My mother had a formula for deciding whether or not to finish a book. She’d take her age and subtract it by 100. If the book had not capture her by that number, she’d stop reading. As she got older, the number got less and less. For example if you’re 35, you’d have to read 65 pages before stopping. But if you’re 75, you’d only read 25 pages. That means that the older you get, the better the book has to be at hooking you. My mother’s philosophy was and I quote, “As I get older, I don’t have time to waste on bad reading.”
Ha! Of course, that meant my mom missed some mighty good books. I’d often tell her she had to read to page 70 or more before the book took off. But, she wouldn’t do it. At the same time, you’d never catch her falling asleep while reading.
What about you, how do you determine whether or not to keep reading? Some of my friends tell me they’ve never stopped reading a book once they start. There’s some sort of rule they’re following. I used to feel that way. I used to think, surely this book will improve. Now I’m much more discerning and much more likely to stop reading and give up on a book if it continues to disappoint. Right now I’m about 40 percent through a mediocre book. It does make me sleepy, but I’m still reading. It’s not bad enough to stop reading but not good enough to keep my full attention. Those are the ones I find the most frustrating.
How about you?