Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fifty Page Guideline

Years ago my mother told me that she had a 50 page rule for novels.   If the book didn't capture her interest within 50 pages, she allowed herself to stop reading and move on to something new.

I thought of this guideline recently while reading Austin Clarke's latest novel, More.  I just wasn't getting into the flow of the story. I was ready to abandon the book when I noticed that I was only on page 42. Remembering my mother words, I decided to forge onward to at least page 50.  Lo and behold, I ended up really enjoying the story and, of course, finished the book.

How long do you give a book to capture your interest?  or perhaps you always finish what you start?

1 comment:

  1. I have recently decided to be stricter in stopping reading books that have lost my interest - after wishing I had abandoned quite a few titles that I continued with only because they were easy to read - mostly first person account non-fiction and biography.

    I think I shall follow your mothers' fifty page rule......and did think of it when last night I gave up on the new David Lynch biography.... (far too descriptive of every single plot detail when I already know the work) freeing me up for the two books I've got lined up by Robert Bolano - The Savage Detectives (that the library has) and the mammoth 2666 (which it doesn't yet). I'm really excited, after the attention these titles have received from the New York Times in recent months...... I'm hoping that the 50 page rule won't be necessary for these......