If Dogs Could Talk

If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one~Andy Rooney

Lena Diaz’s adorable dog Sparky

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be extra fun if dogs could talk!

Remember Andy Rooney and that delightful acerbic wit of his? I sure do. And I miss his brief, straight to the point rants on the television show 60 Minutes. His segments were fun, and I think a precursor of Jerry Seinfeld’s What’s up with that? routines.

So today in honor of Andy Rooney or Jerry Seinfeld or both, I have a What’s up with that? blog for you.

First the disclaimer: Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. Maybe you can explain it to me, because I feel confident that right here among us are readers who do it.

What is it? You ask. Well, this it. I scratch my head whenever I hear someone say: I really did not enjoy this book, but once I start a book I have to finish it.

Erm. I don’t get it.

Rosie 7

Krista’s adorable dog, Rosie

I realize there are some good reasons to finish books you don’t like. For example, your mother wrote it and dedicated it to you (Shannon I’m talking to you). Your critique partner wrote it (my critique partners only write awesome books, but I’m just sayin’ in case yours doesn’t). You agreed to judge it in a contest. You are a book blogger or agreed to provide a review. Your teacher assigned it, and there’s a quiz tomorrow. I’m not talking about these situations.

I’m talking about someone who feels they must finish a book because they bought it or started it, or just because they can’t quit anything.

Now I’ve sat through a few movies I didn’t like, but that was because I was with someone else, and I didn’t want to make them miss out on something they were enjoying. But I have never finished a book I didn’t like without a good reason. The world is littered with books I’ve begun but didn’t finish, and I don’t feel one iota of guilt.


So here’s my question: What kind of reader are you? Are you a wall-banger like me, who tosses the book at the first sign of trouble? Or do you finish a book no matter what? If you do, please tell us why. Ten dollar Starbucks card to one lucky commenter.

About Carey Baldwin

Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award winning author of edgy suspense by night.

Posted on July 15, 2014, in Carey Baldwin, readers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. I used to be an if-I-start-it-I-have-to-finish-it reader. I think what compelled me to keep turning the pages, even when I wasn’t enjoying the book, was the hope that it would get better as I immersed myself in the story. There are some excellent books that require some initial perseverance (The English Patient, for instance).

    Now I have a different approach. If I’m not enjoying the book after 50 pages, I stop reading. Sometimes I’ll put the book aside with plans to try again in a couple of months. I did that with Mr. Pettigrew’s Last Stand. It’s an excellent book, but for whatever reason, the first time I picked it up, I wasn’t in the mood for it. Tried again a few months later and loved it.

    Amy, do you ever give a book a second chance?

    PS- cute dogs 🙂

    • LOL They are cute dogs aren’t they? Hmm. I’m trying to think if I’ve given a book a second chance. I’ve definitely read old favorites more than once. But no, I can’t recall giving a book a second chance. Tell you what though, I will. I tried and failed to get into the Da Vinci Code. I will give it a second chance. You’ve inspired me to do so.

  2. Precious pups! I used to be one of those readers. Once I started I had to finish. It’s a work ethic thing or something. No so much anymore. I’ll go about 50 or so pages, too, and if it’s just not clicking, I toss it (well, figuratively, since it’s probably on my Nook or Kindle. 🙂 ) Too little time to read, so when I do, I want to enjoy and for the book to be in my favorite genre–romantic suspense. I’ll read a book of another genre because the author is a friend. Oh, I still feel guilty when I don’t finish. LOL

    • Guilt be gone, Marsha! But I feel that way too. There are so many books I’m dying to read. That’s why if one doesn’t grab me I move on quickly.
      But I hear this all the time so I know there must be something to it.

  3. mandacollinsauthor

    I’ve never been one of those “must finish it” readers, but then I’m pretty loosey goosey about most things. Life is just too short to spend it reading a book you actively dislike (or even one that’s just not clicking). A lot of times I’ll stop because I know I’m not in the right mood for a certain book. Then later, I’ll pick it up again and it’s one of my all time favorites. Just for that reason alone, I think it’s better to stop myself reading something that’s not working for me.

    Great topic!

    Those sure are some pretty canines! 🙂

  4. Carmen Pacheco

    I’ve walked away from a book (never yours!), but it had to feel like torture in order for me to put it down. Like Krista said, some reads just require perseverance. 😉

    Now please don’t ask if I read out of chronological order!!! 😀

  5. You made me laugh, Carey. It’s a strange conundrum. I used to be the kind of person who slugged through. Now, with time and eyesight issues, I just cannot do that anymore. I think I’m becoming more flexible as I grow older, too.

    Thanks for a great post!

  6. Since reading Rupert Sheldrake’s work on telepathy in dogs, I have regarded these creatures with renewed respect. Dogs may not be able to talk but the mystic mutt now appears to be a reality! LOL

    I frequently don’t finish a book. The reasons are manifold and I will sometimes give a book a second chance. However, there are so many 5-* novels available that I simply will not spend time with something that I don’t rate top notch. Even the best sometimes get put aside if my mood changes or the night sky suddenly looks interesting or ….

    I now listen to audio books a lot and find that a good actor can transform a story from mediocre to stunning. Of course an already stunning story can become stellar with the right narrator. I think my interest in spoken stories may have originated with shaggy dog stories told round a camp fire. The best narrators can add a new dimension to a tale!

    Carey, is there any chance that your already stunning books could be launched into orbit with an audio presentation (on Audible UK)?

    • Thanks Quantum! Wow, what a fascinating article on pet psychics! Thanks for sharing that. You make a good point about the audio books. Sometimes the narrator makes all the difference.
      I’d love for my books to go to audio, but am not aware of any plans from my publisher…yet 🙂

  7. OOPS! It’s Tues…forgive me, Carey!!

    Yep, I used to be one of those who slogged through a book because I kept thinking it would get better. Or my mother ingrained in me ‘finish what you start.’ I don’t know. But I would read to the bitter end.

    This certainly changed when I began writing and learning craft. I wouldn’t call myself a wall banger, but I skip to the last few chapters, find out the villain and motivation, close the book and off it goes in the charity pile.

    If it’s really bad and I know from chapter 1, then I just close the thing and forget it existed. Hard to do when it’s friends and/or acquaintances in the romance world, but my time is too short now.

  8. Thanks for featuring my baby, Carey!

  9. I’m in the toss it camp. Too little time in life to spend it reading a book I don’t enjoy. But I do try to give authors second chances because some of my fave authors write books I don’t like at all but then other books they write are my all time favorites.

  10. Hi, my name is Julie and I’m a finisher. There are two reasons I finish a book I don’t like. 1: I appreciate that it is someone’s “baby”. I wouldn’t throw an ugly kid away… so I finish the ugly book. I’m a fast reader so it usually doesn’t much more than two or three hours of pain. 2: If I’ve read the beginning of the book, I HAVE to know the end. Skipping to the end isn’t an option because then I’m curious HOW they resolved whatever issues the H/H encountered… so I might as well just read the whole book. Yeah, it’s a curse if the book is 100% sucktastic.

    • I’ve seen where some say eye issues are a reason for not slogging thru a bad book. I wondered what kind of issues (not that I expect anyone to divulge something they’re not comfortable telling) But, I’m going blind in my right eye and there’s a 75% chance my left will get the same disease. My glasses put “coke bottles” to shame. I think that’s another reason I finish books. I want to read EVERYTHING while I can.

      • OMG. Julie you are amazing – “I wouldn’t throw an ugly kid away”. 🙂

      • Julie,so sorry to hear of your vision problems. I wonder whether you have considered Text to Speech software to get your computer reading to you. There are some excellent computer voices available now. I particularly like the Ivona voices and TextAloud text to Speech.

        • Quantum, Thank you for your concern. I still have decent vision with my glasses and am thankful for it. I’ve been trying to listen to audio books and my Kindle’s text to speech. I can’t get in to either though. I tend to live my books. The characters look, act and speak in my head while I’m reading their story. So, I get aggravated when the narrator doesn’t match my ideas of how it should be.

          Can you suggest some narrators that you feel get it right? Thanks

          • Julie, I think choice of narrator is probably a very personal thing, like choosing clothes, but a couple of my favourites are:
            Moira Quirk (reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s Serpent books)
            Emma Powell (reading Kristin Cashore’s Graceling)
            Kate Reding (reading Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels)
            Rosalyn Landor (reading Mary Balogh)

  11. I am definitely a wall banger. I have too many books I want to read and don’t want to waste time with books I don’t love. And it doesn’t matter if it’s written by one of my favorite authors. I just can’t finish a book I don’t love. It’s also why I don’t leave poor reviews–I won’t review a book a can’t finish and can’t finish a book I don’t love.

    And I have to admit that I’m teaching my kids the same thing. I told them that they should read until at least chapter five and if they can’t finish to not feel guilty about it. There’s always something better to read. 🙂

  12. I got fifty deliciously unread books on my Kindle right now and no time to spend on a book that bores me.Once in a blue moon, people will recommend an initially boring book so many times that I’ll purchase it on audiobook and “read” it that way (hence my reluctant appreciation for _Kushiel’s Dart_, which was eye-sporkingly dull for more than a dozen chapters but really picked up about halfway through). I probably should have more patience with books, but … those fifty deliciously unread ones are making doe-eyes at me right now, and I can’t resist.

  13. Back when I had a lot more time to read, it was a point of honor for me to finish every book I started. Then at some point, I decided it shouldn’t feel like homework unless it was (whether self- or teacher-assigned). Now I rarely finish a book if it becomes a slog unless something about the story compels me to find out what happens. Then I skim. 😉

    Occasionally, there’s an author I know is worth it, and I might give him/her a few extra pages to get going, but I rarely have the patience for that anymore. Even old faves get the heave-ho if they can’t keep my interest. Like you, I have too many good books calling my name to waste time wading through literary quicksand.

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