When should you cut bait on that less than inspiring book you just started?
In the great bell curve of literature, there are some titles that are definitely at either end of the spectrum for lots of people. Three Men in a Boat and Huckleberry Finn may be right up there in the 99 percentile slot for many, while Moby Dick beaches itself in the shallows at the other end for some (including me). But what about The Old Man and the Sea, The Compleat Angler or even Peter Benchley’s Jaws?? In the vast oceans in between, what keeps you rowing against the tide? What makes you throw your catch back in?
I think I have stumbled on my personal Bell test, where the real world meets or defeats preconceived expectations. I call it the 100 page test. If I reach 100 pages and there is little urge to see what happens on page 101, it’s time to try a new fishing hole.
This comes up today because I felt justifiably diverted by Robert Graves’ I Claudius, a highly regarded book which has been on my TBR for years, and fits in nicely with the background of Seneca and co. Perhaps I was also swayed by the renown of the TV series which I was too young to watch on first broadcast.
And yes, you guessed it! I passed page 100 last night and am disappointingly underwhelmed.
Should I continue, or reach for something else?? Or should I just get a bigger boat? Voting opens now for 48 hours.