The 20-page rule: how long should you spend on a terribly boring book? | Books


Name: The 20-page rule.

Age: This one is actually more a question of page than age.

OK then, page: Page 20, obv.

From a book? From a book.

A book ? Rather.

And what happens on page 20 of any book? Well, it depends on the book. Rather, it is about what happens to the book itself.

And what happens, on page 20, To the book? You can throw it across the room. With anger!

Why? Because you’re not taking advantage of it.

What if I am? So it’s OK to keep reading, of course.

Who says that ? Mark Billingham, author of Tom Thorne’s detective novels. Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, he said if a book didn’t grab you after 20 pages then it was okay not only to drop it but to “Throw it across the room angrily”.

Because? “Life is too short… There are so many good books out there. Billingham, who was a stand-up comedian, went on to say, “I couldn’t go on a stage at the Comedy Store and say, ‘Stick with me, I’m going to be funny in about 10 minutes. with books: he says he gives up five out of 10 that he starts.

I bet he never finished Ulysses. No one – literally and literally – has finished Ulysses. Unsurprisingly, James Joyce’s notoriously Difficult Stream of Consciousness novel was included in the Five Best Abandoned Classics of a practical infographic produced by Goodreads some time ago.

In the same way? Catch-22, Moby-Dick, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Atlas Shrugged. Joyce and Herman Melville also appeared on a Book Riot survey as authors of books, people just claim to have read, along with Pride and Prejudice, War and Peace and the Bible. Goodreads also had some interesting statistics on when people give up books.

And? Billingham, as we now know, is one of the 15.8% of people who give up after less than 50 pages; 27.9% after 50-100 pages; 7.6% at 100 pages; 10.6% after more than 100 pages. “I always finish, no matter what” stood at 38.1%.

It’s me! I have started so I will finish. You and Mrs. Billingham.

Is that the title of a book? It looks like a book. No, it’s Mark’s wife. He said she persevered even though she didn’t like a book, as a kind of “war of attrition”.

Does she like Mr. Billingham’s books? That we don’t know. But if she didn’t like one of his, she wouldn’t stop, even if he thought she should. And then throw him across the room, angrily.

Say: “Attention, War and Peace are coming! “

Do not say : “No, not the Kindle, you idiot!” War and Smashed to Bloody Pieces… ”

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