It’s okay to quit: “the 100 page rule”

I am not a quitter, I’m just not.  Never have been, never will be. But as I have gotten older, I realize that life is short and there are so many great books and sometimes quitting one that doesn’t grab you is just the right thing to do.

To make me feel less guilty about quitting a book that hasn’t grabbed my attention, I created “the 100 page rule”.  Quite simply, if the book hasn’t grabbed my attention by 100 pages, it’s my guilt free way to put it down.

The beauty of this is that it gives me enough of a perspective on the book to still be able to discuss it at book club.  I can talk about why I didn’t like it. And let’s be honest, the critical point of view is sometimes the most interesting.

I have two recent examples of books I thought I would love that I didn’t.  The first is Anita Diamant’s book called “Day After Night”. I really liked her earlier book, “The Red Tent”, so when I saw the new book I was excited to read it. But it had a ton of characters, so many that I had to write them down.  Yuck.  I gave it a hundred pages, then DONE.  Check the box.  No more.

Example number two is “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen.  Again, love him and the book “the Corrections”.  If you recall, he was the scrappy guy that turned down Oprah when she asked him to be a part of her book club.  In my opinion, he gets points for scrappy and points for the first book.  But Freedom?  Nope, it didn’t grab me.  Gave it a hundred pages and then…DONE.  Check the box.  No more.

My point of view is read books you love.  You will end up reading more and enoying the books you do read. 

The “100 page rule” works for me, so give it a try, and let go of the guilt.  A hundred pages is all any book any gets.  What do you think?


10 Responses to It’s okay to quit: “the 100 page rule”

  1. Mary Lou Olson says:

    I think I will try the 100 page rule, because I did read Freedom all the way through and when done, I wondered why.

  2. Bookish Hobbit says:

    My quitting rule usually ends up falling between 50 and 100 pages… but there are some times when a book is bad enough to be sooner than that. Yeah, this is a good rule to have because life’s too short to read bad books.

  3. I like this web blog it’s a master piece! Glad I found this on google.

  4. RFW says:

    My rule is 100 pages minus your age – you can quit a lot sooner if you really don’t connect 🙂

  5. I absolutely agree. Life is too short to waste time reading something you don’t like and 100 pages is plenty of time to be sure. I have to skip to the end though–can’t just walk away.

    • I have to agree with you about the ending part. That is a little detail that I have missed because frankly, as a control freak, I usually always at least glance at the ending. If I am giving it up, I will read the last page. But life is TOO short for books that you don’t love!

  6. Pingback: Me and Science Fiction: Recent Space Opera | Jack Lusted

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