used to, but I managed to quit. What did it for me was going through "The Great Gatsby", getting to the end and realizing I had read a whole book about characters I didn't care about doing things I didn't care about. The final straw was trying to read a 'learned tome' on humor and finding it to be completely unfunny. I still wonder how they managed that one.

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It's all like some bad movie.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I seem to be the only masochist here. I read another chapter of Princess in Love last night.

Maybe I'm secretly enjoying the ridiculous characters and the turgid prose.


Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Yes. I won't agree fully. I won't say I've read too many books that I thought were bad but once I start a book I finish it. The only book I would say I felt as thought I had to force myself to finish was Moby Dick. I didn't enjoy it, it was hard to follow and it lasted forever.


Lamar Jackson for Heisman!

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

For the longest time I did...over the last year or so, I've started dropping books. If I've heard good things and just haven't gotten into it, I may put it on the list to try again at another time (maybe I just wasn't in the right mood).

If I am like half way done and so bored, I'll flip ahead a little to see if anything catches my attention, and if not, I send it back to the library. I try to give most authors the benefit of the doubt, give them the attention they deserve for creating something, but I've gotten older and would rather read something that is enjoyable in some aspect rather than something totally crappy.

So in short....I no longer force myself to finish bad books.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I rarely pick up books I'd flat out call "bad," so it's hard to say.

What's much more common is that I'll read something that's just not that compelling for me personally, but I still would never call it "bad." And yes, I'll nearly always push through it. (While people love posting black or white opinions of films or books, I find a ton of grey out there.)

The only time I've quit on books is when they're impenetrable, at least for me. Not very often but Faulkner is one example.

As far as the "bad" I know I've read, I did complete them. I read a couple Edward Lee horror novels that were puerile crap. It took the second Dexter novel for me to realize Jeff Lindsay just stinks as a writer. (So why did I read these? Maybe it was comparable to rubbernecking at a car accident ...)

More recently, I read Forrest Gump, which was quite humorous in the early going, then the satire spirals out into increasingly absurd and tiresome junk. Even though I never cared much for the film, it's still superior to the novel.


California Ãœber Alles

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I thought of a few more examples. I ended up reading (to my surprise) around 15 Dean Koontz novels. Few of them I'd describe as good, but most of them I wouldn't call flat-out bad either. However by the time I read the fourth Odd Thomas novel, I called it quits with Koontz. That book did stink and reminded me I'd already read others by him that were mostly junk.

So why did I read him? I was going through a lengthy period of sobriety, was bored and they were easy reads. Kind of a poor man's Stephen King (although not nearly as good a writer), and some of the premises were intriguing even though rarely resolved in an interesting way. I could have just as easily been reading any other mass-producing author during that period of time, I think.



California Ãœber Alles

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I usually judge a book simply by it's initial dialogue, if I am not interested in what people are saying, it does not matter how good the descriptions or the scenario might be or the 'Book Review' says on the back cover, your outta here, you witless twit of a hackneyed author who is probably the son of the publisher or nephew of the editor, alas nepotism......your born lucky but ruin everyone else's lives around you, even though you try to create a paradise for yourself called Hollywood and have your uncle producer fund your film and your second cousin positively review your films and your mother in marketing manages to get an extra fifty million to plaster your worthless acting as the event of the season,,,sorry I digress- wrong bored here-LOL

Another phenomenon is that the book might be really good but I am just reading waaaaay tooo many novels in that genre till my imagination say's "How many times can I draw you a dragon, swooping down on a village and not have him fly off with the local brewery because I am frigg'in bored out of your skull with this stale 101 fantasy plot device. So it is time to move radically onto something else for the good of my own reading pleasure.

This happened just recently with Jack Vance's Lyoness series 'The Green Pearl' which is a wonderfully written fantasy novel filled with a very rich atmospheric and textured world but drool started running from the side of my mouth- as it was the good book that become the sad victim of my fantasy overkill mania that sometimes grabs me till I puketh, healing spell anyone? 10th level cleric? worships the Goddess Tums. NO? O.K. then.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

I use to, I'd never give up on a book or a movie. Like others have said though, life is too short and there are too many other good ones out there.

The last one I gave up on was Gone Girl. I didn't like the story and had no sympathy for the characters. I skipped to the end and I had figured it all out anyway.



~*~*~ ~*~*~

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No. I could never get into Harry Potter.

Metallica ships Fluttershy and Discord

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

No...

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Not anymore. I was more likely to keep plugging away when I was younger but ... like a few others said, life is too short for that.

I do the standard 50 pages try out - I might go to 100 if the book is particularly long and it needs a bit more space to really get moving. Depending on why I don't like it I'll also set it aside to try again later. Sometimes I'm not in the right frame of mind to read a particular story.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

...no...

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

Not anymore. Life's too short.


"We all have it comin', Kid." Unforgiven (1992)

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

If a generally bad book has something about it that makes me want to finish it, I do. I may like a particular character or simply want to know how it ends if it's a mystery or suspense novel. If it has no redeeming qualities, I don't.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

The misery is over! I finished Princess in Love. I highly recommend that you NOT read it.

Re: Do you force yourself to finish bad books?

It has been a long time I haven't read a bad fiction book. I've read recently mediocre or a little boring books, or books that were mediocre or boring in the beginning, and I forced myself to read them until the end because I expected the story to end better (as it always does). The main reason I don't read bad fiction books is that I search too much about all the books I am going to buy and read, including reading the summary of the story and sometimes even some majors spoilers (I am a very resistant person against spoiler, I can read a book or watch a film already knowing all the story and still be entertained), so rarely I start reading a fiction book that I would find bad, since if the book is bad I won't be taken by surprise, I'll already know it is bad before starting it.

There has been some rare exceptions with non-fiction philosophy books though. One of the last philosophy books I read was the Draft A of John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. I already had a vague memory of having read Locke before in my college's library (when I was in college I hated the psychology course I was doing and then just skipped all the classes and spent all day in the library reading everything I could put my hands on) and liked him (I also love Hume and most of the ideas of the British empiricism), so I gave a try at this draft, but I was surprised by how incredibly boring, nonsensical and stupid it was, like it wasn't Locke or a British empiricist at all. However I read it intil the end, because I still had the hope that it would make sense somewhere in the end. That's a problem I have with philosophy books: if I am not liking the book and it sounds nonsensical to me at first I imagine the problem is not with the author who is bad, but with me who didn't understand and got what the author was trying to say yet, and thus I always force myself to finish a bad philosophy book no matter how bad it is.

"I know one thing: that I know nothing" - Socrates
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