P is for Picky, Picky Reader

I used to have this philosophy--that no matter how tedious or boring the read, I MUST finish the book. Who made up the rule in my life, I don't know, but I've long since abandoned it. I simply don't have the time to spend on a book that doesn't interest me. I'm sure you all do the same thing. Time is a luxury, after all, no matter how cliched that may sound. With two young kids (soon to be three) and a household to run, plus my own writing pursuits, I have to be Picky.

Photo by .reid.
I used to think that being a writer ruined reading for me. I mean, as writers we're already so hyper-aware of the rules we've encountered while learning the craft of writing.

No adverbs!
Use only the dialogue tag 'said'.
No info dumping.
No unnecessary adjectives.
Kill your darlings!
Believable dialogue
No comma splices...

And so on and so forth.

But sometimes there are books that just make me swoon so much that the internal editor never bothers to show up its face. I can read a book in one sitting (especially when I'm sick and I have a valid excuse not to do the dishes piling up in the sink). Or, if one sitting is not possible--after all, someone's got to feed the kiddos around here--then in two, or three. The thing is, if a book stays on my mind and I'm itching to get back to it as soon as I can, then I know it's a winner! For me, anyway. Reading is ALWAYS subjective.

What about you? Are you selective, too?


M.J. Fifield said...

Although I really shouldn't, I still have the "must finish every book I start" policy. There have been maybe three titles that I haven't finished.

I'm a very picky reader. For a while, my significant other was convinced I didn't like any books at all.

Angela V. Cook said...

I'm an EXTREMELY picky reader. A lot of the popular books other people love, I couldn't get through them. I have the "fifty pages" rule. If I'm not hooked after fifty pages, I stop reading :o)

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm subjective too, I don't read book anymore unless another author tells me they are fantastic!

Simon Kewin said...

I'm more selective than I was but still hate not to finish a book. But you're right - I can tell when a book is good when my darned inner editor shuts !

The Golden Eagle said...

I used to be less selective and blaze through any book I started regardless of what I thought about it, but recently I've just been reading the stories that I enjoy from the start.

The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Bethany C. said...

I have no trouble putting down books that don't hold my attention. Probably because there's always a pile on deck to be read, but my time is too valuable to read stuff that isn't working for me.

Cristina said...

I no longer finish a book if I'm not hooked by page 50 at the most. There's just too much out there I want to read, so I don't want to waste my time on something I'm not enjoying :)

Ashley Nixon said...

I think being an English major ruined me. :/ Anymore, I can't completely enjoy a novel. I'll find SOMETHING wrong with it...but it doesn't mean I don't love what I'm reading...I just go "Huh...I would have written that differently.." and go on. lol.

A.M.Supinger said...

I'm totally with you! Sometimes a book's voice, or plot, or world just captures all the attention, and grammar stuff gets pushed aside. That's when you know you've found a winner.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Oh, I used to do that - finish a book no matter how horrible. Maybe it was years of my parents telling me to finish my supper or go to my room. Or maybe I kept reading, hoping it would get better.
Now I 'm like you - if it doesn't hold my attention, it's OUTTA here. This is so much easier to do if you've only purchased an e-book - they don't cost as much so you don't feel like you've wasted any money. Plus you haven't killed any trees! If a tree dies for the cause I'm more inclined to finish the darn thing.
Darn boring books. Darn dead trees.

Kittie Howard said...

I think we have the same picky philosophy, Cherie. And, congratulations!!!

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

The first book I wasn't able to finish was The Hobbit, because it was stolen. And then The Two Towers, because I got bored. Now, I read when I can and I try to finish a book if I start it, but if I'm not able to, I try not to let it bother me (I just never update my goodreads to say that I didn't finish it....)

Cat Lavoie said...

I hate not finishing a book but sometimes I just have to let it go and move on to something else. I'm definitely more picky now that I'm older and I've got a million things to do! ;) Great post!

Jennifer Lane said...

When I'm so engrossed in a novel that I don't notice little rule breaks, that's a sign of a great novel! I don't care about fancy schmancy writing style--show me some awesome characterization and at least an okay plot and I'm good to go.

E.B. Black said...

Being a writer actually helped me enjoy reading MORE. Because it fascinates me when people break the rules and do a good job at it. I can actually discuss why a scene or chapter or book was good or bad and actually give an intellectual opinion on it. I understand and can appreciate more thoroughly how much time and effort even the worst books out there probably took to write.

That being said, I'm pretty picky these days, too. With what I read and what I watch. I do not have the time not to be either.

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