Riding a dull narrative? When do you give up?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, August 12, 2015
When do you give up a book?
My motto used to be, "I've started therefore I must finish," and doggedly I would plough through text I no longer gave a damn about. Looking back, I blame my Scottish education and teachers who pushed me to complete novels like Ivanhoe and Moby Dick - novels that had some merit but gave me no pleasure.
I'm not sure when I changed. What novel I was reading when I decided that I no longer wanted to ride that dull narrative till the end. But it was a relief to jump to text that gave me pleasure.
Lately, there have been a lot of novels that have caused me to stop reading half-way through. I'm not going to name titles in case I step on a particular favourite of yours. One was by a well respected writer who has changed style just a little. I almost gave up after 100 pages, tried again and then survived until page 449. Lastly, it was a detective novel that didn't have me until the end - I figured the plot in the first 25 pages and grew weary of watching it unfold.
But so many of my friends say they never give up on a novel. Let me repeat that, "never give up on a novel."
Why not? It's your life, your time, it is not a school assignment.
Giving up on a novel is easy. Think of it as dating and remember that speech: "It's not you, it's me."
Reading a novel is like building a relationship, and some relationships are not destined to last.


Tags: "finish a novel" "dull narrative" "scottish education" ivanhoe "moby dick" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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