Booking Through Thursday: Life’s Too Short

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Suggested by JM:

“Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I
still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were
because I had this sense of obligation.  That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book
that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading.

Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

I've almost always completed books that I've started.  Maybe because I usually read books that have been well-reviewed or maybe because I'm generally an optimist and that even after a slow start I hope that it might get better, or maybe I have a stick-to-it-iveness that says if you're going to start something you might as well finish it.

It

Stephen King

Speaking of of finishing it, that does remind me of one of the few books I didn't finish — "IT" from Stephen King.  Clocking in at over a thousand pages and at the apex of his drug-addled, no-one-will-edit-him 80s long windedness (Steve: more isn't always better) — I plodded along in this for about 400 pages and then said, "No mas!"

Oddly, I know several people for whom this book was one of their favorites, but I couldn't stand IT.

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22 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Life’s Too Short

  1. Never read IT, but I remember seeing folks with IT tucked uncomfortably under their arms or barely managing to hold IT in one hand. You had to be a NBA star to palm the paperback version of IT.

  2. Interesting to read about your experiences with 'IT' :) I remember Stephen King's 'The Stand'. The initial edition was 800+ pages long and after around a decade, it was reissued with an additional 300+ pages!

  3. I always felt that I had to finish a book. I would push through no matter what. Then complain about what a load of crap it was. But then about two years ago I stopped doing that and now I'm totally reckless. Not sure what made me change my mind but now I only give them a couple of chapters, then if I'm not enjoying them, toss them. I must admit I will try to see it through if I've paid for it. But in my new money saving mode I only buy books by authors I love.
    my mothers motto is that life's too short to drink cask wine

  4. It is definitely one of my favorites, but it's definitely a time commitment. The one that I always hear complained about from that time period is The Tommyknockers. (I won't defend it, either; that book is bad.)

  5. "I've almost always completed books that I've started." I'm the same way, and for many of the reasons you listed. I'm more likely to throw in the towel these days, but it's still rare.

  6. MM — I only got to "The Witching Hour" in the Mayfair series. I had really enjoyed that whole book (also not short on pages) and I disliked the ending so badly, I never went back.

  7. cat — I never considered the difference between a book I've purchased and one that I've borrowed. I think if I borrowed it from the library than I could send it back unfinished, but if I borrowed it from a friend — especially one that had recommended it, I'd feel like I'd have to finish it.

  8. yes — I had read "The Tommyknockers" before "It" and I agree that it was bloated and bad — and maybe that's why I had such a short leash on "It" — because I feel like I'd been burnt on the one before. Really glad he got off drugs and started writing better books! :)

  9. Maybe you should try again. I think Tommyknockers could definitely have made you biased. :) If it had been my first Stephen King book, it easily would have been my last. (Fortunately, I started with Misery.)

  10. Isn't that strange? I used to have the same desire to finish lousy books even though I could never think of a good reason to do so. My new obsession is researching books to death before I buy them, it actually saves time because I'm not wading through lousy reads.
    Thanks for the rec of Windup Bird Chronicles by the way, I'm so excited about reading it.

  11. We were talking about IT just this afternoon at work. Apparently everyone is freaked out by clown. I really enjoyed this book when I read it, although that was more than 20 years ago now. He was my favourite author for a long time but I haven't read any of King's books in about 15 years now.

  12. Never read IT, not really a King fan. I will give a book 100 pages and if it's not got me by then I move on. Usually I don't even realize I'm beyond 100 pages. When I notice I'm checking the page numbers with regularity however it's not a good sign. Like checking your watch at a movie. When you figure all the books published in a year and all the books that have been published. If you read 1 a week you only get to 52 of those a year. That leaves no time to stick with something that is no good or not doing it for you. Too many other good things to read.

  13. Yes — clowns are evil and this book (and miniseries, which I did end up watching back in the day) certainly don't do anything to make them more appealing! After "It", I gave up on King for a long time, and then in the 90s decided to read "The Green Mile", which was excellent. Since then I've read The Gunslinger series and a couple of others and now look forward to his books from time to time.Actually — now that you mention it, I never finished "Dune" either! I thought it was tedious.

  14. Sdede — I agree with your "there's not enough time" argument. I've been keeping track of the books I've read in yearly collections here on Vox, and over the past couple of years, I've been reading about 25-35 books per year — so you're right — even if I have 40+ years to go, that's not a ton of books!

  15. N — I gave up on King about the time of "It" and "The Tommyknockers", but in the 90s picked up "The Green Mile", which I really enjoyed. Since then, I've enjoyed the more recent things from him that I've read.

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