Tag Archives: 150 page rule

Re: 82 pages of A Dance With Dragons

I know lots of people are excited about George R. R. Martin’s latest massive tome, A Dance With Dragons. Not only were there about 220 holds on the book when I requested it from the library, there were still about 200 holds when I picked it up. And yet, after the fight I had with the previous book, I was mainly hoping that this one wouldn’t be so painful.

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Re: Sixty-One Nails

One of these days I’m going to learn that just because a book has a cool idea or an awesome premise doesn’t mean I’m going to like it. In his feature in The Big Idea, Mike Shevdon has some very cool things to say about other worlds and the true meaning of ancient ceremonies. But after reading the first chapters of Sixty-One Nails, I couldn’t remember why I was so excited by the prospect of reading it.

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Re: WWW:Wake

It’s so long since I invoked the 150 page rule, I think it’s time to restate it.

Life is short. If you start reading a book, that doesn’t mean you have to finish it. Honest. The book won’t care.

Sometimes, even though I’m not exactly enthralled, I feel obliged to give a book more of a chance. Maybe it has a slow start. Maybe the good stuff comes later. But if I read a good portion of it and I still don’t care about it, maybe the book just has a fan club that I will never join.  Over time, I’ve settled on 150 pages as a big enough sample to say, I read this book and here’s why I put it down.

In the case of WWW: Wake by Robert Sawyer, I made it all the way to page 230 before I decided that I just don’t see the point in bothering.

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Books I didn’t read in 2008

Another resolution for this year is to be more selective about what I put on my To Read list. I’ve heard way too many interviews with engaging raconteurs, only to find that they gave away all the interesting stuff in the interview. And yet it’s really hard to totally give up on authors that I’ve gotten interested in.

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Re: Soul Music

Sadly Soul Music was the first Terry Pratchett book that was long enough for me to invoke the 150 page rule. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t.

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Re: Sly Mongoose

I’ve been having a terrible run of luck with fiction the last week, none of them worth talking about, though I was tempted to take a picture of the stack of books I could barely start that went back to the library. To some degree, I managed to break that streak with some kickass Azteca-Caribbean action in Sly Mongoose, by Tobias Buckell, but sadly, I couldn’t finish it.

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Re: Matter

Usually I enjoy Iain M. Banks, so I was excited to see him return to the Culture with Matter. I was not so excited to see how thick it was. I was even less excited to plow through palace politics with a lost heir, an evil vizier, a naïve prince, and a superhuman warrior sister on her way home. Even though she is the one with a connection to the Culture, the writing seems extra clunky every time we visit her. Oh, were you wondering about the character’s names?
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Re: Accelerando

I’m about to insert one large grain of salt into the 150 page rule. (Ouch.) The rule sounds generalized, but the results are individualized. There are books I can’t finish that you may love. Take Accelerando, by Charles Stross. Please.
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Re: Lunar Park

One of the books that helped me establish my 150 page rule was Lunar Park, by Bret Easton Ellis. And that despite an enjoyable first chapter / preface. In a oh-look-metafiction way, the opening purports to recount, in first person, Bret’s carreer up to the great splash of American Psycho . Now, I don’t know (or care to know) enough about this to play the “spot-the-fabrication” game, but it tells an entertaining story anyway. Then they move to the burbs.

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Re: The Collapsium

When you’re reading something that’s so aggressively bad it makes your stomach hurt, it’s no great act of courage to invoke the 150 page rule. But when the book merely fails to entertain you, you can only set it aside with a twinge of regret. For example, I’m sorry that I gave up on The Collapsium, by Wil McCarthy. It has such a charming beginning:

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