When do you give up on a book?

The end of the semester, a huge move, and a wedding abroad have conspired to silence this blog over the last month. But I’m not going to lie: a busy schedule isn’t the only reason I’ve run low on content.

About a month ago, I hit a streak of bad luck with books. I checked out A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones (author of my beloved The Last Chinese Chefand just couldn’t get interested in isolated protagonist Lia or possibly-forged Chinese pottery. After some fitful starts and stops I decided to put it aside. A couple of subsequent books also failed to pique my interest and I started to worry that I was the problem — that I was just stressed out and crabby.

So I reached for my new comfort reading, urban fantasy. I picked up The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams, an author I normally love. This time I was determined to finish the book. But it took me almost a month — a shockingly long amount of time for me. In retrospect I probably should have abandoned this one as well. The Dirty Streets of Heaven had an intriguing take on fights between Heaven and Hell over souls, but I found myself getting really annoyed with the main character, bad-boy angel Bobby Dollar. He’s not as whiney as Sandman Slim‘s James Stark, but he shares the same bull-in-a-china-shop approach to mystery solving and I found myself wishing he were a bit smarter and more interesting to spend time with. Also, Williams seems to find long battles with unkillable monsters way more compelling than I do.*

Happily, Cherie Priest came to my rescue and broke my crabby-reading streak with Dreadnought (review coming soon!). Has anyone else ever gone through a rough patch with reading? And when do you decide to give up on a book you’re just not enjoying that much?

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* For a fun, edge-of-your-seat battle against an unkillable monster, pick up Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews.

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One comment on “When do you give up on a book?

  1. pensyf says:

    I definitely go through bouts of reading fatigue (usually at semester’s end as well!). I know it’s time to either reread a favorite book or just watch copious amounts of TV and wait for it to blow over when I have a stack of books on my nightstand, all bookmarked around page 30.

    I used to be really stubborn about finishing books, even if I didn’t like them, but now I’ll give a book 50-100 pages to grab me and if it doesn’t by then I tend to stop reading. Life’s too short to read mediocre books!

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