Thursday, May 28, 2009

Booking through Unread

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Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?

Instantly I can recall The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I wish I had not wasted my time reading it. Worse, I went on until I finished it. Positively thinking, I learnt a lesson from this. Not to pick up a book which is so much hyped and read by all and sundry.

Books are so personal. What I like might not be liked by another person and vice versa. Each book, be it a very bad one teaches us some. Even if that is to avoid any other book by the same author.

Nowadays, If I don't like a book beyond page 20, I simply stop reading it and move to another. Why waste time when there are other great reads available?

What about you? Do you agree?


29 comments:

Jo said...

I have a page limit too, but its usually page 50. Except for two Zadie Smith novels. I continued with both even though they were boring! You would think I'd have learnt my lesson with the first one!

Bibliolatrist said...

I'm with you on this - The Alchemist was PAINFUL. I'm glad to hear you didn't like it, though: I was starting to think I was the only one.

violetcrush said...

I didn't like The Alchemist either, may be I just didn't get it. But I wouldn't want to Unread it. I wasn't bored while reading it so atleast that is something.

I don't finish books i absolutely hate too. Why waste time?

thekoolaidmom said...

I have only just recently acquired a copy of The Alchemist, so I've missed all the hype. It's on Mt. TBR... though now I'm not so sure I want to read it from all y'all have to say about it.

I don't usually have a page limit, but the few times I have (From the Corner of His Eye has one after a bad Dean Koontz book experience) I've made it the 1/4 way mark. Usually, I go down with the ship. Sometimes, a book may go from terrible to terrific in the last few chapters (though, my Koontz experience was the reverse of that... great book, then all that went to poo in the last three chapters).

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

Sounds like I shouldn't make reading The Alchemist much of a priority...

I usually try to get at least a 1/4 of the way through a book. If it isn't grabbing me by then, I usually peek at the final chapter to see if it redeems itself in the end. If not, I move on to something else.

Yvonne said...

I never read The Alchemist.

I agree with you, reading is a personal thing. What appeals to you, might not appeal to someone else.

I don't have any books I'd want to unread, although I've had some I didn't particularly like.

Nise' said...

I have not attempted that book. I have a 50 page test and then it's one to another one.

Tea said...

I remember loving "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo. Then, reading another one by him recommended by a friend. I hated that book. Finally, after starting and restarting it, I gave up. I now know it's too painful to try to enjoy a book someone else likes. I can only please myself. I can't make myself read books other friends or people love because all of us are so different in temperament. I am a Mikey. I don't "eat" read everything only what makes me happy.

Margaret said...

The Alchemist was disappointing, but I am glad I read it - I wouldn't want to "unread it and I did finish it. Not a lot of it has stuck in my memory anyway.

Books are personal - one man's meat is another man's poison! I don't have a page limit, but if I find a book is boring or whatever I just stop reading it.

Elizabeth said...

I totally agree - I don't have patience for books that aren't holding my interest. Sometimes, I don't even give them 20 pages! I can usually tell pretty quickly.

JoAnn said...

The Alchemist was a DNF for me!

Meghan said...

I've never read The Alchemist, though I do own it. I think opinions are too divided for me to determine whether or not I will like it. If I absolutely hated a book, I probably wouldn't finish it either. I don't have a page limit, but I probably should

Dot said...

I have heard so many mixed views about The Alchemist so I have always been put off reading it! Life's too short to waste time reading stuff that we don't enjoy. Happy BTT!

Novroz said...

I agree!! I always stop reading abook that I found not interesting.

My friend said the same thing bout The Alchemist...Two people said the same thing...made me more eager to stay away.

C in DC said...

I too often don't like the books that are being hyped. Thanks for giving an example.

Missy said...

I agree....I mean, I feel that I am giving the book a chance by trying to read a few chapters or so. But...if I can't read it, I just can't read it. You're right about it being personal taste...someone else may just LOVE the book! That's why I post those books on Paperbackswap or donate them. :)

jlshall said...

I feel the same way - why waste your time on books you know you're not going to like when you're finished reading. But, yes, I guess they all teach us something, even the bad ones.

Jaimie said...

I've put down books too if they do nothing for me. I haven't tried The Alchemist but won't be making it a priority.

gigidiaz said...

I agree on the not wasting time part (a newly acquired perspective since I used to try to finish any book I started no matter how crappy) But I kinda loved The Alchemist =0)

What is it about it you didn't like???

Happy BTT!
I played too!

Matt said...

Ha! The Alchemist is a great choice! Fortunately I didn't "waste" whole lot of time reading it...just skimming through and calling it a day.

I haven't encountered something that is irredeemably bad. Books that I want to "unread" are ones written by authors whose previous reads I have enjoyed. Sometimes they just have a bad day I guess. I would like to defy time and start over again with another book.

Becca said...

I don't make myself read books that I dislike - there's simply to reason to do that. I've never been able to read of Paul Cohelo's work either...just not my style, I guess.

Scrap girl said...

I am so with you on this book. I hated The Alchemist and could not see what all the fuss about it was.

tea said...

I really loved "The Alchemist." I liked the travels of the shepherd boy. It was like reading an adventure story.

stacybuckeye said...

Books are a personal thing. I do usually give it to at least page 50 because some really good books are just slow starters.

DeSeRt RoSe said...

I haven't read this book although it was recommended to me because I have a feeling about it that I won't like it.. Now I see most of the comments of who read it did not enjoy it.. I don't want to waste time reading something that I don't enjoy .. PERIOD :)

christina said...

I don't have a page number, but I know I need to figure out some rule of thumb.

For example, I have been trying to finish Obama's book for the past four months now. I'm halfway through it and keep putting it aside. Part of me feels truly guilty for not finishing it (and not wanting to). But it's just *so* not my thing, and awfully dull.

Melody said...

I've only read one book by this author so far, and I'm just not hooked by the story. I'm not sure if I should give his other books a try...

Nithin said...

I've heard a lot of fuss made about The Alchemist. Reading your opinion of the book and the comments here, I guess it's better to avoid that one. I felt the same way about Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis.

rebeca@alvahsbooks.com said...

I actually liked The Alchemist. It was during a point in my life that I had to make some tough decisions and the fable actually helped me. It is very new agey, and I'm not that sort of person, but I was really surprised by the impact it had on me at that time.

As for reading books that are turkeys. Well, I actually review for some pubs that pay me as a professional book reviewer. So I have to give every book a fair and honest appraisal and that means whether I liked it or not.

I carry that same philosophy over to Alvah's Books and I read all the way through the book regardless whether it's mediocre or awful.