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Old 09-13-2022, 08:24 AM   #16
issybird
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Oh, geez, don't get me started on The Silmarillion. WTF was that about. It was one of the rare books that I just closed, marked as 1 star and placed the dreaded "Never Read Again" tag on the book. The first couple of chapters and I had already been introduced to 500 odd characters. It was written "bible-like" and sounded like one long recital of a family tree. Boron, son of Gloin, father of John, cousin of Terry, Uncle of George, blah, blah, blah. And people go crazy for this book???
I have very mixed feelings about posthumous books. Not those that are ready for publication or nearly so, but the ones that are cobbled together from the leavings. Absolutely there’s a legitimate academic interest in an important author’s ephemera and I also get that a fan might want to read everything. But as it’s frequently packaged, the reality is that it’s just a cash grab on the part of the heirs and if an author didn’t publish it in his lifetime, it’s because he didn’t think it publication-worthy, so in a sense his legacy is tarnished against his will. Hemingway is another example.
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Old 09-13-2022, 12:59 PM   #17
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...those that want to squeeze the last drop of Middle Earth out of the source material...
This is a sickness, I think. And a real problem I have with fandom of any sort. More is always assumed to be the same as better. People become fans of the franchise rather than any particular work of art.

Part of what made The Lord of the Rings and Dune work so well were the hints that there were much larger worlds with their own history, customs and so forth and we are only seeing a glimpse of them.

But when you go turning over every rock in the Shire or read the story of the Kobayashi Maru, you wind up losing some of the magic that made you a fan in the first place.

There are fans that will admit the last six Star Wars films were bad. But will still doggedly see each new one that comes along so they can gripe about it. At that point, you are just making yourself miserable.
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Old 09-13-2022, 01:22 PM   #18
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I can remember DNFing two books because they were just so poorly written: Prison Ship
by Michael Bowers
(go look at the cover. I wasn't expecting much, but the book still failed to meet my low expectations) and Canticle by R.A. Salvatore. I'd heard good things about Salvatore, but that book was atrocious. Written like a kids book, but one where the author is talking down to the kids, in case they are too stupid to follow his story.

One book that I thought was excellent, but still DNFed was The Nightrunners by Joe R. Lansdale. Lansdale is a terrific and recommended writer. But for me Nightrunners was too bleak and the writing too good at pulling you in to the hopeless world he was describing. I respect the book, though I won't try to read it again.

For the same reason, I won't read Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door. I know Ketchum is an excellent writer and that's why I've avoided this particular book (though I have an e-copy and a paper copy).
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Old 09-14-2022, 01:21 PM   #19
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I am wondering if there is any correlation between reading more than one book at a time and abandoning books.

I never read more than one at a time, and I never DNF, but it seems like reading multiple books at the same time would make it easier to abandon one or more of them. Is it?
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Old 09-14-2022, 01:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I am wondering if there is any correlation between reading more than one book at a time and abandoning books.

I never read more than one at a time, and I never DNF, but it seems like reading multiple books at the same time would make it easier to abandon one or more of them. Is it?
To some extent reading multiple books at a time allows me to finish books that are a bit of a slog or that I need a break from for some other reason. I might read the book to the end because I am interested in the content and am not aware of any book that does a better job or is at least more readable.
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Old 09-14-2022, 08:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I am wondering if there is any correlation between reading more than one book at a time and abandoning books.

I never read more than one at a time, and I never DNF, but it seems like reading multiple books at the same time would make it easier to abandon one or more of them. Is it?
I very rarely read more than one book at a time, and if I do it's typically one non-fiction and one fiction - which seems to me to barely count . I didn't used to DNF at all, but these days I think it runs out about 1 book in 20, although I've had a run of them lately so this year may turn out higher.
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Old 09-15-2022, 04:48 AM   #22
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The last book, I DNF was Flashman. It was a mobileread book club selection one month. Horrible book. The protagonist is a cad and sexual predator. There was nothing remotely likable about him at all.
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Old 09-15-2022, 05:03 AM   #23
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The works in this book were background and study and experimentation for the author. Yes, there are a few gems in amongst the collection, but really they are suitable for only the most avid enthusiast (of which there are many) ... and film-makers, I guess: those that want to squeeze the last drop of Middle Earth out of the source material. If you were the sort of reader to read (and enjoy) the appendices that came in The Lord of the Rings then The Silmarillion is for you, otherwise skip it.
I first read LotR when I was 7 and on that very first occasion, and every one of the other 18 or so times I read it, the appendices were absolutely my favourite part of the book. So it is perhaps unsurprising that I LOVED The Silmarillion and am thrilled beyond words that it will never be material for film-maker. At least not while Christophr Tolkien is in charge. Neither Jackson the butcher of LotR nor Amazon were/have been given rights to use any of The Silmarillion in their productions, a small mercy for which I am profoundly grateful.

On the subject of DNFs generally, I'm almost at 100 for 2022, meaning that I am DNFing about 1 book out of every 5 I start. I regard this a very positive development, embracing the "life's too short" mantra.
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Old 09-15-2022, 07:36 AM   #24
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The last book, I DNF was Flashman. It was a mobileread book club selection one month. Horrible book. The protagonist is a cad and sexual predator. There was nothing remotely likable about him at all.
I must differ. He’s a horrible person, but he fully acknowledges it and he’s witty. Both likable traits. And why does a character have to be likable anyway, as long as the monster doesn’t receive the authorial stamp of approval? The books are hilarious and a subversive commentary on the received history of both the British Empire and America and skewers “white man’s privilege” even as Flashman always comes right - which is rather the point.
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Old 09-15-2022, 07:47 AM   #25
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On the subject of DNFs generally, I'm almost at 100 for 2022, meaning that I am DNFing about 1 book out of every 5 I start. I regard this a very positive development, embracing the "life's too short" mantra.
I agree that “life’s too short.” Why prolong something that’s not enjoyable? Moreover, there’s no test on Monday. What’s the point of plowing through something just to notch another book done? Reading’s for love. Too many people make a contest out of it, even if only with themselves. Reading goals are fine so long as they add to the fun, but sometimes it seems as if the challenge becomes the point, rather than the enjoyment and enlightenment.

Still, too many DNFs and I start to wonder about my criteria. Time spent on a lousy book is essentially time wasted in the interval between “Huh” and “No more!” The problem isn’t those where after flipping through a few pages you move on; I don’t consider those DNFs. It’s the ones where you’ve settled in for the duration, only to come to that sinking realization that it’s not working out. You still had your entertainment at least for a while, but the lingering bad taste is a bummer.
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Old 09-15-2022, 08:22 AM   #26
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The problem isn’t those where after flipping through a few pages you move on; I don’t consider those DNFs.
I'm using a more rigid definition. even 10 or 20 pages still gets counted as a DNF at the Storygraph. The main reason for doing this is to make sure that I have a record of having attempted the book in case I stumble across it a few years hence and think "oooh! that sounds promising!"
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Old 09-15-2022, 05:04 PM   #27
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I am DNFing about 1 book out of every 5 I start.
A 20% DNF rate seems pretty high. Could you not reduce your DNF rate further by being more selective about which books you begin in the first place? Is there anything those 20% of books have in common that you could use as a predictor for adding them to your "Do Not Start" list?
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Old 09-15-2022, 07:40 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I am wondering if there is any correlation between reading more than one book at a time and abandoning books.

I never read more than one at a time, and I never DNF, but it seems like reading multiple books at the same time would make it easier to abandon one or more of them. Is it?

As someone who used to read a LOT of multiple books simultaneously (but now much less so), I can say that for me it took away a lot of the book's pleasure to read so many books at once.

I now try to limit myself to reading about four books, switching off from one to the other:

1) A literary collection of short stories
2) A literary novel (or novella)
3) A horror collection (or anthology)
4) A horror novel (or novella)

I'm now having a lot more fun with my reading. This makes my DNF much less.

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 09-16-2022 at 06:36 AM. Reason: added 'who'
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Old 09-15-2022, 07:42 PM   #29
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A 20% DNF rate seems pretty high. Could you not reduce your DNF rate further by being more selective about which books you begin in the first place? Is there anything those 20% of books have in common that you could use as a predictor for adding them to your "Do Not Start" list?
I am working my way through my library built up over the last 10 years or so, many of these DNFs are books I bought on sale when I first switched to Kobo and have been sitting unread for 4 years or more. They're all in genres I enjoy, with synopses that sounded appealing at the time. DNFing them is clearing out the detritus.
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Old 09-15-2022, 08:48 PM   #30
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Ah... If you already bought them, then I guess it's indeed too late. It's better to cut your losses so you don't waste both time and money.
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