Sunday Salon : On Giving Up, Romance, and other bookish things.

The Sunday Salon.comThis week, I did something I hadn’t done in a long time : I gave up on a book I really, really wanted to read. Madapple has been on my TBR list since before I started blogging. The story seemed intriguing and the cover had caught my eye; and yet, I just couldn’t get into it.

I tried, tried, and tried again, but I couldn’t get pass the first pages. I read and 10 minutes later, I’m barely a few lines farther in, and my mind just doesn’t register the information. At page 40, I still couldn’t remember the characters names, and that’s when I decided to give up. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad book : it just wasn’t for me. How many tries do you give a book before you give up?

This week was a good reading week : 4 very different books, but most importantly 4 books I enjoyed :

  • The Tent, by Margaret Atwood
  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  • Never let me go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Obernewtyn, by Isobelle Carmody

I’m not sure what I’ll be reading this week. Surely I’ll finish Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict – maybe today! – and then, as you might have seen in my Booking through Thursday post, I have lots and lots of books to chose from!

On the blogging side, I posted 6 times this week, and 3 of those posts were reviews. I’m doing good with my resolution so far, and I actually chose to post later non-book-review-posts I had planned this week.

As for the things that caught my attention this week, they seem to have a common theme : romance! I am not a romance reader, although I do read one from time to time, and I do enjoy some romance in the books I read. I have never judged the genre : I think we all need “fluffiness” from time to time, and if some people find comfort in these, why not? Isn’t the important thing that they actually read?

  • Biblioaddict shared her thoughts in a very interesting post that questions the romance genre : why do we love it, or not? Why is the romance genre so easily snobbed?
  • Babbling about books posted on a similar subject too, in a post titled “I am a Scholar, so I can write romance (and not be ridiculed)”. Extremely insightful post on the prejudices we may have on romance authors.
  • Finally, SassyMonkey Reads wrote a similar post on judging the readers by the genre they read; although she uses YA as an exemple, the same could be said on romance.

Is there a genre you enjoy reading that other people might judge?

I very rarely read romance, but I definitely enjoy YA. I noticed that YA litterature is often dismissed as “easy” – mostly by people who know nothing of the genre apart from Twilight or Harry Potter. Sure, there is a lot of “fluff” in YA fiction, but same goes in adult fiction. Plus, I feel like teen litterature is really blooming : I see more and more people of all ages reading it, while my favorite bookstore has double its selection of the genre.

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17 responses to “Sunday Salon : On Giving Up, Romance, and other bookish things.”

  1. bermudaonion says :

    I haven’t given up on a book in a long time – knock on wood. I enjoy James Patterson’s and Janet Evanovich’s books and I think a lot of people dismiss them because they’re not great literature.

  2. gautami tripathy says :

    I do give on books if I struggle until page 20!

    Here is my TSS post

  3. Wendy says :

    I used to struggle through books all the time…but lately I don’t hesitate to give up on a book I am not liking. Life is too short!

  4. lena says :

    I used to have that same attitude about YA books until I started reading them. It is odd for me to say that I’ve found it harder to read some YA books than to read ‘serious adult fiction.’ The books available to teens these days cover such serious topics in very frank ways.

    Also, I’m super glad you enjoyed Never Let Me Go. After reading that book, I swear by Ishiguro.

  5. Nymeth says :

    I love fantasy, comics, YA, and children’s books, so yeah, I get judged all the time. Not in the blogging world, though, which is one of the reasons why I love you all.

    I need to be better about putting books that aren’t working for me aside. Like Wendy said, life is too short!

  6. Vasilly says :

    I try to read to page fifty before giving up on a book but I have given up on books a lot sooner than that. I’ll give a book a few more tries before I finally give up on it altogether.

    I read fantasy, YA, picture books, middle school fiction, graphic novels. . . I get strange looks but I don’t care.

  7. Staci says :

    I unfortunately continued to plod on with Madapple and ended up hating it for the most part. You were smart!! After that though I decided that I would not feel guilty just because I didn’t finish a book…there’s too many good ones out there to read!! As for being judged by others, I don’t care. I’ve been reading YA for over 15 years and love it!! I’ll read just about anything but sci-fi is the genre that I tend to stay away from. A teen boy did make fun of me for reading Manga but I told him that I was cool and he was not !! 🙂

  8. Monique says :

    I have given up on books. In the past year or so I have given up on about 3 or 4 books. I use to feel bad about it but now I don’t. As a friend said “There is too many good books out there to read crap”.

    I use to not read YA because I too thought that it was easy. But I have changed my mind since I have started reading book blogs. I do read romance but I only read it in the privacy of my home or if in public I make sure to hide the cover.

  9. Lenore says :

    I have been wanting to read Madapple as well. I have a feeling it will take some patience, so I am saving it for when I have some 🙂

  10. bernadetteinoz says :

    I’ll usually give it around 50 pages – if there isn’t something interesting by then I give it up.

  11. Meghan says :

    I very rarely give up on books, but I think if it was the fourth time through I would have to!

    I’m a romance reader so I’m used to the prejudice. I stopped reading it for 5 years because I didn’t want people to judge me (I like practically everything, so I didn’t suffer THAT much). I’ve gone back now, if they’re going to judge me so harshly then maybe I don’t want to be their friend either. =)

  12. Kim says :

    I think it’s ok to give up on books you want to read. I tried to read American Gods by Neil Gaiman last summer, but just wasn’t into it. I put it down at the time and when I came back to it this summer I really enjoyed it. So maybe you can try Madapple again another time.

  13. nat @ book, line, and sinker says :

    i’ve only ‘broken up’ with 2 books–the house of leaves and the book thief. i know, i know. everyone and their mother LOVES the book thief…but i couldn’t get into it even after taking it out from the library twice and renewing it each time. 😦

  14. Amanda says :

    I agree that YA has really blossomed – great description, btw – particularly in the last 10 years.

  15. Literary Feline says :

    I am sorry you couldn’t get into Madapple. I haven’t tried that one myself. I don’t give up easily on books. Usually when I do, it’s because I have no interest in the characters or what happens to them. Those I end up giving away. There are books I start and quickly realize that now isn’t the right time, but that I’m sure I’ll enjoy it down the road. I don’t really count those among my “did not finish” group though. I can’t say I have any specific guidelines on how long to give a book before giving up on it. Sometimes I’ll have read 80 pages and other times I know at page 10. I haven’t had the experience where I’ve tried a book several times and couldn’t get into it. Usually I know on the first try whether it will be a tosser or a save for later if it isn’t a “read me now” book.

    I am glad you had such a good reading week this past week. I haven’t read any of the books you read, but they all sound good. Never Let Me Go is in my TBR pile.

    Thanks for the links about romance reading! I am much like you when it comes to romance. I generally don’t read the genre, but occasionally I might–and, as you said, I do enjoy some romance in books. I typically like my romance to be a side dish, rather than the main course. There are exceptions though. I am not a huge fan of YA fiction. I read some. Love Harry Potter. It’s just not a book type I tend to gravitate towards, and it is so hit and miss with me.

    It wouldn’t cross my mind to think less of someone because they read one genre or another. I think it’s rather silly, actually. We all have own preferences and tastes. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    I’ve had people put down the fact that I enjoy fantasy and even crime fiction. Heck, one woman I know criticized my interest in fiction because the only books worth reading are nonfiction. I’ve also had people react negatively to the fact that I read literary fiction and the classics on occasion. Book snobbery comes in all forms, unfortunately.

  16. kay says :

    Thanks everyone, that was really interesting to read your point on views on these two subjects! 🙂

    “Madapple” isn’t the first book I give up on, but it really was hard to give up because I wanted to read it so much. I had been really excited to find it at the library, but in the end, it just wasn’t for me. I agree, life is too short and there are too many books! So in the end, I just moved on to the next book.

    Literary Feline : That’s an interesting point! Most of the time, I can tell if I’ll like a book from the first few pages, too. Sometimes I can feel that I’m not into it now, but that later I’ll probably enjoy it.

    Staci : It’s sad that you didn’t enjoy Madapple more than I did! I thought it was so slow, and with lots of botanic! I couldn’t care for the story or the characters, so I had to let it go…

  17. Liz says :

    So many facets to respond to! It took me years add years to get to the point where I’d give up on a book, but I do it all the time now. There are so many books out there that I feel I’m not going to waste time on a dud. I usually DO, however, skip to the end to see how it turns out.

    Genre — I’m fond of romances, I must say, but they have to be well written. I finished listening to one by Iris Johansen recently (lots of mystery in hers, too) and I almost gave up several times. But listening is much less work than reading sometimes, and I need something to occupy me while I exercise! Love mysteries and thrillers. Again, they have to be well-written! I think I’m the only person in America who ddidn’t like “DaVinci Code,” and it’s because I thought the writing stunk.

    Currently, I’m reading the newest offering by Nora Roberts, who I think is queen of the romance genre. She manages to weave interesting plots, without repeating herself too badly. Quite enjoyable. I’ve just finished a piece of more literary fiction, for lack of a different term, “Shooting an Albatross,” by Steven Lundin. It’s based on a true story (from WWII), so it’s a bit different from Nora! To put it in movie terms, I think it kind of combines the look of the past of say, “The Titanic,” with the romance and puling of the heartstrings of “THe Notebook,” the love of the game of “The Natural” (though this is the game of golf) and the sense of danger of “Psycho.” Enjoy!

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