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 will confess that I always finish a book. Well, let me amend that. There is only one book that I have not finished in my life – Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler. I stopped reading it because I was getting ready to move to Germany and could not bring it into the country via my carry-on luggage. By the time we received our household goods two months later, I had moved on to other books and have failed to pick it back up again since then. I do have every intention of doing so though; my bookmark is still holding my place where I left off all those years ago.
But other than that, I do read every book to the end. I do this not out of any sense of obligation but more because I want to do so. I remain optimistic that a book will get better or that I can find something redeeming from it, even if it takes me to the very last page to find it. Is life to short to read bad books? I know that it is a very popular idea, but then again, I really do not think that books are bad. We might dislike the plot, the writing, the character development or something else, but the book itself is still a learning opportunity – whether about the subject matter or more insight into your own personal likes and dislikes.
What do you do?
Matt – I realize that I do start skimming too if a book doesn't hold my interest. It is mostly subconscious though, as I never really gave it any thought until I read your comment. But just like life, reading is all about the journey.
Stacybuckeye – I'm glad to see I'm not alone! I always figured I was, given the proliferation of the “life is too short” mentality.
Cutlex – LOL! Life is long enough to enjoy every book to some extent.
Stephanie – War and Peace is a WONDERFUL book, even if it is long. It's not nearly as intimidating as most people make it out to be, but I agree that you need to be in the right setting. It is not a book to lug around on vacation!
I try to finish a book that I start, even if it's not up my alley. I'll speed up reading just so I can review it.
I almost always have to finish a book to the end (I think I've abandoned one book in the last two years). They are all journeys, some good, some not so much, but interesting just the same.
LOL. Poor Adolf. :]]
I am not one of those “life is short” people. I don't see life as short. It's quite long. I still have time to read. Bookstores will be open till God knows when.
I agree with you. Reading a learning experience. It truly is.
I almost ALWAYS finish a book that I start. I hate leaving them and not finishing something that I start.
That being said, I tried reading Gilead a few years ago. After 2 weeks, I had only gotten through 40 pages. It was so dull, I couldn't stand it anymore!!
And I quit reading War and Peace after about 200 pages. But that was vacation time, and I didn't want to lug it around with me. I do plan on reading it someday!
Thanks Bitsy! I realize it is not a popular opinion, but it's how I roll!
I totally agree about the learning experience of reading a book whether it be good or bad. I like your definition of a bad book as well, in that there are no bad books, just books we dislike, which is a really interesting way of putting it.
Alayne – Yeah, the book is illegal in Germany and is forbidden to cross the borders. They would have confiscated it in customs, but since it came in via the U.S. Army, it was okay – I think. I never did proudly display it while we lived there.
jlshall – Thanks! I totally get and respect the “life is too short” proponents. The OCD part of me just can't leave a book unfinished. No matter how bad it is, I will always wonder if I missed something good.
Nice answer. The Germany flight thing is kind of funny. Here is mine: http://thecrowdedleaf.wordpress.com.
Interesting answer. I'm afraid I'm one of the “life is too short” believers. But I like the idea that every book can be a learning experience – even if it's a book you don't particularly enjoy.