On This Day Of Love, I’m Declaring War

There are far too many people wandering around happily in love today. It’s a terrible state of affairs. Me? I’m still waiting for that great book which will wallop me sideways and make me fall head over heels in love with it. I’m tired of waiting. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder whose fault it is that I haven’t found it yet. This is why I’ve decided to declare war on books today. Books which are preventing me from reading other books.

On This Day Of Love, I'm Declaring War

I’ve been pinioned to a glacier of what I’m calling Dead Slow Books, which I recently realised in a clichéd flash of blinding insight are preventing me from supporting the book industry in the way I once did.

The Dead Slow Book is like a bad boyfriend. You know the relationship just isn’t going to turn out well. You know there are plenty more books in the sea. You know that persisting with him and thinking he’s going to get better is the equivalent of going on holidays in Ireland with SPF 40 and a beach ball. But you can’t kick him out, because of the 0.07% chance that he’s actually the sort of guy who turns into a completely different person the minute you dump him and marries his next girlfriend.

Once upon a time when I couldn’t afford books because a) I was a student and spent all my money on essentials such as drink and cigarettes; and b) books were then priced at levels which often resulted in authors earning an actual living from writing good books, I read only what was highly recommended to me by the people I either borrowed or stole these books from. (The stealing was never on purpose. I was young and I needed the stories.)

It meant that I needed to exercise little or no quality control. In fact, I can still remember the first three books I abandoned without reading to the end, because back then it was such a monumental event for me to not finish a book.

But now I have c. 98 books on my To Be Read pile, and they’re ruining my reading. Purely because they’re on my shelf and unread, I feel like I have to read them, or else they can never leave my limited shelf space. And what happens? I’m getting through approximately 2 pages of these repeat offenders a day, instead of 2 books a week. I’m wading through a sludge of stories I don’t care for.

On This Day Of Love, I'm Declaring War

The upshot of these books is that every time I persist with one, three other books which would suit me better are lying undiscovered, unread, and unloved. And I end up without a book date for Valentine’s Day. This is not good, because pretty soon I’m going to get cranky. When I get cranky, I start thinking I’m right all the time, and if that happens, we all suffer.

I want to stress that none of the authors of my Dead Slow Books are to blame for any of this. The fault is entirely mine. Some books just don’t suit my taste, because I am a contrary person with contrary opinions, except when I’m making a point about stultifyingly safe publishing bets like I did last week, which as we all know is not contrary at all, but legal and judicial fact. Obviously.

My taste is nothing to do with the quality or otherwise, as evidenced by the number of prize-winners which don’t float my boat, let alone turn me into a blithering idiot incapable of doing anything but think about the world of the book (yes, I’m looking at you, The Finkler Question, with your wit so impenetrable that it flogged my sense of humour and then put 3 lagging jackets over it. And you, All The Light We Cannot See, with your hatred of verbs and your cramped stony living spaces full of turgid adjectives.)

But here’s the sad bit: for what is Valentine’s Day, without a little tragedy?

In the time I take to struggle through these books which don’t grab me by any part of my anatomy, let alone the goolies, I could be reading quadruple the number of books. More, even. I could be reading the books which are for me. I could be reading your book. But I’m not. I’m still forcing my eyes to move over the second-last paragraph in Chapter 16 of the bad boyfriend, having already forgotten what happened in the third-last paragraph of the same bloody chapter.

So to hell with Dead Slow Book. I’m sick of him eating my time and not paying the rent. I’m throwing him out.

After 50 pages, or 3 chapters – whichever comes first – I will no longer continue to read books which don’t grab me. After all, I’m still on the hunt for Book Heroin. I’m never going to find it if I’m zonked out on Valium.

Who’s with me?

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  120 comments for “On This Day Of Love, I’m Declaring War

  1. February 14, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Reblogged this on Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. February 14, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I couldn’t agree more. I vowed to unclutter everything this year. Starting with all the stuff I have collected that is literally choking my computer. I made a start on the pictures. We all click on anything that looks interesting or inspirational, well, I know I do, and you end up with masses of them. No organisation, no system, so finding anything again is a nightmare. The TR pile is nearly as bad. Funny how what seemed riveting last month, doesn’t seem so charming now. I should imagine most of us are in the same boat, as writers we think we have to collect everything, just in case. But what we should be, is selective (and sensible)

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 9:25 am

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there – I didn’t think about it like decluttering – you’re absolutely right. They say if you don’t wear an item of clothing for an entire year, throw it away. If I’m still struggling with Chapter 6 after a month, I should throw that away too.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. February 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I’m leaning toward the 100 page mark, as I like to give these new lovers a chance to impress me with their bag (pages) of tricks. If the chemistry is more prosecco bubbles than crashing waves, then I kick them to the kerb. Signed: Ruthless Reviewer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I was being a bit harsh, Ruthless. I’m going to take a leaf out of your book here (OMG THE WORST PUN EVER I’M SO SORRY) and go for the 100 page mark. I can think of more than a few books off the top of my head that took 10 chapters to grab me, to be fair.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. February 14, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I am so with you on this! There truly are too many books and too little time to mess around with any that don’t delight me. I will happily throw a book aside at any stage and move onto the next.

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I’m wondering if our schooling is to blame, Katy. We grow up learning that books must be finished. But there’s more to being an adult than making our own doctor’s appointments.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. February 14, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I’m rather disappointed that you still haven’t learnt the importance of ‘show don’t tell’ on your blog. It’s easy to say I’ll toss him but where is the book flying evidence? Words are cheap – at least if you saw my royalties you’d know the unbending truth of that cliché. Maybe you could create a Day. Toss a Thriller Day. Chuck a Chick (lit). Hurl out Horror. Genre dumping could be a thing. We could make a big pile and set them on fire and… no they tried that didn’t they!

    Liked by 3 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

      You have a point there, Geoff, aside from the razor-sharp humour that is joking about right-wing fundamentalism today. I’d like to schedule each of those days you speak of, along with a more general Jettison The Genre Day, where instead of burning or chucking books, we force people at papercut point to read books without knowing what genres they are first. It’s gonna be Yuge.

      Liked by 2 people

      • February 14, 2017 at 10:41 am

        Jettison The Genre Day sounds like a great idea. All the books should have brown paper covers as well. Just… because.

        Liked by 2 people

        • February 14, 2017 at 11:38 am

          I want to want that, but I’m afraid I still like bright and shiny things. And when a cover delivers what it promises and I wanted what it promised…. well, then. I’m just putty in its hands.

          Liked by 1 person

          • February 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm

            But covers are a dead giveaway of genre (or at least, the genre the marketing department want the book to be in).

            Liked by 1 person

            • February 14, 2017 at 10:39 pm

              For some genres the pigeonholing/stereotyping is crude and pretty awful, yes, that’s a fact. But when they’re pretty, they’re SO pretty 😉

              Liked by 1 person

              • February 15, 2017 at 10:20 am

                True. I do like the fact that publishers are rising to the challenge posed by ebooks by making print book more beautiful. Who doesn’t like pretty things?

                Liked by 1 person

  6. February 14, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Its very rare I don’t finish a book because even if I’m not enjoying it I can treat it as a learning exercise to find out why. That said, I deliberately started a one in, one out policy for my Kindle last year to get rid of the pressure of the TBR pile. And I found, freed of the TBR shackles, I allowed myself the luxury of giving books time which i turn meant I enjoyed reading a lot more.
    Until I was seven books behind on my Goodreads challenge and it all went to pot.
    Anyway, a very happy War on Turgid Books day. Have fun with those matches!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

      You have me thinking, Dylan… (dangerous prospect, that). I may need to allow myself that luxury, too. Maybe if I get over my book heroin craving I can settle down with a nice quiet type who doesn’t call me to him every other second. Book heroin first, though…

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

        Just be careful. If you start fishing books out of toilets or seeing them crawl across the ceiling, it’s time to have a rethink.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 14, 2017 at 11:51 am

          Okay. But only after the oblivion, right? I mean, if I’ve any brain left by then at all?

          Like

  7. February 14, 2017 at 9:49 am

    It’s rare I don’t finish a book – at least, it used to be. However, it’s becoming more common these days. Like you I persevere, giving them the benefit of the doubt, clinging to morsels when I should be looking for all out enchantment. My TBR pile is also teetering, clogging up my Kindle and my bedside – I think I might have to go with the 100 page rule as well, then I might find some books I enjoy reading again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

      I think we have the same problem. We’re not enjoying reading because of what we’re reading. Time for a spring clean, eh Helen?

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm

        I think so, Tara. Time to discover the joy of reading again. Tired of reading books because I feel I should, not because I really want to. After all, my love of stories was what got me into this game in the first place!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. February 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I absolutely unequivocally agree. No-one should waste time reading books that are an actual effort. Except I remember feeling that way, quite strongly, about ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ for the first 100 pages. I very nearly binned it multiple times and then it went and turned into one of my favourite ever books. Well I enjoyed it – ‘favourite ever books’ might be an exaggeration. I’m prone to those on occasion. I haven’t read it again obviously. I did read another book by the same author which I thought was quite good though. I think I was making a point here somewhere but I’ve long since forgotten what it was. ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ has been sitting on my bookshelf for some time now. Your post has not helped it’s case in moving from the shelf to the floor by the side of the bed (I really need to by a bedside table) which is the hallowed space occupied by ‘the book I’m currently reading’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:47 am

      This ‘first 100 pages’ is becoming a thing, James. I think I was too hasty, saying I’d only go the first 50, but that’s because I’m in a mood. I remember struggling with boredom when reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I persevered at first because of the hype, but then I said it to a friend who’d read it, and she said it got better after 100 pages. It didn’t end up being a book which blew my mind or anything, but I was glad I read it. Mind you, I still don’t know what the hell the editor thought they were doing that they didn’t sort out the terminally boring first 100 pages before it went to print. It wasn’t like Stieg Larsson was going to object at that point, because to be fair, he was dead.

      Sorry if I’ve ruined All The Light We Cannot See for you. If it’s any consolation, a friend of mine absolutely adored it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 14, 2017 at 11:52 am

        I’ll still give it a go. If the editor of ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was having a laugh (and I agree with you that he was) then he was just phoning it in by the sequels. Seriously, if any editing took place on those books I’d be amazed. I still read them though. Didn’t think they were that good but I’d paid for the whole trilogy and my inner miser kicked in.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

          I’ve been afflicted with that too. Nothing better than more in stock of the series if you’re hooked. But if you’re not, they’re like Paper Portents Of Doom.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. February 14, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I count 17 books in the pile next to my bed, but speaking of tragedy, some of those are books about writing, and some are notebooks in which I am supposed to be writing.

    But here’s another category that bogs me down – books that well-meaning family or friends insist on lending me, without me having asked for them. Those books sit in the pile, guiltily accusing me of not reading them, unless I try to read them, which, in more than one case, results in me day dreaming of more interesting things as my eyes skim the pages, skipping pages, and then re-reading other pages multiple times to try and register something in fear of being quizzed by the friend/family member about the book.

    As an addendum to this post, it is possible that I’m a lot stupider than my friends and family think.

    Liked by 3 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Oh, yes. The Mercy Read. It’s only ever going to make one person feel good, and sadly, it’s not going to be you. I could do another blog post on them alone.

      For what it’s worth, I think you’re a genius.

      Liked by 2 people

      • February 14, 2017 at 11:51 am

        Oh dear. I can’t help hoping you don’t have a book in mind that you just know I’ll love.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 14, 2017 at 11:54 am

          Well, now that you mention it… ever heard of Dostoyevsky?

          Liked by 1 person

          • February 14, 2017 at 9:03 pm

            Oh sure, I love Dostoyevsky! What a guy! His temperament is well suited to my own. I was just talking about Dosteoevsky the other day with my brother, as it happens. He likes him too – he fits in well in our family. We both agreed that we should read “The Idiot” next. The title alone is brimming with possibilities.

            Liked by 1 person

            • February 14, 2017 at 10:39 pm

              I think you know him better than I do. Drat.

              Liked by 1 person

              • February 15, 2017 at 1:57 am

                Woops, the joke misfired then. Sorry! My knowledge of 19th C Russian literature is totally due to a lucky accident where I slept in and got to my first day of uni so late that the most popular subjects were full, and I had to choose Russian Literature to make up the fourth subject in my arts degree. If you like a mix of surrealism, total absurdity, and dark, self-deprecating humour, there is a lot to enjoy in the writing from that era. I probably owe those guys quite a debt. If you’re not familiar with it, I recommend trying Gogol’s short story, “Diary of a Madman.” Here’s a perfect circle: maybe I’ll lend you my worn-out copy, so it can sit in your pile of books by the bed, causing you to curse me because you secretly have no interest whatsoever in reading it.

                Liked by 1 person

                • February 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

                  No misfire at all. You called me out on a lazy joke. I have never read Dostoyevsky. I don’t even know if I like him. But I do like the comments here to keep me on my toes 😉

                  Send me the Gogol. I’ll never say no to an excuse for cursing.

                  Liked by 1 person

      • kgupta21
        February 15, 2017 at 5:55 am

        That is a good phrase..’The Mercy Read’.
        I think I had to read ‘Who moved my cheese?’ separately under duress from my wife,parents,2 colleagues and 1 boss…which is not to say that it makes a bad read.But seven times over?

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 15, 2017 at 10:24 am

          Good grief. How is it possible that you were targeted with so much cheese?! Are you by any chance a management consultant?

          A company I worked for bought a copy of it for every single employee. Every. Single. Employee. It was the best excuse I ever had for not reading something.

          Like

          • kgupta21
            February 15, 2017 at 1:27 pm

            …how did you ever guess?The company I worked for,the GMR Group here in Bangalore,also handed them out,all 780 of them, signed personally by the Business Chairman! U r right….whole lotta cheese there.

            Liked by 1 person

            • February 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm

              Seriously? Signed personally? I presume this was back in the bad old days when nobody in business held management accountable for terrible decisions (i.e. last week)?

              Liked by 1 person

  10. February 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I finish books for the same reason I cleaned my plate as a kid. I’m simply not allowed to leave the table until I do. There’s a kind of Catholic duty hanging over book reading and you captured it perfectly with the boyfriend metaphor… but I’m a straight guy, and it’s not in the rulebook to think of a girlfriend as “not going anywhere”. I guess they’re just… um, undecided or something. It’s none of my business, I have to finish this chore list.

    So reading, it’s all or nothing. I can certainly not read a book at all. But start and then fail to continue, I’m really scraping to think of a time that’s happened. Horrifying to contemplate really, because everything you say about the wasted time is true, and it should mean war, that’s the stakes.

    Of course, epic fantasy is in a curious position to throw stones about this, since we have the longest Patience Horizon of any genre-authors. There’s a difference, maybe, between being grabbed and passing that horizon. Tolkien took honestly 200+ pages to get to The Meaning of It All in “Fellowship of the Ring”… but you always had the strong sense he would get to that moment, even when you were spending 15 pages watching Tom Bombadil spin the ring like a basketball and eating breakfast. Twenty pages later Tom was gone as if he never existed, but TMoIA was still lurking out in the forest with the Dark Riders. Thank God he didn’t try to publish in this era, they’d have cut him into spam.

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Ah, to be back in the days when people broke the rules before being told what the rules were, Will. I’m feeling so nostalgic I could read a Danielle Steel while eating a white bread sandwich.

      I do like it when a story stops dithering, unless dithering is the point, but it feels sometimes like we’re being edited into spray cheese these days.

      Liked by 2 people

      • February 15, 2017 at 3:17 am

        Danielle Steel! I tried reading Wanderlust, because the main character has the same name as me. I lasted only 20 pages or so and gave up to escape terminal boredom. And that’s not like me. I usually finish books, because it’s the Right Thing To Do.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 15, 2017 at 10:29 am

          But Audrey! How could you POSSIBLY be bored while reading the anguish and torment of a 2-dimensional woman’s search for love and air miles? Especially when you share not one, but two of the same names! There’s no hope for the reading public, there really isn’t. 😛

          Liked by 1 person

  11. February 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Oh, I am so with you! I always struggle to put books down – all I can think is, “but someone worked REALLY HARD on this.” (Except, you know, when you can maybe see they haven’t.) I’ve recently instated a 100pg rule – if I still don’t care what’s happening by then, or am spending more time on my phone than on the book, I’m done. But I may have to revise that to 50, because it can still take an awfully long time to reach that 100 mark on a read that isn’t for me.

    Bring on the Book Heroin…

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Perhaps if we instate the rule “if in doubt, 100 pages and out, if already snoring, 50 pages last warning”?

      (And if you can remember that on Book Heroin, it’s not strong enough)

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

        Ah, I like that! A little flexibility for those maybe-possibly books.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. February 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Funnily enough I learnt sooner that I don’t have to finish my plate of food and be left with an enjoyable memory of the meal rather than wanting to throw it all up than I did about casting off an unsatisfying book. Now, not only do I give up on novels without guilt but I also don’t keep any fiction once I have read it, off to the 2nd hand shop it goes. (The exception is classics and books that belong to my children). Once upon a time I dreamed of owning a house that resembled a library but pride comes before an international house move. Now I like to travel light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      You’re at least three steps ahead of me there! I like to be surrounded by books, but I’m only realising now that they have to be the right ones. Let’s hope I’ll be following in your footsteps in no time.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. February 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I’ll generally take on any book that comes to hand because I tend to have 2 or 3 on the go at any one time. But the one and only book I failed to finish was Wuthering Heights.
    It’s just a long, dull story where nothing happens. It’s supposed to be a classic so I persevered. I got halfway. Half-bloody-way! After another chapter of sighing and grumbling about it my wife just said, “Stop reading it if you’re not enjoying it. You’ve given it a go but it’s clearly not for you. Put it down and read something you like.”
    I kind of needed that absolution, the permission to stop labouring on a chore and run off to the wild playgrounds of Discworld or a far-off space opera. Or anything. The back of my cereal box had a certain jaunty appeal by that point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Your wife is very wise, babbitman. Has she written a book by any chance?

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        She’s written reports and essays and test questions, but when it comes to creative thinking she struggles to write a Christmas card, so she leaves the imagination-fluff to me!
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. February 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    If there’s no plot, I ain’t reading it,

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Spoilsport. What about the unbearable nothingness? Surely that’s worth a tome or two.

      Like

  15. February 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    I’m having the same problem, Tara. 3-chapters or 50 pages sounds reasonable. I used to finish every book I started but stopped doing that a few years ago. My TBR pile is too big and I’m just not getting to it. There’s a much better chance of finding that great book and author if you’re not bogged down by stories and characters that you don’t care about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Absolutely, Diana… And the other thing I’m hoping is that if I set limits like that, I’m more likely to pick up the ones which are actually on my TBR pile, and I could even find a gem in my own house which was just lying there lonely and sobbing for months. It’s happened before.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. February 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I fear you are in need of relationship advice.
    We all have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince but you, I’m afraid, are sleeping with them. Look, see and if ‘no thanks’ move on. Your prince awaits, but you are wasting valuable time.
    Reading your post reminded me of a famous actress (I can’t recall who though) who supposedly said on her deathbed, “I wish I’d eaten more chocolate.” I wonder will you wish you’d finished your books to read, or that you’d ditched some sooner?
    I’ve no scruples with books, if they bore me they are gone. Keeps my husband on his toes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Oh my Blog, I laughed out loud at that. I’ve been called out, and on my most public of platforms, too. Lookit, can I help that I’m a bookslut, Tric? Surely there are worse things to be. Like frigid. If I wasn’t doing so much sleeping around with books, what would I give out about?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. February 14, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    There are many books that have a dire opening but turn out to be bombastic. Harry Potter has a desperate first chapter, if we’re going to be brutally honest here, but look how well it all turned out in the end. I have this thing though, I’m like a terrior when it comes to books, once I sink my teeth in I refuse to let go until I shake a story out of it somewhere. What I have noticed lately is that trad pubbed books are reverting to gimmicks… like Miss Thingy’s School for Peculiar Children, for eg, which has an ok story but probably would not have been half so popular if it weren’t for the peculiar photos. And The Book Thief, which is actually a good story well told, except for all the annoying little insertions telling what the author is about to tell you, and giving you useless little backstories which have no relevance and take you entirely out of tbe story, I was ready to throw my kindle at the wall (but didn’t, I only just got it at Crimbo). Do Trad publishers think readers today can’t concentrate on reading whole pages of print, or books without pictures? Or are they desperately clutching at straws to try and win back some of the market they lost to Indies?

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      I don’t think anyone knows, Ali, but the most gimmicky thing I see is when something genuinely new or fresh comes out and becomes popular – a million copycats arrive shortly afterwards, and this is a shameful facet of both traditional and indie publishing I think I hate above all hated things. We’re going to end up in a market of 50% fan fiction unless we’re careful.

      That’s interesting about The Book Thief – I remember all the hype when it was out and I couldn’t understand why, because it left me cold (which bothered me, given the subject matter). It was probably the narrative gimmicks that did for me.

      Like

  18. February 14, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Hmmm – I know what you mean! 😦 One good thing about Kindles etc is that you no longer have to pay through the nose for the myriad of fiction (or whatever floats your boat) out there vying for attention. The 99p or cent, and the totally free copies out there mean you don’t feel too guilty about chucking the whole thing before you’re too many ‘pages’ into calcifying ennui.
    If you’re addicted to paper books though it’s much harder to give up on it as a bad deal – thank heavens for the libraries that are soldiering on in that case if you have an irrevocable paper book habit, but even then you feel bad about jumping ship, even if you’ve stuck it out far past the point of idiocy.
    As for it not being the writer’s fault… Well yes – ish! I’m surprised so many authors claim to be totally foxed on how to write back blurbs, because some of the worst offenders in the book bore stakes tend to have blisteringly alluring blurbs. I guess it’s easier to be attractive in 200 words or less and gets harder the more the word count and unnecessary adjectives climb ever onwards and upwards… 😦

    Tric has a good point!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      But another side of the coin is that books priced that low can have the effect of cheapening fiction too, Jan. If I have one book on my Kindle which I’m not reading, because there’s no urgency, or doesn’t feel worth it, I’m not going to download another from the same author, no matter what the price or no matter how alluring the blurb! I did a post on this before: https://tarasparlingwrites.com/2015/06/25/authors-your-free-book-is-worthless/

      Like

      • February 14, 2017 at 11:56 pm

        I agree that freebies and way down low prices does cheapen fiction, but the 99 cent/temporary giveaway options do help snag in readers for ‘worthier’ fiction that otherwise tight-fisted punters would turn up their noses up at the extra quid or whatever and pass on what could be something great. That way’s possibly a better method of drawing in interest for further sales at a more deserving price tag if they do like your style – loss leader in other words…. 😉
        I’m willing to give an unknown author a go for 99p or less, whether or not they light a fire.- if they don’t deliver then I don’t have a guilt trip with ditching at the earliest opportunity and not going near them again is all I’m sayin’ 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 15, 2017 at 10:12 am

          It’s a difficult balance, isn’t it? Almost impossible to get right, it seems. From a reader’s perspective I tend to gravitate more towards the temporary giveaway strategy because then I really feel like I’m getting a bargain. 99c books make sense to me if they’re the first in a series, but rarely otherwise. That’s a personal thing, though, and I know a huge amount of people think differently. Particularly now that there are specialist digital-only imprints who specialise in producing 99c/p fiction and seem to be changing the market.

          Like

          • February 15, 2017 at 11:31 am

            I use Kindle Unlimited for my own books so signups can get them for free anyway, but with the anthology( which has barely been moving) I had it at 99p for a week during a month-long club blog tour & got 40 downloads on it, so it does work in getting initial attention.
            Like everything else on the indie circuit you have to put in the marketing hours to (try to) get above the ambient clamour, but that happens with most authors anyway. Having a blistering book to sell doesn’t do it on it’s own merits or by osmosis regrettably, even if you’re established… 😦

            Liked by 1 person

  19. February 14, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I decided a long time ago that 50 pages was all I was willing to invest. I think it was around the same time an agent took 50 pages of my book only to tell me it was good and she liked it, but she just didn’t LOVE it. Why should agents get to be the only jerks? My time is valuable, and I’m not going to LOVE every book, even some probably really good ones. So, I’m with you. In fact, this Valentine’s Day, I’m going to stand up that stack of books on my nightstand and head to the library to see if I can take home some hot little number in a slinky book jacket instead. And I’ll give it 50 pages to impress me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      Ugh. This ‘liked it but didn’t love it’ line is getting really, really tired. It’s like “I mean I liked your story, but it didn’t keep me awake all night until I wanted to have its babies”. And I think “Yes. That’s an incredibly sane way to make a business decision. Well done you.”
      Let me know how you get on in our new ruthless and terrifying attitude to innocent books.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. February 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    On this day of greeting card love, romancing the novel, a.k.a. a good book relationship, is often a one night stand, a.k.a the nightstand of discontent.

    We all know that a romance novel begins with a problem, swoons through pheromones, hit a few snags, and is followed by the sound of a book hitting the wall.

    That said, if you can’t be with the book you love, love the book you’re with. Peace Sistah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      That all sounds very Zen, Veronica. I don’t have high hopes for my ability to get there, but I guess it takes practice, eh?

      Like

  21. February 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    In my salad days I rarely gave up on a book but there are only so many books one can read in what is left of my lifetime. dont worry, I am not thinking of popping my clogs any time soon but it has made me realise that I dont want to waste time reading books I am not enjoying. I’ve yet to read The Finkler Question as part of my Booker prize project but now you are making me nervous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 14, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to make anyone nervous! Maybe treat it as a challenge? You could make it the great “Prove Tara Wrong” project!

      Like

      • February 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

        You’re not the only person that didnt enjoy this book so dont worry about it!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. A.S. Akkalon
    February 15, 2017 at 4:17 am

    I’m with you. I’ve made a new folder on my kindle called “Rejected”. If I start reading a book and it is terribly written, or wonderfully written but just not for me, then it goes in the Rejected folder. One day I’ll get really drunk and purge everything in there, but for now it just keeps these bad boyfriends out of my reading pile.

    Like

    • February 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

      I love that approach. I want to be as organised as you. I have so many titles on my Kindle where I don’t know if I actually rejected them, or if I never got around to starting them, so that after a while they start to look like they’ve been rejected even though they haven’t even been tasted yet.

      It would appear my Kindle is turning into a new form of slush pile….

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.S. Akkalon
        February 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        That was my problem. The slush has moved from an intern’s desk somewhere to our kindles. I don’t mind paying more for a book if I know I’m going to like it. Ten 99 cent books that I don’t read just frustrate, but one $10 book that I love gives me hours of happiness.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm

          Oh, dear. That’s an absolutely brilliant point… I feel another blog post coming on. I apologise in advance.

          Liked by 1 person

  23. February 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I think the saying you’re looking for is: “Life’s too short”. My TBR pile is too big, but it’s not 98 because – unless it comes highly recommended from an unimpeachable source – I also can’t be bothered if it’s not grabbed me by 50 pages in. Live your life, Tara – before it’s too late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 15, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      You mean I have to LIVE my own LIFE? Oh, come on, Graeme. Surely there’s an app for that? I can’t be expected to do EVERYTHING. Oh my GAWWWWD. *teenage eye-roll*

      Liked by 1 person

  24. February 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    haha..I could relate so much to this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. February 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I think you are suffering from Jaded-palate syndrome. There is no cure except the book-free desert island, where even the Turf’s Guide arriving in a bottle will seem like manna. Well, I ditched the Ferrante (like reading about fish going off on every page) and I finished a fascinating non-fiction about the Monserrat Volcano, by Lally Brown, written over the period that it was making up its mind whether to blow or not. I’m reading Simon Mawer’s Tightrope and getting along fine and I am looking forward to Jessica Duchenne’s Ghost Variations, because I’m a classical music nut. None of these would qualify as book heroin, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      That was a very reasoned and coherent comment, Hilary, so it looks like you’re right, no heroin there. Perhaps you’re on book wine, though. And to be honest, as more days tick by, I’ll probably settle for that. Interesting to hear your thoughts on Ferrante. I’ve yet to test that hype.

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 16, 2017 at 7:30 am

        The Ferrante was the stand-alone The Lost Daughter and my first of hers… interesting style, but all the things I dislike as a reader – dully ominous and linguistically bitty – maybe it would have read better in Italian.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 16, 2017 at 8:45 am

          I think English and Italian are too similar for that to be a likely prospect unfortunately. I’m going to have to dip my own toe into the Ferrante well soon in any case, if only to lampoon it, so I’ll have to make up my own mind.

          Like

          • February 16, 2017 at 9:02 pm

            Umm, I can’t agree about the language similarity. Because Italian words so often end in a vowel, they tend to sing and slide into one another more easily (that’s the non-academic explanation because I haven’t the foggiest what the the other would be).

            Liked by 1 person

            • February 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm

              Ah, I know what you mean. I meant in terms of grammar and etymology but it makes much more sense to think of flow!

              Liked by 1 person

  26. Jerry Peri
    February 16, 2017 at 12:29 am

    I am with you…!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. February 16, 2017 at 6:52 am

    I’ve thought for awhile that we could really use a computer program that first discovers what it is we really want, then finds it for us, thus saving us untold agony and many wasted years. From love to the perfect home – except that then all the scammy marketers/ad men and data obsessed behavioural dissectors will pounce and any remaining imagined privacy we now “enjoy” will evaporate under their white-hot Stanley Kubrick-like stares.

    So forget I mentioned it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 16, 2017 at 8:43 am

      I’ll do that, thanks. That is, unless I start writing dystopian fantasy, obvs.

      Like

  28. February 16, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Totally with you, Oh my god!!! getting stuck on a boo u don’t want to read anymore is like slow poisoning till you get zonked out. now and then these books keep on showing up on my shelf !! ugh!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      There must be evil book fairies putting them there, Dhriti. Sounds like your shelves need clearing.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. February 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Talking about books like they are bad boyfriends– and it takes gumption to throw them out! Recently on the phone about a book with my sister and the conversation ended with her saying, “It sounds like you don’t like this book much.” When I thought I was selling her on reading it! Like the bad boyfriend, who was I trying to convince? I mean, this book ticked all the boxes. It should have been perfect for me. But when all was said and done, it was pretentious, sexist, and just not much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Petra, that’s a good summation of my reading in the second half of last year. It was like there was either a professor or a PR in my brain going “but… but.. you should like this! It’s good for you!” Well, it wasn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. February 21, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    The day I decided it’s acceptable to give up on a book was the most freeing day ever. I’d plough on in misery and sometimes not even bother reading at all because the offending book was taunting me. Sadly, I decided far too late to save me from some utterly terrible books. I now have a pile of ‘never finished’ books next to my bed that I must get rid of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 21, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      You have to get rid of them, Donna! To me that would be like sitting down to a plate of cake while somebody threw broccoli florets at me. We’re all grown up now. We decide what’s good for us 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        Don’t know why I’m only seeing this now but you’ve made me burst out laughing! You’re right Tara, I’m a proper grown up 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  31. February 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Declittered at the start of January as part of some New Years resolutions I HAD to keep this year as part of the 2017 is going to beat the crap out of 2016. I have to admit it’s not working out too badly, all I have on my shelf and Kindle are books I really want to read, and I’ve ditched a lot of ones that I only got because ‘everyone has to read it.’ I also made a list of 10 books I’d planned to read for a long time and then actually read two of them! Am a lot more chilled out reading wise as a result (yes I do get stressed by reading lists-when did that happen?!)

    Liked by 1 person

  32. February 21, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Em that was ‘decluttered,’ sweet Geney mac what a word😬

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      HAHAHAHAHAAA!!! Oh, I have to admit I spurted tea out at that – oh dear, an unfortunate metaphorical slip there too… hahaha!! Thanks for making me laugh 😀

      I have been trying to get into a habit of going into my Amazon account and clearing every book from my Kindle I’m certain I’ll never read again. The unfinished ones are more of a problem…

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 22, 2017 at 1:09 am

        Very simple solution, if it makes you put it down and pace in an agitated manner, and then you pick it up, read a few lines, put it down, wring your hands, that sort of thing, it may be time to let it go …

        Liked by 1 person

  33. March 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Tara. I came to this conclusion a long time ago after I had been given a book as a thank you gift by my flatmate. It was SO not my thing but I forced myself to read it anyway to be polite. It was a tome of a thing and took me yonks to read. Precious time that could have been spent on other books. When I finally finished I swore I would never do it again. I want to read books that make me want to read them twice (as I have with many of my favourite books.) I want to be grabbed by the cojones and swung round till I don’t know up from down. I give it three chapters, then I’m outta there! This is one of the reasons I love Amazon – you can usually try a few chapters before you buy. If I’m not begging for more by the end of the sample then the rest is not worth my money or my time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      The Amazon sample is very important, June… I wonder how many authors are aware of exactly how much of their book will be in their sample, when it goes up? They might think twice about how long it takes them to get to the point, or at least some intriguing point that might be half-interesting to the reader.

      The first 3 chapters are also paramount. After all, when authors submit to agents and publishers they’re usually asked for just 3 chapters. I don’t see why a reader wouldn’t judge by the same quantity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 14, 2017 at 11:36 am

        I’m curious about the length of the Amazon sample myself, Tara. I know I had no control over the amount of mine that was available in the sample. I actually would have made it a bit longer. I know I’ve gotten samples of best selling novels and they were much longer – maybe three long chapters. I’m not sure if it’s down to book length, selling power, etc. I must look into it further. What I CANNOT understand is books that have no sample. It’s so easy to do and has become such the norm that not having one makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

          Is that for your Lithuanian cookbook? Looks fantastic! I wonder if the sample lengths are different for non-fiction and fiction. One way or another the power to decide does indeed seem to be elsewhere. As they are the ultimate shop window, it’s a shame they can’t just leave that up to you.

          Liked by 1 person

  34. maarkkk
    March 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I just feel so guilty that I find American Gods slow and lacking in narrative tension. What am I?

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm

      Well, I’m not sure, maarkkk, but someone with that many K’s couldn’t possibly be a mere mortal. At any rate you do seem to have your own opinion. Guard it with your life.

      Liked by 1 person

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