To Read, Or Not To Read

When I visit the library, I’ll usually check out about twice as many books as I can read in a week. Why? Because some weeks I will only read about half of those books. Why? Because sometimes I’ll start reading a book, and then I’ll put it down because it’s poorly written, has graphic content, or it is simply not my cup of tea. Some die-hard bookworms may scorn me for being such a quitter, but considering the size of my TBR (to-be-read) pile, I’d rather spend my time reading books I will like rather than the ones I can already tell I will hate.


The tricky part of this practice is actually determining whether a book is for me or not. Here is a list of steps I usually follow that help me determine whether I want to read a book.

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I judge books by their covers. In this case, it is not necessarily the picture and title of the cover I judge but rather the back and the inside flaps. I may learn in the author bio that they wrote a series of books I felt were poorly done. Or the reviews on the back may compare the book to reads I dislike. Call me picky, but sometimes I will put away a book before I even crack it open if I just get a bad feeling about it.
  2. The first few pages of a book are supposed to hook you to the story, but sometimes they push me away. For instance, if an author drops vulgar swear words in the first page, then I’ll stop reading. Or sometimes the author will immediately break common creative writing conventions in the worst way possible, and it will drive me crazy.
  3. I once heard that you should try to read at least 50 pages of a book before you determine whether you want to dump it or not. If I’m starting a book and I’m not really sure if I want to give it a chance or not, then I’ll work my way to at least the 50th If things start to pick up, then I’ll keep reading. If they continue to flatline, then bye-bye book.
  4. As crazy as it sounds, I will sometimes stop reading a book even if I have read halfway through it. Yes, I have invested a lot of time to reach this point, but if the book has lost my heart and isn’t singing to me anymore by the halfway mark, then it probably won’t during the remaining half.

What are your thoughts about deciding whether to read a book or not? What rules do you enact for yourself in this process? Tell me about them in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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