February 21, 2008

Finishing Books

Posted in Reading tagged , , , , at 11:28 am by lifelessonsfromwriting

Every reader tends to have their own opinion on finishing a book. A lot of people feel that they need to finish something once they’ve started it (unless it’s really atrocious, or only becomes atrocious halfway through) while those on the other end of the scale will toss a book on page ten if it doesn’t seem interesting enough.

I’m much closer to the latter.  While I’ll give any book a fair chance, I’m reluctant to invest in something if I don’t think it’s going to be worth the time. I’ve recently done this with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Medieval fantasy with kings and lords? Blah. Not my cup of tea.

I also stopped reading The Stand at about page 250 (somewhere around the third monumental flashback), which is unusual because I usually like King’s stuff. A few weeks ago, I also got most of the way through What I Was by Meg Rosoff before stopping, mostly because of a sneaking suspicion that she ripped off another book that I read a while ago and liked much  more (Lucas by Kevin Brooks, in case you’ve read both and would like to give your two cents).

There seems to be a pattern to my reading habits, though. If I’m hard at work on writing something, as I am now, I’m far less likely to finish a book than if I’m not writing anything in particular. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want to risk letting someone else’s writing style ‘influence’ mine or if I’m just too tired of looking at words to do it for hours on end, but I can pretty much forget about reading if I’ve written for more than three or four hours that day.

Strangely, though, I have no problem reading non-fiction while I’m like this. I’ve recently started to read Why People Believe Weird Things  (take that, Objectivists!) and had no trouble ploughing through a few interesting chapters. Apparently I only have room in my brain for one fictional universe at once!