Monday, May 10, 2010

Booking It--Half

So … you’re halfway through a book and you’re hating it. It’s boring. It’s trite. It’s badly written. But … you’ve invested all this time to reading the first half.

What do you do? Read the second half? Just to finish out the story? Find out what happens?

Or, cut your losses and dump the second half?

If the story's bad, the writing's bad, and there's no compelling reason to keep going, I'll put it down. Life's too short.

However, I don't always bail out on a book. If it's exceptionally well-written but the story's just not hooking me yet, I may stay with it. If it has come highly recommended but I'm just not getting it yet, I will probably stay with it. This happened to me recently while reading Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed. It was very well-written, and there was a lot I liked about it, especially the literary allusions and the ties to current events. But I didn't really like the main character, and the story was depressing me. But I kept going. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but the story had a satisfying arc, and the author didn't take the easy way out. After finishing it, I was glad I'd hung in there.

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