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Permission to Stop Reading   Leave a comment

When I was growing up my brothers and I had to finish everything on our plates before we could leave the dinner table. Some nights I was there for hours. As I struggle to finish a book that is neither well-written, interesting, nor can compete with the demands of daily life, I feel as if I am stuck at the table again.

Years ago I gave myself permission to try the 50-page test with books. If I wasn’t hooked within the first 50 pages, it was time to find something new. That worked for a while, but then I regressed. Recently, I found myself struggling with a book recommended by a friend whose reading list I respect. I made it through 10 pages, but it took a lot of time. I crawled through another 20 pages, put the book down, gave myself a few days and tried again. I actually reached page 118, but I didn’t enjoy a word of it: it felt like punishment. I’m returning the book to the library.

I obviously have the if-you-start-something-see-it-through ethic. I began to consider things I have no reservations walking away from: bad service in a restaurant, bad attitudes from clerks in stores, bad food that appears in front of me. With my kids, the rule was to at least try what was on the plate. I’m going to make a better effort at following that same advice when it comes to books, and not be so reluctant to move on.

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Posted October 11, 2012 by bluepagespecial in Books, Uncategorized

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