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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Do you ever quit a novel you're reading?
Poll: Do you ever quit a novel you're reading?
No -- I read to the bitter end!
Yes. If I don't like it by a quarter thru, bye-bye!
Yes, but I give a book till the half-way point before I give up
Yes - but faster than options above
Yes - but when depends on the book
View Results (40 votes)

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

May 3 2017, 10:28pm

Post #1 of 16 (2675 views)
Do you ever quit a novel you're reading? Can't Post

I have steadfastly forced myself to finish books that disappoint me. I'm not sure why, maybe to give the author every last chance to turn their work around for me. But lately, I've come to question my assumption that every story I pick up will have some redeeming passage. (A disappointing novel is somehow more depressing to me then a poor movie is.) Readers tend to be avid in their love of the written page so: do you ever pull the plug on something you thought you'd enjoy and when?


May 3 2017, 11:12pm

Post #2 of 16 (2611 views)
Nof often, but yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never finished E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, for example. And notoriously, Most notoriously, I've never gotten past the opening chapter (or two) of Moby-Dick.

And don't get me started on what books I probably should read and never have.

Grey Havens

May 4 2017, 1:42am

Post #3 of 16 (2596 views)
The first time I remember doing it was Billy Budd by Melville [In reply to] Can't Post

Luckily it was one among many choices to fulfill the course requirement.

I've become pickier as I've gotten older. Also after being involved in The Burping Troll writing group. When I can honestly say... I've been involved in writing better even if mine never got formal publishing I'm closing the book and moving on.

Todd McCaffrey (Anne McCaffrey's son) is one I recently just said. No not going there. I love Pern too much to endure his writing.

Superuser / Moderator

May 4 2017, 4:04am

Post #4 of 16 (2582 views)
Ditto twice over. [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I've become pickier as I've gotten older.

...Todd McCaffrey (Anne McCaffrey's son) is one I recently just said. No not going there. I love Pern too much to endure his writing.

Tol Eressea

May 4 2017, 9:31am

Post #5 of 16 (2566 views)
I actually HAD to read Billy Budd. [In reply to] Can't Post

It was for a college English course. It was torture, but I did it. I am not a Melville fan.

Tol Eressea

May 4 2017, 9:38am

Post #6 of 16 (2566 views)
As I have gotten older, I've gotten pickier or perhaps just more . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

stubborn. I just feel I don't have enough time left to read something I don't like. The last one was by Edith Pargeter. It seemed to be page after page of angst of a noble man who wanted to be a stone mason and architect. Now, I try to be more careful selecting a book and tend to pick authors I've read or recommendations of friends and relatives.

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

May 4 2017, 12:57pm

Post #7 of 16 (2554 views)
Truth! When you reach a certain age [In reply to] Can't Post

you realize life is too short to waste it on a lame book. And it's as good as a guarantee that a wealth of other books is out there waiting to be discovered you will enjoy far more.

Anybody else use Goodreads? A title's ratings there do factor into my adding something to my To Read list though general popularity is no guarantee I will like it as well.

Tol Eressea

May 4 2017, 3:11pm

Post #8 of 16 (2548 views)
I feel that way too [In reply to] Can't Post

I have stacks of books I want to read (more coming available all the time!) and I sometimes regret feeling that I don't have the time to re-read some of my favourites too.


May 4 2017, 11:01pm

Post #9 of 16 (2516 views)
I've never gotten past the first chapter of Dune. [In reply to] Can't Post

OTOH, I loved Moby Dick and Billy Budd.

Grey Havens

May 4 2017, 11:29pm

Post #10 of 16 (2513 views)
My advice skip the first quarter of the book [In reply to] Can't Post

And don't go near the movie version


May 5 2017, 1:17pm

Post #11 of 16 (2463 views)
Top Ten [In reply to] Can't Post

Croyd by Ian Wallace. A poor 1960s attempt at combining A E van Vogtís 1940s sci-fi and James Bond. Misanthropic, nauseating, incoherent. Itís sequel Dr, Orpheus lies unread somewhere in the garage.

Justine by the Marquis de Sade. Youthful curiosity when I found it in the college library. Curiosity was quickly assuaged.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Never got past the first chapter. Seemed dull. Same when I tried the television mini-series.

A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell. Oh, God, thereís eleven more volumes of this crap? Not only no, but h-e-double-hockey-sticks no.

Curtain by Agatha Christie. I just couldnít bear to let him go so he still hasnít died in my personal canon.

The Metal Monster by A. Merritt. Tedious lost civilization novel. I bought it in the 1960s because it had a very fetching redhead floating on the cover. (I was a callow youth. Now I'm just callow.) Itís still half-finished on my shelf, incongruously right alongside Montaigne.


The Essays of Michel de Montaigne. I started it in the 1960s but put it aside. Iím going to finish it someday. Really!

A Concise History of the Russian Revolution, by Richard Pipes. More rant than fact. A *huge* disappointment after his extremely well-written The Russian Revolution and Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. Somehow the guy really lost it.

The Book of Mormon by John Smith, Jr.

Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard.


May 5 2017, 9:31pm

Post #12 of 16 (2424 views)
occasionally [In reply to] Can't Post

mostly if i am away from reading it for a while and lose interest. and re-reads are somewhat more likely to get cut off part-way.


May 14 2017, 4:15pm

Post #13 of 16 (1954 views)
often [In reply to] Can't Post

I cannot abide poor writing. I've given up on a book within a couple of pages if the writing is so bad I can't overlook it.

I'm an editor by trade, and it is apparent to me that most authors/publishers have cut out the editing phase altogether in the rush to get the book in the hands of readers. And because people have become used to such writing, their own standards for what they will read have slipped. A lot.

This also means that authors aren't benefiting from editorial advice that would make them better writers.

In fact, I've come to realize that there are a lot of people out there who want to be authors - to have published a book- but who are not, in their soul, truly writers. A real writer is obsessed with HOW they are saying what they want to say. They will fuss over a particular word or sentence for hours or even days. Like Tolkien, who chose every word consciously and deliberately. They learn their craft first, both by reading the great writers and by practicing their art under the guidance of masters. They don't just run their fingers over the keyboard until they have hit a certain word count.

I'm ranting I know. I ran into a woman the other day who informed me that she has written 47 books in the last six years, 15 in the last year alone. And she's not self-publishing, she has a publisher - apparently one with no standards at all for the quality of work they put out. Most of her reviews on Amazon are bad (most note her books need editing and are obviously churned out with half-baked ideas), but that doesn't seem to faze her, probably because there are also five-star reviews "loving" her work.

(Aside: I loved Moby-dick, but I was taken through it by a professor who also loved it, had studied it, and pointed out a lot of things I would have missed on my own. I also had the Norton Critical Edition which gave us all kinds of amplification, including the story of the Essex which inspired Melville. I'm convinced that some authors - Dante and Shakespeare, to name two - can't be read "cold" without any guidance.)

(This post was edited by Annael on May 14 2017, 4:21pm)

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

May 14 2017, 5:12pm

Post #14 of 16 (1945 views)
It is astonishing how many [In reply to] Can't Post

terrible writers manage to get published :P Crazy

And it's true many classics are worthy pieces of lit but have slipped in popularity simply because writing styles change over time. How often has Tolkien been described as "tweedy"? And yet I can't blame any reader who doesn't feel up to doing collateral background reading to have a classic made more palatable. Folks usually just don't have the time anymore!


May 15 2017, 6:04pm

Post #15 of 16 (1866 views)
Sometimes it's time, sometimes it's boredom [In reply to] Can't Post

The last book I didn't finish reading was "Outlander," which I thought was a good book but just too long. I may finish it someday. I like Jane Austin, but her first book "Northhanger Abby" just couldn't keep my attention, so I never finished it either. When I was in high school I returned many library books unfinished because I guess I'm just a slow reader, LOL!


May 17 2017, 2:46pm

Post #16 of 16 (1684 views)
you've inspired a poll [In reply to] Can't Post

but it's not just you. I was talking to a friend the other day about getting her 10-year-old granddaughter to read more, but when I suggested starting her on the Harry Potter books, my friend said "they're too long!" As a child, and more so now, no book was ever "too long" for me (I am always sad when I reach the end of LOTR), but it got me wondering how many people feel that way.


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