Do I Hafta Finish It?

20060730_barbie_13_1        From Loretta:
      
      Last Sunday, Edith asked about books we couldn’t put down, the ones we kept on reading, no matter what.
      I’ve been contemplating the ones we don’t keep on reading.
      Or do we?
      I’m not sure when exactly I stopped reading every single book to the bitter end.  Sometime in college, maybe.  Oh, yes, definitely, because I know I didn’t read everything I was supposed to–at least not during Stage One.  Being very immature, I needed two stages to get my degree.  During Stage One, I was too busy partying to read the incredibly boring Moby Dick, for instance.  (And no, I don’t regret the partying:  It taught me some things, like Quit Partying and Get a Real Life.)  Anyway, Jude the Obscure went by the wayside then, too.
      I got back to Moby Dick some years later, and loved it.  Thinking back, I’m seeing a connection between general immaturity and low boredom threshold.  The less you know, the easier it is to be narrow-minded.  When you start learning about being in the world and making a life for yourself, your mind can open up.  Then you can learn some more things.  Moby Dick wasn’t boring at all, once I’d matured enough to get it.  So I’m glad I didn’t give up on that one completely.  Maybe one of these days I’ll get to Jude the Obscure but don’t hold your breath.  Hardy and I, we’re not likely to have a good relationship.  We see the world in completely opposite ways.
      This is one of the keys, of course, to what makes us keep turning the pages and what makes us stop, say, three chapters in.  When you read a book, you’re forming a relationship.  And you’re just not going to communicate with every single author.  You’re simply not going to want to spend time with every one of them.
      The question is, do you stick it out to the end, even if you don’t want to be there?
      I don’t.  Despite the lesson learned about Moby Dick, I still don’t read to the end.  Not everyone is Herman Melville.  And I know, deep in my heart, that Jude the Obscure is not going to make my comeback list.
     Books_sm  Life is short, books are many.  If I see no potential for a relationship with the book, I close it and go on to the next.  Sometimes I can tell very early on that things are not going to work out between us.  Sometimes–as was the case recently with a work of non-fiction–I was halfway through the book when I sighed and gave up.
      This doesn’t happen very often.  I’m not the callow youth I was in my callow youth.  I know what I like, so I’m not likely to have books in the TBR piles I won’t finish.  And I’m not as narrow-minded as I used to be, so when I try something new, I’m more forgiving.  Too, I have this job that involves reading tons and tons of non-fiction, some of it written in a style that is, not to put too fine a point on it, awful.
      Here’s an example from The Mirror of Graces (1811):  “Women in every country have a greater influence than men chose to confess.  Though haughtiness of mind will not allow them always to acknowledge the truth, yet we see the proof in its effects; and, in consequence, must exhort women, by yielding their deference to the laws of honorary precedence, to teach men to obey them; and, rather to emulate such distinctions, than seek to pull down the possessors to the level of the common herd.”  As is painfully obvious here, not everyone in the early 19th C wrote the way Jane Austen did.  This is a great clue to why she’s lasted and no one’s ever heard of the hundreds of others writing at the same time.
      Betcha anything only a teeny tiny minority of readers would read The Mirror of Graces from the beginning to the bitter end.  And let me say, I am not one of that minority.  I skim, wincing as I go along.  But I’ve got a reason to read it.  This is my job, and you never know what fabulous idea will come from it, once I can figure out what the heck she’s saying.
      How do you deal with the good, bad, and ugly in books?  Do you apply the 50 page rule?  The three chapter rule?  Or do you keep on, right to the end?

54 thoughts on “Do I Hafta Finish It?”

  1. When I stared reading romances, I probably forced myself to finish. But after a while, while it hurt me to do, I pushed myself to put it to the side. I mean, if I was bored, I hated the idea of not finishing it, but I looked over at my really large pile and say why the heck not. Now it doesn’t bug me. LOL Sometimes I try again and I love it, sometimes I still just can’t get into it. Just shows sometimes it’s our moods, sometimes we just can’t like everything. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  2. When I stared reading romances, I probably forced myself to finish. But after a while, while it hurt me to do, I pushed myself to put it to the side. I mean, if I was bored, I hated the idea of not finishing it, but I looked over at my really large pile and say why the heck not. Now it doesn’t bug me. LOL Sometimes I try again and I love it, sometimes I still just can’t get into it. Just shows sometimes it’s our moods, sometimes we just can’t like everything. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  3. When I stared reading romances, I probably forced myself to finish. But after a while, while it hurt me to do, I pushed myself to put it to the side. I mean, if I was bored, I hated the idea of not finishing it, but I looked over at my really large pile and say why the heck not. Now it doesn’t bug me. LOL Sometimes I try again and I love it, sometimes I still just can’t get into it. Just shows sometimes it’s our moods, sometimes we just can’t like everything. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  4. Actually I give the book two tries. Sometimes I buy a book and start reading it at the wrong time…it’s contemporary when I want to read a historical for instance. So, I give the book another try perhaps a month or two later. If I have the same reaction 50 pages into the book, it’s a goner.
    Of course, I’ve only done this recently. I used to keep the books around and try to read them over and over again. When they started to pile up I began to realize I had to come up with a different plan.

    Reply
  5. Actually I give the book two tries. Sometimes I buy a book and start reading it at the wrong time…it’s contemporary when I want to read a historical for instance. So, I give the book another try perhaps a month or two later. If I have the same reaction 50 pages into the book, it’s a goner.
    Of course, I’ve only done this recently. I used to keep the books around and try to read them over and over again. When they started to pile up I began to realize I had to come up with a different plan.

    Reply
  6. Actually I give the book two tries. Sometimes I buy a book and start reading it at the wrong time…it’s contemporary when I want to read a historical for instance. So, I give the book another try perhaps a month or two later. If I have the same reaction 50 pages into the book, it’s a goner.
    Of course, I’ve only done this recently. I used to keep the books around and try to read them over and over again. When they started to pile up I began to realize I had to come up with a different plan.

    Reply
  7. Life is too short to force yourself tt wade through books you dislike.
    I have read read about half of james Joyce’s ULYSSES, Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED, Marquis de Sade’s JUSTINE and never regretted not finishing any of em.

    Reply
  8. Life is too short to force yourself tt wade through books you dislike.
    I have read read about half of james Joyce’s ULYSSES, Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED, Marquis de Sade’s JUSTINE and never regretted not finishing any of em.

    Reply
  9. Life is too short to force yourself tt wade through books you dislike.
    I have read read about half of james Joyce’s ULYSSES, Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED, Marquis de Sade’s JUSTINE and never regretted not finishing any of em.

    Reply
  10. If I am reading a book for pleasure or relaxation, it would never OCCUR to me to keep going if I were not enjoying it. What would be the point? One would be wasting precious time that could be spent either (1) reading things that are work-related and useful or (2) reading things that are enjoyable. When I read fiction, I read it for fun: if there is no fun, I stop.
    The vast majority of my reading time is spent reading books and articles that I NEED to read for work purposes. Some I enjoy very much, and some I do not. Many are written in languages other than English, and therefore take me far longer to read than they would in English. I am used to reading fast, and hate the slow pace that academic French, in particular, forces on me.
    Very occasionally I have read all the way through a popular novel that is so spectacularly ghastly that I want to savour and remember its sheer awfulness. I shall not cite references.

    Reply
  11. If I am reading a book for pleasure or relaxation, it would never OCCUR to me to keep going if I were not enjoying it. What would be the point? One would be wasting precious time that could be spent either (1) reading things that are work-related and useful or (2) reading things that are enjoyable. When I read fiction, I read it for fun: if there is no fun, I stop.
    The vast majority of my reading time is spent reading books and articles that I NEED to read for work purposes. Some I enjoy very much, and some I do not. Many are written in languages other than English, and therefore take me far longer to read than they would in English. I am used to reading fast, and hate the slow pace that academic French, in particular, forces on me.
    Very occasionally I have read all the way through a popular novel that is so spectacularly ghastly that I want to savour and remember its sheer awfulness. I shall not cite references.

    Reply
  12. If I am reading a book for pleasure or relaxation, it would never OCCUR to me to keep going if I were not enjoying it. What would be the point? One would be wasting precious time that could be spent either (1) reading things that are work-related and useful or (2) reading things that are enjoyable. When I read fiction, I read it for fun: if there is no fun, I stop.
    The vast majority of my reading time is spent reading books and articles that I NEED to read for work purposes. Some I enjoy very much, and some I do not. Many are written in languages other than English, and therefore take me far longer to read than they would in English. I am used to reading fast, and hate the slow pace that academic French, in particular, forces on me.
    Very occasionally I have read all the way through a popular novel that is so spectacularly ghastly that I want to savour and remember its sheer awfulness. I shall not cite references.

    Reply
  13. What I do depends on why I’m having trouble reading the book. If it’s well written and I’m just not into the story at the moment then I put it aside. Usually I will enjoy it when I pick it up at another time. Occasionally there are those books that I just can’t stand the writing or the characters. If I start to despise someone who is either the hero or heroine of the book then it’s time to give up.

    Reply
  14. What I do depends on why I’m having trouble reading the book. If it’s well written and I’m just not into the story at the moment then I put it aside. Usually I will enjoy it when I pick it up at another time. Occasionally there are those books that I just can’t stand the writing or the characters. If I start to despise someone who is either the hero or heroine of the book then it’s time to give up.

    Reply
  15. What I do depends on why I’m having trouble reading the book. If it’s well written and I’m just not into the story at the moment then I put it aside. Usually I will enjoy it when I pick it up at another time. Occasionally there are those books that I just can’t stand the writing or the characters. If I start to despise someone who is either the hero or heroine of the book then it’s time to give up.

    Reply
  16. I envy you Loretta! I have a problem as I am almost incapable of not finishing books, no matter how bad. Sometimes I remember each book I haven’t finished, more than the ones I have finished — reason enough to just finish them.
    Last bookI didn’t finish was Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook. Wanted to throw it across the room, and finally, I did.
    But thanks to this defect I did read Jude the Obscure (loved it, gotta say) and even the unabridged Clarissa. However, my need to finish books makes me a wary book reader as each book is a real time investment.
    So in short, please sneeze on me! I’d love to be infected with the freedom to toss the ones that don’t thrill me. : D

    Reply
  17. I envy you Loretta! I have a problem as I am almost incapable of not finishing books, no matter how bad. Sometimes I remember each book I haven’t finished, more than the ones I have finished — reason enough to just finish them.
    Last bookI didn’t finish was Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook. Wanted to throw it across the room, and finally, I did.
    But thanks to this defect I did read Jude the Obscure (loved it, gotta say) and even the unabridged Clarissa. However, my need to finish books makes me a wary book reader as each book is a real time investment.
    So in short, please sneeze on me! I’d love to be infected with the freedom to toss the ones that don’t thrill me. : D

    Reply
  18. I envy you Loretta! I have a problem as I am almost incapable of not finishing books, no matter how bad. Sometimes I remember each book I haven’t finished, more than the ones I have finished — reason enough to just finish them.
    Last bookI didn’t finish was Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook. Wanted to throw it across the room, and finally, I did.
    But thanks to this defect I did read Jude the Obscure (loved it, gotta say) and even the unabridged Clarissa. However, my need to finish books makes me a wary book reader as each book is a real time investment.
    So in short, please sneeze on me! I’d love to be infected with the freedom to toss the ones that don’t thrill me. : D

    Reply
  19. “If I am reading a book for pleasure or relaxation, it would never OCCUR to me to keep going if I were not enjoying it.”
    I feel the same way. I’m picky, I’m busy, and there are more books in the world than I could possibly read in my lifetime. Why keep reading anything that bores or annoys me?
    I make a point of trying a lot of new-to-me authors, but I’m so picky and quirky in my tastes that I finish less than half the books I start by authors I’ve never read before. I don’t have a set point for when I stop. Often it’s within the first few pages, if the author has an awkward voice or commits a glaring historical error on page 4.
    I never feel guilty about abandoning a book in the first chapter or so. However, I do sometimes wonder if I’m being too picky when I get bored with a book in the middle and skim to the end. Usually those are the kind of books that are interesting enough that if I were trapped on an airplane with them, SkyMall, and the in-flight magazine, the book would win. But when they have to compete with my entire TBR pile, including books by favorite authors, they lose out. It’s not that they’re unreadable, like the books I abandon in Ch. 1–they’re just less readable than the Jennifer Crusie calling my name from the bookshelf.

    Reply
  20. “If I am reading a book for pleasure or relaxation, it would never OCCUR to me to keep going if I were not enjoying it.”
    I feel the same way. I’m picky, I’m busy, and there are more books in the world than I could possibly read in my lifetime. Why keep reading anything that bores or annoys me?
    I make a point of trying a lot of new-to-me authors, but I’m so picky and quirky in my tastes that I finish less than half the books I start by authors I’ve never read before. I don’t have a set point for when I stop. Often it’s within the first few pages, if the author has an awkward voice or commits a glaring historical error on page 4.
    I never feel guilty about abandoning a book in the first chapter or so. However, I do sometimes wonder if I’m being too picky when I get bored with a book in the middle and skim to the end. Usually those are the kind of books that are interesting enough that if I were trapped on an airplane with them, SkyMall, and the in-flight magazine, the book would win. But when they have to compete with my entire TBR pile, including books by favorite authors, they lose out. It’s not that they’re unreadable, like the books I abandon in Ch. 1–they’re just less readable than the Jennifer Crusie calling my name from the bookshelf.

    Reply
  21. “If I am reading a book for pleasure or relaxation, it would never OCCUR to me to keep going if I were not enjoying it.”
    I feel the same way. I’m picky, I’m busy, and there are more books in the world than I could possibly read in my lifetime. Why keep reading anything that bores or annoys me?
    I make a point of trying a lot of new-to-me authors, but I’m so picky and quirky in my tastes that I finish less than half the books I start by authors I’ve never read before. I don’t have a set point for when I stop. Often it’s within the first few pages, if the author has an awkward voice or commits a glaring historical error on page 4.
    I never feel guilty about abandoning a book in the first chapter or so. However, I do sometimes wonder if I’m being too picky when I get bored with a book in the middle and skim to the end. Usually those are the kind of books that are interesting enough that if I were trapped on an airplane with them, SkyMall, and the in-flight magazine, the book would win. But when they have to compete with my entire TBR pile, including books by favorite authors, they lose out. It’s not that they’re unreadable, like the books I abandon in Ch. 1–they’re just less readable than the Jennifer Crusie calling my name from the bookshelf.

    Reply
  22. I quit when I quit. Great books grab me by the throat and I can barely stand to lay them aside long enough to run to the loo or get a cup of tea.
    So-so books last me a day or two and I skim parts, but I’m usually caught up enough in the characters that I want to see it through to the end.
    Bad books (TSTL characters, impossible plots, bad writing, etc.) get tossed into the trash as soon as I decide I’m DONE. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

    Reply
  23. I quit when I quit. Great books grab me by the throat and I can barely stand to lay them aside long enough to run to the loo or get a cup of tea.
    So-so books last me a day or two and I skim parts, but I’m usually caught up enough in the characters that I want to see it through to the end.
    Bad books (TSTL characters, impossible plots, bad writing, etc.) get tossed into the trash as soon as I decide I’m DONE. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

    Reply
  24. I quit when I quit. Great books grab me by the throat and I can barely stand to lay them aside long enough to run to the loo or get a cup of tea.
    So-so books last me a day or two and I skim parts, but I’m usually caught up enough in the characters that I want to see it through to the end.
    Bad books (TSTL characters, impossible plots, bad writing, etc.) get tossed into the trash as soon as I decide I’m DONE. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

    Reply
  25. I no longer read to the end if a book is not pulling me in. I used to finish eveything I started, based on some unspoken principle. I know longer have principles. Or time to waste. 🙂
    But one thing you said, Loretta, really struck a chord with me. And that is that certain books should not be forced upon young readers simply because the are part of the literary canon. Jude The Obscure is an excellent example. As a 16-year old, I couldn’t get through it. Some 20+ years later, I loved it. Same with most of Hardy, actually. He and Zola and others require more life experience, I think, to appreciate the layers of emotional complexity, etc. Plus, they can be pretty darned depressing to a teenager, a surefire way to turn her/him off of reading forever.
    Maybe high school ciriculums have changed since the stone age when I was in school. But it sure would be nice to introduce young readers to books they can more easily relate to and enjoy. They have so many other options to claim their attention that reading for pleasure, according to a high school teacher friend of mine, has almost disappeared. We need young readers. Let’s not turn them off reading by forcing them to read Silas Marner.

    Reply
  26. I no longer read to the end if a book is not pulling me in. I used to finish eveything I started, based on some unspoken principle. I know longer have principles. Or time to waste. 🙂
    But one thing you said, Loretta, really struck a chord with me. And that is that certain books should not be forced upon young readers simply because the are part of the literary canon. Jude The Obscure is an excellent example. As a 16-year old, I couldn’t get through it. Some 20+ years later, I loved it. Same with most of Hardy, actually. He and Zola and others require more life experience, I think, to appreciate the layers of emotional complexity, etc. Plus, they can be pretty darned depressing to a teenager, a surefire way to turn her/him off of reading forever.
    Maybe high school ciriculums have changed since the stone age when I was in school. But it sure would be nice to introduce young readers to books they can more easily relate to and enjoy. They have so many other options to claim their attention that reading for pleasure, according to a high school teacher friend of mine, has almost disappeared. We need young readers. Let’s not turn them off reading by forcing them to read Silas Marner.

    Reply
  27. I no longer read to the end if a book is not pulling me in. I used to finish eveything I started, based on some unspoken principle. I know longer have principles. Or time to waste. 🙂
    But one thing you said, Loretta, really struck a chord with me. And that is that certain books should not be forced upon young readers simply because the are part of the literary canon. Jude The Obscure is an excellent example. As a 16-year old, I couldn’t get through it. Some 20+ years later, I loved it. Same with most of Hardy, actually. He and Zola and others require more life experience, I think, to appreciate the layers of emotional complexity, etc. Plus, they can be pretty darned depressing to a teenager, a surefire way to turn her/him off of reading forever.
    Maybe high school ciriculums have changed since the stone age when I was in school. But it sure would be nice to introduce young readers to books they can more easily relate to and enjoy. They have so many other options to claim their attention that reading for pleasure, according to a high school teacher friend of mine, has almost disappeared. We need young readers. Let’s not turn them off reading by forcing them to read Silas Marner.

    Reply
  28. A couple of commenters have mentioned mood or state of mind–and this is one reason I don’t dump everything that doesn’t grab me right away. Sometimes, that’s just not the book I want at the time. But often it’s a matter of Why plow through a not-bad-but-not-so-hot read, when there’s a Jennifer Crusie on the TBR shelf, and Lindsey Davis right next to her? Susie, the next time I’m near you, I’ll be sure to sneeze. Oh, but how could anyone stop reading CLARISSA, one of the original page-turners? Candice, I agree totally about book choices for teenagers. This is one of my pet peeves. Another is about the way history is taught in school.

    Reply
  29. A couple of commenters have mentioned mood or state of mind–and this is one reason I don’t dump everything that doesn’t grab me right away. Sometimes, that’s just not the book I want at the time. But often it’s a matter of Why plow through a not-bad-but-not-so-hot read, when there’s a Jennifer Crusie on the TBR shelf, and Lindsey Davis right next to her? Susie, the next time I’m near you, I’ll be sure to sneeze. Oh, but how could anyone stop reading CLARISSA, one of the original page-turners? Candice, I agree totally about book choices for teenagers. This is one of my pet peeves. Another is about the way history is taught in school.

    Reply
  30. A couple of commenters have mentioned mood or state of mind–and this is one reason I don’t dump everything that doesn’t grab me right away. Sometimes, that’s just not the book I want at the time. But often it’s a matter of Why plow through a not-bad-but-not-so-hot read, when there’s a Jennifer Crusie on the TBR shelf, and Lindsey Davis right next to her? Susie, the next time I’m near you, I’ll be sure to sneeze. Oh, but how could anyone stop reading CLARISSA, one of the original page-turners? Candice, I agree totally about book choices for teenagers. This is one of my pet peeves. Another is about the way history is taught in school.

    Reply
  31. One of the great things about this site is that I have been introduced to some new writers. I have such a dread of wasting my hard-earned money/time on a rotten book that I will re-read my favorites before trying something new. Until this site, I had never read Patricia or Edith. Now I have purchased everything of theirs that I could find. I shall try Lindsey Davis next… Speaking of lit classes, why do they always chose books with sad endings- just what we Romance readers hate. Case in point- Australian author Neville Shute wrote “No Highway”. “A Town Like Alice” and lots of other great reads, but the only one ever read in schools is “On the Beach”, his post -nuclear apocalypse novel that is perhaps one of the most depressing books ever written. Who picks these things? Is there a Bureau of Gloom that decides ” Here’s one that will make them really hate reading”…?

    Reply
  32. One of the great things about this site is that I have been introduced to some new writers. I have such a dread of wasting my hard-earned money/time on a rotten book that I will re-read my favorites before trying something new. Until this site, I had never read Patricia or Edith. Now I have purchased everything of theirs that I could find. I shall try Lindsey Davis next… Speaking of lit classes, why do they always chose books with sad endings- just what we Romance readers hate. Case in point- Australian author Neville Shute wrote “No Highway”. “A Town Like Alice” and lots of other great reads, but the only one ever read in schools is “On the Beach”, his post -nuclear apocalypse novel that is perhaps one of the most depressing books ever written. Who picks these things? Is there a Bureau of Gloom that decides ” Here’s one that will make them really hate reading”…?

    Reply
  33. One of the great things about this site is that I have been introduced to some new writers. I have such a dread of wasting my hard-earned money/time on a rotten book that I will re-read my favorites before trying something new. Until this site, I had never read Patricia or Edith. Now I have purchased everything of theirs that I could find. I shall try Lindsey Davis next… Speaking of lit classes, why do they always chose books with sad endings- just what we Romance readers hate. Case in point- Australian author Neville Shute wrote “No Highway”. “A Town Like Alice” and lots of other great reads, but the only one ever read in schools is “On the Beach”, his post -nuclear apocalypse novel that is perhaps one of the most depressing books ever written. Who picks these things? Is there a Bureau of Gloom that decides ” Here’s one that will make them really hate reading”…?

    Reply
  34. I had so little reading material when I was young that I learned to plow through Chekhov in elementary school just so I had something to read. This experience taught me that there are gems in even the most obscure material, so for a long, long time, I read everything from cover to cover. I simply learned to read it quickly.
    These days, with my TBR pile threatening to spill over and knock me unconscious, I have learned to skim books that don’t suck me in immediately. If something about the book holds my interest, I might leave it around for weeks, picking it up when nothing else is striking my mood. Books by literary authors that conceal gems I want to find, I’ll set on my Nordictrak and read for half an hour a day. Sometimes, even then, I can’t finish them. Same goes for mass market authors I think I ought to read just to see what they’re doing. If nothing in the book holds my interest even after skimming and skipping to different sections of the book, it gets dumped.
    The books I cherish forever are the ones that immediately pull me in and keep me there. Because I’m too keenly aware these days of what’s good writing (and your example, Loretta, was pure drivel, even for the 19th century!) and what’s not, this doesn’t happen as often as it used to. I’m blessed to be with authors on here whose books I can happily lap up and never skim!
    And thank you, Gretchen, for the kind words. We need to find more of our favorite authors and introduce them as time goes on, and we get more organized. Should that ever happen. “G”

    Reply
  35. I had so little reading material when I was young that I learned to plow through Chekhov in elementary school just so I had something to read. This experience taught me that there are gems in even the most obscure material, so for a long, long time, I read everything from cover to cover. I simply learned to read it quickly.
    These days, with my TBR pile threatening to spill over and knock me unconscious, I have learned to skim books that don’t suck me in immediately. If something about the book holds my interest, I might leave it around for weeks, picking it up when nothing else is striking my mood. Books by literary authors that conceal gems I want to find, I’ll set on my Nordictrak and read for half an hour a day. Sometimes, even then, I can’t finish them. Same goes for mass market authors I think I ought to read just to see what they’re doing. If nothing in the book holds my interest even after skimming and skipping to different sections of the book, it gets dumped.
    The books I cherish forever are the ones that immediately pull me in and keep me there. Because I’m too keenly aware these days of what’s good writing (and your example, Loretta, was pure drivel, even for the 19th century!) and what’s not, this doesn’t happen as often as it used to. I’m blessed to be with authors on here whose books I can happily lap up and never skim!
    And thank you, Gretchen, for the kind words. We need to find more of our favorite authors and introduce them as time goes on, and we get more organized. Should that ever happen. “G”

    Reply
  36. I had so little reading material when I was young that I learned to plow through Chekhov in elementary school just so I had something to read. This experience taught me that there are gems in even the most obscure material, so for a long, long time, I read everything from cover to cover. I simply learned to read it quickly.
    These days, with my TBR pile threatening to spill over and knock me unconscious, I have learned to skim books that don’t suck me in immediately. If something about the book holds my interest, I might leave it around for weeks, picking it up when nothing else is striking my mood. Books by literary authors that conceal gems I want to find, I’ll set on my Nordictrak and read for half an hour a day. Sometimes, even then, I can’t finish them. Same goes for mass market authors I think I ought to read just to see what they’re doing. If nothing in the book holds my interest even after skimming and skipping to different sections of the book, it gets dumped.
    The books I cherish forever are the ones that immediately pull me in and keep me there. Because I’m too keenly aware these days of what’s good writing (and your example, Loretta, was pure drivel, even for the 19th century!) and what’s not, this doesn’t happen as often as it used to. I’m blessed to be with authors on here whose books I can happily lap up and never skim!
    And thank you, Gretchen, for the kind words. We need to find more of our favorite authors and introduce them as time goes on, and we get more organized. Should that ever happen. “G”

    Reply
  37. Re: CLARISSA
    The plot might seem racy — dissolute man of the manor tries to seduce resolute innocent beautiful servant and the effect is spoiled because it is written in a pious, prosy manner. I still enjoyed it though but yeah, I can certainly understand why others can’t.

    Reply
  38. Re: CLARISSA
    The plot might seem racy — dissolute man of the manor tries to seduce resolute innocent beautiful servant and the effect is spoiled because it is written in a pious, prosy manner. I still enjoyed it though but yeah, I can certainly understand why others can’t.

    Reply
  39. Re: CLARISSA
    The plot might seem racy — dissolute man of the manor tries to seduce resolute innocent beautiful servant and the effect is spoiled because it is written in a pious, prosy manner. I still enjoyed it though but yeah, I can certainly understand why others can’t.

    Reply
  40. “…the effect is spoiled because it is written in a pious, prosy manner.”
    Well, yes, but the language has also changed a good deal since 1748, and that, too, must be taken into account. Any novel that is still being read at all over 250 years after it was first published is noteworthy.

    Reply
  41. “…the effect is spoiled because it is written in a pious, prosy manner.”
    Well, yes, but the language has also changed a good deal since 1748, and that, too, must be taken into account. Any novel that is still being read at all over 250 years after it was first published is noteworthy.

    Reply
  42. “…the effect is spoiled because it is written in a pious, prosy manner.”
    Well, yes, but the language has also changed a good deal since 1748, and that, too, must be taken into account. Any novel that is still being read at all over 250 years after it was first published is noteworthy.

    Reply
  43. Susan, I think Lindsey Davis is brilliant. I finally got The Silver Pigs and am saving it as a reward for finishing my POS. I mean MIP. I started reading her out of order, with Last Act in Palmyra, and have longed to start at the beginning.
    Gretchen, I absolutely believe there’s a Bureau of Gloom. It seems to have a lot of members, too, because it dictates so many book club choices–and the fiction in the New Yorker, among other things.
    Seton, Clarissa’s the one with bad boy Lovelace, who talks her into eloping. Pamela’s the one with the servant. I think Clarissa’s much better–but yes, there’s that excessively moralistic thing, which is tough for modern sensibilities to deal with. And Clarissa’s ending made me crazy. But as AgTigress says, it’s still an achievement for a book to be read 250 years later. The writer’s dream.

    Reply
  44. Susan, I think Lindsey Davis is brilliant. I finally got The Silver Pigs and am saving it as a reward for finishing my POS. I mean MIP. I started reading her out of order, with Last Act in Palmyra, and have longed to start at the beginning.
    Gretchen, I absolutely believe there’s a Bureau of Gloom. It seems to have a lot of members, too, because it dictates so many book club choices–and the fiction in the New Yorker, among other things.
    Seton, Clarissa’s the one with bad boy Lovelace, who talks her into eloping. Pamela’s the one with the servant. I think Clarissa’s much better–but yes, there’s that excessively moralistic thing, which is tough for modern sensibilities to deal with. And Clarissa’s ending made me crazy. But as AgTigress says, it’s still an achievement for a book to be read 250 years later. The writer’s dream.

    Reply
  45. Susan, I think Lindsey Davis is brilliant. I finally got The Silver Pigs and am saving it as a reward for finishing my POS. I mean MIP. I started reading her out of order, with Last Act in Palmyra, and have longed to start at the beginning.
    Gretchen, I absolutely believe there’s a Bureau of Gloom. It seems to have a lot of members, too, because it dictates so many book club choices–and the fiction in the New Yorker, among other things.
    Seton, Clarissa’s the one with bad boy Lovelace, who talks her into eloping. Pamela’s the one with the servant. I think Clarissa’s much better–but yes, there’s that excessively moralistic thing, which is tough for modern sensibilities to deal with. And Clarissa’s ending made me crazy. But as AgTigress says, it’s still an achievement for a book to be read 250 years later. The writer’s dream.

    Reply
  46. Ugh, I realized a hour after my last post that I always get PAMELA and CLARISSA mixed up.
    However, I dont think the language of the mid 18th C necessarily translate to prosy and pious. IIRC, TRISTAM SHANDY was written around that time and I dont remember it being so pious.

    Reply
  47. Ugh, I realized a hour after my last post that I always get PAMELA and CLARISSA mixed up.
    However, I dont think the language of the mid 18th C necessarily translate to prosy and pious. IIRC, TRISTAM SHANDY was written around that time and I dont remember it being so pious.

    Reply
  48. Ugh, I realized a hour after my last post that I always get PAMELA and CLARISSA mixed up.
    However, I dont think the language of the mid 18th C necessarily translate to prosy and pious. IIRC, TRISTAM SHANDY was written around that time and I dont remember it being so pious.

    Reply
  49. I’m trying to remember my 18th C Lit studies and thinking Clarissa and Pamela made it as the first or among the first epistolary novels. ??? But not necessarily as examples of terrific writing. Tristram Shandy, though only a decade or so later, is a beautiful book, and a thing unto itself. It has an incredibly modern feel to it. You’re absolutely right, Seton. Mid-18th C definitely doesn’t have to be as prosy and pious as Richardson. I mean, what about TOM JONES?

    Reply
  50. I’m trying to remember my 18th C Lit studies and thinking Clarissa and Pamela made it as the first or among the first epistolary novels. ??? But not necessarily as examples of terrific writing. Tristram Shandy, though only a decade or so later, is a beautiful book, and a thing unto itself. It has an incredibly modern feel to it. You’re absolutely right, Seton. Mid-18th C definitely doesn’t have to be as prosy and pious as Richardson. I mean, what about TOM JONES?

    Reply
  51. I’m trying to remember my 18th C Lit studies and thinking Clarissa and Pamela made it as the first or among the first epistolary novels. ??? But not necessarily as examples of terrific writing. Tristram Shandy, though only a decade or so later, is a beautiful book, and a thing unto itself. It has an incredibly modern feel to it. You’re absolutely right, Seton. Mid-18th C definitely doesn’t have to be as prosy and pious as Richardson. I mean, what about TOM JONES?

    Reply

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