Monday, June 01, 2009

Musing Mondays-- Rules? They're More Like Guidelines...

How much time (or how many pages) do you give a book that you aren't really enjoying before you'll set it aside? If you're reading it for a book group discussion or for review, will you give it more of a chance than, say, a book you're reading for your own interest? Why, or why not?

For some reason this question made me think of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl when Captain Barbossa explains that the rules of parlay aren't really rules...they're more like guidelines.

That's how I feel about a decision to stop reading a book. I have no hard-and-fast rules about it. I only have guidelines. Generally I give a book around fifty pages before I decide our relationship just isn't working out. But it's not always fifty pages. Sometimes it's only twelve. Sometimes it's over one hundred before I decide "it's not you, it's me." Some of you may have smiled when I referred to "our relationship", but I do feel that there is one between the author and a reader when a book is being read. To make every book I choose to read obey the same 50 Page Rule seems unfair to the book, the author and me. I take each book on its own merit, and fortunately I seldom ever abandon one. I've grown wiser with each passing year about the types of books I enjoy.

I don't read books for group discussion, and I really don't give review books (ARCs) more of a chance than books I read for my own enjoyment. Why? Because I only accept ARCs that I truly believe I'll enjoy. Every book I choose to read is chosen for my own pleasure. I'm not a paid reviewer. If I were, there would be rules instead of guidelines!

A big Thank You to Rebecca of Just One More Page for hosting this meme. If you'd like to join in or if you'd just like to read more responses, click on the Musing Mondays graphic at the top of this post!


  1. With some books I don´t even get beyond the first page - not much relationship there ;)

    It is such a beautiful painting you have found for this month, Cathy.

  2. I give it a shot, 5 chapters or so at a time and try to finish. Slowly though. Since I come back only when I feel like it.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. Reading is for my pleasure only. I'm no longer taking a class with assigned lists of books that I'm being forced to read. And, I don't want to get to that point with ARCs. I like your references to relationships. It really is that.

  4. Dorte--I've had a few one-page stands myself. ;) I'm glad you like this month's painting. I love it and have been waiting for summer to arrive so I could post it!

    Judy--Each of us should do what feels right for us. :)

    Margot--I'm glad that you agree that reading a book is a relationship between the reader and the author. :)

    Nise--Thank you!

  5. My rule seems to be, if I put it down and don't feel inclined to pick it up again, that's it. Relationship is over. I definitely read for my own enjoyment. I have decided lately that I have a right to be selfish about that. I read to be entertained, and that's that.

    I love your new picture too - so beautifully summery!

  6. I agree! I read for my own pleasure.

    I know that if I force myself through a book that doesn't grab my attention then I temporarily lose my passion for reading.


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