Monday, June 15, 2009

Math for Readers...


Math for Readers....a.k.a. "The Book Hook"

I recently came across a "conversation" about reading books... and what you do when you just don't like what you're reading. An elderly woman (she was 82) remarked that at her age she doesn't have time to waste on books she's not enjoying. SO, she has a little mathematical equation that she applies to any new book she starts to read!

Here it is:
  1. Subtract your age from 100
  2. The number you get after subtracting your age from 100 is how many pages it should take for your book to hook you.
So at 82, if our friend isn't hooked by page 18 (100 - 82) She put's it down. Could you do this? Or do you have to finish a book you start no matter?

Personally I hate to not finish a book, although there have been moments.... What about you? Is there a book you put down? And what do you think of Math for Readers?

Happy reading......
Suzanne

34 comments:

Nicole said...

I don't like not finishing a book because sometime things do pick up a little if you give it a bit. But if something is just unbearable, I put it down.

Suzanne said...

Hi Nicole!
Yes, i try to tough it out for just the same reasons. And the books I do put down, and there are only a handful, I promise myself I'll go back one day- maybe I just wasn't in the 'mood' for that type of book.... Thanks for starting the conversation!

PaulGuy said...

That formula wouldn't work for me. I'd have to bail out at page 45 if I wasn't hooked. I'll usually give it 100 pages (20-25% on a Kindle) for the average size book. If you haven't captured my interest by then you're history!

Cathy said...

I have to finish every book I start regardless of whether or not I like it. I either purchase my books or have received them via an on-line book club (i.e. B&N FL, ERLT, GR, ...). If I paid for the book, I read every word. If I have received it from one of the 'clubs', I owe them participation and a review; therefore, I read every word.

I know a lot of people who stop reading after a certain number of pages - for them, the formula would be generous - I think they would quit long before 50+ pages.

Suzanne said...

Hi PaulGuy, glad to see you'd give it more than the formula! I never thought about the 'formula' in terms of the Kindle! :D Thanks for joining in!

Suzanne said...

Hi Cathy! Another good point- we as book reviewers do have an obligation to finish a book we are so generously given. I definitely would finish a review book no matter what!

In my reading group though there have been one or two choices that I was having a tough time getting thru, but of course because of the reading group I have read books I would not normally pick up at the bookstore and did enjoy very much. My vote is for finishing no matter what!

Thanks for keeping the conversation going!

debbiesworld said...

I couldn't do that. For the most part I try to finish a book since some don't really get good for me until at least half way through. Then again there have been a couple books I have given up on. I don't think I even made it 80 pages in.

Book pusher said...

I find it hard not to finish a book, but lately I have been thinking that after the first 100 pages if it's not working it is probably best to give up. Life is short and there are so many good books out there.

fantaghiro23 said...

Great discussion. I've heard of the 50-page rule before (If it doesn't hook you at page 50, move on). I also heard that, once you're actually past 50 years old, then that's when you subtract your age from 100 to get the number of pages you need to read through.

Personally, though, I try to finish all the books I start. I have been guilty of putting a few of them down, but I don't really have a page limit. I often go beyond page 100, because there are certain books that pay off way after the 100th page. And they pay off very handsomely.

Suzanne said...

Hi Book Pusher! You do have a valid argument - too many books so little time! And 100 pages is not a small investment either. Thanks for joining in!

Suzanne said...

Hi Fantaghiro23, I never heard of the 50 page rule! That does seems a bit extreme... (but then again why torture yourself if it's that unbearable at 50!) Another vote for the finish though... Thanks for letting us know how you feel!

Suzanne said...

Hi debbiesworld! I think you're right- we just 'have' to finish a book, but there are always exceptions. From my own 'exceptions' - it actually bothers me to not finish a book. Thanks for sharing!

Funny Girl said...

Recently, as in the past year, if a book is bad, I don't finish it even when I feel the tug to do so. I think that there are too many good books out there waiting for me and why waste my time on a book that I know I will not enjoy?

Suzanne said...

Hi Funny Girl,
Reading your post about "feeling the tug" reminds me of how hard it is to finish those few books I just had to put down. Not only are you 'waiting' for it to get better, but it's not like it's a page turner and going quickly! Devoting even MORE time to it! :-o Thanks for making a good point!

Tammy said...

Hello, I too want to finish a book and usually do but I have had a few lately that were a labor! I will give a book the first 3 chapters if by then I dont care about the characters I know I wont like the book.I believe in giving it your best shot (yeah a 80's song saying :-) Overall I will finish all my books I have been reading for more than 20 years and in that time there were 3 books I just could not finish (that I can remember)

Thanks Tammy

Book Lady said...

I've done something similar! If the book is 250+ pages I give it 50 pages to "hook" me. If its over 250+ I give it 100 pages and then put it down if I'm not loving it.

Yvette Kelly said...

I try to finish all the books I start but really some of them are pure torture.If I dont finish a book I leave it on my bedside table and at the moment I have at least 8 and I have decided that I am not going to order a single new book until those are done.Needless to say I do not look forward to bedtime any more (usually read for 2hrs).Good thing is for the past few days I have fallen asleep within 10 minutes.That's how terrible those books are.
If I look though my old books I can always tell which ones I didnt enjoy because they are totally tattered if I remeber correctly from being thrown across the room a few times in disgust.But I did finish them eventually so YES I finish reading every single book I buy.

Suzanne said...

Hi Yvette! I like the fact that YOU torture the book for it torturing you!! But I am envious that your do finish them! I still have one sitting there staring at me saying..." open me up,,, it'll be different this time!" :D... Thanks for adding to the conversation!

Suzanne said...

Hi Tammy! Thanks so much for joining in! (Tammy is a first timer to the blog! and I met her at work...) 3 Chapters is a fair amount...And that brings up another point- do you have to care about the characters to keep on going.... I think probably at least the main character or why invest your time?...

Suzanne said...

Hi Book Lady! 50 pages is a fifth of the book at 250... so we should like it by then!... And 100 pages is generous...I wonder- do we feel regret or aggravation after having read so much and not continuing on? For those of us who try and finish I guess it's a little of both.... Thanks for adding to the fun here!

Ella Press said...

I'm 17, so it would take me 83 pages to get me hooked. Hmm... probably. There were some books that I forced myself to finish reading, and I'm glad I did, but some, I just couldn't pull through them!
I'f I'm halfway through the book, and I'm still not hooked, then I'll drop it.

Nice idea for a post!
xo, Ella

Suzanne said...

Hi Ella! I guess being young has advantages until it comes to math for readers!:D I think the general consensus is give a book enough of a chance to show you that there's something there, something worthwhile and if it can't hook you after you've stayed with it in good faith... time to rethink reading it. Guilty putting it down though? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Book Bird Dog said...

I have no guilt when it comes to putting books aside, except for the ones I promise author/publisher to read and review. Of the 8 or so books I might take home from the library, I might end up reading about half of them all the way through. There are too many good books out there to suffer through ones you don't really like!

Suzanne said...

Hi Bird Dog! A very good reason to support your library- I think one would feel less "guilt" having to put a book down if they had not bought the book. And yes, I feel obligated to finish the books I am reviewing for author/ publisher too. Thanks for joining in!

Esme said...

Hello-Great Question-I have no steadfast rule-some books take longer to get into than others-take The Witching Hour-the first 100 pages were a wash and then I was hit. I am a believer if it is not grabbing me within about 50 pages ditch it-as Stephen King said there are too many good books to waste your time on the bad ones. I am not in school anymore were I must read a book-and there are so many that I must read. Gone are the days of feeling guilty I put it aside.

Yvette Kelly said...

off post comment but congrats!!!!!!!!!
on 100 followers.Where are the fireworks???

Barbara said...

I try to finish books I start reading. There was this one book by Meljean Brook where I hung in until I was about a hundred pages away from finishing and I just couldn't. I might give it another try at a later date and more recently I just couldn't get into Bite Me by Illona Andrews who I'd heard about from other people. Sometimes you just need to have some time pass since I didn't like Jackie Collins when I first read her. Okay I was like eleven at the time which might explain things.

Infant Bibliophile said...

That's hilarious! I'm definitely going to remember to bring this up at our next book club meeting (where few of us seem to be finishing the books lately). I'm ok with leaving books half read. On the other hand, I've never left a movie theater early. What usually happens is that I stop reading for awhile, a day or two or a week and then realize that I don't HAVE to finish that other book, and then move on.

Rabid Fox said...

Sixty-seven pages to hook me. That sounds about right. Nowadays, I give a book around fifty pages to hold my interest. I might just amend it to sixty-seven for the heck of it.

Suzanne said...

Hi Esme! Good point about our reading is not an assignment, but for pleasure! I had a hard time at the beginning of The Witching Hour too. But enjoyed it after going back to it. I think I was just expecting something else when I first started reading it.

Suzanne said...

Hi Barbara! Meljean Brook is a new name for me... Even though you mention her about a book you couldn''t finish now I have to see what she's written! Which book was it that you gave up on?
And I have to agree sometimes you just aren't into what you are reading at the moment and giving a little space sometimes helps!

Suzanne said...

Hi Infant Bibliophile! It's a good analogy about the movies- there have been times where I HATED the movie, but sat right thru it. Of course one horror movie I went to I had my face covered thru about half of it too! :D
But a book that I'm not enjoying... I struggle through... maybe I should try covering my face until it gets better ! :D
Thanks for stopping by!

Suzanne said...

Hi Rabid Fox! My magic number is 53.... I think I will make a mental note of that and see if the next book I start meets the test!

Thanks for sharing in on the discussion!

Mishel said...

79 pages is ample time for a book to hook me! But if not I'll finish it anyway. I've finished every book I've started for a while now and I hope to keep it that way. I want to give the book as many chances as possible to get me to like it =)

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