To carry on, or not to carry on, at page 100?
What with work, life, a dog, general binge drinking and the infuriating need to sleep from time-to-time, for me reading has to be both a pleasure and an escape. That sounds obvious, I know; why do something voluntarily that isn’t going to give you satisfaction or release you from the monotony of routine? However, I take reading seriously. Books, for me, are more than just entertainment. I appreciate the time and effort gone in to the creative process of writing, to marketing and selling them, to sitting down and getting stuck into them. Books are a passion.
This is why, when confronted with a book that – despite the efforts gone into writing, selling and reading – is utterly appalling, I feel betrayed. Loving the industry as I do, I consider “bad books” an insult to it.
And so this blog was born. I read a lot (I would read more) and I do not want my time wasted, my passion hurt, or my faith in the industry diminished. And so, I give each book I start 100 pages of my time. If, at page 100, the book (in my truly – truly – humble opinion) merits reading on, I shall. If I deem it unworthy, I put it down.
For a regular/standard length novel, 100 pages is a justly fair stage at which to question continuing or not. Roughly a third of the way in the plot should be underway; the main characters identified; and the writing style established. Deciding whether to continue at page 100 has, most definitely, given the book (and the writer) a chance to entertain, enthral, and/or entice the reader enough to want to carry on until the end.
My marking system is my own. Rated out of 5, each book receives a score. This can be a solid 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, but often will include .25, .5, .75s too. This is down to my own subjective judgement. Imagine I have four books, all 4 out of 5 quality, but not quite 5 out of 5. However, I like two more than I like the other two; and of the first two, I like one slightly more than the other; and of the latter two, I definitely prefer one a spot more. Therefore, I need the decimal scoring to ensure I am able to sleep at night.