Books That I’ve Started to Read…and Never Finished

The following is a blog post from our sister blog “Teen Space” by Sharon Long, Teen Services Librarian.  It is especially timely now since Summer is here- the season for reading for pleasure and for school.  Here is some excellent advice for narrowing in on books that you will finish and say “That was a good book!”

“Hi there.  I’d like to confess: I have an awful habit of not finishing my books.  I feel terribly guilty about this, being a librarian and all.  But the truth of the matter is BECAUSE I am a librarian, I don’t have a lot of extra reading time to finish books that I just. don’t. like.

I was never this way in my youth, no way, no how.  I finished EVERYTHING – including Gone with the Wind (1024 pages) and James Michener’s The Source(at 1078 pages – a triumph!)  Nowadays, if I get to around 50 pages, and I’m not feeling it, I put it down and find something else.  I was happy to learn I’m not alone in this.

Author, librarian extraordinaire and model for the awesome Librarian Action Figure, Nancy Pearl, has a similar theory:  for Pearl, it seems that the most important aspect of reading a book is to enjoy it.  If a reader is not enjoying a book, then she has a rule for when to stop reading that book.

Pearl’s approach to enjoying reading is the Rule of 50 which states ‘If you still don’t like a book after slogging through the first 50 pages, set it aside.  If you’re more than 50 years old, subtract your age from 100 and only grant it that many pages.’  After all, life is short – if you’re 90, after 10 pages, MOVE ON!

I think that’s a great way to approach non-assignment reading (see, teachers, I’m playing nice here).  There’s a time and a place for slogging though a classic novel for a paper.  And there is a time and a place to just LOVE READING.  So, in the spirit of reading books that are not on your summer reading lists, take some time before school starts and read for enjoyment.  Just try 50 or so pages of something that looks good because, hey, you might like it enough to finish it.”

I’m going to start using Sharon and Nancy’s method and maybe you should try it too.  Life is short and there are so many books still to be read!

– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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