May 30, 2021

Just Put it Down

Just Put it Down

At the New York Times, Lionel Shriver gives a hearty endorsement to the rule of fifty.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
For I used to have another “rule” that once I started a book I was obliged to finish it. This is the dumbest rule I’ve ever instituted. Before I wised up, it cost me innumerable hours of suffering. With so many books in the world, there’s no excuse for squandering your time on the ones that get on your nerves. I received memorable hate mail once (in green font: danger, danger!) castigating me for writing “The Post-Birthday World,” which he reviled to the very last page, after “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” which he admired. I just thought: What’s wrong with you? If you didn’t fancy the book, it’s your fault you didn’t put it down.