Abandon or Keep Going?

When you're reading a book that doesn't have your complete attention by a certain arbitrary point, say the first chapter or the first fifty pages or something, do you keep reading or abandon the book?

I used to have an almost compulsive need to finish reading any book I started. Maybe that came from being an English major as an undergrad, where I certainly had to read a few--okay, quite a few--books I wouldn't have read by choice. Or maybe it was just an OCD thing. Who can know for sure?

Now that I'm, ahem, older and not required to read something for a class, I usually abandon the book if the first chapter doesn't engage me in some way. Sometimes I'll flip to the end of the book to see if that encourages me to read the parts in between.

A recent example? I really wanted to appreciate Once on a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie. Love the title. Just couldn't get past the long monologue from a character near the beginning of the book about Puyi, the Last Emperor of China, to the point that I didn't even bother to jump ahead to catch the ending.

And maybe getting Once on a Moonless Night free on my Kindle contributed to my willingness to abandon reading the book. I might have felt differently if I paid hardcover price for a book.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said…
I just give up. Too many demands on my time and tons of books to read. But I do give it 25-50 pages. Sometimes the first chapter is not indicative of the rest of the book so I go a bit beyond that.
sharazad said…
I usually give up or I end up keeping the book until the day comes when I run out of other things to read.

Which is happening less and less, so I have a few unread books on my shelf.
sapphireblue said…
I have such a short attention span. If a book doesn't hook my by the first chapter, I'm done with it. Life is too short to read books you don't like.

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