"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Attempting to follow Nancy Pearl advice on reading

No one should ever finish a book they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is.---Nancy Pearl
Nancy Pearl, a well-known librarian from Seattle and author of Book Lust is a voracious reader who encourages readers to abandon books they don't like after reading at least 50 pages. Life is too short to spend time reading a book one doesn't like.

Today I am trying to follow Nancy Pearl's advice, to dredge up the strength and determination to abandon not one, not two, but three books. Gulp! And two of these books are award winners so I really should WANT to finish them, but I don't.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr---a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011 in the General Nonfiction category. I am fascinated by the topic but the book depresses me. I am not kidding. I have to stop listening to this audiobook, at least for the time being, because I am not in a good place to hear about how we (humans) are no longer capable of reading long texts which is going to render books obsolete. Ugh. Progress: 50%.





Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo---another nonfiction selection. This book won the National Book Award in 2012/13. The subtitle is Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. It is really depressing to read about the poverty and corruption in India today. The only problem with abandoning this book is it is a book club selection. I haven't quite made it to 50 pages. What I think I will do is abandon the audiobook and just skim/speed read the print edition to get the gist of it. But I am not sure if I can make myself do this.  I am a finisher when it comes to books , especially ones for book club.

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz---a 2015 YA novel with five starred reviews, this book is getting a lot of positive attention this year. It is about a young girl who leaves home to work as a servant in the home of a rich, Jewish family in the 1910s. The book is in the journal style and the writing is strong. The problem: the book is too long, 387 pages. I am on page 180 and just cannot see myself willing to spend the valuable reading time it would take to finish it.  The public library is helping me out on this one. It is due back and not available for a renewal. Shucks. Guess I will just have to return it and say goodbye! This is easier said than done. I have a really hard time abandoning a book, especially one which I have already committed a chunk of time.

What do you think? Can you abandon books you don't like, even books you "should" read?

11 comments:

  1. There are very few books that I have abandoned. Mostly books that I have a hard time keeping my attention, are speed read/skimmed. I also drop audiobooks that are read too slowly or if the reader sounds robotic.

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    1. I rarely abandon books, even if I dislike them. For one thing I am always hopeful the book will improve (or my mood) but three at one time is really draining me. I need to have at least ONE book I really like at any particular time.

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  2. You go girl! I don't have too many problems abandoning books, but I'm having a hard time with Illuminae. I swear, i haven't read one bad thing about this book, but I've put it down twice. I feel like there's something I'm missing, and I need to keep reading to find it. It's the format -- I'm having difficulty keeping track of characters. I can't help it, but I kind of feel like "what's wrong with me?" when I don't like a book everyone else does. But there's lots of books in the sea, (or is that fish?) so I keep picking up new ones....

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  3. I have been so terrible about visiting blogs for months! I really have got to get back at it. I think it is important, but oh so difficult, to abandon books. I didn't realize that Nancy Pearl gave that advice. While it is difficult, it feels good to move on to a book that you enjoy reading. Life really is too short to spend it reading something you aren't enjoying. I am having that problem with All the Light We Cannot See. Everyone loves it, but I am having trouble getting into it

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    1. I always wondered why Nancy Pearl could read so many books and that is why. She doesn't waste her time on books she doesn't like.

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  4. I am not a book abandoner but I do see the appeal. It is a way of reading that really works for some people but I just can't bring myself to do it. Hope you can!

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  5. I very much disliked The Beautiful Forevers; it took me THREE times of checking it out from the library(digital) to finish it, which tells you how many months I've been forcing myself to read it. However, there have been many books I plugged through that were worth it, either because of discussion, the ending, the sense of accomplishment, etc. I didn't like many of them(or not 100%) but sometimes found a gem among them. For example, I thought that The Elegance of the Hedgehog had a slow start, but I would have hated myself if I had stopped reading that one. Tale for the Time Being was another book I didn't want to read AT ALL, yet it changed my life. And THE COUCH!! :)

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    1. I think I am partially to blame for the Beautiful Forevers. Sigh. I will muscle through it but so far haven't found much to like.

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  6. Your blog doesn't like me sometimes and ate my other comment, so I have to keep this one short. :) I keep thinking about the books I ended up loving that had(in my opinion) slow starts: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Tale for the Time Being, The Couch. Even after finishing a book I end up disliking, I still feel that I've gained something from it: a new perspective, perseverance, some discussion ideas, etc.

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    1. I think what happens is a time frame thing. If a post is over 24 hours I have to approve the comments made after that point. The Sunday Salon post is still within that time frame. No worries. I got your comment.

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  7. I have such a double standard for abandoning books. I 100% endorse it...but I just can't do it myself. Good luck to you! (And by the way, I, too, am saddened by the state of affairs with GK's readership. Someone is not interpreting the Common Core in a very positive way.)

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