About one and a half years ago, I began reading “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. I got half way but couldn’t keep on reading (see: Books To Keep You Awake). I liked the story and loved the characters, but I just didn’t like the writing style. The book contains so much redundancy and scenes that I think add nothing to character, setting or plot. It’s such a slow read, I just couldn’t take another 700 pages of it, so I stopped.
But as I had worked through almost 800 pages already, I couldn’t make myself add the book to my GoodReads “Couldn’t finish” shelf and it remained on my “Reading” shelf for the next eighteen months. A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to finish it. I was still curious what the real story behind the musical is.
As I read I remembered why I had stopped in the first place. There’s a lot of show instead of tell. But hidden between all the redundancies and the author’s opinionated soliloquies are some great scenes that helped me to keep on going. I finished the book a few days ago and I finally moved it to the “Read” shelf.
It got me thinking though: when do you give up on a story? I usually give a book a sporting chance, but defiantly quit before I get past the first 100. After that I finish the book no matter what, as my struggle with “Les Mis” proves.
How about you? Do you finish everything you start reading? Or do you quit a book and, if so, when and why do you usually give up on a book?