Confessions of one impatient reader.
Remember back when you were in school and you HAD to finish the books assigned by the teacher? When I was in college, I couldn’t wait for the term breaks when I could read whatever I liked. Over time I developed my own personal philosophy on reading. It goes something like this…With so many books in the world, why waste time reading ones you don’t like? If a book doesn’t work for me, I put it down and find another one. I’ve shared this philosophy far and wide and mostly had people thank me for giving them “permission” to put down a book they didn’t like.
I still think this is a sound idea for the most part, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about when to make the call that a book isn’t working for me. Over time I came to be one of those people who expects a book to capture my attention from the first page. Harsh? Well, I never had trouble finding plenty of books to read. My keeper shelves are groaning with the weight of the many much loved books stored there.
So what changed?
For the last two years I’ve been trying to read more purposefully. My not-so-secret dream is to be an author myself, so I started by reading books that had been successful in my genre. Not because I liked the particular premise, but because I wanted to study them. I also looked for debuts to see what editors had recently been acquiring. Now, this wasn’t a hardship since they were in the genre I normally enjoy, but not everyone thrilled me either. I started trying to be more patient, so I could get through these books and learn something about the market.
The last two books I picked up, are books I might not have finished if I’d tried them a few years ago. One started with a scene that didn’t work for me, but by scene two I was hooked. The one I’m reading now I picked up in the middle of a series. There was so much catching up to do, the old me would never have waded through the first five pages, but on page six…lightning sizzled up off the pages. It would have been a shame if I hadn’t kept reading to that magical page six.
Should I change my outlook?
I still think my “with so many books in the world, why waste time reading ones you don’t like” philosophy is a good one, but now I’m thinking maybe it should be balanced with a bit of patience.
What do you think? How long do you give a book before you give up on it? Are you one of those people who always finish the book? Why or why not?