Monday, August 13, 2012

Knowing When To Stop Reading

Before I Begin:
I've gone back and added the label "[Megan and Danny Novel]" to (hopefully) all of the posts in which I blogged about my tentatively titled novel. Feel free to click on that tag to see all those posts, and perhaps get a better picture of what it's about overall. As usual you can select any of the other labels from the group of them displayed to the lower right of the page just above the list of followers of the blog (and you may notice a second new one if you look carefully).

Now Here We Go:
Last Monday I began reading a book that bears great significance on my origins as a writer for the first time. Unfortunately I found that I grew bored of the book very quickly, and put it down to resume later.
Awhile after resuming, I grew bored again and put it down, assuring myself that it will get much better soon enough and I only need to keep on trying.
This happened several more times, but it didn't take that long to begin questioning whether or not to continue reading the novel at all, and I found myself questioning at what point I would be able to best decide whether to continue reading or to forget it and start another.

I will not name the novel, however I assure you it was written by a very famous author and was a bestseller.
...also it had a lot of trees.
On one hand I have this burning passion to finally read the novel that accidentally inspired me to be a writer long before I'd read a single word of it.
On the other hand, it was incredibly dull and felt like a chore to get through.

A professor once told me that she decided if she was going to read a book based solely on the first sentence. If the first sentence didn't grab her complete attention and pull her in, she put the book back on the shelf and continued to browse. I was finding myself a fourth of the way through the novel and had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.
A friend of mine suggested I decide after reading a third of the book, and conveniently the first third of the book ended almost exactly at the end of the chapter I was reading. I took his advice and powered through the rest of the chapter.
Or at least that's what I intended to do. Somehow the book actually got more dull in the last six pages of the chapter and I ended up skimming through them annoyed. I then put the book down, removed the bookmark, and read the entire plot summary online.

Sometimes it can be very hard to figure out if it's worth reading a book once you've started it. In the back of your mind you may keep telling yourself that it's got to get better eventually, which may be true, but does that mean it's going to feel like any less of a chore? In this instance it was obvious to me especially after reading the plot summary that the book was definitely going to get much more interesting, but it was still obvious to me that there was more boring me about it than just the story itself.

In the end I'm glad I gave up, because now I can focus on reading something that interests me more.


Anonymous said...

Nice post--I have been in this scenario far to many times.

Was the book in question "A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold? This book was extremely interesting in a class I took for review, but I agree that reading it without my specific specialized professor would of been difficult. We went to where he wrote the book sat in places that he sat, which beautifully aided in the visual process.

Unknown said...

I think I know which book you're talking about and it probably has a lot to do with the author's writing style. And I have a feeling that you not finding this one interesting has something to do with you previously reading the millennium trilogy which was a very exciting read.