Reading a book, for me at least, is like traveling in someone else's world. If it's a good book, then you feel comfortable and yet anxious to see what's going to happen to you there, what'll be around the next corner. But if it's a lousy book, then it's like going through Secaucus, New Jersey -- it smells and you wish you weren't there, but since you've started the trip, you roll up the windows and breathe through your mouth until you're done.
This isn't a real post, just something I was thinking about this week. True confession: I have a tendency not to finish books. I buy books that have been highly recommended and I toss them aside a couple of chapters in. I have never given this much thought, to be honest, but last month I heard about Ellen Brock's "When I stopped reading" First Page Critiques.
Ms. Brock is an editor who ran a boot camp in August and she let people send in the first 250 words of their manuscripts and she told them when she stopped reading. 250 words! She didn't make it through most of them! (I tried to have her read the first 250 words of my current project, but I turned them in too late -- she only looked at the first 40 submissions.)
Recently I started reading a book that I thought was breathtakingly well-written, just beautiful, but wouldn't you know that I stopped returning to it? I just didn't care what happened next -- the main character didn't touch my heart, I suppose. I have been thinking about it. Do you finish the books you start? What makes you stop?