My New Year’s Resolution #2: Only Read Fantastic Fiction

The BookDepository

I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to read anything that isn’t amazing. Last year I spent far too much time reading things that were OK, but nothing special. I was sucked into completing entire prize lists, despite not falling in love with the books on them.

I’m making big changes on this blog

This year I’m going to make a big effort to abandon any book that doesn’t excite me. I hope that this blog will have no books rated 3.5 stars or less from now on. I also hope that I’ll be able to give up on books far sooner than previously. My experiments over Christmas have shown that I find this really hard, but I find the 80 – 100 pages I have given books in the past far too long. In my heart I normally know a book isn’t for me after just a few pages.

I am aware that some books take a while to get into and I would hate to miss out on a fantastic book with a slow start – so I am going to launch a new feature on my blog:

Read or Reject?

Once or twice a month I will write mini reviews for all the books I have abandoned, explaining exactly why I did so. If you have read and loved any of the books mentioned then I hope you will be able to prevent me from missing out on a gem, or at least let me know if the book is likely to change in style towards the end.

I’m hoping that this change in approach will mean I can quickly work through my massive TBR pile, allowing me to reject anything that is failing to entertain me whilst highlighting all the wonderful books that are out there. 

I was particularly struck by a comment made by Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog on her end of year summary

I said “yes” to everything I was genuinely interested in reading. And since one can only tell so much about a book from a canned email pitch, I organized my galley shelves according to month of publication and did the actual deciding in the comfort of my living room, where I could pick up the books, flip through them, read a few pages or a few chapters, and make a more informed (and, ahem, deliberate) choice about what to read next.

And HOO BOY, it was amazing!

I’m not planning to do exactly the same as Rebecca, but her basic principle really interested me. 

I hope that this will help me to work through my massive stack of books, the majority of which were bought for the wrong reason (because they were cheap!) and only complete the best of the bunch.

How will this affect my prize list reading?

I still plan to try all the books on the prize lists, but I’m not going to force myself to finish any that aren’t to my taste. I was interested to see how insightfully Gav from Next Read was able to review the Booker short list just by reading the first chapter of each book and I hope I can do a similar thing.

I hope that my blog will become a much more positive place to be. I will end up completing far fewer books this year, but you will know that the ones I do are special.  

This is the hardest resolution I have ever made. I find it really hard to abandon books, but I need to be strict with myself or I will never find the time to read the ones that are already on my wishlist. 

What do you think?

How many pages of a book do you think you need to read to know you’ll enjoy the book?



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  1. Meghan says:

    This is something I wish I was better at. I do like most books I read, but I need to get better about putting down stinkers when I find them. I like your goal of setting aside a post to list why you abandoned them – that’s helpful to the rest of us as well as you! :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I’m quite good at putting down stinkers – it is the average books that I always find myself wasting time on. It is quite annoying to spend hours on a book only to say it was OK. In the past few months I have been guessing my overall rating for a book after just a few pages and finding myself right on most occasions. I’m sure I’ll miss out on a few good books this way, but I’d rather do that than miss out on a lot because I’m wasting my time reading average stuff.

  2. Iris says:

    Good luck on that! I often find it so difficult to abandon a book, but I think it would help to read books you like instead of feeling obliged to finish certain books.

    I wonder at deciding on galleys after receiving them, I am unaware of policies, because I so rarely receive books for review. But isn’t part of receiving them a promise to review them? Or are galleys entirely different things from review copies (never sure)?

    1. Jackie says:

      Iris, I think review copies are a difficult area that I still have to work out. I think I’ll still have to complete books that I request for review (at least until I change my review policy) but I rarely request books for review. Most of the ones I recieve are unsolicited and so I’m happy to apply the above rules to them.

      1. Iris says:

        That makes perfect sense. I never received an unsollicited review copy, so that might explain why I did not think of that.

  3. Maryom says:

    If I’ve been offered a book for review I feel I should finish it, though sometimes with self- published books it seems kinder NOT to review.
    The only book I’ve abandoned recently was Life Of Pi – that seems to be a love it or hate it book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Maryom, Yes. I’m still struggling with what to do about review copies. At the moment this policy is mainly aimed at reducing my wobbly stacks of books I own. I am very fussy about which review copies I request so normally don’t have this problem with them. Once I’ve spent a bit of time with this new regime I’m sure I’ll work out a better way of dealing with ARCs.

  4. Beth F says:

    Good for you. That’s always been my policy. Except for book tours, I have never promised to review any book sent to me for consideration. My review policy has always stated that I make no promises to read, finish, and review, and it also clearly states that I abandon books that I don’t like (and I post DNF reviews). I never jumped on the reading deliberately bandwagon because I never totally understood what that meant. I have always simply read what I wanted to read, and I have never, ever had a problem putting aside books that fail to grab me. I’ve been a lifelong reckless, fickle reader.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I need to change my review policy as I think you have a very sensible set of conditions. I hope I can grow to become as reckless and fickle as you ;-)

  5. Violet says:

    Hmm. I think that sometimes it’s good to struggle with a book, because maybe only reading what we “like” means we miss out on learning things and questioning our beliefs and values. I give up on books all the time, but I do challenge myself to read some that I don’t get along with. Good luck with your resolution!

    1. Jackie says:

      Violet, Don’t worry – I like books that question my beliefs and opinions. I normally have more problems with writing style or pacing than subject matter. I agree there are occasions when it is good to struggle through a book (classics) and I will still do this sometimes, but in general I read for pleasure and life is too short to read books that are only mildly entertaining and not educational.

  6. LizzySiddal says:

    I like these ideas, Jackie. Abandoning books gets better with practice, although I still force myself to the end of book group reads. I find completing the occasional stinker enhances the pleasure of good books.

    1. Jackie says:

      LizzySiddal, I have been practicing for a few weeks now and it is really hard, but I do feel a lot better once I’ve made the decision to abandon a book and move onto something I’m loving. I hope I get even better at it as the months go by :-)

  7. Jessica says:

    I have no problem abandoning books but then all the books I read apart from my course books are off my own TBR shelf. I abandoned a book this week at page 33 (Bleed for me, chosen for the TV Book club)

    Good luck with it all.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jessica, I hope I can get used to abandoning books as quickly as you.

  8. I like the idea of your plan Jackie and need to get more serious about this as well so I can rid my shelves of books that are only so–so. I usually give books a 40-50 page test and might even read the last few pages if I know the writing style or story is not for me….just because I’m curious.

    1. Jackie says:

      Bibliophile by the Sea, LOL! I read the last chapter of both the books I gave up this week! I think it helps to reduce the feeling that you are missing out on something by not knowing the ending.

  9. Molly says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea – although I am sure it is like most ideas where it is easier to say than to do :)

    Life is simply too short to spend our free time reading something that simply does not resonate well with us at the time.

    1. Jackie says:

      Molly, Exactly. It is easy to say I’ll give up on a book, but I haven’t managed to do it very often so far. Fingers crossed I’ll get the hang of it soon :-)

  10. Annabel says:

    I like your plans and hope it works for you Jackie.

    I still struggle with giving up a book unless I’m only a chapter or two in. Any further and I tend to think I’ll persevere. I can usually tell if you’ll be able to read a book within the first chapter or so, but I don’t know whether I’ll get something out of it until I’m a little bit further in – and there lies the problem for me …

    I’m currently reading Moby Dick for my book group. If it wasn’t for that I’d have given up after the first couple of chapters, but now I’m at chapter 8 – still only in the first third, but it is starting to get interesting now we’ve met Queequeeg.

    However, that said, classics are generally an exception to the rule!

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, You make a very good point about classics and I’m sure I’ll give them a bigger chance. I’ll even read a few I don’t enjoy to get a better idea of the history of the novel etc. but I don’t read that many classics as I prefer more modern books. I’ll ensure I use my Read or Reject feature to ensure I stick with good books that are slow to start. Hopefully it will work most of the time :-)

  11. FleurFisher says:

    Another excellent resolution. There are so many books to love out there that it is foolish to spend too much time with one that doesn’t click.

    But, that said, bear in mind that books can speak to you differently at different stages at life, so there may be some that it is worth putting to one side for another day.

    1. Jackie says:

      FleurFisher, So true. I’m sure I’ll love the slower books as I grow older, but for now I’m going to concentrate on the gripping, faster paced books.

  12. JoV says:

    I second your decision. I too feel I need to be a bit discriminatory in my reading next year. It takes me about one or two chapters to know that I like or hate the book. Also getting free books from publishers are nice feeling, but more often than not it’s books that I don’t really want to read. ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      JoV, Publishers are actually very good at knowing which books I’ll enjoy. I was surprised to discover that most of my favourite 2010 reads were unsolicited review copies. It is those debut authors producing all the stunning books….

  13. Laura says:

    Excellent resolution, Jackie! I think you will enjoy your reading much more if you don’t force yourself to finish books that disappoint you. And I love, love, love the Read or Reject? feature. That will surely inspire some fun and interesting dialogue.

    I’ll be over here across the pond, cheering you on !

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I’m really hoping that you’re right. I love the idea of a debate about whether a book is really worth reading. I almost want to not finish a book just so I have enough material for a Read or Reject post right now. I guess I’ll just have to be patient….

  14. What really strikes me as brilliant about your plan is the “read or reject” feature. Talking about what’s striking and what’s not working in any book makes for a good exchange of ideas.

    Good luck with not reading the “just all right” books. I wasted a bit of time this weekend with one of those; kept waiting to see if it was going to get better. Of course it didn’t.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lynne, I really hope that it will help get to the heart of the books. It will be interesting to see how many books I’m persuaded to read again after abandoning them – and how many I go on to enjoy. I can’t wait!

  15. Good idea! I myself find it difficult to put books away but I usually go half-way and if it’s still no good, I abandon it. I just feel I should give the author a fair chance.

    With just-so books, it’s even worse because there is no reason to abandon them, except that they take time to read that was better spent on a more fantastic book. :-)

    Maybe I should have a look at your plan-to-read list, as we seem to share opinions on books. I might be able to steer you away from the so-so and no-no books!

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, The problem with going half way is that I generally feel I’ve invested so much time in the book that I might as well finish it. I need to work out how to reject books far ealier than that. I hope you’ll be able to steer me away from so-so books too :-)

  16. I abandoned two just yesterday! At first I thought, oh I wasted the whole day on DNFs, but then I decided well it wasn’t really a waste because I eliminated two from my TBR pile! I decide pretty quickly if I don’t like a book. If you don’t capture my interest right away, I’m out of there!

    1. Jackie says:

      rhapsodyinbooks, Two in one day? wow! I don’t think I’ve abandoned two in one week before, but hopefully? I will start to do so soon. Good on you for being so fussy!

  17. Jacqui says:

    I do abandon books usually however after persevering for around a 100 pages, however if reviews are generally good or someone who’s opinion I respect wants me to try it I will go back to it perhaps a few months later though. I think what you read is very much affected by what your frame of mind is or by what else is going on in your life and what doesn’t suit at the times can be enjoyed at a later date. I tried to read Blood Meridian several times and abandoned it but finally found the ‘right’ head time and am very glad I did finally complete it. NB Read The Road – after your review- what a brilliant book – this may have given me the impetus to try Blood Meridian again.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jacqui, I’m so pleased that you loved The Road! I hope to get to Blood Meridian one day, but I’ll start with the ones I own already. I’ll ensure I make sure I read it at the right time – especially now you’ve advised me. Thanks :-)

  18. Yvann says:

    Good ideas – and good luck!

    1. Jackie says:

      Yvann, Thank you!

  19. Christina says:

    I had to give myself “permission” to abandoned books about a year or so ago, and while I don’t feel like every book I have has been amazing, there really hasn’t be anything that I feel like I wasted time on. I hope your new resolution leads to a happier raiding year for you.

    1. Jackie says:

      Christina, It is great to hear that you feel as though you haven’t wasted any time reading – I hate to think how many hours I’ve lost in the last year :-(

  20. Stephanie says:

    I am with you on this one. I am getting really good at picking books that I know will be a good fit, so I haven’t had to abandon too many books lately, but I do try to keep the mindset that I don’t HAVE to finish a book if I don’t like it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, I’m not very good at picking books I know I’ll love – I have a weirdly fussy reading taste :-( Hopefully I’lll be able to abandon books more easily as time goes on.

  21. Alex says:

    Sounds like a plan and if it doesn’t work, at least there’s the social experiment :)

    I usually know after about 10 to 20 pages, and although a lot of people experience it, I don’t think I’ve ever been really surprised by a book that did nothing for me at the start… or at least I can’t think of any right now.

    One useful thing I do is to, at least once a year, go through my TBR and honestly ask myself if I’ll ever read each of the books. I end up donating or mooching about 5 of the 100 or so in the shelves. Sometimes, what I planned to read two years ago doesn’t appeal anymore…

    1. Jackie says:

      Alex, I can’t think of a book I’ve hated in the beginning and then gone on to love. There are some that have improved and some that are quite good, but none have blown me away. I think that is a sign I shouldn’t ignore…

  22. Shannon says:

    I found that I read a lot of just ok books last year as well. This year I definitely plan on choosing the books I read carefully. I don’t know about abandoning books though, I still have a hard time doing that!

    1. Jackie says:

      Shannon, I’m finding abandoning books to be quite satisfying – I recommend giving it a try ;-)

  23. Verity says:

    JAckie – this is an excellent idea – can’t wait to see how you get on with it. I often abandon books – life is just too short!

  24. Tiina says:

    That’s a very good resolution, and your idea for a new feature is great! In my case there really are too many good and interesting books out there, and too little time to spend the time I have for reading to books that do not interest me, so, I abandon books rather easily. After how many pages depends totally on the book, however. Sometimes I know after 2-3 pages, sometimes I need 40-50, maybe even 100 pages to decide.

    1. Jackie says:

      Tiina, Very good point. All books are different and sometimes you instantly know the book isn’t for you. It is the ones that take 100 pages which annoy me. So much wasted time :-(

  25. Jo says:

    Good Luck. I love the idea though of posting about a book that you have abandoned just to see what others think.

    It has taken me a long time to do this, and I only abandoned 2 last year. And for one of them sadly got criticised for doing it because it was given to me for free and someone said I should have read it and liked it because it was free. This made me rather annoyed – life is too short to read books that you are getting no enjoyment from. I tried and I did not like the book and therefore I reported that fact, acknowledging that others might think the book was fantastic! Sadly this was not enough for this commentator.

    I digress! Good luck with your plans and will carry on reading your blog knowing that you are enjoying everything about reading.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, I think I abandoned about 5 books last year, but it wasn’t enough. I’ve abandoned two already this year and we are only on 5th Jan! It looks as though my resolution is going well :-)

      I have had a few commenters who object to book abandonment, but they are generally friendlier than those who hate negative reviews ;-)

  26. Alyce says:

    I can’t wait to see which books you read and what the results are of this resolution. I haven’t made any formal resolutions this year, but once again I am planning to accept fewer advance copies (in hopes that I can get all of the books I want from the library so there’s less obligation to review).

    1. Jackie says:

      Alyce, I hate feeling obligated to review books so understand your feeelings. It is why I avoid blog tours :-)

  27. Lori L says:

    I used to plow on, determined to finish a book no matter what. Now I’m getting better at rejecting books. In general, I like the 50 page rule, but some for some books even that is too many pages. This past year I did set aside several books with nary a word about them on my blog so I really like your idea of occasional mini reviews of all your rejects. I’ll be anxiously following your blog to see how you progress in this plan.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lori, I think it is really helpful to know why people abandoned a book. I hope that I manage to find the right balance in my posts.

  28. Kay says:

    I like the idea of the mini-DNF paragraphs. As you said, hopefully, if there are people who are passionate about that book, they can tell you why you might choose to try again with one book or another. It just all gets so overwhelming and reading about all the new books to be published and then discovering new authors with backlists – whew! Can’t read them all can we? I use the “start with 100 and subtract your age rule”. If the book doesn’t grab you by that point, off it goes. My number for this year is 47!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kay – I love your rule! I hadn’t heard that before. I’m not sure I want to read 68 pages of every book though – permission to abandon some a bit earlier than that?!

  29. Dorte H says:

    I think it is a sensible principle, and I do give up on more books today than when I began blogging two years ago. But as I don´t get more than a few review copies, I always try to get through those if I feel able to give them 3 stars. And then there are books I am reading for a challenge. Perhaps it´s stupid, but I don´t like giving up a book in a difficult category if I know I´ll just have to hunt up another one.

    When to give up a book? I really don´t know because sometimes I feel bored after two paragraphs, for other books I get through several chapters before I realize that I loathe the characters or don´t buy the plot at all.

    1. Jackie says:

      Dorte, I think that is one of the main reasons I’ve been avoiding challenges. I hate the thought of having to force myself to read a particular type of book – espcially ones I don’t enjoy.

  30. Patty says:

    I like and totally agree with your decision…the first and only point in reading anything… in my mind…is because you love it…you are wrapped up in it…it is impossible to let it go. I used to teach second grade and I had a student who told me that his dad found it very hard to say good bye to a book when he was finished with it…he held it for a while and just thought about the book…that statement has stayed with me and if a book is not worth our time and love…what is the point…so…good for you!!!

    It does not take me very long to know a book is not for me…I know it right away and if I am reading it for other reasons…a promised review, for example…I hate what I am doing and speed read through it to get it done and to be rid of it…I rarely make mistakes with my own book purchases. I know what I love…

    1. Jackie says:

      Patty, I love finding books that I hate finishing – it has been such a rare occurance for me recently. I hope I find a lot more books that I want to hug this year :-)

  31. stujallen says:

    I ve never abandon a book ,always read to end no matter how bad ,but not had many bad ones as I now just read what I want read not getting suck in to prize shortlist anymore like you as I feel the last two booker shortlist have been on whole bland and samey to other books previous years ,all best Jackie for the coming year and good luck stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, There are always a few gems on the Booker list. I still want to read and find them. I still love prize lists and will always enjoy seeing which books make the cut.

  32. Sandy says:

    This is awesome! And will be a real challenge I think. It would be tough for anyone to keep this pledge, but you are very particular about your reads. I applaud you. I wish I had the discipline!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I’m not sure I have the discipline either! Fingers crossed.

  33. Anbolyn says:

    Abandoning books is something I have no problem doing! I’m a very picky reader and don’t feel at all obligated to finish a book once I’ve started.
    I love your Read or Reject idea. I did something similar to this a couple of years ago and called it “Books I Gave Up On”. I quickly ended the posts, though, as I gave up on way too many books to keep track of. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Anbolyn, Oh no! I hope I don’t find myself abandoning too many books to keep track of them. It is good to know that abandoning books can come very easily – I hope I find that too.

  34. Teresa says:

    I’ve gotten better and better about abandoning books, and it has enhanced my reading a great deal. I did recently have someone tell me she reads the first paragraph of every chapter and the last chapter of a book she’s ready to abandon, just to get a sense of where the story went. I thought that was pretty cool but haven’t had the opportunity to try it.

    I’ve also been gradually working through my virtual TBR list, reading first chapters that I can find online to see if the book is likely to be my kind of book. I’ve eliminated quite a few that way and hope whenever possible to avoid putting new books on the list without that little test first.

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, I’m not sure I’d want to read the first paragraph of each chapter – that would be a bit disjointed and I’m not sure it would give a very good idea of the plot. I do skim read some books I abandon and like to read the final chapter. Let me know if you ever decide to try her theory – I’d be interested to know if it works.

  35. Steph says:

    Last year I definitely tried to drop books that weren’t working for me rather than sticking to the bitter (or mediocre) end and I think that definitely helped me seek out books I would enjoy. I read what I wanted and what seemed to click and so I wound up reading a lot of stuff I thought was very good.

    I have been thinking, though, that there are an awful lot of mediocre books out there and I do want to weed those out of my TBR stacks this year. I know that Amanda over at the Zen Leaf managed to get rid of something like 300 books last year and while I don’t have quite that many, I do probably have a few clunkers lying around that I could do without. I think I am going to round up the books on my shelves that I am least certain of and start working my way through them, stopping fairly soon if they don’t jive with me. Normally I do try to give a book about 50 pages or so before I cut it loose or give up on it, but I don’t know that we always need that much time.

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I really hope I’ll be able to get rid of 300+ books this year too. I’m almost tempted to start with the books that I think might be dodgy, just to clear the stacks quicker. Good luck in your book reducing too :-)

  36. Elisabeth says:

    I think all your ideas are great, and will be a
    positive improvement to your blog. I generally try and give a book 50 -100 pages also, because sometimes it does take that long to grab you, my experience with Cutting for Stone. It took awhile to grab me, and now I am enjoying it. If it is a book club read, I will skim it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Elisabeth, It took me a while to become really engrossed in Cutting for Stone, but it was enjoyable from the beginning. I don’t think I’d ever have considered giving it up. Thanks for the positive feedback :-)

  37. claire says:

    I use the 50-page rule by Nancy Pearl. I agree with you, though. It’s easy with stinkers, but with mediocre ones it’s more difficult to abandon. It’s like, you sludge through them because they’re not so bad but in the end felt you wasted your time. Thanks for that thought, I’ll keep it in mind this year. I’ve also decided to not read anything unworthy this year. Life is too too short. Happy new year, Jackie! :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, Let’s hope we both avoid the mediocre books in 2011 :-)

  38. mee says:

    Your new year resolutions were very similar with mine last year! Since then I have been trying to be more careful about my book selections. I gave up the idea to “finish tbr” and really read what I want to read, rather than read just because they’re lying at home because I got them for cheap, or just happened to stumble upon them when I visited the library. I also used to sometimes pick up a book just because it’s short, or “light”, and ended up unsatisfied. Anyway I changed all that and had the most satisfying read last year. I still very rarely drop a book though, as I’m quite careful to choose which ones to start. But then I read so much less than you. Like others I can see why you may need to decide pretty quickly for more contemporary books, and give more time to the classics.

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, I really hope my 2011 can be as good as your 2010 – you read some fantastic books! I hope that I can have as many 5 star reads as you had :-)

  39. Bellezza says:

    “Last year I spent far too much time reading things that were OK, but nothing special.” Amen! I did go on to read the rest of your post, but this line resonated deeply within me, and is something I’ve decided for myself.

    The part I don’t get about the quote from Book Lady’s blog is that once I’ve said yes to reviewing a book, I don’t feel that I can turn around and say no once I’ve perused it and found it less appealing than the blurb indicated.

    Therefore, I’m saying ‘yes’ almost not at all. I don’t want 2011 to be filled with mediocrity much as 2010 was.

    1. Jackie says:

      Bellezza, I’m finding the same thing as you. I am saying ‘yes’ to review pitches less and less. I wish I was able to do what The Book Lady does, but I’d feel guilty.

  40. Good luck with your goal! If I want to abandon a book quite quickly, I usually do and never think of it again. More often, however, I care enough to jump to the end and read the last chapter or so too. There are times I’ve gone back to my jumping off point and finished, but mostly it reassures me I didn’t miss anything. It also keeps me from being tempted to pick up the same book again later to try again. I hope you find what works for you!

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, I don’t think I’ve ever been persuaded to carry on reading a book after reading the last chapter – I wonder which book will be the first to do so?!

  41. Jenners says:

    I love this concept … but I don’t know if I could actually pull it off. I have a terrible time abandoning books, but I’m curious to see how this resolution pays off for you … and I like the idea of the “read or reject feature.”

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, Thanks for the support – let’s hope it works.

  42. Brenna says:

    First of all, wholly comment section! This is clearly an interesting topic to discuss. Also let me say I couldn’t be happier to hear about your resolution. I agree with you – life is too short to read books that just aren’t for you, much less a whole pile of them. Like you, I have problems abandoning books as well. In all of 2010, I allowed myself to abandon one. There should have been a few more. I always tell myself to read at least 150 pages before abandoning, because sometimes the book takes a turn for the better at that point. However, looking back, more often than not the book doesn’t take a turn for the better. I think it would be safe to say a reader knows 50 pages in whether or not the book is for him or her. With that being said, you are such a seasoned reader you may know within the first chapter. I’d say go with your gut. Good luck :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Brenna, Yes – I am shocked at the number of comments on this one – I never expected it to take off like this!
      I hope that going with my gut instinct works – I guess we’ll see at the end of the year :-)

  43. Charlie says:

    I was aiming to have a similar resolution and will try, but I don’t know if I’d be able to give up on a book. Silly really because I know I could spend more time reading better books. I very much admire you for doing it.

    The problem with setting a page number is that some books get so much better later on, however is that enough to make them worth it? Overall I think I’d agree with your 80-100 and then maybe if everyone raves about a book you left you can always revisit it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Charlie, I’m not going to set a formal page limit. I think all books are different and sometimes I’ll know a book isn’t for me after a few pages, others will take me several 100 to work it out. It is interesting to see how others all have fairly similar limits around 80 pages.

  44. Amy says:

    Another really great resolution! I also find it impossible to abandon books but am really hoping to get better with it in the coming year. I read way too many actually really bad books in the past year just because I kept thinking that maybe they would improve :P I wish you best of luck with it and love the idea of posting about them to get others opinions!

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, Snap! I am normally quite a positive person and like to think I gained something by finishing all those books I disliked, but the truth is I probably didn’t. Reading a more enjoyable book would have been a far better use of my time.

  45. Amanda says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that you can usually tell within a couple pages if a book is going to work for you. I’ve tried to be much better about giving up books quickly and I did a really good job of that this year. I’m sure there have been a handful that if I stuck through, I would have gotten to like better, but a handful out of 300+ doesn’t bother me.

    Now the only threat to those high-ratings is the book that seems wonderful until it takes a nosedive at the end. I always find those even more disappointing than ones that have been awful from page 1.

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, I hate those that take a dive at the end – ending a book on a sour note is always disappointing.

      I do worry about missing out on a few good books, but as you say a few out of several hundred isn’t really worth worrying about – especially if you have read fantastic books in the meantime :-)

  46. Jeanne says:

    I don’t personally care for the idea that it’s ever okay to judge a book quickly and toss it aside. But I very much like the idea that your blog will be more positive and you’ll have a good time with this. Go, girl!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeanne, I think we just have to accept that some books are preferred by different audiences. When watching a TV show I never question the fact I can normally tell whether I will enjoy watching it after just a few seconds – the same should be true for books. I know I will get it wrong sometimes, but I hope my ‘read or reject’ feature will capture those. Either way – here’s to a more positive place.

  47. Kathleen says:

    I have the hardest time abandoning a book I don’t like. I don’t know but I guess I always imagine that eventually I will like it if I stick with it long enough. I applaud you for picking a page number that you will stop at. If a book isn’t resonating with you by page 100 I would imagine it never will?

  48. Sakura says:

    I like your read or reject policy where you ask your readers to try and persuade you. It’s always difficult when there are so many books to read. I too find it really difficult to abandon books. Some I feel relieved because they really weren’t my thing, but others I’m glad I persisted because I fell in love with them a little later. I know, this isn’t helping, but I think you’re on to a good thing here:) Good luck!

  49. Erin says:

    I love this idea, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how your new feature goes! Running abandoned books by the blogging community is a great idea in terms of filtering out the books that are worth plowing through. For me, it usually takes about 50 pages before I know whether I want to finish a book or not. That is, of course, if it’s not obvious in the first paragraph!


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