November 28, 2020, 10:55:49 PM

Author Topic: How long do you give a book to grab you?  (Read 4428 times)

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: How long do you give a book to grab you?
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2019, 10:35:13 AM »
I think patience has nothing to do with it. If anything, it's a question of whether you are enjoying yourself with an activity or not. If the activity of reading a book bores you, then why keep doing it?
There's nothing wrong with slow pacing, but it still needs to be entertaining. "Trust me, it get's good later" just isn't a good argument to do something you don't enjoy as entertainment, when there are plenty of other things you can do instead.

Is one chapter enough to decide to know if the rest of the book will bore you not every book can start off like a James bond film.

Hey I'm not that impatient.  ;D I usually gave the book around almost 100 pages? To see if whether it's working or not. A lot of times I even went back to try a book I once DNF'd, I'd still disliked it for the same reason I DNF'd it the first time and I'll end up dropping it again.

Online cupiscent

Re: How long do you give a book to grab you?
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2019, 11:44:05 AM »
I remember listening to a podcast, I think it was a Writing Excuses episode, where one of the hosts was talking about Thomas Covenant, and noting that the initial rape bothered him so much that he would have stopped reading if he'd known that was a thing he could do.

And that really resonated with me, because I feel so similar. I read the first Thomas Covenant books at about age 12 (I think) when they were given to me by my much older brother who must have forgotten what occurred in the first hundred pages. But at that age, I didn't really realise that I could stop reading a book. I always read the whole thing. I didn't even really slow down if I wasn't enjoying it. I just read. Because that's what I did.

There's a thing about being young that I'm noticing/remembering now that I have a toddler of my own, and that's that you often don't understand what's going on, or really have a say in what you're doing. So you just go along with things and see what's what and learn from it. And all that seeing and learning shapes your preferences. But you just do it.  Because that's what the world is like.

To return to the question: I think people are learning earlier these days that they are allowed to stop reading if they aren't enjoying it. So they do. That's not a bad thing. We may be shaped and made stronger by suffering, but ugh. There's enough suffering.

Offline Peat

Re: How long do you give a book to grab you?
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2019, 12:23:50 PM »

Is one chapter enough to decide to know if the rest of the book will bore you not every book can start off like a James bond film.

Tbh, starting like a James Bond film is often a very good way to get me to put a book down.

But that aside... one chapter isn't enough to know for sure 100%, but it is enough to give me a very educated guess. Most of the time, pushing past a first chapter I don't care for simply results in unsatisfying reads. And this isn't about a plot that immediately grabs me; it's about whether they have a writing style/voice/sense of humour that I like or whether its one I find tiring, it's about whether I think they know how to tell a story in a way that I agree with.

The TL:DR version is I know what I like and I know what it looks like and Yes, I can judge that in the first chapter. As Yora says, its nothing to do with patience. It's everything to do with taste.

And I think cupiscent is right that the shift is more to do with people realising they're allowed to say "I don't like it" without finishing it than anything else. Lots of people still ask if its okay to DNF books. I'm sure a world where there's simply too much to do has something to do with it as well, and maybe people's tastes polarising as the amount of content out there makes it easier for people to find exactly what they want, but basically its people choosing to enjoy themselves and realising they can.

I'd like to add that personally I think I have a very wide reading palate within the fantasy genre at least, but that I also know I'm at my happiest reading when I put down books whenever I feel like it, and don't keep slogging through out of a feeling of a sense of duty to know the genre/be a good reviewer.

Offline isos81

Re: How long do you give a book to grab you?
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2019, 12:28:35 PM »
I think patience has nothing to do with it. If anything, it's a question of whether you are enjoying yourself with an activity or not. If the activity of reading a book bores you, then why keep doing it?
There's nothing wrong with slow pacing, but it still needs to be entertaining. "Trust me, it get's good later" just isn't a good argument to do something you don't enjoy as entertainment, when there are plenty of other things you can do instead.

Is one chapter enough to decide to know if the rest of the book will bore you not every book can start off like a James bond film.

Nope, one chapter is definitely not enough. I usually wait unit %70 of the book. Sometimes, I bare with the first book if the next books are promising (based on reviews)
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline Lanko

  • Sherlanko Holmes, Jiin Wei and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Khaleesi
  • *
  • Posts: 2901
  • Total likes: 1979
  • Gender: Male
    • Lanko's Goodreads
Re: How long do you give a book to grab you?
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2019, 11:14:20 PM »
I got really nice surprises from books that started poorly - and also nasty disappointments from books that started well.

There isn't really a specific thereshold that keeps me going, though. I think it's a combination of how well-written it is, the potential I may see in the characters and/or plot turning into something, how interesting/unique the premise is, perhaps even who the author is. Someone I already had a good experience with or is known for making some bombastic twists that make it all worthwhile, for example.     
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline Yora

Re: How long do you give a book to grab you?
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2019, 09:59:58 AM »
There are plenty of books that have a first chapter in which nothing happens and you're not getting told what it is about. I think it's the second chapter that tells you if there is a second storyline where stuff is happening and some kind of conflict hinted at, or if the first chapter is representative of large parts of the book. That's where alarm bells tend to go off for me. When you can make it to the third chapter and you still have no clue what any of this is about, that's clearly a point to jump ship for me.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor