A lot of the really interesting things here on the blog are in the comments section where we break from my thoughts and opinions and discuss the topics I’ve brought to the fore. A good case in point is the discussion we’ve been having about self-publishing and the large amount of less than quality work that is available now that self-publishing is inexpensive and relatively easy. The whole discussion started back when I posted about a particularly bad book I was reading in Don’t You Hate It When…?, a post about the pet peeves we have when it comes to books we are reading.
On that post Karen H commented that the book I’d complained about sounded like a poorly edited self-published book. (It wasn’t.) She expressed frustration with poorly written ebooks she’s been reading, many of which have been self-published. Her comments inspired me to write the post Are Publishers Becoming More Important In The Age Of Easy Self-Publishing?
Karen commented on that post and said, “OMG! I’m out of my freakin’ mind here. Can you believe it, I’m still reading the crappy book I mentioned in Laurie’s original post about pet peeves in novels? I’m a glutton for punishment. The author hasn’t redeemed herself. Give me 50 lashes with a wet noodle. It’s time to move on…………sigh………thud!”
I can relate to the difficulty Karen is having putting down the book that is frustrating her. I find it similarly hard to put down a bad book…especially with pleasure reading. I can’t help but wonder why some of us have such a hard time putting aside a book that we aren’t enjoying. If we’re reading for pleasure…and a book isn’t giving us pleasure…what’s wrong with putting it down and picking up another? Why is it so hard for some of us to do that?
I’ve thought about this a bit…and I don’t have any solid answers though I expect it might come from childhood training. When we were kids in school we were presented with a lot of rather dry content that we were required to read. Stopping because we weren’t enjoying it wasn’t permitted. Ditto with college texts.
For me a bit of it relates to the voice of my sixth-grade teacher which still resonates within my head at some points. “Waste-not-want-not” was one of his favorite lines. He used it a lot! I’ll admit to feeling a bit wasteful when I put aside a book I’m not enjoying. There is the money I spent on the book…but more importantly the time I invested. But then again, if what I am seeking is pleasure and I’m not getting pleasure doesn’t it make sense that what I am really wasting when I continue reading the book I’m not enjoying is more time?
I have the feeling another piece of why it’s hard to stop reading a bad book is that we keep reading, hoping that the book gets better. Once in a while one does and our persistence is rewarded. I suppose this contributes to the desire to hang on, to keep reading, hoping that it gets better.
Another reason that plays into it for me is wanting to understand what others saw in the book. If it was published by a publisher, someone else had to think it worthwhile to publish…to invest financially in. If it has good reviews then it was a book that someone else enjoyed. A lot of the time, I think I read on hoping to discover what others who enjoyed the book saw in it.
What about you? Do you have a hard time putting down a bad book? What do you think makes it difficult for you?
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