Booking Through Thursday: Why I stop reading


Here is this week’s Booking Through Thursday:

If you’re not enjoying a book, will you stop mid-way? Or do you push through to the end? What makes you decide to stop?

I used to press on because I felt obliged to read the book whether I liked it or not. Sometimes I pressed on because the books were assigned reading.

Now, however, I’ll stop reading mid-way, or even before. The reasons vary. Usually, though, I’ll stop because of the language, if the language is clearly self-consciously written. That is, the writer is trying to sound like a writer. He’s amping up the prose to show off. He’s not writing in his voice.

If the language doesn’t turn me off, I keep reading, unless something else halts me. Coldness does this to me. For example, as many times as I’ve tried to read William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, I stop. To me, Gaddis’s prose is cold in that novel.

One thing I’ve learned when I’ve tried to read a book like The Recognitions, and have given it a serious chance, I no longer feel obliged to read it. And I don’t have a class to pass.

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One thought on “Booking Through Thursday: Why I stop reading

  1. A timely question for me, Todd, because I am struggling through Nabakov’s Speak, Memory, his memoir. It is supposed to be great, and is well written in an ornate, expository way. But I am finding it tedious! Normally I’d quit but with this one I keep thinking there will be a payoff, so many have praised it.

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