View Full Version : Finishing books

06-06-2008, 07:43 PM
What percentage of books that you buy do you actually finish reading and how many pages will you read before you give up?

I think I'm right about 50% on finishing the books I buy. I'll always read at least 50 - 100 pages before I give up, but lately I've given up a few books after investing hundreds of pages worth of reading. I'm 500 pages into Koontz's FromThe Corner Of His Eye and have little interest in finishing out the last 200 pages.

06-06-2008, 07:47 PM
I rarely buy books, but I borrow lots. I admit that I read through most of them completely, but I would probably have been happier if I had just given up on them after 50 or 100 pages. Maybe I should start doing that instead of feeling compelled to read it all when the book is boring me to tears...

06-06-2008, 07:57 PM
I'm a writer's worst nightmare. I even finish books I hate. Why? Two reasons:

1) So I can learn exactly what I dislike in the book, and avoid writing that way in the future.
2) So I can shred the hell out of the book with scathing, intelligent, well-informed criticism.

06-06-2008, 07:58 PM
I've only given up reading three books where I will never go back to read again because I try to finish all of them. I probably got up to 50 or 100 pages before I said, "BAH!" There are other books where I just couldn't get into the read, but knew it was a good book so I put it down and went back to it later when I was emotionally ready for it. I recently did this with Snow Falling on Cedars.

I'll probably get hammered for not liking or finishing these books, but here they are: The Name of the Rose (still have the marker in this one, yet I can't seem to go back and read it - page 150?); Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; and Angela's Ashes.

06-06-2008, 08:00 PM
I finish about 90% of what I start reading.

A book has to be REALLY boring for me to quit halfway through. 9 times out of 10, the ones I DON'T finish are put aside because I have a book I've been really wanting to read waiting in the wings and am too impatient to finish a bad book before starting a new one, but will not read two books at the same time.

06-06-2008, 08:31 PM
100% for books I buy or borrow from friends, 99.75% for books I take out of the library.

I'm like SP – even if I hate it, I'll finish. In fact, if I really hate it, I'll finish it faster just to have it done with. Truth be told, though, it's probably more OCD than anything. I have a compulsive need to know what happens. Would you believe I've read every book in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series for that sole reason? I despise the books, but I just HAVE to know what happens.

So maybe, rather than being a writer's worst nightmare, I'm a writer's best friend.

06-06-2008, 08:38 PM
There are only two books I didn't finish, one of which I still plan to read someday.

06-06-2008, 08:44 PM
I finish all the books I buy. I'm pretty careful about what I throw my money at. If it's a library book, or borrowed from a friend, I'm less likely to finish it because I've either taken a chance and gone outside my comfort zone, or been lent a book that's NMS.

06-06-2008, 08:52 PM
I usually try to finish most of the books I buy because, damn it, I bought that bad boy, I'm reading all of it. That said, I've really been struggling to finish books with woefully bad dialogue lately. I can't stand bad dialogue. Other things are forgivable, but I will not tolerate bad dialogue...

06-06-2008, 08:59 PM
99.9%. Even if I'm hating it, I usually finish it. In fact, I can only think of one book I started and didn't finish. But I plan on trying again someday. :)

However, there are books I've picked up at yard sales or library sales that I never read...but since I didn't start them, they don't count!

06-06-2008, 09:44 PM
Would you believe I've read every book in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series for that sole reason? I despise the books, but I just HAVE to know what happens.

Have you read the final one yet? I've read the whole series and I'm waiting for the last one in paperback. It's one of the few series I'm (like you) forcing myself to finish just to see what happens, even though it got terrible around book 7.

Wow, I'm amazed that so many people are committed to finishing books they don't like. There are so many truly great books I haven't read yet, I feel like I'm cheating myself by wasting time on a book I don't enjoy. Or perhaps I'm missing the point and some of you truly enjoy everything you read because you've been selective to begin with.

06-06-2008, 09:51 PM
i finish most too. i'm not a quitter like aye aye aye.

what's frustrating is when the store switches things around and moves it to another area in the store.

or when the one i'm reading is purchased - and i have to page through a new one trying to find where i was and all.

06-06-2008, 10:01 PM
I make myself finish them. I'm usually happy that I did. There is just one I couldn't get through to date. (not sayin')

I'm months into Lord of the Rings... I will finish if it kills me.

I thought Corner of his Eye was cool Jay! It's very different but neat-ish-in-a-sci-fi-creepy-kinda-way.. I like Dean Koontz though.

06-06-2008, 10:06 PM
I pretty much borrow all my books from the library, so I'm rather brutal with the books I get. I don't mean to not finish them, but I find myself getting stuck on something boring around the end of the first third of the book, and then re-reading the boring bit over and over trying to make sense of it before I finally give up when it comes due at the library. I think it's the curse of the soggy middle. Maybe if they added a few zombies or something, but they so rarely do! :D

Non fiction is even worse. I find most nonfiction books have strong beginnings but start to repeat themselves ad nauseam around the half-way mark (I guess to eke out X number of pages to satisfy the publisher).

You know which book I couldn't put down and wished would never end? Freakonomics. It had sex, politics, mystery, deception, and some great cliffhangers. And it was a book about economics. Go figure.

06-06-2008, 11:30 PM
Have you read the final one yet? I've read the whole series and I'm waiting for the last one in paperback. It's one of the few series I'm (like you) forcing myself to finish just to see what happens, even though it got terrible around book 7.Book 7? You're far more generous than I am. I thought they were pretty much a waste of raw materials after about the 4th one. But compulsion will win out every time, so I soldier on. I think I've fallen behind though. The last one I read was Chainfire, so I better hurry up and put it to rest. Ugh.

06-07-2008, 12:19 AM
Terry Goodkind could have cut some of the trite, repetitive dialogue, and still had an excellent series on his hands...with 2 less books (we'll say 200k less words).

That said, I finished the series.

So far the only books I have picked up and NOT finished are
...I tried and tried for 20 years and I could not get into the storyline...not even by force...not even by trickery.

'Money Wanders'...:
I got as far as the Giant Elephant Shaped building on the pier, and all the Mob talk just left me cold. I've had it on my 'next to the bed' stack for a year...it will probably be there next year too. it is a good place for my alarm clock.

I never finished 'Rich Dad-Poor Dad' because people keep walking out of my house with it, then I have to go search and buy another one.

I have a book by Robert Holdstock which I find is boring...but it is the end of his variation on the 'Merlin' story...and since I read the rest of the series, by gum, I'll finish this one. Besides he usually has some creepy twists at the end...so I'm sure I'm not wasting my time.

Ditto for the latest book by the 'Mad Money' guy. I think my MIL has it, so I'll give her another few weeks and go take it back before one of my SIL's grabs it.

Everything else...including text books...I haz finished 'em!

Matera the Mad
06-07-2008, 04:21 AM
I think I could count all the books I have never finished on one hand. Might need a couple more fingers to count the ones that I wished I hadn't started but kept on with because I wanted to see if they were crappy all through.

06-07-2008, 04:42 AM
Life's too short to read boring books.

That said ... I must have several hundred that I've bought just because I wanted them. I may NEVER read them. :D

06-07-2008, 04:53 AM
I loath boredom. For example, I fell asleep half-way through the first Lord of the Rings movie and never looked back. I'm not much of a movie buff anyway. I usually only watch a few movies per year.

If I don't enjoy a book after 50 pages, I'll stop reading it and move on to something else; I could care less about the ending. If I really enjoy a book, I'll read non-stop for a couple of days.

06-07-2008, 05:04 AM
I have so many books... but I think I've only read maybe 10%, and probably finished less than 5%. I'm a slow reader to begin with, and I get easily distracted and bored. If the book doesn't hook me from beginning to end, it's very likely that I'd give up. It doesn't mean the book is no good -- it just means I'm very finicky. I think in the past year I've only finished reading three books.

I do like buying books, though, and I think they would appreciate my $10 or $12. Still, I hope to eventually read all the books I've bought and will eventually buy.

06-07-2008, 05:21 AM
III, I suggest you finish "From the corner of His Eye." Granted, I listened to it on tape, so I had no choice but to listen/read every word, but I think it was worth it. Violent emesis, I love it! That was my first Koontz book, and, though I read several after, I still think it is his best. There's some weird quantum mechanics going on. He seems to be fascinated with that. Anyway, I enjoyed it on tape.

As for the OP. Since I read most of my books on tape (driving to my studio everyday) I read almost 100% (I get them from the library). I think I've only returned three unfinished and that was probably because of bad readers or bad recording quality.