Dear Ones —

My question of the day: Do you feel that you are obliged to finish reading a book, once you have started it?

I love to hear different people's reading styles. I have friends who are serious completists — they absolutely must finish, once they have begun, no matter what they think of the work.

I am just the opposite. I come from the "Life Is Too Short" school of reading: I will drop a book like it's hot if it doesn't hold my attention. If you don't have me by page 10 or 20, you ain't gonna get me. If it's a book that people are really loving, I might dig in a bit deeper, to see if I can align myself with popular opinion, but if I'm really not getting it, the book goes straight to the GIVE AWAY pile.

I am always amazed when I read some of the most vitriolic criticism of my books — not because I'm surprised people don't like everything I write (the arts are the very definition of a subjective world, after all) but because PEOPLE STAYED WITH IT, even though they were hating it! I always want to reach out to those people and say, "My god, if I hated anything as much as you hated my book, I would have stopped reading on page 3! Spare yourself next time! Release yourself from it, if it's driving you crazy! Go find a book to read that you love, you poor thing! Why spend your life in a rage?" Not that they want to hear from me, I'm sure…

(With professional reviews, it's different, of course: Those folks are PAID to read books that they hate. They have no choice but to bulldoze their way through it. But if you're a civilian reader? I give you full permission to stop reading at any time…)

What about all of you?

Completists or Quitters? Share your style…


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall