Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Rule of Fifty


Ha! I knew someone would back me on this. I have forever maintained that if a book isn't working for me by page fifty then it's a goner. No guilt. No regrets. Life, really, is just too short to be wasting my cranial power trying to figure out bad prose, uninspired scenes, and witless characters. This article even goes on to suggest that after one reaches the age of 50 one is invited to subtract their age from 100 and use that number as the number of pages after which one is allowed to quit a book. So someone at age 63, say, can give a book 37 pages before deciding if it's worth sticking with or not, and so on. And if you reach 100 years of age? Well then, by golly, you have earned the right to tell a book by its cover. 

9 comments:

oreneta said...

Soooo, someday I could completely have the right to tell a book by its cover? Reason to live on, no?

once in a blue moon said...

i always give a book an hour... then sadly i continue on since most books only take another 4 hours to finish and maybe it will get better? hell no, they never do...

i abandoned my firt book this year, i detested it, i REFUSED to go on.

it was liberating~

Trish said...

oreneta - lol yes that is absolutely reason to live on.

blue moon - good for you! I promise it gets easier. And there's also no reason you couldn't try the book again later. I'd be curious to know which one it was . . . ?

Kerry said...

Gotta love that Nancy Pearl, liberating us all from bad literature one guilt-free unfinished read after another. :-)

Sidne,the BCR said...

yes, I agree, 50 pages should tell you something, for those that need more persuasion on how you feel about the book read 50 more and if you feel the same, See yah book!!

Sarah said...

Not finishing a book is the hardest thing for me! But I agree, life is too short and next time.....

Trish said...

kerry - funny how we kinda need permission to do stuff like this, huh?

sidne - yes, fifty is sort of a good benchmark, but I have quit a book in as little as five and as many as two hundred pages.

sarah - I know! I still sometimes feel a little guilty letting a book go without finishing it. But -ehn- the feeling passes pretty quickly and then I'm on to the next one.

Susan @ Reading World said...

I used to finish every (or almost every) book I started. At least every novel. The years I wasted! But I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. I do still feel guilty sometimes quitting a book. Especially if it's well reviewed and I just can't get into it. But there are so many books out there and only so many hours in a day.

Trish said...

The older I get the more choosy I am with my time. But, yeah, I still fall into feeling guilty or sticking with an author even when he's writing tripe - just see my post above about Hemingway's Islands in the Stream.

Old habits die hard . . .