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In Redux

By Elizabeth Wroten

The 50 Page Rule?

On 26, Feb 2014 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten

I’ve been reading a lot lately. A lot. As I’ve said on several occasions I can pretty much enjoy any book, even if it has flaws that bother me. I’ll get lost in the world and the characters and notice little things, but not let them get in the way. I’m also pretty acutely aware that these books were not written for a thirty-something stay at home mom. My inner tween or teen can connect and I see value in the book or can see what would appeal to the target audience.

But every once in awhile I find a book that just doesn’t click with me. I will want to put it down because it interrupts my reading rhythm. It might take me two or three times as long to slog through it, which throws off the other books I have lined up to read. I get kind of resentful (at a book!), but you know what? I can’t seem to put a book down once I’ve started it.

Now I know Nancy Pearl has the 50 page rule* and in theory I think it’s a great idea. Especially if you have a long list of books you want or need to read. I can’t do it, though! I can’t do it for two reasons. First, I usually feel compelled to finish books once I’ve started them. Second, I can’t help but think it might get better. I have read several books that don’t pick up until much later than the first 50 pages. Jane Eyre comes immediately to mind. But books that just don’t get much better I wish I would just put them down. They just slow me down.

I can’t help but wonder, is there a way to assign a page number that takes into consideration the length of a book and is percentage? That might give longer books (like Jane Eyre) a little longer to develop. Nancy Pearl makes a point to say that you should feel free to return to a book once you’ve put it down, but the chances of me doing that are slim to none. There are way too many other books on my TBR pile and that pile seems to grow daily (another problem of mine).

Just a little musing on my reading habits today. I wonder, though, does anyone else struggle with putting a book down once they’ve started?

*If you aren’t familiar, it’s simply that you read the first 50 pages of a book and if you aren’t engrossed you can put it down and not finish it knowing that you can come back to it later if necessary.

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